Disordered eating exists on a spectrum of unhealthy eating clinical eating disorders. The three most common eating disorders are:
- Binge eating
Disordered eating can impact anyone, including individuals of all genders and body types. Symptoms often begin or worsen during transition periods such as the start of college. Disordered eating can lead to other problems, including dehydration, depression, anxiety, malnourishment, decreased concentration, and decreased ability to make good decisions.
Signs of Disordered Eating
- An intense and irrational fear of body fat and weight gain
- A misperception of body weight and shape to the extent that a person feels fat even when underweight
- Dramatic weight loss in a relatively short period of time
- A determination to become thinner and thinner
- Personality traits such as perfectionism, being obsessive, approval seeking, low self-esteem, withdrawal, irritability, and all-or-nothing thinking
- Frequent skipping of meals, with excuses for not eating
- Eating only a few foods, especially those low in fat and calories
- Frequent trips to the bathroom after meals
- Frequent weighing of self and focusing on tiny fluctuations in weight
- Excessive focus on an exercise regimen outside of normal practice and conditioning
- Using (or hiding use of) diet pills or laxatives
- Fatigue and overall weakness
- Eating very large quantities of food at one sitting
- No menstrual periods or irregular periods (for women)
How You Can Protect Our Pride
- Talk to your friend. Keep the discussion informal and confidential, and focus on concerns about your friend's health and your relationship with her, not on weight or appearance.
- Listen. Find out what's going on in his or her life.
- Let your friend have as many options surrounding food as possible.
- Promote the idea that good nutrition leads to good health and good performance.
- Encourage her to seek professional help. Help her make an appointment at the Counseling Center or with the dietician at the Health Center.
- Have a conversation with your coach if you don’t want to talk to her directly.
- Don't take the rejection personally. This is a difficult conversation to have, and people with eating disorders often deny their problem because they are afraid to admit they have a problem. Try to end the conversation in a way that will allow you to come back to the subject at another time.