Disordered eating behaviors

Every individual has his or her own unique eating habits. But some of these might fall in the unhealthy category and lead to mental problems. These are actually disordered eating behaviors and need to be altered for health reasons.

Eating habits and disordered eating behaviors

There are many different types of eating habits that people might follow. They may consider these habits as healthy but they might be harming their body or mental health. These habits might not affect everyone equally. But there might be some people who are excessively sensitive to these diet habits. For them, these habits would amount to disordered eating behaviors.

If any person has these eating habits, it does not imply they are abnormal. But it is best to seek intervention from a doctor or nutritionist and discuss with them on it.

Intentional meal skipping

Disordered eating behaviors
Skipping meals is unhealthy (Source: Eat this not that)

Skipping meals is not healthy. There are many who do it to lose weight or other reasons. Or they might replace meals with low calorie beverages. This is also not good. If anyone has this habit, they should seek medical or dietitian intervention to rectify it. Because this is a form of disordered eating behavior. This type of meal skipping leads to increased craving and hunger pangs. The person ends up eating more on next meal. The nutritional goals remain unmet.

Obsession of calories counting

For some individuals, counting their food intake calories comes naturally. But they do not let it affect them. While others are too panicky about it. Calorie counting or macro counting can overwhelm the latter group and they need nutritionist support. Some people also count the little calories in spices, herbs, or sauce that they use in small amounts. This is pathological.

Disordered eating behaviors
Macro counting is pathological (Source: CrossFit Invictus)

Food quality obsession

Some people worry a lot about whatever they eat. They appear externally to be having healthy eating habits but they have doubts about their eating. They constantly are concerned about it. This is called orthorexia. This is disordered eating problem and might affect the person mentally in a bad way.

Dietitian Mandy Tyler states:

“Extreme focus or obsession with eating ‘clean’ can become a form of disordered eating or possible orthorexia. What starts out as a desire to eat a healthy diet can spiral into an elimination of many foods that do not meet the individual’s definition of ‘healthy’ or ‘clean.'”

Safe foods in sensitive group

Some people have irritable bowel syndrome. Certain foods in them cause a flare-up. The disease symptoms are frequent and severe with no cure. Hence they try their own ways to prevent problems. Andrea Senchuk, dietitian states:

“IBS can be distressing to live with. There’s no cure, symptoms fluctuate, and searching for an effective treatment can feel like looking for a needle in a haystack. So, it’s hardly surprising that in their attempt to cope with unrelenting digestive symptoms, many people with IBS develop disordered eating behaviors. Driven by fear of painful cramps, embarrassing gas, urgent diarrhea, or days-long constipation, some IBS sufferers may chronically undereat, skip meals, or rigidly stick to a short list of ‘safe’ foods,”

Also, read Skipping dinners and the harm to the body!

Guilt feelings

Disordered eating behaviors
Eliminating certain food groups from diet is not healthy (Source: Food navigator)

Some people might label foods as bad and good. And after having bad or unhealthy foods they might go through feelings of guilt and shame. This is disordered eating behavior. Nutritionist KeyVion Miller says:

“Guilt tripping can come because you ate food past a certain time of the day or are feeling extra anxiety because you are hungry when it’s not a certain time of day yet. Sometimes in our quest to lose weight or do what we feel is ‘healthier,’ we ignore our mental health. We shouldn’t jeopardize emotional health just to follow a current trend that really isn’t helping.”

Eliminating entire food groups

Food balance and diet balance matters. But some people totally eliminate certain foods. For example, they may not take dairy foods or citrus fruits or vegetables. This is unhealthy and points to disordered eating. Kim Arnold, a dietitian states:

Removing or severely restricting an entire food group because of a fear that it is negatively impacting weight or causing poor health is a form of disordered eating. I see this often with carbohydrates and sugar. There are many carbohydrates that provide quality nutrition and energy and can support a healthy weight. I am a firm believer that all food can fit when not taken to extremes.”