Disordered Eating

Gina Ryan, CN

For many people food has become a science, something to calculate and keep track of rather than a natural and joyful process. There is of course a place for wise and healthful choices in our meals and the planning of them. Yet when thoughs of food rule the day it is time to take a good hard look at what is going on.

For whatever your reason may be if thinking about food and your next meal or meals has become a dread you may be on your way to an abnormal relationship with food. At the extreme this can become a disorder an Eating Disorder also known as ED. Has food has finally gotten you down and you no longer look forward or even crave your favorite foods any more because you have fears or doubts about the content of everything you eat? Perhaps you have the flip side of the same coin and cannot control your eating and once you start you simply find it impossible to stop.

Eating Disorders affect approximately 5- 10 million girls and women, and 1 million boys and men in the US and are very serious left untreated. With the increase of focus on body image in men and boys now they are unfortunately are increasing in numbers very rapidly. As with most disorders the earlier the problem is detected the better.

Here is a look at some symptoms that may be cause for concern:

*Negative Self Esteem-You feel bad about yourself and feel you are not a good person.

*Negative Body Image- You think your body is disgusting and feel uncomfortable to think of people looking at you. You generally try to hide your body (wearing baggy clothing, won’t wear a bathing suit etc). You have a distorted view of how your body looks (you think it is much bigger than it really is).

*Feeling Out of Control- You feel no control over your life and actually feel food controls you. Most of your thoughts revolve around food and losing weight.

*Feeling Depressed- Sad and hopeless about your life and the future. You feel like you want to hurt yourself or die.

*Isolation- You no longer involve yourself with friends and family or activities you once enjoyed.

*Restricting Food- You eat smaller and smaller portions and you easily skip meals.

*Binging- You eat large quantities of food in a short amount of time and feel out of control of your behavior.

*Purging- You do things to get rid of the food you did eat. Examples; vomiting, laxatives, over exercising.

Another difficulty with food is Emotional Eating and again this can be a risk factor in developing an eating disorder.

The above symptoms do not necessarily mean you have an eating disorder, it may mean you are at risk for developing an eating disorder and getting help early may make the difference.


In case you did not read the Newsweek article on eating disorders here you go!

Now I have to say I am grateful to see something out there regarding this huge issue in our culture yet I was somewhat surprised at the focus of the comments….many were more worried about calling blacks black and whites white than focusing on the fact that they are all equally at risk for running into an eating disorder and that their male counterparts were also much more at risk than they may have previously thought.

I guess I should not be surprised as one of the reasons ED is as prevalent as it is is because of the lack of focus on the problem and the never ending circle dancing with a multitude of distractions and excuses instead.

Curious? Try a look at the gurze website for a plethora of information and suggestions on what to read. Awareness is not just the answer for the dear one suffering with an eating disorder but is is also the way for those who interact and live with them.

Awareness, watching what we are doing with curiosity -what a concept, what a way to make a change in your world!

Be well!



Ate-ate-oh ate!

This is what I hear over and over and it is usually with fear, anger and or remorse. My clients comment on what they ate , what they are afraid they ate, how much they ate. There is a huge body of fear around food and what it does to us, or even more painful what our minds tell us it does to us.

I wanted to take this very first post to throw out the question How do you feel about what you ate today?

Let me have the details if you are willing. What you ate and how you felt about it. Was it enjoyable or leaving you filled with fear and the remorse of a binge?

With so much riding on how we look in this society it is no wonder so many have an obsession to either eat and purge or eat only enough to “keep body and soul together” as my mother used to say. Others are so filled with disgust over the possibility of gaining fat or dare I say cellulite they simply must somehow purge the offensive food. If this sounds like I stretch I ask you to keep an open mind as it may be someone close to you living in this nightmare and the more you know the sooner those with full blown Eating Disorders and those simply on their way to one can be seen and heard. The cry is silent as a big part of them does not want to be heard, to be found out and have the life coping skill they have so neatly honed taken away.

Do you have someone in your life you have had concerns about around their food ? The combinations of symptoms and disguises are many and easy to dismiss yet if you have ever had a concern about another or perhaps yourself I am here to tell you that putting the concern out in the open where you can take a good look at it is the beginning to the road to recovery.