What is an Eating Disorder?
If you have an eating disorder, then you experience some kind of persistent challenge when it comes to food. Perhaps you eat too much or too little, but it’s less about the quantity of your consumption and more about your emotions and behaviors around eating. If you’re constantly thinking about, worrying about, and obsessing over your food or your weight, then you might be dealing with an eating disorder.
There are different types of eating disorders. If you struggle with anorexia nervosa, then you’re probably terrified of getting fat. You severely restrict your food intake, probably counting calories, and consistently try to eat less and less. No matter how much weight you lose, you feel like you’re still too fat. People tell you that you’re too skinny, but you still feel like you’re not skinny enough. You’re frightened that if you stop being so vigilant about what you eat then you’ll immediately gain weight.
People with anorexia usually end up becoming very thin. In contrast, if you have bulimia nervosa, then you might be thin, but you might also be average weight or overweight. You might go through periods of restricting what you eat but then binge and eat a lot of food all at once. Then you feel bad about eating, so you purge. If you eat a lot of high-fat, high-sugar, carb-rich food all in one sitting, especially if you eat it really quickly and barely even notice how it tastes, then you might be living with bulimia.
However, there are other types of eating disorders besides these common two. For example, binge eating is similar to bulimia but without the food restriction or purging. On the opposite end is purging disorder, which is like bulimia without the binge eating. There is also orthorexia which is an obsession with trying to eat healthy, where the focus is on types of food not necessarily calories or weight control.
In other words, there are many different types of eating disorders. You don’t have to fit in a specific box. If you struggle with food, then you face a daily challenge. You deserve to be free of the pain of that challenge.