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Eating Disorders

What is an eating disorder?
Eating disorders are serious, complex and potentially life-threatening mental illnesses. They affect your behaviour, thoughts and attitudes to food, eating, shape or body weight

They often involve changed eating behaviours such as with limiting the amount of food they eat, eating big amounts of food all at once then using varying ways to get rid of the food they have just eaten.  This can be by misusing laxatives, self induced vomiting, fasting or excercising too much.

They are often attempts to deal with some sort of emotional distress, so they happen to be more about feelings than actual food.
What types of eating disorders are there?
There are 3 main types of eating disorders

Anorexia Nervosa - which involves losing weight on purpose all the time.  Their body weight drop to at least 15% below their usual weight.  They often see themselves and their bodies larger than they actually are. They often fear putting weight on and do not like people telling them to eat. Starvation has a terrible effect on the body and can cause long term health problems and of course can be life threatening.

Bulimia - which involves eating large quantities of food then either making themselves vomit, they excersise too much or they take laxatives.  They feel they have a different body shape to the one they actually have, so they feel overweight.
The effects on the body because of their purging of the food can cause physical health problems with their heart, teeth and their digestive system.

Binge Eating - This involves eating lots of food quickly but not then trying to get rid of it like the other 2 forms that purge after eating.  They can eat unti they are full if if they are not hungry.  They are also often eat alone as hey can feel embarrased about the amount they eat and do not want others seeing them eat such a large amount.  The eisodes of binge eating often run hand in hand with them being emotionally distressed.  Many binge eaters are overweight or obsese.  We must remember that not all large heavier people binge eat.  Because they become obsessed with their body shape or weight they put themseves at risk of developing long term physical health problems.
Things they may do
Avoid eating with their family or friends, often saying that they have already eaten or they are not hungry

They think the food they have been offered is unhealthy, too fatty or horrible

They start to wear really baggy clothes that hide their shape

They feel a need to excersise all the time

They always read the labels on food to see it's ingredients, calories and nutitional information

They avoid eating with you and often may throw their lunch away

They eat more than usual inbetween main meals

They might stop wanting to do PE because of getting changed in front of their friends

They always seem to feel tired, they can't concentrate on their work and they lack energy

These are just some of the signs that they may have an eatng disorder

Everyone eats differently, but if the way you eat is taking over your life, then you could have an eating problem. But you’re not alone, we have advice and information on where you can get help.

A poster showing all the truths and myths about eating disorders

A video about one girl's experience dealing with body image and eating disorders

A great poster if you are worried about your body image

A UK organisation that has lots of advice and support for anyone with any eating disorder

A website offering support, comfort, information and some words of advice for anyone concerned about a boy or young man’s eating habits and exercise patterns. 

Website with lots of help and advice

Do you think you may have an eating disorder?

Eating disorder management from the privacy of your mobile phone.

Eating disorder recovery tools it can log your meals your emotions and thoughts. Also information and help with body image mindfulness.