While the majority of us can gladly say we don’t have an “eating disorder’ studies show that a shocking 60% of all women have ‘disordered’ eating patterns.
I strongly encourage all women starting out intermittent fasting to read this article. If you think you might have one of these disorders make sure you get medical advice before even thinking about fasting.
If you even show some tendencies towards any of these please start intermittent fasting very slowly.
‘Disordered eating‘ is having any unhealthy or disordered beliefs about food. It can be things like completely cutting out food groups from your diet in fear that they’ll make you put on weight. It can be limiting yourself to a set amount of calories per day. It can also be eating for comfort to manage emotions like anxiety or depression.
If we continue to have disordered habits about food it can quickly escalate into a more serious eating ‘disorder’. Once you have an eating disorder it can take years to recover.
In this day and age not many women are ‘normal eaters’. We’re all somewhere along a spectrum with normal eaters at one end and eating disorders at the other. Most of this spectrum would be filled with women who don’t have a diagnosed eating disorder yet their eating habits are not healthy.
What is an Eating Disorder?
‘Eating disorders’ are medically diagnosed conditions that can cause premature ageing, organ failure, infertility and even death in extreme cases. The majority of people affected are young white women between the ages of 12 and 35.
Anorexia is a ‘fear of being fat’ and affects 1 in 100 people. It’s the most dangerous of the eating disorders. A woman who develops anorexia can be so afraid of putting on weight that she can refuse to eat or will do an over-the-top amount of exercise to lose weight.
This is commonly known for ‘bingeing and purging’ behaviour and affects 2-3 in every 100 people. Bingeing is eating a whole lot of food in one go. Sometimes thousands upon thousands of calories.
Purging is done afterwards to try to get rid of the calories consumed by exercising chronically, vomiting or using laxatives.
Binge Eating Disorder
Binge Eating Disorder or ‘BED’ is more common that most of us care to admit and affects up to 8 in 100 people. AND 60% are women! Watch out for this sneaky little fiend because it can easily develop in women who are chronic dieters.
Those with Binge Eating Disorder ‘binge eat’ and then feel guilty afterwards and find it hard to enjoy food. They usually go between periods of strict dieting and over eating. If not treated, this disorder causes a high risk of becoming obese later in life.
So be sensible and be aware if any of these habits start forming.
If you want to read more about eating disorders, disordered eating and find out whether you might suffer from one, here’s a great book that covers everything you need to know Eating Disorders For Dummies