Every so often on Instagram, I do a little Q&A series on my Instagram stories, where readers can ask me anything they want. During last week’s session, I received a ton of questions asking me when / how I knew I had an eating disorder/unhealthy relationship with food. Since so many people were curious about it, I decided to write this post.
The purpose of me sharing this is not to diagnose whether you have an eating disorder or a disordered relationship with food (believe me, people will ask!). I am not a trained professional. But if the topic of this post interests you, there’s probably at least a slight chance that you might be wondering whether your own behaviors around food are normal. Again, I don’t want you to conclude that if you have the same behaviors as I did, that you have an eating disorder. I simply hope that it makes you pause and take a deeper look into your behaviors around food, and then to seek help if needed. Because I promise you, life is better on the other side, free from food issues!
Now that I got that out of the way, the answer to how I knew I had an eating disorder is that my behaviors around food completely shifted.
Thoughts of food consumed me, from the moment I woke up in the moment, to the moment I put my head on the pillow to go to sleep at night. Essentially, thoughts about when I could eat next, what I would be eating, and when I could eat again, took over 99% of my brain capacity.
I began cancelling plans with friends and family if the plans involved going out to eat at restaurants where I couldn’t find anything “healthy” on the menu, which I’d of course check in advance. Because it was rare that a restaurant had food as bland as I needed it to be, I often cancelled plans and stayed home.
Meal prepping went from a convenient way to save time in the kitchen to a way to control my food intake – there would be no slip ups, since the food was already made.
I began restricting food instead of honoring my cravings. This is a huge one.
I started eating alone more than I enjoyed eating around friends and family.
I started drinking diet teas, daily. Why? To poop, because to poop made me feel skinny.
I started hiding candy in a shoe box underneath my bed, instead of storing it in the pantry in the kitchen.
I began weighing myself every morning, and my mood for the day was dictated by the number on the scale – if I gained even 0.1, game over…it was a bad day.
My eating habits changed drastically. I had moments where I stayed on the “perfect” diet program that I created for myself; other moments where I ate abnormally large amounts of food in a single sitting; and other moments where I’d force myself to purge.
My depression was getting worse, and because I was getting more and more depressed, I began using food to self soothe.
I hope this post was helpful! Be sure to check out my other posts on my eating disorder recovery journey! xx, Nicole