NEDA Week: Types of Eating Disorders & Disordered Eating

Feb
2012
28

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This week is National Eating Disorders Awareness Week. I know that missemmam.com is a pop culture blog so I will discuss movies, books and music that relate to eating disorders this week. However I will also be writing about issues as well since this is very important to me.

This week is also Body Image Warrior Week on many great blogs that I read including Medicinal Marzipan and Already Pretty. There are already a bunch of great posts up and I recommend keeping up with those this week.

Today I’m going to list some types of eating disorders and disordered eating. Disordered eating is when you don’t have a clinical eating disorder but definitely have issues with food and body image. Some people aren’t even aware that they have disordered eating. When I was younger I thought that I was just a really good dieter. An example of disordered eating is the following yogurt ad that was pulled from TV:

Individuals with eating disorders or disordered eating may engage in these behaviors to lose weight (because they fear being fat) or just as a way to control something in their life.

I feel that it’s way too common and irresponsible that it’s assumed that someone doesn’t have an eating disorder because they are not underweight. I believe that to clinically be diagnosed with one you have to be underweight. However there are many people of average weight or who are overweight who do the following things and they need help too.

Anorexia (Anorexia nervosa-clinical term)
Anorexia is basically when someone restricts their eating. They may not eat at all or just a very small amount.

Bingeing (Binge eating disorder-clinical term)
Binge eating is feeling out of control and eating a lot of food quickly. About 15 million Americans struggle with binge eating. I recommend checking out Binge Eating: You Know You Need Help, So Now What? on Medicinal Marzipan for more info and help with bingeing.

Bulimia (Bulimia nervosa-clinical term)
Bulimia is vomiting back up what you eat after binge eating.

Purging disorder
Purging disorder is when you vomit after eating but don’t binge eat. So someone with purging disorder may carefully regulate what they eat and then also puke it back up.

Exercise Bulimia
Exercise bulimia is exercising an excessive amount to work off what you’ve eaten. Exercise bulimia is sometimes just categorized under bulimia. Some people don’t even think it’s a real problem or haven’t heard of it. I was recently talking to a doctor who hadn’t heard of it and then dismissed it when I mentioned it. That is disturbing.

This was (is) my issue. I don’t usually do this type of thing anymore (not because I’m happy and fully fixed or whatever) but mainly because I have bad arthritis in my knees. I used to keep myself on a very regimented amount of calories per day and then exercise a lot on top of it. I would exercise 3-4 hours per day (minimum) at home and then often takes walks or do other things outside as well. This can be just as controlling to yourself mentally as something like anorexia. It’s also embarrassing. Once out of curiosity a friend asked me what I did all day since I wasn’t working. I made a joke because I just couldn’t bring myself to tell him that I exercised for hours per day. I found it particularly sickening since even when I did that I was just a healthy weight. I was never able to become thin. Even after I let up on regimenting my calories so much I still over exercised for years (despite my arthritis).

Orthorexia (Orthorexia nervosa)
I’ve recognized this behavior as being destructive when I’ve read or heard people talking like this but I didn’t know the term until recently. Orthorexia is characterized by an obsession with healthy eating. This is the type of person who will tell you that they can’t eat whatever food because it’s bad for them. Some vegans and vegetarians suffer from this. For more info I recommend reading Orthorexia Nervosa: the new eating disorder on Chocolate-Covered Katie.

Diabulimia
Diabulimia is when someone with Type 1 diabetes takes less insulin than required so they will lose weight. This is very dangerous.

If I’ve missed anything or there’s anything that you want to add about these please leave a comment.

Related Posts:
NEDA Week: On Marilyn Vos Savant or why the word’s smartest woman isn’t that smart
NEDA Week: Personal Stories of Exercise Bulimia

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