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Eating Disorder Round Up

Get the facts about eating disorders and how to get help!

A cutting board with vegetables, preparing to make a salad - eating disorders are some of the most deadly mental health disorders and can cause serious health risks, including death.

What is disordered eating?

According to, symptoms of disordered eating may include, but are not limited to:

  • Frequent dieting, anxiety associated with specific foods or meal skipping

  • Chronic weight fluctuations

  • Rigid rituals and routines surrounding food and exercise

  • Feelings of guilt and shame associated with eating

  • Preoccupation with food, weight and body image that negatively impacts quality of life

  • A feeling of loss of control around food, including compulsive eating habits

  • Using exercise, food restriction, fasting or purging to "make up for bad foods" consumed

Disordered eating is not necessarily an eating disorder, though many with disordered eating may fit within the diagnosis of Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (EDNOS). Still, disordered eating should be carefully monitored and receive treatment from a mental health professional since disordered eating can also be dangerous.

In her blog, Allie Morris lists the signs to look for as:

  1. Obsessing over physical appearance

  2. Undergoing a dramatic change in eating or exercise habits

  3. Experiencing noticeable fluctuations in weight (but not always!)

If someone you care about is exhibiting these symptoms and/or some of the disordered eating symptoms, it's time to seek treatment!

Eating disorders are more common in woman, but a third of those who suffer from disordered eating are male or male-identifying. With the increased pressure on men to be strong, there is an even greater stigma to receiving mental health treatment. This factor makes male eating disorders even more dangerous and potentially deadly.

In fact, a third of those who suffer from eating disorders are men or male-identifying!

The most common eating disorder in men is binge eating disorder. It’s characteristics may seem harmless, but can have long-term damaging effects. Signs of binge eating disorder are:

  • Eating until you’re uncomfortably full

  • Eating more in one sitting than an average person

  • Eating really fast and feeling out of control of how much you ate

  • Eating when you don’t feel hungry or are already full

A lot of the time, those with eating disorders often suffer from anxiety and depression as well. These co-morbidities can complicate trying to seek help especially for males since there is a lower rate of males seeking mental health care.

Bulimia nervosa is a serious, potentially life-threatening eating disorder. People with bulimia may secretly binge — eat large amounts of food while being unable to control the excessive amount they’re consuming — and then regularly purge the extra calories to avoid weight gain. Examples of purging include self-induced vomiting, misuse of laxatives, dietary supplements, diuretics, or enemas.

A good starting point is scheduling an appointment with a medical doctor or mental health professional to determine the best course of action. The patient may be referred for medical care, medication management, or specialized services for eating disorders. They may even receive a combination of the above-mentioned services for the treatment of bulimia.

One concept that has gained popularity in the past couple of years is called intuitive eating.

Intuitive Eating helps those struggling with disordered eating identify hunger cues and understand the difference between physical and emotional hunger. This helps correct the underlying issues beneath the disordered eating and address the other co-occurring mental health concerns.

The goal of intuitive eating is to encourage a healthy attitude towards both food and body. Intuitive eating is not a diet, in fact, it rejects diet culture and goes beyond food. Eating intuitively involves reflection, mindfulness, and challenging beliefs that certain foods are “good” or “bad”.

What makes intuitive eating different from diet culture is that there are no restrictions, no set rules, and no one size fits all definition of health. With this being said, intuitive eating does not mean eating whatever you want, when you want, but rather, learning how to connect with your body, identifying hunger cues, understanding the difference between physical hunger (the biological signs or urges that tell you it’s time to eat) and emotional hunger (driven by emotional needs such as anxiety, sadness and boredom), and figuring out what foods work best for you and your wellbeing.

Reach out for counseling for an eating disorder

Mindsight has plenty of resources for those struggling with Eating Disorders, including a variety of caring counselors who can help. Reach out today.

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