Debate: Eating Disorder Vs. Disordered Eating

Hi everyone! Sorry for the long silence, it has not been entirely intentional! Life has been super busy and I found myself living life faster then I was able to blog about it! But I’m back, and I’ve got plenty to talk about!

Some of you may know that i work in the realms of mental health, and today we had a fascinating talk from the Eating Disorder Specialist. We had a debate about the differences between what is an Eating Disorder and what is just “disordered Eating”.

I was struck by the evidence that over 80% of girls have been on a diet by their 14th birthday – and it got me thinking that although the actual definition of eating disorders are quite specific (for anorexia it has to be in a girl with a BMI of less then 17.5) there are many shades of grey – shades even in myself, and that have been more prevalent since becoming a part of the healthy living and exercise community.

Its fair to say that most bloggers that blog about food, health and fitness do so because they have had a special relationship to the subject (otherwise, why would you really blog about it?) some come from a place of recovery, others in search of alternative lifestyle or maybe a bit of both. Some have been bigger, smaller, or indifferent when it comes to weight.

I know in my own journey although I am nowhere near what is considered a “healthy” BMI range, nor can I consciously remember a time being so in my adult life, in my quest to getting healthier, I’ve dipped in and out of what I feel are traits of disordered eating danger zones. I, as many other people who have followed diets, can become overly conscious and almost obsessive about it all with the best of intentions – I know the calories/pro points in **everything** and have previously been over consumed with “Menu anxiety” and even refused social occasions, because of fear of it blowing my weight loss efforts. Although I’ve never truly “restricted” my eating, I have played “good girl, bad girl” in my head a million times (good girl, you ate healthy/little today – bad girl, you overindulged – feel shit – tomorrow i shall be a good girl again, and repeat).

And I’ve not even touched on the spectrum of exercise/over exercising / calorie counting/ restricting / replacement diets/ and the social and moral values of body shape and weight loss through a womens life transitions – The psychological aspects of control / self punishment / guilt / shame and competition that we can have with ourselves, let alone others, completely fascinate me.

I guess what i’m trying to say is that behind the motivations to lose weight, there is a darker side to calorie counting / dieting / a “healthy” lifestyle that a lot of people keep hidden. Today i realised that even an obese person can have disordered eating and restrictive eating patterns. I know although I have a lot to lose, I have to stay accountable and keep my head right balancing the fine line between the positive aspects of intentional desirable weight loss, and the negative side effects of it becoming my “everything” and a particular feeling I once had that life is not complete/ has not begun until i’ve reached X weight (which is totally and utterly DELUSIONAL way of thinking) and i am SO THANKFUL i know longer feel this way!

i have recently been reading the most amazing book called “desire mapping” by Daniel Laporte. She talks about goal setting (and how it can be so destructive for some, setting us up huge intentions and self expectation, followed by dissapointment if we don’t achieve “losing 10 lb before our holiday” for example) She talks about creating “intentions” based on our core desired feelings that we can carry in all areas of our life. For example, if we feel that “Joy” is a common thread in our goals – then we can/should/desire to live all aspects of our lives according to Joy from the food we eat to the clothes we wear to the relationships we find ourselves in!

After reading this and other related topics its transformed the way I approach my weight loss efforts and my goal striving “post it” note propaganda. Oh the hundreds of lists I have written in books and post its that have never been completed ! I have let go of the ultimate goal to lose X stone before my 30th birthday – opting to aim for health and glow for my 30th birthday. I hope that everyday I will try to make decisions to support my health/feelings of joy and glow, so that when I’m 30th I will be feeling better in myself in my health. I’m aiming to move more and fill my belly with nourishing foods that make me proud and happy, and I feel by following this mantra, if the weight comes off as a bonus then thats fine, but the number on the scale is no longer the goal! which is a HUGE revelation for me.

This video interview by my favourite Mare Forleo (*love*her) about the book, and goal setting is a great summary for those that are interested in learning more about this!

Hope you have enjoyed this very REAL post!

What do you feel about thoughts surrounding eating / health / weight loss ?

love y’all


3 thoughts on “Debate: Eating Disorder Vs. Disordered Eating

  1. Emma @ Fork and Good says:

    So strange you should post this today as I felt the urge to write about something similar the other day. It’s so true, you make some really valid point though that i wouldn’t of thought of. Great post! Might check out that book as well 🙂

  2. hollycooksthebooks says:

    Great blog, this has been playing on my mind a bit too lately. I see people on Instagram posting what they eat in a day and it’s nothing and on top of that, they seem to be burning 700-1000cals through exercise. It’s not healthy. What’s healthy is balance! And yes, goals based on a weight probably aren’t constructive long term. Happiness is more important than anything so there’s no point making yourself miserable in the pursuit of weightloss, you need to find a way to make it enjoyable xx

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