Back to Health and Fitness Mon 25 Jan
We all know how important it is to eat a healthy, balanced diet and try to eat our five a day. Healthy eating, particularly when combined with regular exercise, plays an important part in helping you to maintain a healthy weight, reduce your risk of suffering from chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and certain types of cancer, and promote overall good health.
However, whilst we all know how important it is to eat regularly and healthily, many of us are choosing to ignore these sensible guidelines. The average woman will go on twice as many diets as she will have lovers, with research suggesting a woman will diet at least sixteen times in her life. Repeated unhealthy eating habits are common, particularly amongst women: it isn’t uncommon for many women to skip meals, to restrict carbs, to go to bed hungry several times a week. Whilst this might not be categorised as a traditional eating disorder (such as anorexia or bulimia) it is a sign of disordered eating and if not kept in check, could develop into a traditional eating disorder that is significantly more serious and life threatening.
Eating disorders are hugely complicated, difficult to treat, and because of the combination of mental and physical health problems that they generally involve, even with the best treatment and care they can often be fatal.
Are Your Eating Habits Disordered?
With so many different diet programs widely available and touted by the mainstream media as the next ‘miracle solution’ for those hoping to lose weight, it can be difficult to know if your diet and eating habits are normal, or if you’ve crossed the line into disordered eating. However, there are a few signs to look out for that your eating habits may be disordered: If you are regularly fasting or restraining the amount you eat, regularly skipping meals, or putting yourself on a restrictive diet for prolonged periods of time then you may have disordered eating. Binge eating, vomiting after overindulging and eating too much, or restricting your intake of major food groups are also risk factors. Finally, if you are regularly taking diet pills, or misusing laxatives in order to purge food from your system, then you should certainly seek help for your disordered eating in a bid to normalise your eating habits and return to normal eating.
It isn’t just your current eating habits that can be a sign that your eating habits are disordered: there are psychological warning signs that can also indicate that you may need to seek some help and support. If you are constantly thinking about food, eating, and your weight, and you find that you feel anxious as meal times approach then this is a clear sign of disordered eating habits.
Disordered eating can be distinguished from a full-blown eating disorder, as eating disorders are so easy to recognise and diagnose, however the line between the two can often be tight-rope thin.
Words: Gemma France