Disordered eating affects 6 in 10 women, according to a survey done by SELF Magazine and Cynthia Bulik, Ph.D., Director of the Eating Disorders Program at UNC. Because disordered eating is such a normative eating disorder people often don’t realize they have it. Although it is not lethal like other eating disorders, it can damage one’s emotional and physical health, leading to further issues. Dr. Cynthia Bulik says disordered eating, although normative, is very concerning.
From Dr. Cynthia Bulik, PhD, Director, UNC Eating Disorders Program
Note: Many people will identify with one or two of the below signs, but two positive answers should raise concerns. The more signs a person identifies with from there, the more likely it is she has disordered eating and should see a doctor.
Warning signs that you may be a disordered eater:
- You label foods as “good” or “bad”.
- Your mood is determined by the weight on the scale.
- You eat a lot of noncalorie foods such as diet soft drinks, coffee, mustard, gum, ice, or spices to satisfy your appetite.
- You often use food to reward yourself.
- You panic when you can’t weigh yourself.
- You smoke or drink coffee to avoid eating.
- You take supplements or diet pills to lose weight or curb your appetite.
- Eating makes you feel guilty.
- Your weight goes up and down, with fluctuations of 10 pounds or more.
- Your physical appearance is the most important factor in your self-esteem.
- You’re just about always on a diet.
- Sometimes you eat large amounts of food and feel like your eating is out of control.
- You check certain parts of your body (such as your stomach, thighs, or hips) several times a day to make sure they feel thin enough.
- You often eat when you’re not hungry.
- You completely avoid certain foods like sugar or bread because they are “fattening.”
- You’re terrified of the scale.
- You feel fat even though others think you’re thin.
- You get up and eat in the middle of the night.
- You do calorie math obsessively (make sure you burn as much as you eat).
- You eat in secret.
- You stress if you miss a day of exercise.
- You’ve dieted on and off for most of your life.
- You often eat until you’re uncomfortably full.
- You have made yourself vomit; fasted; used diet pills; exercised excessively; or used laxatives, enemas, diuretics, or colonics.
- Being around food makes you anxious.
- You exercise even if you are injured.
- You avoid social situations where there is food.
- You eat small amounts in public and then overindulge when you get home.
- You skip breakfast to save calories, but then are famished later in the day.
- You think about food all the time.
- You use food to deal with just about any emotion (anger, boredom, frustration, loneliness, anxiety, excitement)