People with eating disorders will often times compare their own body to that of another person or group, which is sometimes referred to as comparison disorder. This can be done both negatively (comparing yourself to others who you think are more “perfect”) and positively (looking at other people’s bodies and wanting what they have).
There are several types of comparisons individuals make when experiencing disordered eating patterns.
Examples of eating disorder symptoms
There are several types of eating disorders that can occur simultaneously or independently. When they occur together, it is called pathological dieting.
Pathological diets often have three main components: restricting your food intake, engaging in excessive exercise to compensate for missing meals, and having unreasonable standards for yourself to eat enough.
This article will discuss some examples of disordered eating patterns and what health effects they may pose. If you or someone you know exhibits any of these behaviors, talk to them about how to treat their eating habits.
There is no good reason to engage in pathological dieting. It does not help you feel better and could even make you sick by causing nutritional deficiencies. Pathological dieters usually suffer from body image issues as well.
Certain types of eating disorders are more likely to develop into other conditions. For example, people with binge-eating disorder are at risk for obesity, depression, and anxiety.
Binge eating can also be a warning sign of underlying mental health problems like depression or anxiety.
Diagnosing eating disorders
People with an eating disorder will often try to control their food intake by engaging in compulsive exercise or excessive dieting.
They may also engage in ritualistic practices, such as washing your hands very carefully after eating, avoiding foods that look attractive, ordering bland foods at restaurants, or skipping meals entirely.
Some people develop special relationships with certain types of food and become quite attached to them, especially if they are not too happy.
People with eating disorders sometimes feel overwhelmed about how much they eat and spend time thinking about what they have eaten and might like to eat more of this or that, but then they do not actually follow through and eat it.
If you notice any of these symptoms in yourself, talk to your doctor about whether you could be suffering from an eating disorder.
What is Binge Eating Disorder?
People with binge eating disorder (BED) feel hungry, but they eat very little food for extended periods of time. This happens several times per day, and it can go on for hours!
During these binges, people may not be able to stop themselves from eating large amounts of food. They may even use their hands or utensils to help them swallow the food.
After the binge, many people feel bloated and full of energy. However, many don’t know what to make of this because that feeling usually disappears quickly. It’s hard to describe how uncomfortable you are when you’re trying to love yourself and don’t understand why you’re acting in such a way.
Symptoms typically begin to show up around the same time every month, making it difficult to determine if there’s an association. Sometimes symptoms come and go, though, so it’s impossible to tell if there’s a pattern.
Examples of binge eating symptoms
One example of compulsive overeating is what’s been dubbed “binge-eating,” or eating too much in short bursts without conscious control. Because this behavior happens with food, people often describe it as being “I was hungry so I ate” or “I wasn’t feeling well so I decided to eat.”
Another example is what’s been called purging, which involves actively trying to lose weight by taking laxatives, vomiting, exercising excessively, or other means that may damage health long term but help you feel better in the moment.
Still another type of disordered eating pattern includes what’s been termed external feeding, such as seeking attention through lavish spending or self-starvation (not eating enough) in an attempt to gain recognition.
These behaviors usually stop once someone reaches their goal, however. In fact, these individuals can become obsessed about achieving more goals to feed themselves, creating additional problems down the road.
It’s important to note that most people who suffer from obesity also struggle with mental health conditions like depression or anxiety. These emotions may make it easier to engage in unnecessary dieting and weight loss activities, making your problem worse.
Dieting also raises risk for osteopenia — a lower than normal level of bone density — and osteoporosis, both of which can lead to fractures.
Diagnosing Binge Eating Disorder
People with binge eating disorder (BED) feel hungry frequently, but are able to keep their food intake in check. They may eat more quickly than normal, taking only a few minutes to eat each meal.
Many people with BED will try to make sure they’re not overly conscious about what they’re eating, which can sometimes lead to them having episodes where they don’t know what’s going on.
During these times, there may be no way for them to tell if they’re still feeling hungry or if they’re just trying to stop themselves from thinking about how much they want to eat.
This is an important factor in developing your understanding of binge eating. It takes place when someone feels physically uncomfortable and tries to ignore this by either ignoring their hunger or giving into it.
What is Compulsive Overeating?
People who suffer from compulsive eating disorder are constantly thinking about food, they eat more than necessary, and it can become an obsession.
People with this condition may begin to eat excessively or compulsively when they feel stressed or unhappy. They may also develop bad body image due to their excessive use of foods for emotional regulation.
This person might try to avoid situations where they cannot have food because they think about it too much, so they stay at home and eat alone. Alternatively, they could go out to eat frequently to distract themselves from how hungry they get.
Another common compulsion is ordering large amounts of food, even though you’re already full. You would need to eat a lot of food to satisfy your hunger, but you don’t want to because you fear you will gain weight.
Some people with OCD like to organize and order things in advance, which helps them feel some sort of control over what happens next. So, instead of going into a restaurant blind, they make sure they know what kind of food they want before they arrive.
Examples of eating disorder symptoms
When you look at some of the signs of an eating disorder, it is important to remember that they are not always about weight loss. Sometimes people develop eating disorders for other reasons, such as fear or lack of confidence in their body shape.
Certain behaviors are common markers for someone who has an eating disorder. People with eating disorders may engage in any of the following types of behavior:
Clinging to very thin shapes of clothing
Complaining about how much food you eat
Avoiding foods that are considered “bad”
Having unreasonable expectations of yourself about diet and exercise
Using laxatives or diuretics to lose weight
Purging by self-induced vomiting or use of oral fasting agents (such as saliva) or physical methods (like stomach pumps) to reduce gastric content
Making repeated attempts to regain control of your eating habits
Finding it difficult to relax or sleep due to anxiety about food and eating
Withdrawal from friends and family because of poor nutrition or hunger issues
In addition to these behavioral indicators, there can also be mood changes related to having an eating disorder. These include depression or irritability caused by nutritional deficiencies or feelings of guilt when you try to eat normal amounts.
These symptoms should be checked out by a doctor to make sure that they do not represent another health condition instead.
Diagnosing Compulsive Eating Disorder
People with compressive eating disorders may feel compelled to eat large amounts of food, for as long as possible to make themselves feel better or in order to prove that they like/need food.
They may also engage in excessive dieting by either refusing to eat certain foods or going without food altogether. Dieters will often monitor their diets very closely, sometimes even looking up information about what foods are healthy so that they can find ways to avoid them.
Dieters may also exercise a lot, requiring lots of energy which can contribute to stress. They may also take supplements such as herbal remedies to lose weight more efficiently.
People with binge-eating disorder usually eat quickly and frequently, but they never seem to satisfy their hunger. They may be aware of how much food they eat, and it might be difficult for them to stop because they perceive eating too much as wrong.