Are Eating Disorders based on scales/weight or mental thoughts & actions

Shadow-one

Shadow-one

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Are Eating Disorders based on scales/weight or mental thoughts & actions

I'm curious...

Are Eating Disorders measured around weight and bmi or around the person's attitude towards food and their ways of approaching food every day?

I read an article recently that said that Eating Disorders shouldn't necessarily be diagnosed simply based on weight - but should look at the person's thoughts and relationship with food.. It suggested that not all people suffering from an eating disorder were underweight... In fact some could weigh well within the 'normal weight but still have an eating disorder.

The reason I'm curious is that my doctor recently told me that she had always thought that i have suffered from an eating disorder :scared:

Now my psychiatrist thinks I do also.....based on our discussions and not related to my doctor.

I'm finding this all very confusing. The reasons I do is that yes I am underweight... I 'manage' my weight carefully in LOTS of different ways - but am not been treated for an eating disorder.

My doctor is adament I do have an ED and my psychiatrist is adament I have huge problems with food and present many 'features' of an eating disorder...but what in the world does that even mean at the end of the day??

So it has got me wondering;
What are the 'features' that I'm NOT showing so my psychiatrist doesn't actually 'name' it for what it is... It makes me feel like what I'm doing is 'ok' although logic tells me it's definitely not.
I have read so much online and I seem to unfortunately tick all the boxes.. yet it isn't an area in which I'm recieving help..

If I'm very honest - I suppose I haven't actually admitted 'everything' which has suited me so far...
However now - I don't feel in control of it any more. I'm pushing everything way too far and I now honestly do not care about the consequences.. a bit like losing control I suppose..

So while I'm still sort of here and listening to her about it - I'm wondering IF I should tell my psychiatrist next week about how it's really affecting me? How 'dangerous' a game it is for me now......because that's what it's become ..

I feel so fat that I'm sure she will look at me and think 'look at the size of her - what is she even talking about' and I would be so embarrassed...

Can anyone offer any advice on how to handle this? I really need advice....

I would appreciate ANY comment at all because I'm totally alone with this for a long time and I really don't know what to do...

I am underweight.
I feel FAT
I lie about my eating to everyone both medical and family.
I hate myself.
I engage in behaviour that is very typical to people with eating disorders but I don't see it as a problem for me at all...
It's 'different' for me...

I would love some feedback... and I hope this all makes sense...

Thanks to you all who read this to the end :)
 
Fairy Lucretia

Fairy Lucretia

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am not sure but i think it is both but they 'care' more ,for want of a better word when it is weight
i think with anorexia you have to be below a certain weight to be considered as having an eating disorder but i don't think same applies for bulimia
i went to an ED clinic when i was normal weight but am overweight now
they didn't help more and i thought at the time it was because i was normal weight

but i went to se a gp when i was underweight and they didn't help either

whatever the case i hope you get the help you need x
 
Anon_21

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Hey, Shadow, I can relate exactly to what you are going through. Been there, done that, got the t-shirt.

The first time I stopped eating it was a cry for attention, a way to self-harm, and to assert some sort of control over a life I otherwise had no control in. I became underweight as well, and though many people commented (somewhat judgingly) about how thin I was, no one ever asked if I was okay or what was wrong, etc.

The second time, though, I hid it from people. I didn't know how to handle my emotions and took it out on myself. When my husband and I decided to get pregnant, I was "cured," but now I am left with much more weight than I am comfortable with. I hate myself and can't stand looking in the mirror. I can feel the old urges coming back and have decided to start taking an antidepressant again. That will certainly not solve the weight issue (as far as losing some), but hopefully it will take away some of this resentment I feel toward myself. We are not our bodies.

In both cases, though, I wish someone had known. I wish they had recognized how I was hurting, what I was doing to myself, and intervened for my sake. So my advice to you would be to tell them exactly what you are going through and hopefully they will be able to counsel you to a place of acceptance with yourself so that you no longer harm yourself by not eating.

You are a very beautiful, special person who deserves all the love and support you can get. Don't be afraid to share. They are there to help you. Best of luck, Shadow, I hope you keep me posted :hug:
 
Fairy Lucretia

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Hey, Shadow, I can relate exactly to what you are going through. Been there, done that, got the t-shirt.

The first time I stopped eating it was a cry for attention, a way to self-harm, and to assert some sort of control over a life I otherwise had no control in. I became underweight as well, and though many people commented (somewhat judgingly) about how thin I was, no one ever asked if I was okay or what was wrong, etc.

The second time, though, I hid it from people. I didn't know how to handle my emotions and took it out on myself. When my husband and I decided to get pregnant, I was "cured," but now I am left with much more weight than I am comfortable with. I hate myself and can't stand looking in the mirror. I can feel the old urges coming back and have decided to start taking an antidepressant again. That will certainly not solve the weight issue (as far as losing some), but hopefully it will take away some of this resentment I feel toward myself. We are not our bodies.

In both cases, though, I wish someone had known. I wish they had recognized how I was hurting, what I was doing to myself, and intervened for my sake. So my advice to you would be to tell them exactly what you are going through and hopefully they will be able to counsel you to a place of acceptance with yourself so that you no longer harm yourself by not eating.

You are a very beautiful, special person who deserves all the love and support you can get. Don't be afraid to share. They are there to help you. Best of luck, Shadow, I hope you keep me posted :hug:
listen to this instead
is a far better reply than mine x
 
A

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Thank you for reaching out and sharing what you are going through! Eating disorders are very much a mental health issue. We often have distorted thinking about our bodies, food etc. Those thoughts often play a part in our actions..eating too much, eating too little, an unhealthy focus on food and weight etc. I struggled with an eating disorder for many years (bulimia) and I was always at a normal weight! However, binging and throwing up your food several times a day is NOT a healthy thing! My thoughts about food, body, self-worth were completely taking over all aspects of my life. It didn't matter if I was a healthy weight or not! I had a serious problem. I would definitely listen to what your doctor and psychiatrist are saying and allow them to treat you for an eating disorder. Healing is possible. I am now on the other side of it, but it was hard work. As with any mental health issue, there are reasons we do what we do. There is often a huge emotional component that needs to be dealt with that drives our behavior. Please get the help that you need because eating disorders can and will destroy your life in a multitude of ways! Wishing you the best!
 
Midnight.Panda

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Hi there, thank you for reaching out and sharing your thoughts.

One of the key features of anorexia nervosa (an eating disorder) is based on your mental thoughts on your weight. For example, thinking that you’re fat when you’re actually at a normal weight or are underweight. Having an intense fear of fat etc. It is not just about weight, but your thoughts and behaviour as well. I agree that you can have an eating disorder and have a normal weight. Like you said, it’s about a person’s attitude and relationship with food.

When they say you have “features” of an eating disorder, I think they mean your mental thoughts and behaviour towards food is not what is typically considered normal. It would be a good idea to discuss this with your psychiatrist to find out exactly what this means (Ex. what’s normal and isn’t normal etc)

I think the best thing to do from here is to share everything with your psychiatrist/doctor to get treatment. Eating disorders can lead to very serious consequences if it’s not treated or managed properly. If you tell your psychiatrist everything, they will be able to help you more since eating disorders can affect many aspects of your life.

I am really sorry you’ve been feeling alone about this and I hope you can get the support you need. And as always, this community has your back if you need to get something off your chest or just talk. Wishing you all the best and I hope things start looking up for you soon.
 
C

Candy19

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I think it is a mental state thing, although my experience is a bit odd, I got really sick on holiday, I couldn't eat properly for a while so I was losing loads of weight and I kind of got addicted to that so when I did start getting better I became obsessed with being skinny and started to become paranoid about putting back on the weight

Also I think it can be a learned behaviour, some parents put their own child at an unhealthy weight which is even harder to undo when that child is growing up

But anyone at any size can have or develop an eating disorder
 
Shadow-one

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Hi Everyone..

I really can't thank you all enough for sharing your advice and stories with me...

I feel genuinely greatful to you all for telling me about your own experiences - it makes a huge difference to 'know' that other people really 'get' where you are... So Thank You for that...

I agree and ye have all proven that ED's can exist within any weight level and may occur in so many different ways. It's almost like - everybody can have a different ED and the labels such as Anoxeria and Bullimia don't always cover everything.

To share a bit more myself - As I said - I am underweight and this does concern my GP when I see her - but when I'm not there in front of her....... nothing happens... I think she is passing full control over to my psychiatrist for these types of issues which I suppose makes sense.... but I know her more than 15yrs and feel strangely let down....stupid I know...

The issues I really am struggling with at the moment are:
I honestly don't believe that I have an ED
I really do see a FAT stomach and body when I look in the mirror - but that's because it's there!
I have seemingly all features of bullimia but I don't ever binge... so therefore I don't have it in my eyes
I have cut way back on eating in order to try to lose weight but it never seems to be enough
I go through long periods of time without eating and yet can't seem to get rid of the extra pounds
It's very frustrating...but I definitely am not anorexic..

I really frustrate my psychiatrist when this conversation comes up because I constantly tell her that I'm actually fine. I do NOT have an ED... And I suppose with her being the professional - because nothing in particular happens (not that I have a clue what I'm expecting in the first place) I feel vindicated.....Like I know now I was right..... and I go off and repeat till next appointment.

My big worry about telling her the true extent of all this is that IF I do talk about it more - then I won't be able to deny it the next time. It's like she will know for sure one way or the other......and that scares the life out of me.... It's like I won't be able to take back the words if I don't like the consequences and not knowing is something I find very difficult to live with.

There is also a MAJOR worry that she will ask my husband to come in and will tell him all about this. I did something 6wks ago that has since made my psychiatrist adamant that she will meet with my husband. I am TOTALLY AGAINST THIS. I know other people would love to have this type of support at home - but I already have what I need from him and I do not want him knowing about this too...

I have asked her before if there is any chance that IF he came in that she wouldn't mention this 'issue' as the one 6wks ago is a bigger thing altogether. He knows about that and I don't mind them discussing it. But she only ever says - this is not a negotiation.... and I know that it's her job to ensure my safety and that's why she wants to see him.... but I'm just not strong enough since everything to go through something so stressful again... It would push me to the edge...

Sorry - I feel like I'm rabbitiing on here now and probably not making sense any more...

I don't know what I'll do yet..... My appointment is Tuesday 21st (Oh just realised that's tomorrow week :scared:)

Thank you all so much again for your messages - they have helped beyond any expectations!

:hug: :hug:
 
Anon_21

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The issues I really am struggling with at the moment are:
I honestly don't believe that I have an ED
I really do see a FAT stomach and body when I look in the mirror - but that's because it's there!
I have seemingly all features of bullimia but I don't ever binge... so therefore I don't have it in my eyes
I have cut way back on eating in order to try to lose weight but it never seems to be enough
I go through long periods of time without eating and yet can't seem to get rid of the extra pounds
It's very frustrating...but I definitely am not anorexic..
Shadow, I could check off most of these things your list, too, and it took me getting out of it to realize that I was wrong. But I remember the addiction. It's like that saying 'you can't see the forest for the trees.' All I could see was that stomach, and it still looked huge, so it didn't matter to me what size I wore or what everyone else thought or how I looked in the mirror. The only way I could look at myself somewhat more objectively was to see it in a photograph and realize, wow, I was tiny--and I thought I was fat there??? It helped affirm for me that it really was a mental process I needed to break out of.

I really frustrate my psychiatrist when this conversation comes up because I constantly tell her that I'm actually fine. I do NOT have an ED... And I suppose with her being the professional - because nothing in particular happens (not that I have a clue what I'm expecting in the first place) I feel vindicated.....Like I know now I was right..... and I go off and repeat till next appointment.
I have been guilty of this thinking, not just with past ED's but with other things as well. I either confess something outright, or leave enough hints that people "should" know, and when they don't do anything about it, I continue--or, usually, do whatever it is worse than before. So that's a dangerous road to tread. I wonder if the reason your GP and psych both are reluctant to offer solutions is because it is so hard for an outsider to treat something like this. Even a loving parent or spouse can't demand, "Eat, because I say so," and expect results. Your not eating is the result of a mental thought process that needs to be broken. I wish you could cut yourself some slack and see what a caring, beautiful person you are :hug:

My big worry about telling her the true extent of all this is that IF I do talk about it more - then I won't be able to deny it the next time. It's like she will know for sure one way or the other......and that scares the life out of me.... It's like I won't be able to take back the words if I don't like the consequences and not knowing is something I find very difficult to live with.
I understand this fear well. I can be stuck in a pit filling up with water from a metaphorical thunderstorm and cross my arms and say, "What rain? I'm not in a pit, you're just on a hill!" Maybe you could approach it in steps, not just outright say, "i have an ED, I need help," but admit that you still feel fat even though you are underweight and let the psych work you through some mental steps to change that sort of thinking. It's very much like an addiction. But I don't think approaching it that way would warrant dragging your husband into it, and I think you have the right to tell her you don't want him involved too. Try not to expect the worst.

But I very much hope that whatever you decide ends in a positive result for you. Thinking back to my own ED, I realize that I never, ever would have gotten to an acceptable weight in my mind. That addiction to not eating, that focus on tell-tale fat, it never would have ended. Your brain will just keep finding more and more things wrong until you waste away. Please try to love yourself, accept yourself, and focus on being healthy rather than being thin. I hope that didn't sound too preachy. We really care about you :hug1:
 
Shadow-one

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Hi Anon

I honestly can't thank you enough for sharing all that with me.... Being honest - you really seem to think the way I do or at least you did when you were in this situation... So it's really nice to know that you don't think I sound stupid when I lay out my distress on the table (so to speak)

It's just SO FAMILIAR where you say that you either confess everything straight out - or you drop hints and then wonder why they haven't copped on... This is SO ME.... I am terrible for doing this... and like you - in the exact same way - if they don't pick up on them - then I will definitely do worse almost to see if they notice then... The worst part is that I know logically I am playing them but I can't seem to stop... I don't want to have to say things straight out - because it's dangerous.... What if I'm actually wrong and I don't have x..... or it's not as bad..... or they think I'm exaggerating and I look like a fool.... So I wait for them to find out themselves or I do something so bad that they find out that way :cry:

You said the next bit in your message:

(I understand this fear well. I can be stuck in a pit filling up with water from a metaphorical thunderstorm and cross my arms and say, "What rain? I'm not in a pit, you're just on a hill!")

I really love this sentence! I think it's just brilliant!!
I'm not in a pit, you're just on a hill...... It's so clever.....and exactly like I see things to be honest...
It's never really the way other people see it - I believe that they are just seeing it the wrong way anyway!

I'm still very far from convinced that I have a problem Anon....
Even reading everyones stories and in particular your last message - I think Oh but I'm different... I'm not doing that or I don't do this.... and I'm genuinely convinced now again that I'm ok... It's like I had a blip and wondered about it and now I'm fine again (if that makes any sense at all)

Yes I do control everything I eat....but I do eat small bits
Yes I am underweight - but not dangerously
I have the signs of bullemia but I'm not sure if the frequency would really add up to having it fully...
Sometimes it's very frequent - others maybe every couple of days..
I definitely have a fat stomach and other fat bits I would like to lose - but they DO exist...

So bottem line is I don't know what I think anymore :rolleyes: :cry:

I just want to say to you that I think you're brillient for overcoming it.... No matter what I 'have' or don't 'have' I can't imagine EVER being able to change now... I feel physically sick after any amount of food now so this is it...

And thank you so much for your honesty and your support.... You have really made a huge difference by sharing your story and I imagine that it must still be very difficult to talk about it.. It's a very personal thing... I really appreciate that you did...

I hope that you stay well Anon - do mind yourself..

:hug1:
 
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Anon_21

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I honestly can't thank you enough for sharing all that with me.... Being honest - you really seem to think the way I do or at least you did when you were in this situation... So it's really nice to know that you don't think I sound stupid when I lay out my distress on the table (so to speak)
I did not mind sharing at all because you're right, we do seem to think alike in a lot of ways. That's why I sent you that friend request however many months ago, and I'm glad to be able to help whenever I can :hug:

It's just SO FAMILIAR where you say that you either confess everything straight out - or you drop hints and then wonder why they haven't copped on... This is SO ME.... I am terrible for doing this... and like you - in the exact same way - if they don't pick up on them - then I will definitely do worse almost to see if they notice then... The worst part is that I know logically I am playing them but I can't seem to stop... I don't want to have to say things straight out - because it's dangerous.... What if I'm actually wrong and I don't have x..... or it's not as bad..... or they think I'm exaggerating and I look like a fool.... So I wait for them to find out themselves or I do something so bad that they find out that way :cry:
Yes, I knew you would be able to relate to this and was hoping pointing it out would help you see and stop...but at the same time, I knew logically what I was doing at the time, and I couldn't stop either. So I will just offer hugs and reassurances and hope you feel comfortable enough to share with your psychiatrist or GP whenever you are ready.

I'm still very far from convinced that I have a problem Anon....

Yes I do control everything I eat....but I do eat small bits
Yes I am underweight - but not dangerously
I have the signs of bullemia but I'm not sure if the frequency would really add up to having it fully...
Sometimes it's very frequent - others maybe every couple of days..
I definitely have a fat stomach and other fat bits I would like to lose - but they DO exist...

So bottem line is I don't know what I think anymore :rolleyes: :cry:
I think if you read your list there, a more accurate description of the bolded sentence would read like, "I know I have a problem, but it is small and manageable, so I'm going to continue until something really terrible happens to make me stop..."

The problem with that line of thinking is that, once again, we get hung up staring at the trees instead of looking at what it's doing to the whole forest. I fail to believe you have any amount of fat that needs to be lost if you are underweight, BUT since I have been there, I know exactly what you mean :unsure::hug:. That's why I said it's like an addiction, and that if I had kept going I would never have reached a point where I didn't feel there was some flaw or fat that needed to be shed. So I hope at some point you will be able to let go of some of that self-criticism and be able to look at yourself from further back and see how beautiful you are.

Even reading everyones stories and in particular your last message - I think Oh but I'm different... I'm not doing that or I don't do this.... and I'm genuinely convinced now again that I'm ok... It's like I had a blip and wondered about it and now I'm fine again (if that makes any sense at all)
This makes perfect sense, and I have fallen victim to this line of thinking as well. After some consideration, I think it's the brain's defense mechanism. You (generally speaking) tentatively admit a possible problem, and when whatever part of your brain that is causing that problem starts receiving feedback from others, it puts up a blocker, hastily trying to convince you there was no problem, nothing to see here, move along.

Or maybe you just feel better for gaining some support, and that soothes the part of your brain that was reaching out for help in the first place? No way to know for sure. Both seem to have been true for me, painfully so. Not saying you're doing either of those things, but that's my theory from my own experience. The brain is a sneaky little bugger ;)

I just want to say to you that I think you're brillient for overcoming it.... No matter what I 'have' or don't 'have' I can't imagine EVER being able to change now... I feel physically sick after any amount of food now so this is it...
I have actually overcome it twice, but that certainly does not make me brilliant. The first time was with the help of an antidepressant, which made me gain weight and live with the conflicting emotions of hating being "fat" and not really caring. The second time was when I decided to get pregnant, and I let that be an excuse to eat whatever I wanted, sure the pounds would melt right off after. They did, but birth control and another round of antidepressant had me gain it all back. Quite honestly, I hate myself now, I despise every mirror and weight scale, but I'm not quite depressed enough to take to starving myself again yet.

The point is, everyone has things they struggle with, but you are never too far gone. Every time I get swallowed up by depression I feel like I will never be happy again. But good days do come back, and people are able to overcome very terrible and dire situations against all odds. I'm glad you have the forum to turn to, and that I do as well now. Mutual support often works so much better than a doc or family member.

As for being physically ill, I remember that the less I ate, the less my body wanted to eat. So I hope you will at least choose healthy foods and supplement with a vitamin (or several lol). Diet plays such a huge role in our mental function, and I know that my poor choices greatly exacerbated my symptoms.

Sorry this was so long. Still here for you. Take care :hug1:
 
Shadow-one

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Hey Anon

You are like my wise friend somewhere in the world :) :hug:

It's absolutely incredible how alike we think - I don't know whether to feel sorry for you (because you think like me) or be just very glad to have met you! I think I'll go for the latter!!

Where you re-quoted my sentence in BOLD - it's so apt that I don't even want to read it in case I allow myself to believe that it is me.... I have a fantastic barrier system going on in my head - it can shut anything down in seconds and I lock it away then.... Easy.....until someone makes you sit and listen until you believe it is you......but I don't think anyone has that long phew! Though to be fair - I have a brilliant therapist who I'm seeing for 3yrs now and she would most certainly give me any amount of time I need... I just haven't shared the exact extent of my 'habits' yet.... Maybe I will...

It's interesting where you say that 'gaining support soothes the part of you brain that was reaching out'
I think I am definitely in this category.... I find it easy to read other peoples stories and pick out the most minute piece that 'doesn't' apply to me..... and that's then what makes me ok! I'll say 'oh but I don't do that or this so I'm fine..... Job done....! The brain surely is a sneaky bugger as you say :unsure:

I'm on loads of meds (well it seems that way to me anyway) and none of them have ever really made me feel any better.. I'm over three years on them now and.......still waiting for the change that will make me want to see a future.. I'm not at all into supplements or vitamins - I don't think I need them anyway....lol

I'm sorry that you still struggle Anon...... It's a pity that we can't take our own advice isn't it....?
I'm sure you are lovely!

Once again thank you for your message - I know just by reading it how much time and thought you put into it and I appreciate that more than I can say :hug:

:hug1:
 
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Anon_21

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Best of luck in your next psych visit, I hope you do what you feel comfortable with and that it brings about a little progress :)

Sorry none of the meds are working. That is strange and frustrating, I'm sure.

Take good care of yourself. Always here if you need to talk more or in private :hug:
 
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