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Eating Disorders If you or someone close to you is struggling with an eating disorder, reach out here to ask questions or to receive support for recovery.

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Noire Offline
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Do I have eating disorder tendencies? - March 30th 2015, 09:06 PM

This thread has been labeled as triggering, particularly on the subject of eating disorders, by the original poster or by a Moderator. The contents of this thread might therefore not be suitable for certain sensitive users. Please take this into consideration before continuing to read.

A bit of background: for most of my life, I have been overweight. When I was young I used to get made fun of in school for it. I weight much more than the other females in my family and it's always been hard not to compare myself to them.

When I was in high school I finally had enough and decided to start losing weight. At first I just started eating smaller portions and exercising a few times a week, but before long I was barely eating anything and exercising hard every day, sometimes burning more calories than I would eat in a day. My family started to get worried about how much weight I was losing. I was having health problems- muscle spasms, amenorrhea, and dizzy spells. I ended up gaining weight back when I went on a new medication. For a while I sat at a healthy weight, but in college I started eating poorly again. I would consume way too much sugar and large portion sizes. I got heavier than ever before.

At present, I don't dislike how I look. I find myself attractive. But I am pre-diabetic and I decided that cutting sugar and losing weight would help prevent diabetes. A few weeks ago I switched from eating two big meals a day to eating four or five small ones. I started exercising again. I've seen progress in weight loss so far; I've gone down a dress size.

But I've noticed something: anytime I deviate from my self-imposed diet, I get anxiety. I'll start feeling physically ill and beat myself up. I will go to the gym as soon as possible to "work off" the "bad" food I ate. But that's not what's worrying me most of all. Last night, I ate "too much" again. Really what all I ate that day was not unreasonable, but I ate past the point when I was full. I immediately began to think unkind thoughts towards myself. Finally I couldn't take it anymore; I jumped up, rushed to the bathroom, and tried to make myself throw up. I didn't succeed, and because I couldn't succeed I ended up crying in the bathroom. I felt awful knowing that I'd just tried to do that, and because I knew that my body was going to absorb all those calories. I'm really close to breaking my first weight goal and I felt like I'd undone it all. It didn't help that my best friend said, "Well, I guess you blew your diet, huh?" He didn't know I'd just tried to throw up in the bathroom, and I started sobbing.

This behavior worries me. I don't think I'm bulimic or anorexic, but based on my history and last night do I have ED tendencies that I need to watch out for? How can I do weight loss without getting too caught up in judgments that push me to make destructive decisions?

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Kindred Offline
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Re: Do I have eating disorder tendencies? - April 1st 2015, 10:50 PM

I'm going to say yes. Any destructive urges related to food shouts eating disorder to me, and the attempted purging cements that.

I think you do need to be alert, especially based on your past. I, personally, would advise against dieting with your past. Some people (and you) may disagree with me here, but I think it's way too easy to slip back into old habits. Everyone underestimates the urges to return to something that was once familiar, and mindsets and switch back in a second. The only way I'd ever attempt anything near a diet in the future (after my history) would be eating more vegetables and healthier food. Not cutting out anything. Just introducing healthier foods, and if I end up not wanting chocolate one day because I've already eaten an apple, so be it. Cutting things out is a slippery path (as you've seen) and can lead to a lot of anxiety when you deviate from self inflicted goals. No expectations leads to no pressure. No pressure generally actually leads to results.

Exercising with a friend to prevent overexercising and eating with that friend afterwards to make sure you're replenishing your energy levels is something I'd recommend if you do want to aim for a "diet" type approach centered on weight loss. It's always nice to have someone to work out with anyway and having someone to keep an eye on you and notice how strange it is you're not eating more than you're burning is often incentive to stick to the path.

Your tendency towards anxiety and "purging" calories (you previously used exercising as a purge mechanism) means you need to be careful of how much exercise you're doing and is why I recommend against a strict plan and instead a more loosely focused healthy eating regime. If you do want to go the diet route I recommend doing it with someone who is not inclined towards destructive behaviors at all, or the help of a nutritionist. However I am worried a plan will simply cause you more anxiety if you deviate it from it- and everyone deviates from plans, we're human after all and no day is the same. One day you might crave a chocolate biscuit, if you eat it you might not crave one tomorrow...but if you deny yourself you're going to keep thinking about it and crave it forever

Listen to your body, and examine your thoughts. You know how to identify anything detrimental to your mental health, so focus on doing that and raise internal alarm bells at the first sign of anything going wrong.

Good luck

Take as long as you need.
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