(Closed) Is this an eating disorder?

posted 4 years ago in Emotional
Post # 3
Member
1404 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: February 2017 - Seattle, WA

It sounds to me like maybe she’s a bit obsessive about her health, but there are worse things.  I wouldn’t waste time worrying about it tbh.

 

Post # 4
Member
2818 posts
Sugar bee

Based on the info here, it’s really impossible to say. You might think she is overly focused on her appearance and weight or has an unhealthy relationship to food and exercise, but saying it’s a disorder is another matter and you haven’t given info here that indicates that. A lot of people are health nuts and judgmental of others’ appearance — that’s not a clinical issue. Neither is being vain. What you’re describing sounds like a person who is very invested in a healthy diet and lifestyle, perhaps to a point of obsession – but being a little obsessive about your diet and exercise routine isn’t a disorder either until it starts becoming a source of distress or is harmful to herself or others. Are you worried about her health? Does it seem to be a source of distress for her? Is it infering with her relationships and her ability to pursue her interests and life? 

Post # 5
Member
526 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2017

I tick almost all those boxes – I’m not tiny and I’m not obsessed with the appearance of others.

Unless your friends health and wellbeing is being compromised (ie not eating enough while continuing with such a strenous exercise regime) then i doubt she has a disorder.

I excersize 5-6 days a week (heavy weight lifting, and both steady state & hiit cardio), I eat extremely healthy, make all my own food (meal prep for two of us every sunday), count calories and macros, and am pretty hung up on being in shape. I definitely wouldn’t consider myself to have a disorder.

I think other who could never imagine living such a regimented lifestyle will always view it as a bit obsessive.

Post # 6
Member
1127 posts
Bumble bee

I have a close friend who is EXACTLY like this.  She recently got into a huge fight with her new personal trainer (who she absolutely cannot afford to go to) because working out is causing her to gain muscle which makes her feel “fat”.  She called me sobbing, which unfortunately happens a lot for varying reasons.

Friendship with people with eating disorders can be very challenging because IMO people with this kind of anxiety aren’t very nice (myself included- I’ve fallen in and out of eating disorders throughout my past).  They are very judgy, they constantly seek validation, and when they feel like they are unable to control something diet or weight related, they can be extremely nasty.  When these things happen I try to remember 

* They judge other people because these are the unreasonable standards they hold themselves to 

* Every single thing you say about their appearance or anybody else’s will be recorded.  It’s honestly healthier and safer just to learn not to do it around them and not to give in to their questions because they won’t stop.  For example: 

Orthorexic: “Does this shirt make me look fat?” 

Me: No.

Orthorexic: “Really?  So why did you say two weeks ago that pink was a really unflattering color on you?  You and I have the same body type”

Me: What?

—-

[this is a real example]

Orthorexic: *sends 2 photos* “Do I look like I lost weight in the second photo?”

Me: I don’t know, please stop I hate these questions.

Orthorexic: “No it’s fine it’s a good thing.  I think I lost weight.  Do I look thinner?”

Me: I guess umm, yes you look thinner.

Orthorexic: “I lied, the second photo was actually from last month.  The first photo is from today.  I KNEW I GOT FATTER!”

—-

^^^It really helps to not make ANY judgements about physical appearance, which is surprisingly hard to do.  Even positive remarks are twisted and turned into personal judgements (I’ve heard “my boyfriend thinks Taylor Swift is really attractive… that means he only likes super tall skinny girls.  I need to lose weight.).  

Even if your friend isn’t saying these things out loud, I’d bet a lot of money these are the kinds of things she is thinking.

* If/When your friend becomes irritable and not nice over trivial things, try to remember that no matter how trivial the trigger seems, to her, it means her whole sense of self worth and her value to other people is crumbling.  The level of anxiety she is feeling is SUPER high.

The thought process is sort of like:

Healthy Person: “I sprained my ankle can’t work out”–> “I’ll take it easy for a few weeks”

Orthorexic: “I sprained my ankle and can’t work out”–> “I’m going to gain at least 5-10lbs–> “My clothes won’t fit right and I’ll look hideous, I’ll feel hideous for the 2-3 weeks it’ll take me to lose the weight after I recover”–> “I had a party planned for next weekend, now it’s ruined because I’ll be miserable”–> “I won’t perform well at work because I’ll be miserable, plus I’ll look fat so people will realize how much I suck”–> “By the time I bounce back it’ll probably be 4 months from now”–> “There goes my summer & my opportunity for a promotion”–> “This is actually the worst thing to ever happen to me”–> “Nobody else understands why this is so awful”

It’s kind of a constant cycle of looking 10 steps ahead with  really cynical perspective & feeling invalidated because of course nobody else predicts the unreasonable outcomes that they see.  

Not eating food that your friend has prepared herself is a HUGE deal to her because she’s already calculated all the crazy impacts it will have on her life for a very long time.

 “No I don’t want to eat that ‘Ruin Your Weekend’ sandwich, how could you even ask me that?”

—-

 

 

^^^ This totally doesn’t excuse the attitude- we still need to be held accountable for what we say/do.  But I think you can be most helpful to her if you understand where she is coming from.

 

 

* I hope that helps somewhat.  I know I kind of rambled.  It’s just between myself and my own close friend, I’ve gotten really familiar with eating disorders.

Post # 7
Member
1286 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2018 - Omaha, NE

If you’re not a doctor, you shouldn’t be trying to diagnose her. Doctors diagnose people with eating disorders. Does that mean you don’t have a right to be concerned? No. It’s not important to put a label on something in order for you to be concerned. Think about how awful you would feel if you accused someone of having an eating disorder when really they just have a bad thyroid and have to be very careful about what they eat. Even if she’s being mean to others about their weight, that’s not enough to diagnose someone with an eating disorder. Stop asking the unimportant questions (is this an eating disorder?) and start asking the important ones: How can I help my friend? Do I think her health or life is in danger? Do I have a right to question what she’s doing with her body/speech? Unless she is severely under/overweight I would butt out, TBH.

Post # 8
Member
570 posts
Busy bee

No it does not sound like a disorder

Post # 9
Member
392 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: February 2018 - Emerald at Queensridge

Is this person that you know my mother?! Because this sounds *exactly* like her. Yes this is an eating disorder. I’ve been trying to get my mom help but she doesn’t think she has a problem. It sucks.

Post # 10
Member
2818 posts
Sugar bee

I find it troubling that anyone is making declarative statements like “yes this is a disorder.” If you said “she throws up after every meal” or “she only eats an apple a day” then, yes, I think we could say it was a disorder quite clearly. But most eating disorders aren’t that extreme and fall somewhere on a spectrum of obsessive behaviors, which can make them difficult to identify, and can really only be diagnosed by a professional. Nothing about the behaviors you’ve described are *inherently* abnormal/disordered, though it is certainly possible that they are symptomatic of a larger complex of issues. 

Post # 11
Member
6361 posts
Bee Keeper

No. She’s obsessed with being healthy. An eating disorder would be more private and hidden  she wouldn’t be eating in front of you or would hide eating habits or would eat and then excuse herself. As someone who’s suffered and still suffers from it it’s similar to what you’re seeing but a much more private struggle than what your friend is displaying. Most people with eating disorders are aware but cannot stop and don’t until they get help whether by choice or force. 

Post # 12
Member
960 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2017

View original reply
nowmarriedgirl :  sounds like it. No advice sorry.

Post # 13
Member
439 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: June 2017

Like a pp, really a doctor should be the one to put that label on. That being said, as someone whose research looked at eating disorders, disordered eating, health at every size, and the fat acceptance movement and if they were one of my research subjects who checked the boxes you’ve listed, I’d put the person on the side of disordered eating if it was having a negative impact on their life. 

Post # 14
Member
7881 posts
Bumble Beekeeper

It does sound like disordered eating. Unfortunately, eating disorders can be difficult to treat, and even if you say something to her about your concern, she won’t change until she herself is ready to do so. 

Post # 15
Member
480 posts
Helper bee

If ones focus on exercise and healthy food consumption is indicative of an “eating disorder,” I wish more of this country had the same affliction. She’s not bulimic or anorexic (which are eating disorders) if she’s actually eating… and eating nutritiously at that! Maybe this is difficult to comprehend in the United States where eating junk food is the norm and where the highest level of morbid obesity exists.

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