Eating Disorders

Eating disorders affect men, women, boys and girls. They are not a choice, but strategies for controlling them can be learned.

Do you experience any of these?

  • Preoccupation with eating, food, body shape and weight
  • Feeling anxious and or irritable around meal times
  • Feeling ‘out of control’ around food
  • ‘Black and white’ thinking (e.g. rigid thoughts about food being ‘good’ or ‘bad’)
  • A distorted body image (imagining oneself to be fat, for example, when the scales say otherwise)
  • Using food as a source of comfort (e.g. eating as a way to deal with boredom, stress or depression)
  • Using food as self-punishment (e.g. refusing to eat due to depression, stress or other emotional reasons)
  • Rapid weight loss or frequent weight changes
  • Loss or disturbance of menstruation in girls and women and decreased libido in men
  • Fainting or dizziness
  • Feeling tired and not sleeping well
  • Lethargy and low energy
  • Damage due to vomiting including swelling around the cheeks or jaw, calluses on knuckles, damage to teeth and bad breath

Or is someone you know exhibiting some of these behaviours?

  • Feeling cold most of the time, even in warm weather
  • Dieting behaviour (e.g. fasting, counting calories/kilojoules, avoiding food groups such as fats and carbohydrates)
  • Eating in private and avoiding meals with other people
  • Evidence of binge eating (e.g. disappearance and/or hoarding of food)
  • Frequent trips to the bathroom during or shortly after meals
  • Vomiting or using laxatives , enemas, appetite suppressants or diuretics
  • Changes in clothing style (e.g. wearing baggy clothes)
  • Compulsive or excessive exercising (e.g. exercising in bad weather, continuing to exercise when sick or injured, and experiencing distress if exercise is not possible)
  • Changes in food preferences (e.g. claiming to dislike foods previously enjoyed, sudden preoccupation with ‘healthy eating’, or replacing meals with fluids)
  • Obsessive rituals around food preparation and eating (e.g. eating very slowly, cutting food into very small pieces, insisting that meals are served at exactly the same time every day)
  • Extreme sensitivity to comments about body shape, weight, eating and exercise habits
  • Secretive behaviour around food (e.g. saying they have eaten when they haven’t, hiding uneaten food in their rooms)

Eating disorders include anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and a general class of eating disorders called Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (EDNOS) (which includes binge eating disorder).

Eating disorders can have significant physical and emotional effects.  People with eating disorders can have reductions in cognitive function, emotional changes and may stop participating in their normal activities of daily life, and young people with eating disorders are over ten times more likely to die prematurely than their peers without an eating disorder). This increased risk includes increased risk of suicide and serious physical health issues arising from effects of bingeing, purging and starvation on the body’s organs and metabolism. Eating disorders are among the most common mental disorders for which young women receive hospital treatment.

Annie has years of experience with eating disorders, and has helped many clients back to good health, and maintained healthy management of their disorder.

Eating disorders are not diets but mental illnesses with physical side-effects.