Could I Have An Eating Disorder?

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I've always had bad self esteem and body image issues. But recently since I had my doctor I've started taking laxatives to lose weight. I'll take a whole box or drink a whole bottle of milk magnisea.

I've cut back to only one small meal every few days and right now I haven't really eaten in four days.

I have to weight myself contently because if I don't know how much I weight I freak out. If I eat anything my first thought is to get it out of me. Food in general has been making feel sick lately. It's becoming gross. Even the site of it or somebody eating is gross.

I need to eat but the number on the scale just keeps going down and I'll tell myself this is my last laxative. I'll eat tomorrow. But the number will be low and I'll think that if I do it for one more day then it'll get lower.

I'm wondering if I could be devopling an ED. I'm not super thin. Infact, ever since having my dsughter I'm a little over weight. Would I even be aware of it if I had one?

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  • Posted

    Typically those with an ED really dont think of it in the terms of being aware that what they are doing is an ED.  They justify their actions completely rationally, in fact they tend to absolutly deny that they may have an ED.  Im not saying that you shouldnt speak to someone about it and may have other issues, but the fact that you have a "i may have an ED" mentallity would probably make a therapist look at why you think this and why you do things which align with ED actions rather than having an ED mentality
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  • Posted

    Hi Jamie

    It sounds like it took you a lot of courage to write the above so well done.

    Even if you do have an eating disorder, it can be very difficult to admit it, so recognising the symptoms and wanting to tackle these are very positive steps (regardless of whether you do or do not have an eating disorder).

    My dietitian(s) have often got me to think about what others around me eat. For example, a previous dietitian got me to think about what I ate in relation to my cousin's children (as they were young children who I knew well). Knowing that a 5 year old ate more than I did was a bit of a wake up call.  It's worth looking around you and considering whether your patterns of behaviour around food and feelings are "normal".

    I wouldn't want to stick a label and diagnose behaviours on you, as I'm only experienced in so far as I've had years of professional support for my own condition.

    With anorexia nervosa, sufferers eat very little and fear gaining weight and losing control of their eating. They will binge, particularly if they cut food groups out, or don't eat regularly throughout the day. An anorexic will find this part very difficult to admit, and it's often why sufferers with anorexia also end up with bulimic tendencies.

    When I tackled the binge issue of my anorexia, this helped hugely (ironically I ended up losing weight!)

    Bulimia nervosa is where the sufferer finds it difficult to sit with the food inside them, so uses destructive behaviours to rid themselves of it. This can also manifest itself in exercise, which can turn into an abusive relationship.

    Laxative abuse, vomiting and diet pills all fall under bulimia, although it's important to acknowledge that sufferers with anorexia may experience abuse their body in this way.

    In keeping with the theme of laxatives and diet pills, I point this out all the time, but it's worth reiterating this. Neither make you lose weight. Both cause dehydration (laxatives in particular) which cause the body to empty itself of core electrolytes. Long term abuse of laxatives can cause problems with the kidneys and other parts of your digestive system (for example sufferers have had to have a bag inserted) and electrolyte imbalance puts your heart severely at risk.  I speak from personal experience here, having been admitted to hospital as a result of my extremely low potassium levels caused from laxative abuse.

    You will see the numbers decrease on the scale, WHY? because you are depleting your body of water. You are not losing any weight. Therefore when you eat or drink anything again, you will regain lost "weight".  If you want further evidence, there is a massive need for a solution to the obesity crisis in the UK. As a clinician telling me off about my abuse of laxatives once said "if they worked, they would be available widely on the NHS to treat obesity."

    If you change anything today about your relationship with food, it would be to stop the laxative abuse. You are not doing yourself any favours and people die.

    You mentioned you are not super thin. Again, I don't want to label you as having an eating disorder, you and a clinician need to do this. However, eating disorders don't discriminate, and they are not about being thin. Anorexia nervosa is actually the least common of all eating disorders (with one of the symptoms as emaciation). EDNOS (eating disorders not otherwise specified) is the most common, and very often sufferers are a healthy weight, where their behaviours might be a combination of disordered behaviours, but don't fit neatly into the NHS diagnostic boxes. It's important to highlight that eating disorders aren't about the person's weight. This is just a symptom. The symptom is an expression of something in their life that they can't control and their mental wellbeing is far more important. The problem with treatment for eating disorders is eating stabally is also critical to good mental health so getting that balance right along with dealing with the mental challenges are paramount for the sufferer to recover.  Where the sufferer has deteriorated physically that their health is at risk, treatment of the physical dangers becomes a priority before any mental recovery can be done, as the sufferer is too emotional instable to connect with therapies.

    There is a second element to highlighting you seeing yourself as not super thin. When we fear something our body goes into fight or flight mode, and sees the thing that frightens us as bigger than it is. It happens to me all the time at the moment, particularly as my meal plan is increasing almost every time I see my dietitian alongside my weight. When I body check, (which I shouldn't), I see myself as having ballooned. I haven't, I've only gained a small amount, which to anyone else you wouldn't notice, and I need to to be healthy. This is what our minds do to us. So you may well be super thin and unhealthy (or you may be super thin and in a healthy weight range, in which case you definitely need to stop what you are doing!).

    Low self esteem and body confidence is a normal experience in a lot of people. Many women (and men) lack confidence about their appearance and it's understandable when we're bombarded with unrealistic images of what we should look like from celebs who can spend loads of money on make up, clothes which fit perfectly, products that give them a glow, and are probably on extremely unhealthy diets which cause all sorts of problems such as fatigue and so on, but we don't see that, and they can rest and work through it, because they have the money.  It's not realistic.

    Low self esteem can be caused through all kinds of set backs and it's a behaviour that takes work to improve.  I have had to work really hard on this, as I've had a difficult start to working life (including being bullied by a previous manager) and so negative feedback in my current role plants seeds of doubt in me. Doing things which you enjoy are a great way to boost self esteem. It could be something small like going for a walk, or making a cup of tea for someone. Or you could write a blog or volunteer. These will boost your self esteem and give you tools in other circumstances.

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  • Posted

    You are developing an unhealthy eating disorder. It is becoming unhealthy and it will go full blown if you dont get a grip on it now. Eating disorders start in your head, and once it becomes physical you will lose all control because regardless of what you want to do, your body will do its own thing and just like we cant control hiccuping, you wont be ale to control the nausea. When you starve yourself your body goes into fat storing mode and then you actually GAIN weight! The trick is to eat a few times a day, but to eat lots of celery, carrots, and fruit plus tuna for protein or chicken and above all exercise! But if you want to put on a few pounds, by all means starve yourself and your body will store it up in no time! LOL.
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    • Posted

      And Im sorry...i say LOL becsuse I have been there and i couldnt figure out why it wasnt working for me! ( binge dieting/eating) Shoot, i gained 9 lbs. In 10 days by eating, binging and eating again! I was so frustrated...
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