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What Is Disordered Eating?

Hey girl, I see you. It’s so hard, I know. We live in a culture that places virtue and morality in “eating healthy” or “clean eating,” so it really comes as no surprise that you’ve tried every diet under the sun. Counting calories, keto, paleo, gluten-free, juicing. I have seen them all and in my practice, disordered eating is one of the most common eating behaviors that I see!

What Exactly Is Disordered Eating?

Many people hear about popular eating disorders, such as anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa. But you may wonder, in our dieting culture what counts as disordered eating? Disordered eating is used to describe a range of unhealthy eating behaviors along with a concern in body image.

There are a variety of signs and symptoms of disordered eating which include:

  • Consistent dieting

  • Weight fluctuations over a long time (e.g. weight cycling)

  • Feelings of guilt around eating

  • Rigid rituals and routines surrounding food and exercise

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

  • The feeling of loss of control around food

Sound familiar? You would be in good company. Studies have found that 75% of women report that their concerns about their weight and shape negatively affect their happiness. And around HALF of the women are on a diet at any given time.

As disordered eating behaviors stem from frequent diet plans and a focus on losing weight, it can overlap with orthorexia signs. Orthorexia is the obsessive of strictly eating healthy foods, which in more extreme cases can be classified as an eating disorder. For more information on orthorexia, visit Are You Orthorexic?

Think disordered eating isn’t a big deal? Sadly these are some of the harmful consequences of disordered eating:

  • Greater risk of eating disorders

  • Increased risk of being at a higher weight

  • Bone loss

  • Gastrointestinal disturbances

  • Electrolyte and fluid imbalances

  • Low heart rate and blood pressure

  • Increased anxiety, depression, and social isolation

Disordered Eating Treatment

I’m ready when you are. If these sound like you, it’s important to seek help from a Registered Dietitian (like me) who specializes in women’s health and can support you to find a way of eating that feels good for you and your body. Disordered eating counseling can help you break up with dieting and get back to living. I always remind my clients, my friends (and myself) that you can’t lead a full life on an empty stomach! You have so many more important things to do with your time.

Book a free 15-minute consultation to see how I can help.


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