If eating rules your life; if you struggle with control of eating and weight; if you may be harming your health; you may have an eating disorder.
An eating disorder is not an illness like measles. It is not something that you either HAVE OR DON’T HAVE. Most women and many men worry about what they eat and how they look, and many people do strange things to control their weight.
You are not your eating disorder and not all people with an unhappy relationship with food fit neatly into an eating disorder “box”. Some people have features of all the eating disorders and some people start with one disorder and then it evolves into another disorder. Take our short test below and if you need help, have a look at our Help and Treatment pages to see which disorder fits you best.
The 3 Dimensions Of Eating Problems
Whether or not you have an eating disorder depends uponyour answers to the questions below.
- How are you THINKING about food, eating, your weight and your body?
- Do you obsess about everything you eat or what you weigh?
- Do you have bad thoughts about yourself as a result of your eating habits?
- Do you compare yourself constantly to other people?
- Do you have a lot of very strict rules about what you should or should not be eating?
- How do you feel about your eating habits?
- Is there a lot of guilt, anxiety and fear?
- Do you feel fat even though your friends say you are okay?
- Do you hate yourself for what you put in your mouth?
- Are you scared of eating normally?
- Do you feel helpless around food?
- Are you depressed and anxious a lot of the time?
- How do you behave with food?
- Do you eat normally in front of others and binge in secret?
- Vomit or use laxatives? Are you always either on or off a diet?
- Do you gorge certain foods or exercise excessively to control your weight?
- Do you keep on eating when you have had enough or starve because you are afraid that you would never be able to stop eating once you had started?
- Do you constantly jump on the scales?
- Are you always on or off a diet? Do you take slimming pills?
- Do you feel that your behaviour is not normal – even perhaps dangerous to your health?
Where behaviour is concerned, many people lose sight of what is normal. They are so used to their habits, they don’t remember what it was like to enjoy food and look forward to eating. Some people who behave dangerously with food are in denial about how serious their problems really are. But some people who have a serious eating disorder think they have no right to seek help because they aren’t “bad enough”.
what kind of eating disorder do I have?
You might have COMPULSIVE EATING OR BINGE EATING DISORDER if you
- Overeat in secret, either all or some of the time
- Feel that your eating isn’t normal
- Feel guilty about what you have eaten and feel like a bad person
- Try all the time to lose weight or try to stop yourself from gaining weight
- Think and anguish about food all the time
- Feel out of control around certain kinds of food or any food.
You may have BULIMIA If you also vomit, or take laxatives to get rid of unwanted calories whether you have binged or not.
ANOREXIA is a complicated illness and not all people with anorexia are very thin, but you might qualify if this is true for you:
- Your weight ranges from slightly underweight to very thin and you feel huge and terrified of weight gain
- Very fearful of eating with very restricted eating habits
- You hear a voice telling you to keep eating less
- Vomiting or taking laxatives after normal meals, snacks or any binge