How do you know if you or someone you love is suffering from an eating disorder?
If you are searching for information on eating disorders, perhaps yourself or someone you know might be struggling with bulimia, anorexia, or binge eating disorder.
You have taken the first step towards freedom from these devastating disorders!
There are multiple types of eating disorders, and though they may be characterized by differing types of behavior, they each have the same painful root: uncomfortable feelings and emotions that may seem unbearable.
Anorexia nervosa is characterized by self-starvation and excessive weight loss.
• Refusal to maintain body weight at or above a minimally normal weight for height, body type, age, and activity level
• Intense fear of weight gain or being “fat”
• Feeling “fat” or overweight despite dramatic weight loss • Loss of menstrual periods
• Extreme concern with body weight and shape (source: National Eating Disorder Association)
Bulimia nervosa is characterized by a secretive cycle of binge eating followed by purging. Bulimia includes eating large amounts of food–more than most people would eat in one meal–in short periods of time, then getting rid of the food and calories through vomiting, laxative abuse, or over- exercising.
• Repeated episodes of bingeing and purging
• Feeling out of control during a binge and eating beyond the point of comfortable fullness
• Purging after a binge, (typically by self-induced vomiting, abuse of laxatives, diet pills
and/or diuretics, excessive exercise, or fasting)
• Frequent dieting
• Extreme concern with body weight and shape
Binge eating disorder, or compulsive overeating, is characterized primarily by periods of uncontrolled, impulsive, or continuous eating beyond the point of feeling comfortably full. While there is no purging, there may be sporadic fasts or repetitive diets and often feelings of shame or self-hatred after a binge. People who overeat compulsively may struggle with anxiety, depression, and loneliness, which can contribute to their unhealthy episodes of binge eating. Body weight may vary from normal to mild, moderate, or severe obesity.
What if I think I have an eating disorder but it is not anorexia, bulimia, or binge eating disorder?
Eating disorders may be characterized by a combination of symptoms of eating disorder types. What is important is not that you “fit into a specific box”, but that you notice that the behaviors are physically dangerous and that they are causing severe emotional pain.
Other types of eating disorders or related issues may be qualified as: diabulimia (in which people with Type 1 diabetes deliberately give themselves less insulin than they need for the purpose of weight loss), orthorexia (an intense fixation on healthy food), body dysmorphia (where someone is overly fixated on perceived defects in his/her body, and is very concerned with body image), or pica (where someone eats foods that are non-nutritious, such as sand and clay).
Do only women get eating disorders?
There is a commonly held myth that eating disorders are “a woman’s problem”. Women are more commonly affected by these disorders, with over 10 million women in the United States reportedly suffering from an eating disorder today. However, over one million men and boys are also currently suffering from bulimia, anorexia, or binge eating disorder. Men are just as susceptible to society’s messages that they “should” look a certain way — that they should have bulging muscles or that they should be skinny to fit into a stereotype. Pressure from the media combined with self-esteem and body image struggles can easily pave the path to eating disorder development. If you are a male and are struggling with an eating disorder, you are not alone, and you are on your way to getting help!
Is it possible to truly recover from an eating disorder?
As an eating disorder specialist, I get asked this question a lot. I know how it feels to be deep in an eating disorder and to feel helpless and hopeless about a full recovery. I am here to tell you: you can fully recover from an eating disorder. I have done it! You too can have a life free of destructive behaviors (purging, restricting, bingeing) and can find love and acceptance within yourself. This may take an investment in time and commitment, but it is fully worth it. YOU are fully worth it!
Are you ready to find freedom from eating disorders and live a full and happy life?
I am here to help you on this journey. As a woman who dealt with eating disorders for many years, I can empathize with some of the feelings you may be experiencing. Combining this wisdom with the tools I learned through my extensive graduate school training, I am fully equipped to guide you on your path. It may be a bumpy ride, with challenges along the way, but I will offer you that light of hope every step of the way. What’s holding you back from embracing this chance to truly love, accept, and honor your authentic self?
Your life free from eating disorders is waiting for you!
Kate Daigle, MA, NCC, LPC is a Licensed Professional Counselor in Colorado. She has a Master’s Degree in Counseling Psychology and Counselor Education from the University of Colorado Denver, and has been specializing in the treatment of eating disorders since 2007. Kate’s approach is strengths-based, and she empowers clients struggling with eating disorders, depression, anxiety, abuse and other issues to “write a new life story.” Kate also has a passion for working with those of the LGBTQ community and is a specialist in identity and self-esteem issues. Using mindfulness meditation, breath-work, and other techniques to heal the mind-body connection, Kate’s holistic body-centered approach has been proven to be especially effective for treating eating disorders. Through personal healing experience in her own life, Kate is deeply empathetic and places emphasis on nurturing the mind, body and soul in therapy.