Self-Help Tools: Nutrition

Eating Disorders

Eating disorders are abnormal eating behaviors and usually occur in adolescence or early adulthood. The course of eating disorders varies widely. Some people only have a brief encounter with an eating disorder, while others may struggle for a lifetime. Eating disorders are usually intended to be self-protective however they end up being self-destructive. If you believe you have an eating disorder, it is important that you realize that you are not alone. It is estimated that 30% of the population at large has some form of disordered eating. Most people with eating disorders have tried unsuccessfully to control it on their own. The treatment for eating disorders includes individual and/or group psychotherapy, nutritional counseling and possibly medical and/or psychiatric support. Eating disorders can become a very serious and life threatening disease. Professional help is usually needed to help develop a healthier self. If you have a long-standing problem with some form of disordered eating or have some new occurring problems, you can call the counseling center at ext.4210. A qualified staff is there to help you with your problems and all information is confidential.

Anorexia Nervosa

Anorexia nervosa is characterized by extreme weight loss with an intense fear of becoming fat and a distorted body image. It typically involves severe caloric restriction but can also include vomiting, laxative abuse and severe exercise. Some physiological signs may include: weight-loss, electrolyte imbalance, amenorrhea, stress fractures and cold hands and feet.

Bulimia Nervosa

Bulimia nervosa is characterized by fear of becoming fat and involves repeated bingeing followed by purging. Enormous amounts of food are often consumed prior to purging. The purging can be in the form of self-induced vomiting, laxative use, enemas, diuretics or excessive exercise. In contrast to anorexics, bulimics may be normal weight or even overweight.

Compulsive Overeating

Compulsive overeating is typically characterized by a preoccupation with food and body image. As a result, persons with this disorder are either eating uncontrollably or dieting. Compulsive overeaters are usually overweight and can easily become obese.

Binge Eating Eisorders

Binge eating is characterized by episodes of repeated eating of large amounts of food in one sitting. The behavior is very much like bulimia nervosa but without purging. The person feels a loss of control when eating and doesn’t stop eating when full. Binge eaters are usually overweight and fluctuate greatly in their body weight.

Eating Disorders

  • Unhealthy restriction of food
  • Binge eating
  • Fear of weight gain
  • Laxative and diuretic abuse
  • Excessive exercise
  • Low self-esteem

Normal Eating

  • Eat when hungry and stop when full.
  • Eat a combination of nutritious food and pleasurable food.
  • Eat three meals a day or eat smaller meals and snacks throughout the day.
  • Eating takes up some of your time and attention but it doesn’t overwhelm your life…learn to make it a guilt free experience.
  • Sometimes you may eat a little too much and sometimes you may not eat quite enough.