Disordered eating or weight management concerns range from the diagnosis of formal eating disorders like "Anorexia" or "Bulimia," to more subtle behavioral patterns such as an on-going preoccupation with calories consumed, carbohydrate intake, or amount of exercise engaged in per day. Similarly, day-to-day life can organize around how to obtain access to the foods one craves, and/or how to keep these patterns and preoccupations secret. Sometimes these concerns become such an organizing factor in one's life that one loses the capacity to relax, to experience joy, or to live in freedom - both physically and mentally.
Common markers for disordered eating include both medical and psychological symptoms:
- acid reflux, constipation, and/or hemorrhoids
- anemia, abnormal blood pressure, elevated cholesterol, and/or heart rhythm abnormalities
- feeling cold
- erosion of teeth and gums
- hair loss
- loss of menstruation
- denial of hunger
- excessive preoccupation with weight, food, calories, nutrition, and/or cooking
- frequent over-eating or under-eating, especially when distressed
- being secretive or manipulative about eating or not eating
- bingeing on food, especially high calories, sweet foods
- use of laxatives, diuretics, strict dieting, vigorous exercise, excessive activity, and/or vomiting to control weight
- history of repeated dieting and regaining of weight
- self-hatred: feeling distress, disgust, guilt and/or depression about one's eating patterns, exercise patterns, or appearance.
- self-image based largely or entirely on one's weight
- feeling "out of control"