We all have different appetites, likes or dislikes, and access to different foods, so we all eat differently. We live in a society where images we see online and in the media can make us feel like we need to look a certain way and this can have an impact on how we feel about our own bodies.
If you are obsessing over controlling what or how much you eat, or have urges to get rid of food you have already eaten, then these are signs of an eating disorder.
Eating disorders are serious mental illnesses which can affect people of all ages, sizes, genders and ethnicities. When struggling with difficult feelings or situations, people often see their body as something that they can have control over and so start to strictly dictate what they can and can’t do in terms of food and exercise. This is a method of self-harm but is tricky to spot.
There are a number of terms that you may have heard of describing certain types of eating disorders. These are just a few of them and quite often, other types are not well known and are therefore undiagnosed. This is a helpful website to give you some more information on types and symptoms. CLICK HERE
Becoming restrictive or secretive around eating can have a huge effect on the way an individual will live their lives. For example, going to parties, being at school, eating with family all become a personal battle. This can lead to the individual isolating themselves from family and friends as they try to avoid being found out. This can make people around them feel hurt or angry but it is important to try and understand why they are acting this way.
Those who have suffered from eating disorders and since recovered, talk about it as if the disorder was controlling them. So they might want to get better, but there is a louder voice inside them that keeps them feeling bad about themselves. You will find examples of personal experience on this website HERE
It is vital that if you or a friend is struggling with this, that you get professional help. Speak to a trusted adult or parent, and make an appointment with your GP. If left untreated, eating disorders can be very serious and people do lose their lives or have lasting consequences in extreme cases. HERE.
There are some social media accounts that promote very unhealthy behaviours in an effort to ‘help’. People who put these things online are very unwell themselves and it is important not to see them as helpful. If you or someone else is drawn to these websites, please know that there are safe websites that you can turn to instead. The BEAT charity runs a one to one chat support and also has online support groups HERE