Food is a vital part of our lives and is often a way of expressing or concealing our emotions, happy or sad. If you feel out of control of your eating and or know a loved one who you are concerned has an unhealthy relationship with food, you may wants to discuss your cocnerns with an experienced psychologist at E&A. Eating disorders can involve under-eating or over-eating or involve an obsession with weight and appearance.
A negative relationship with food can seriously impact your mental health and wellbeing. If you are experiencing difficulties with eating or recognise any of the symptoms or conditions below, contact us to discuss how our compassionate psychologists who work in the area of eating disorders can help you or your loved one regain control of your life.
Types of eating disorders
People with this condition try to keep their weight as low as possible by not eating enough food to get the energy needed to stay healthy. Although low body weight and dieting are the outward signs of anorexia, this disorder is also associated with low self-esteem (self-worth is based largely on body shape and/size), lack of confidence and negative self-image.
Feelings you might experience: You can’t think about anything except food, you believe that you are fat, you are very scared of gaining weight, feel anxious, depressed, experience loss of control if you eat, and you may have a desire to be perfect.
How you might behave:You reduce the amount of food you eat, avoid high calorie or fatty foods, hide food or throw it away secretly, exercise excessively, binge eat and purge, have a lot of strict rules about which foods to eat and weigh yourself on scales frequently. You persistently do not recognize the seriousness of your low body weight.
Physical changes that might occur:You might have low body weight or lose weight very quickly, feel weak, tired or cold a lot of the time, women might have irregular or no periods, you might have thinning hair or a fine fuzzy hair on your arms and face (lanugo) or you might eventually develop fragile bones or osteoporosis.
Bulimia suffers might eat large amounts of food in a short space of time (binge eating) and then make themselves vomit (purge). There is a sense of lack of control over eating during these periods. Sometimes people may use laxatives or exercise excessively to get rid of the food they have eaten in an attempts to stop gaining weight.
Feelings you might experience: you might feel ashamed or guilty about binging, feel like you hate your body, believe you are fat, feel anxious or depressed, feel trapped in a cycle of binging and purging, or worried that friends or family might find out about your behaviour. Your self-worth is unduly influenced by your body weight or shape.
How you might behave:eat lots of food in one go (binge), make yourself sick after eating, take lots of laxatives or exercise very hard in order to not gain weight, eat foods that are high in fat or calories when you binge, starve yourself between binges or eat in secret.
Physical changes that might occur: Your weight might fluctuate, you might become dehydrated, you might get tooth decay or a sore throat from making yourself sick, you might develop Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) or other bowel conditions if you use laxatives, women’s periods might become irregular or stop completely.
Binge Eating Disorder
If you regularly eat large amounts of food in one go until you feel uncomfortably full, feel this is out of control and become distressed by this then you might have binge eating disorder. This is also called compulsive eating.
Feelings you might experience:Feeling out of control when binge eating, guilt and shame about binging, anxious and depressed, believing you are fat, feelings of worthlessness, eat food but not enjoy it.
How you might behave:Eat large amounts of food at once but just pick throughout the rest of the day, eat unhealthy food especially when feeling anxious or unhappy, eat until you feel physically sick, eat in secret.
Physical changes that might occur:You might gain weight, you might become unhealthy as a result of weight gain, you might experience sugar highs and lows with bursts of energy followed by feeling really tired.
There are other types of eating disorder that do not fit into these diagnoses but are still serious and very distressing for the person suffering it. If you experience any of these symptoms, even if your feelings or actions are not exactly the same as these conditions, you may benefit from speaking to one of our psychotherapists.
It is not only women who suffer from eating disorders and many men also experience suffer from eating disorders. It is not known exactly what causes an eating disorder but you may be more likely to have an eating disorder if you have low self-esteem, anxiety or a perfectionistic and obsessive personality. Other possible causes are a history of being abused, criticised for your eating habits or weight, modelling from others in your life, unhealthy messages portrayed in the media and on social media, or other difficult life experiences.
Here at E&A psychology, we are here to support you and help you work towards recovery. If you feel any of the symptoms apply to you or someone you know, call us or use our online booking form to make an appointment with one of our caring and experienced psychologists.
At E&A, we are a group of compassionate psychologists who genuinely want to help you create change. Our two convenient locations are central Maroochydore and the Caloundra health precinct. Our aim is to see you find your best life, great relationships and goals that excite you.