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Disordered Eating: An Indicator of Higher Body Weight

Disordered Eating: An Indicator of Higher Body Weight

In our culture there is an obsession with size and weight, diet and exercise–the pervasiveness of disordered eating is astounding. with up to 50% of the population suffering from disordered relationships with food, body, and exercise.

“Normal eating” refers to the attitude a person holds in their relationship with food, rather than the type or amount of food they eat. On the other hand, eating is said to be disordered when a person arbitrarily decides when they are hungry or full, regardless of how they are feeling; weighs themselves constantly; or drinks non-caloric drinks to keep from feeling hungry. Eating is disordered if a person meticulously plans each meal long into the future, counts calories and weighs foods, follows an excessively strict diet or cuts certain foods from their diet claiming health or ethical reasons, when the real motivation is weight loss.

According to a recent study from the University of Helsinki, Finland, disordered eating among young adults has long-term effects on their health. Disordered eating among 24-year-old women and men was an indicator of higher body weight, larger waist circumference and lower psychological wellbeing as well as a lower self-evaluation of general health both at age 24 and ten years later.

Signs and Symptoms of Disordered Eating

Symptoms of disordered eating may include behavior commonly associated with eating disorders, such as food restriction, binge eating etc.

Additional Disordered eating symptoms are:

A rigid approach to eating, such as only eating certain foods, inflexible meal times, refusal to eat in restaurants or outside of one’s own home

Preventing and Managing Disordered Eating

Here are some things you can do to prevent or manage disordered eating:

It is normal to eat more on some days, less on others or eat some foods just because they taste good. Have a positive attitude towards food & not label foods with judgement words such as “good”, “bad”, “clean”. Over-eat occasionally is permitted accompanied with, under-eating at times.

Don’t forget to treat food and eating as one small part of a balanced life.

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