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Eating Disorders

Do I Have an Eating Disorder?

12/14/2010

Question:

Dear NetWellness

I’m confused. I don’t know if I have an eating disorder, if I am obsessive or if I am just going through a phase. I have done research on eating disorders, but I am still not sure about ED-NOS. I am not sure which websites give valid information or if they are all correct (the symptoms and criteria). I was hoping that you could help me.

I made a list of things that I thought you should know:

1. I always put cream on my hands and go to the loo before I eat. I have to feel “right”.

2. I track my food intake and plan my meals (for the week) on an excel sheet (I have been doing this for a long time now).

3. I always count calories.

4. I weigh and measure myself more than once a day.

5. I prefer to eat out of smaller, darker plates, because it is supposed to make you “feel fuller”.

6. If I have to use a spoon it must be a teaspoon (small), never a tablespoon, because it is too big. I have to take small bites.

7. Food, calories and my body is never far from my mind. I am always thinking about it.

8. I sometimes chew and spit my food.

9. I always weigh my breakfast. For example, to make sure it is 40g of Kellogs.

10. I am always looking at my reflection to see what I look like.

11. I always think about the fat on my body and I feel very self conscious.

12. I don’t like the way I look, I want to be thin.

13. I feel really guilty if I missed my exercise.

14. I don’t eliminate whole food groups and I actually eat very healthy, but I do have a list of foods that are “off limits”.

15. I know the calorie content of almost anything and I bet I can write a book about nutrition and health (even though it may not sound like I know anything about that at all).

I run 5km a day 4 to 5 days a week and I am going to increase the distance. I eat an average of 1534 calories a day. I’m 1.69m tall and weigh 58-57kg. I am 17 years old and I’ve been obsessing over my body and food intake for the last 4 years. I am currently trying to loose weight and I think that I would be a lot happier if that actually happened.

Sometimes I feel like a “wannabe”, because I am not thin and I eat healthily, therefore I cannot have a problem. I know this is not true, because no matter your weight you can still have a problem, but that’s the way I feel. I feel guilty for obsessing over this, because I know that God should be the focus of my life and not food (I am a Christian).

I think that’s why I researched ED’s so much, because if I had one then I can have an “excuse” for being like this. But no, I am choosing this. Please don’t judge me for saying that, I also know that it is not an excuse, but it’s how I feel, it’s just that everything is so contradictory.

I can’t tell anyone about this, because bofore I can it is like everyting gets twisted and turned and then even I don’t believe any of this is true, I am making it all up.

I don’t want to let this obsession go because it is what makes me who I am.

What I really want to know is, if I have a body obsession, an eating disorder or if this is just a phase.

Please forgive any grammar or spelling mistakes (I’m not English).

Thank you very much.

Confused.

Answer:

From all that you have shared with me, I think that rather than trying to diagnose yourself, the best course of action for you would be to speak with a therapist. No matter the label you put on your "obsession," you do need help sorting things out.
Your issues do not appear to be nutrition-related, but more emotionally based. It is not healthy to constantly think about food, calories, weight, body image, etc. or to do the many ritualistic actions you discussed. So, in addition to seeking the help of a qualified therapist, I'd recommend reading the following books for more insight:
Best of luck to you!

For more information:

Go to the Eating Disorders health topic, where you can:

Response by:

Jane   Korsberg, MS, RD, LD Jane Korsberg, MS, RD, LD
Senior Instructor of Nutrition
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University