Eating Disorders and Body Image

Eating Disorders are More Common Than You Think!

Beat (Beating Eating Disorders) estimate that there are over 1.6 million people suffering from diagnosed or undiagnosed eating disorders throughout the UK. If you are struggling with eating, know you are using food for control, or are constantly worried about your body size, then you are not alone.

Food is a very important part of our culture, and thus our lives. We are constantly being bombarded with messages about healthy eating, and being subjected to daily advertising about indulging and treating ourselves with rich foods, as well as being enticed into the fast food market.

We will likely spend a great deal of time thinking about what we want to eat, what we should eat, and feeling bad for what we have just eaten. However, for some people this is completely all-consuming.

If you are having a problem with eating, or an issue with food, this can be difficult to cope with. It’s important to remember that this is not just about food. It could be that you are facing challenges in your life, or have painful feelings which are hard to express, or you may have had a trauma that is still impacting you. It’s important to understand that what you are doing around food and your body is the solution to something else.

Counselling can help you work through that ‘something else’, and help you begin to re-learn a healthy relationship with food, eating, and your body.

Eating Disorders

Types of Eating Disorders

There are many different types of eating disorders, but here are the three main ones:

1. Anorexia Nervosa

This is where a person will not maintain a minimum body weight (e.g. 85% of expected weight for their height and age), and has an intense fear of weight gain. Self-perception of the body is abnormal, they unduly emphasise weight or shape in self-evaluation, and they deny the seriousness of low weight. Females miss at least three consecutive menstrual cycles.

There are two types of Anorexia Nervosa:

a) Binge-Eating/Purging Type
The person often purges (vomits, uses laxatives or diuretics), or eats in binges.

b) Restricting Type
No bingeing and purging.

2. Bulimia Nervosa

The person repeatedly eats in binges: consuming much more food than most people would in similar circumstances, and in a similar period of time. There is a feeling that eating is out of control. Weight and body shape unduly affect self-evaluation.

The cycle is often fasting, binge eating, vomiting, excessive exercise or abuse of laxatives, diuretics or drugs.

There are 2 types of Bulimia Nervosa:

a) Purging Type
The person often induces vomiting, or misuses diuretics or laxatives. This is the most common type.

b) Non-purging Type
The person fasts or exercises excessively, but does not often induce vomiting, or misuse diuretics or laxatives.

3. Binge Eating Disorder

This looks like Bulimia Nervosa but without the compensatory measures. Most individuals are overweight or normal weight. The behaviour is often triggered by specific cues, such as stress.

If you feel you are struggling with food and eating, and recognise some of these descriptions, then we can help you.

To arrange your first session simply send us a message here.