Over the past year I have been told by a couple close friends and family that they are worried that I may have an eating disorder. I ensure them that I do not and that I just trying to stay slim, but I am starting to wonder if maybe they are on to something. How do you really know if you have an ED? I do restrict my calories every day, workout for 1-2 hours between 5 to 7 days a week, been taking diet pills for the past couple months, but I am not losing any weight I just have to do all this to maintain my current weight. I do want to lose more weight, but I have been unable to since last January and I am not sure why. Just so you know my past history I had recently lost a large amount of weight around 2 years ago, I used to be very overweight and with a new diet and exercise routine I was able to lose a lot of weight and become a healthy weight. I am now so terrified to gain any of that weight back which is why I now restrict my calories and exercise so often. But just because you do these things does not make you have an ED. How do you know if you have an ED or if your just cautious on your weight?
When you have a full blown eating disorder, it takes over every aspect of your life. You can't go to work/school, some people get in trouble with the law, self-harm, you become isolated, withdraw and lose interest, become obsessed with engaging in the eating disorder behaviors and nothing else matters.
Restricting your food, exercising, and taking diet pills doesn't necessarily mean that you have an eating disorder. To get a diagnosis, for an eating disorder, there also has to be mental distress.
We can't tell you that you do or don't have a disorder. There is so much info missing. We don't know how much you are restricting, your size, height etc. what your thinking.
There are several eating disorder self-assessments online. If they suggest that you don't have an eating disorder then also look into the term "disordered eating."
Aileb made some good points, but I don’t think the labels matter at all. What does it matter if you can tick all the boxes to say you’ve officially got an eating disorder or you can’t? What you really need to consider is: are you happy? Do you feel that you have a healthy relationship with food and exercise? Is your relationship with food and exercise damaging your relationships with the people in your life?
Answer these questions, and then take a step back and consider whether you need to re evaluate. Whether you have an eating disorder or not, there are a few sentences in your post which are concerning:
“I do restrict my calories every day.”
Your body is clever, it knows how much food you need. If you can learn to pay attention to your body then there is no need to restrict food. If you are hungry, it is your body’s way of telling you that you don’t have enough energy to meet all the demands that you’re placing on it.
“work out for 1-2 hours 5 to 7 days a week”
This is a huge amount of exercise – do you work or are you at school? If so, I’m guessing that this amount of exercise dramatically eats into the amount of time you have to spend with friends and family and doing all the other fun things that life has to offer. I used to be an obsessive exerciser and nothing would get in the way, I would give up time with friends, I would even cut classes, to get to the gym. That sort of behaviour is so destructive to the rest of your life. Being slim is NOT the most important thing in the world. Being happy and having people you love and who love you is.
“I am terrified to gain any of that weight back”
By the sound of it you are paralysed by fear. Unless you are trying to maintain a weight that is too low for your body, you shouldn’t need to take diet pills and work out an excessive amount in order to maintain your weight. I recovered from anorexia and obsessive exercising a few years ago – now I don’t count calories, I just eat when I’m hungry (whether it’s a meal time or not) and I eat whatever I am hungry for whether that is a sandwich or a piece of cake. I listen to my body and stop eating when I’m full up (unless I consciously choose that I’m really enjoying this and I want to eat more), and I exercise maybe 3 times a week – one session of netball training and maybe 1 or 2 half hour runs, and my weight is stable and has been for some years. But what’s more, I have time to see my friends, my family isn’t worried sick about me, I have had the time to devote to dating a fabulous man and have recently married him, none of which I would have been able to do had I still been focused on exercise and food.
Forget about the labels, and focus on building a healthy relationship with food and exercise, one where it doesn’t rule your life.
It sounds like more of an obsession than a disorder. Maybe you're just a type A personality and you like things on a tight, strict schedule and you like consistency. I think it becomes a disorder when it interferes with your happiness. When you're so sad and hate yourself, that's a disorder. Are you happy? Do you wish you'd loosen up a bit? Or do you like the way your life is? Also, if your personality has changed, that's a sign. People might start to find you "no fun" anymore. If you're OK, that's their problem. But if you are becoming "no fun" and you're not OK with it, then you need to find a way to let go a little.
This doesn't sound like you're in the middle of an eating disorder.
It sounds more like this could start to be the beginning. You're lucky that you realized that you're not on the right track early so that if this may be anorexia then you can stop it before it occurs.
Try to start eating, stop taking weight loss pills, and just stick to exercising. This obsestion that you're developing will turn into an addiction and will consume your entire life.
I believe you should see how much of your life this preocupation is consuming.THe best bet is to definaly check for things by looking in yourself ,Low self esteem,body image issues,Isolation , depression,anxiety;also preocupation with weight (by that i meen the number on the scale and weighing your self daily"once a week is ok")Calorie counting and obsessing over the number you take in is definatly a bad sign as well, if your the type of person that feels upset over missing a workout, or is allowing a fitness regiment to interfere with scholoastic, social, and or work obligations then I think its time to bring these issues up with your genera practicioner (reg doc)I will say a good diet and a healthy weight loss regiment for the average person, again only if you really feel you need to lose the LBS is 1/2 lb a week and no less then 1800 calories a day for a female active.THe slower you take the weight off in a safe manner the more likly you are to keep the weight off.