Do You Have An Eating Disability or Eating Disorder?
By Julie Morris –
Tommy’s parents were so relieved.
This sweet, red-headed fourth-grader was doing terribly in school. His teacher said he wasn’t trying. Some of the kids in his class called him “stupid.” His parents were beginning to fear he was slow. That is, until they tested him and found that he has dyslexia. Tommy has a learning disability. It’s not that he won’t ever be able to read, he just has to be taught in a different way. It’s not his fault. It’s just a fact. Tommy is different, but with extra work, he’ll be fine. What a relief!
You may have an eating disability
Just as it was a blessing for Tommy to find out why he was having problems reading, so it is for us to find out why we’ve had problems losing weight and keeping it off. No one likes to have a problem, but when we have one, we are relieved to find out what it is and what we can do about it.
Do you think that you might have an eating disability? Here’s my definition:
Anyone who can’t lose weight and keep it off has an eating disability.
Eating disabilities get more pronounced as time goes by. If they are ignored, they may turn into eating disorders.
Here’s my definition of an eating disorder:
Anyone who experiences serious health or emotional problems as a result of eating in a harmful way, yet continues that behavior, has an eating disorder.
When I found out that I had an eating disorder, I was relieved. (Since I alternated between bingeing and starving myself, I was classified as bulimic.) Now I could quit asking myself this question:
“Why can’t I, a well-educated, in-control sort of person, quit overeating?”
No matter how hard I tried not to, I found myself eating too much. I constantly beat myself up for my lack of self-control. But when I finally began to understand the reasons for my actions, I was able to discard the “stupid” label–like Tommy did–and start doing what needed to be done to get better.
Take this little quiz to see if you have an eating disability or disorder:
(Circle the answer that more accurately describes you.)
1. I have trouble sticking to a healthy food plan…
A. Even though I know I need to.
B. Even though my doctor or my medical symptoms say I need to.
2. Often I find myself overeating…
A. Though I feel guilty when I do.
B. Though I feel so ashamed of myself I don’t know what to do.
3. If certain foods are around, I…
A. Eat more of them than I intend to.
B. Eat them until they are gone or until I feel too uncomfortable to continue eating.
4. I overeat…
A. Two or three times a week when I’m busy or under stress.
B. Almost daily, no matter what’s going on in my life.
5. My health…
A. May someday be affected by my eating.
B. Is affected by my eating.
6. I am ashamed of the way I look…
A. But that doesn’t interfere with my activities much.
B. So I frequently don’t do things I’d do if I were thinner.
7. If I were thinner…
A. I would look more attractive.
B. I would be happier.
8. When something is wrong…
A. I concentrate on fixing the problem, but I may be more tempted to overeat.
B. I am usually not able to face the problem without overeating.
Count the number of “A” responses and then count “B” responses. If you had more “A” responses, you have an eating disability that has not progressed to an eating disorder yet. If you have more “B” responses, you have an eating disorder–according to our definition–since eating has brought disorder to your life.
Don’t get upset if you recognize that you have an eating disability or disorder. It may be harder for you to lose weight, but you can do it! Reach out for help today!