I was honored when Emily asked me to write for her blog for National Eating Disorders Awareness week. To introduce myself, I am Emily’s sister-in-law, Anita Conley. I am also a Registered Dietitian, licensed in the state of Florida. In my path to become a dietitian, I had experiences counseling students at Iowa State who have suffered from eating disorders. I also have had my own issues with food, eating, and my body image.
Some others are Orthorexia Nervosa, Pregorexia, Diabulimia, Nocturnal Sleep-Related Eating Disorder, Drunkorexia, Binge Eating Disorder, and Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified.
- Orthorexia Nervosa is essentially an unhealthy obsession with correct eating with the belief they are following a perfected diet and proud of it.
- Pregorexia is when pregnant women who exercise to excess and reduce calories in an effort to control pregnancy weight gain.
- Diabulimia refers to when people with type 1 diabetes deliberately decrease or withhold their insulin injection in order to lose weight.
- Nocturnal Sleep-Related Eating Disorder occurs when a person goes on eating binges at night and awakens the next morning with little or no memory of it.
- Drunkorexia is when a person restricts food intake to increase alcohol intake without gaining weight. This is most common on college campuses.
- Binge Eating Disorder is characterized by eating much more quickly than usual, eating until uncomfortably full, eating large amounts of food – even if not hungry, eating alone and secretively due to embarrassment over the amount of food eaten, and feeling disgusted, guilty, embarrassed or depressed after eating.
- Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified is kind of a catch-all diagnosis for people with disordered eating and thinking to make sure those who do not fall under the diagnoses for anorexia and bulimia. Most of the previously discussed eating disorders fall into this category.
The more I have been reading about eating disorders recently, the more it makes me convinced that we need to spend a LOT more time talking about what is NORMAL eating. One of the assignments in my nutrition counseling class was to develop our own philosophy of normal eating. What I came up with follows.
Normal eating is tasting the food you put in your mouth and savoring it. Normal eating is sometimes eating emotionally. Normal eating is also aware of when you are eating emotionally and does not let it last for an extended time. Normal eating is eating what you are hungry for when you are hungry for it. Normal eating does not deny or limit “goodies” because they do not have the nutritional value that “healthy” food does. Normal eating is trying new foods, but not finishing them if you truly do not like them. Normal eating also incorporates a healthy amount of physical activity most days of the week. Overall, normal eating adapts to your needs without controlling your life.
Disordered eating includes restricting foods, eating compulsively, and in a way which is externally regulated. In contrast, normal eating is enjoyable, deliberate and internally regulated. Internal regulation of food intake means that a person eats when they are hungry and stops when they are full or satisfied. External regulation is when we ignore the signals our body gives about hunger and fullness – this especially happens when we put ourselves on diets. The deliberate portion of normal eating cannot be ignored. This means that time and thought is put into making healthy choices and/or choices that will satisfy your hunger. Normal eating can help you reach the weight that you are meant to be at – but this may be different from your ideal.
|Normal eating is enjoying what you eat! Image source.|
“I praise you for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” (139:14)
I have talked to many of these patients, and I would not classify any of them as such. Most have tried everything they can think of to lose weight. About 50% of people who fall in the overweight or obese category have none of the much talked about complications of their weight (high blood pressure, high blood sugars, high blood cholesterol levels), yet we constantly have news headlines about the cost of the obesity epidemic. In my personal and professional opinion, I think we would do well to be much more accepting of people of all shapes and sizes and not focus on the numbers on the scale, but on overall health.
Note from Emily: Amazon carries a few different editions of “Intuitive Eating: A Recovery Book For The Chronic Dieter; Rediscover The Pleasures Of Eating And Rebuild Your Body Image” ranging in price from $10.87 to $19.77 for new books.