Concerned about Eating Disorders?
Are you worried that you have disordered eating?
- Do you constantly calculate numbers of
fat grams and calories?
- Do you weigh yourself often and find
yourself obsessed with the number on the scale?
- Do you exercise to burn off calories
and not for health and enjoyment?
- Do you ever feel out of control when
you are eating?
- Do your eating patterns include
extreme dieting, preferences for certain foods, withdrawn or ritualized
behavior at mealtime or secretive bingeing?
- Has weight loss, dieting, and/or
control of food become one of your major concerns?
- Do you feel ashamed, disgusted or
guilty after eating?
- Do you constantly worry about the
weight, shape or size of your body?
- Do you feel like your identity and
value is based on how you look or how much you weigh?
answered “yes” to any of these questions, you could be dealing with disordered
eating. These attitudes and behaviors can take a toll on your mental, emotional
and physical health. It is important that you start to talk about your eating
habits and concerns now. Don’t wait until your situation gets more serious than
you can handle. Consider making an appointment with a physician or nutritionist who specializes in eating disorders.
Are you worried that a friend or family member has an eating disorder?
If you are
worried about your friend’s eating behaviors or attitudes, talk about your
concerns with him or her in a loving and supportive way. Discuss your worries
early on, and
don’t wait until you friend has already experience the serious damaging effects
of disordered eating.
a time to talk. Set aside a time for a private,
respectful meeting with your friend to discuss your concerns openly and
honestly in a caring, supportive way. Make sure you will be some place away
from other distractions.
your concerns. Share your memories of specific times
when you felt concerned about your friend’s eating or exercise behaviors.
Explain that you think these things may indicate that there could be a problem
that needs professional attention.
your friend to explore these concerns with a counselor,
doctor, nutritionist, or other health professional who is knowledgeable about
eating issues. If you feel comfortable doing so, offer to help your friend make
an appointment or accompany your friend on their first visit.
conflicts or a battle of the wills with your friend.
If your friend refuses to acknowledge that there is a problem, or any reason
for you to be concerned, restate your feelings and the reasons for them and
leave yourself open and available as a supportive listener.
placing shame, blame, or guilt on your friend regarding
their actions or attitudes. Do not use accusatory “you” statements like, “You
just need to eat.” Or, “You are acting irresponsibly.” Instead, use “I”
statements. For example: “I’m concerned about you because you refuse to eat
breakfast or lunch.” Or, “It makes me afraid to hear you vomiting.”
giving simple solutions. For example, “If you’d just stop,
then everything would be fine!”
your continued support. Remind your friend that you care and
want your friend to be healthy and happy.
If you are
still concerned about your friend or family member, find a trusted adult or
medical professional to talk to. This is undoubtedly a challenging time for
both of you. It could be helpful for you and your friend to discuss your
concerns and seek assistance and support from Counseling
Services, a physician who specializes in eating disorders or from a Clinical
Eating Disorders Association www.NationalEatingDisorders.org