How Disordered Eating Can Impact You

Have you ever counted calories/macros before a vacation or major life event? Maybe you’ve tried cleanses marketed to get rid of belly fat. Or maybe you’ve cut carbs or other food groups to slim down.

These behaviors are so normalized by mainstream culture that most folx may not even consider them disordered. Dieting and exercising for weight loss are generally ineffective and psychologically harmful, but they can also be a slippery slope to more problematic behaviors associated with diagnoses such as anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating.

You may be engaging in disordered eating if you:

  • Frequently try fad diets that involve dietary or caloric restriction
  • Feel like you have to be a certain size/shape to feel good about yourself
  • Limit activities based on how you are feeling about your physical appearance
  • Grew up in a home where your shape, size, or food intake were heavily monitored or criticized.

Getting Support

Addressing disordered eating can really shake up our understanding of ourselves and the social factors that impact our body image and health behaviors. In order to make lasting changes (and peace!) with our bodies, we need to confront the systems that perpetuate our sense of dissatisfaction with our bodies – patriarchy, racism, able-ism.

Approaches that can help include learning more about how biases and inequity have shaped our beliefs about beauty, ability, and worth, along with learning self-compassion practices. While many folx try to swing hard toward body positivity after realizing they were trapped in diet culture, it’s often more attainable to learn how to respect and show kindness to our bodies.

You can make the following changes today:

  • Do a social media cleanse – unfollow accounts that emphasize weight loss, equate thinness with wellness, and/or generally just make you feel bad about your body.
  • Mindful eating – Take some time to eat without engaging in other activities. Notice the thoughts, feelings, and judgments that show up.
  • Ask your body what it needs from time to time.

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