How to recognize an eating disorder
Contrary to popular belief, you can’t always tell by looking at someone whether they have an eating disorder. Eating disorders are a lot more prevalent than we think and they can greatly impact the quality of life of an individual. The first step to a recovery is identifying the eating disorder
In the following statements, do you recognize your behaviours and thoughts or those of a loved one?
1 – I think that people who are thinner than me are happier and have a better life.
2 – I am becoming more and more preoccupied with my physical appearance and with my weight.
3 – I often compare myself to others and their bodies
4 – I often weigh myself.
5 – I am extremely afraid of getting fat.
6 – I have difficulty maintaining an appropriate weight for my age, sex and height.
7 – I have seen my weight change drastically in last few months.
8 – I keep track of the amount of calories and fat in the food that I eat.
9 – There are certain types of food (like dairy products, meat and candy) that I do not eat anymore in order to lose weight.
10 – It happens that I eat very large quantities of good in a very short period of time
11 – I feel guilty after eating.
12 – It happens that I eat in secrecy or lie when asked about what I have eaten.
13 – I am very afraid that I am not able to control my weight or that I will lose control when I eat.
14 – I exercise excessively and if I would not be able to do it one day, I would be very frustrated.
15 – I exercise even if I am hurt or sick.
16 – I don’t have my period anymore. Or my period is very irregular and it has happened that I have gone months without having it.
17 – I have sudden mood swings. I especially feel emotional, irritable, depressive or anxious.
18 – I don’t want to eat with my family.
19 – I isolate myself more and more and I spend less and less time with my friends and family.
20 – My friends and family often tell me that I should stop restricting my food intake to lose weight.
21 – I am often cold, tired, or feel dizzy.
22 – I have noticed that I am losing my hair.
Did you recognize some of your thoughts and behaviours or those of someone else?
Eating disorders are very complex but the good news is that with the right help, a full recovery is possible. As a first step, I recommend contacting Anorexie et Boulimie Québec as they offer a free help and reference phone line service. They will be able to help orient you in the right direction.
Nautilus Plus’s nutritionists can also be part of the first step and can provide support to someone with an eating disorder.
To help identify the type of eating disorders, I recommend checking out these links:
- Anorexia nervosa : “food does not suit me anymore”
- Bulimia : “My diet is a roller coaster”
- Binge-eating disorder: “I have incontrollable food rages”
- Unspecified eating disorder (bigorexia, othorexia): “My diet and my image take over my life”
Questionnaire and definitions: https://anebquebec.com/en
Eating disorders overview: http://nedic.ca/