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Recognizing Eating Disorders and Getting Help

It's Not Just about Food and Weight


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I used to believe I would feel "normal" if I could lose weight. I wanted to be average or normal more than anything else in the world. I could never get to normal because I would see something else that was "abnormal" I had to "fix" it by not eating. Because I felt so "abnormal" I never would talk about it I could never admit my feelings to myself let alone anyone else. Report
I think people with eating disorders should seek some qualified help.Self help is wonderful in many instances but not in the case of eating disorders. Report
Great article. Sadly, those with eating disorders seem to suffer alone. Guilt & shame overtake them. We had friends and a family member with eating problems. It's hard to deal with them. 8 they don't want help or deny they have a problem, your hands are tied.. Report
Thank you! I wish I had seen this earlier. I guess this was posted a while ago. I probably was not ready to see it when it first came out.

I was afraid to be found out as a fraud. If people found out I wasn't as together as they believed I thought bad things would happen. I was afraid to ask for help or admit when I did not know something. Thank god I have learned.

Change is hard, but abusing my body was worse. I needed my behaviors to get truly out of control before I could see the harm I was doing to myself. Only then was I ready to examine what led me there.

I think this article was eye opening. I, personally don't have an eating disorder, but I work with people who do. Being supportive and having empathy for them is the type of article I was hoping this would be.would love any feedback from those struggling on how to be supportive. Report
I believe my excess weight is genetic. My Mother was obese and I never saw her overeat. Report
Having an ED on this website definitely makes it tough to recover - large parts of of this online community are centered around ideas of control and calorie counting, which are definitely triggers for me! It's tough to want to be a healthy person, who thinks about and eats healthily while having a demon in your mind all of the time (which is what it feels like). More articles about EDs, please! Report
I wanted to comment on this article because I have been through so many ED's over the years. i used to binge and purge and I have fought and failed with emotional over eating and being over weight my whole entire life. I was sexually abused when I was younger and raped as an adult. I have sought out help over the years from professionals. I am fully aware of my ED issues and have been looking for help from someone for the physiological portion of these problems. I have talked to the doctor and have talked to my fair share of nutritionists who all say the same thing that I just need will power. It urks me that the author here thinks it is so easy for someone like myself to find help with ED. I have been to several therapists trying to get a handle of how to control my ED's and so far they have not helped and do not even understand anything about ED's. I went to OA which for me personally was a total crock. It was neither helpful and the people did not really listen. i have looked for other support groups that are not based on the "12 step" programs and have not had any luck. Maybe it is because of where I live at the moment in Northwest WA 2 hours North of Seattle. Anyway, I had to put my 2 cents in because I have been trying to get help and had no luck. I am trying to face my issues and learning what makes my ED's worse. Unfortunately my husband is a BIG trigger which explains why I packed back on the weight after we got together. I ended up having to get out of the Navy because I had put on so much weight after we got together. Anyway, that is a whole other story. Report
This is the first time I've ever had a problem with a Spark People Article. The author may be a behavioral expert, but he is not a clinical psychologist. Asserting that people with eating disorders can do most or all of the recovery on their own is seriously irresponsible. Do you really want the liability of someone with AN or BN NOT seeking medical treatment because you've stated they can heal without help? I love Spark People but I'm seriously disappointed by this one. Report
AS someone that was diagnosed with BED, Non-purging Bulimia, and Exercise Anorexia & Bulimia (both as I used both types depending on the situation) I can attest for what the damages are. I was a member a long time ago from SP and to make a point to another comment, SP and using it with a focus on numbers is what makes my EDs the worst they had ever been. It got so bad that I was having issues with organ damage and would vomit just walking to my mailbox because of being so overly exhausted and malnourished.

I will say that apparently SP has started to recognize the obsessive behaviors of the many members over the years that cross the line(s). Instead of seeing articles that focus on "pushing past the fears and the scale that doesn't budge" I am seeing articles that address questionable and risky behaviors. KUDOS to SP as it was most definitely needed. I have to say that SP giving many, many new options for a plan including not having a weight loss goal, having non-scale related trackers and tickers, articles, and support is fabulous! I am hoping that I can now use SP in a responsible fashion to help me work towards my goals in a non-scale related way and push past the fears and negative self-dialogue that helped to facilitate my EDs.

I have new goals now and want to take things super slow without a focus on the scale or tape measures. It's one of the first steps in getting to where I want to be without triggering (I hope) obsessive and unhealthy behaviors. Report
What I would have liked to read in this article is how being a Sparkpeople member affects these disorders. Is it wise or unwise to be at SP if one has anorexia, bulimia or BED? Can visiting a site like this hamper healing, or help accelerate it? Report
Great article. Thank you Report
I am an unusual case in that I believe I am underdosed in my medication as a newly-diagnosed Type 2 diabetic. I believe I have possibly a cross between "carborexia" and a kind of wasting disease brought on (and possibly encouraged) by my treatment. Having lost over 40 pounds in rapid order while on Spark, and even starting at maintenance levels.

I now have Broadcast Basic Cable TV (i.e., minimal TV reception in my neck of the woods) and feel heavy enough only watching Kelly Ripa on the Kelly and Michael show.

My exercise levels are far from compulsive, and my mind still functions well. And I'd never, ever wanted to be skinny. I believe in Health at Every Size and I will believe it to my death. Report
i'm hesitant to claim i actually have a binging disorder, but this (and other things) are definitely making me more aware of the possibility. i was able to overcome it with relative ease, so i don't know how serious of a disorder it could be, but it's definitely unnatural when i binge - it's not just 'omg i love food', its 'there is a hole and only food will fill it; i'm stuffed and physically ill but still eating because there's still something wrong'. and it would last days or weeks. im becoming much more aware of my emotions and their hold over my eating. the possibility of having an actual eating disorder - or at least identifying strongly with some of the symptoms - is really an eye-opener in terms of how dangerous that kind of behavior really is. Report
Thank you for this article! I am in my 40's and while I have realized for quite some time that I use food to cope, I am just beginning to truly acknowledge the psychological issues at the root. I am also just beginning to open my eyes to the help available for someone like me. From the outside, people say I am strong, reserved, fearless, etc. Sounds great, right? They have no idea how weak, scared, and depressed I feel - - I walk around wearing a mask to hide my problems because I don't want people to notice. This article and others like it give me the validation that I am not alone and that there is help. Thanks again. Report

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