Do I have an eating disorder?
Many times an eating disorder is present in one's life for some time before they realize that it's a problem. Eating Disorders are often followed by anxiety, depression, low self esteem and significant mood disturbance.
If you are uncertain that you might be struggling with an eating disorder, eating disordered thoughts or eating disordered behavior; please ask yourself the following questions.
Do you hide food, evidence of food, or fear that someone will know what you've eaten?
Do you often follow strict food rules (e.g. no carbs, no sugar, must exercise to eat) or feel guilty if you don't?
Do you frequently diet and feel like it's a never ending cycle ?
Do you meal plan, prep and think about food often during the day, without wanting to, or become anxious when you don't?
Do you frequently have food judgements e.g. good, bad, healthy , unhealthy, fattening etc.?
Do you often have body image judgements or find yourself often critiquing you body in the mirror?
Do you ever make yourself sick due to feelings of fullness or shame?
Do others in your life that often make comments about your weight (this may be comments about thinness or needing to lose weight)?
Do you avoid eating out with others or find yourself having anxiety when you do?
Do you go online to look at a menu before going out to eat due to stress around food?
Does your weight or what you've eaten affect if it's a good day or bad day?
Do you have anxiety about calories or weight?
Do you have significant anxiety or mood changes after eating certain foods or missing routine physical activities?
Does a pound on the scale cause you to over think what you ate the day before?
In this informal survey, if you answered "yes" to two or more of the above questions you may have an eating disorder or struggle with body image issues. If you have found these things to be exhausting and often find yourself questioning if this way of life could ever be different, we want you to know there is hope and freedom from these persisting thoughts and behaviors. .
Eating Disorders are Complicated
An eating disorder is complicated because it is an addiction. What makes an eating disorder difficult is that it is the one addiction you cannot just stop doing %100, because you need food for survival. Recovery with ED is not a quick process, and it takes patience and time. For those who take the steps toward recovery it may seem like the most difficult thing you will do, but it will be worth it when you start to experience more and more peace and freedom within. Recovery is about making peace with your body, with food, learning coping skills, recognizing when the eating disorder is present, and what to do to take care of you. Our bodies need food and nutrients to survive, to maintain our mental health, and for our over-all physical health. A person can't restrict food long term without detrimental medical consequences or even death.
Some of the medical consequences of eating disorders are compromised immune systems, osteoporosis, cardiomyopathy, kidney complications, muscle atrophy, IBS, memory issues, menstruation issues and stomach issues. The most serious of these medical concerns are heart failure and kidney failure. An eating disorder is a serious disease and there are more fatalities a year from the medical issues that arise from eating disorders over any other mental health issue. Often times eating disorders co-occur with at least one of the following mental health disorders: anxiety, depression, PTSD, alcoholism/substance abuse, other addictive behaviors, Borderline Personality Disorder, and self harm/injury.
There is a difference between eating disordered thinking, eating disorder behavior and specific eating disorders such as bulimia, anorexia or over eating. Heather is specialized to work not only with anorexia, bulimia and over eating but also the thoughts and behaviors that go with these eating disordered behaviors. She is also specialized to work with the root cause of the eating disordered behavior and thoughts. She assists her clients in identifying how the behavior impacts their lives, relationships and overall quality of life. She did specialized training in eating disorders at the Emily Program in St. Paul MN, where she provided out patient therapy for a year before starting her own practice.