Three main indicators can signal a problem with disordered eating: duration of obsessive thinking episodes, how often obsessive thinking episodes occur, and how negatively your life is being impacted by your obsessive thinking regarding food. Disordered eating is different from an eating disorder, but it can still be detrimental to one’s health and wellbeing. For eating disorders like anorexia nervosa or bulimia nervosa, it only takes one episode per week of a common symptom.

obsessive thinking about food

Starvation, restriction, and purging all accompany eating disorders but do not necessarily come with disordered eating. Disordered eating does, however, accompany an eating disorder. Generally, if you feel you are spending more than two hours every single day contemplating your body image, your food choices, and obsessing over eating, you might have a problem which needs to be assessed. The differentiation is not in how much time it takes, Dr. Julie Friedman explained in an article for Marie Claire, “but it’s the impairment in your functioning and the distress it’s causing.” She gave this example: if you are grocery shopping every night and not going out with friends due to dietary restrictions or a controlled need to feel confident in your food choices, she says, “that is an eating disorder.” It is, at the least, a sign of disordered eating.

Doubts are Common

The truth is everyone has second-guesses, doubts, criticisms, and concerns about what they eat. There is a lot of shame that surrounds food. We feel as a society we have to justify what we eat and for some reason absolutely exploit it on social media. “People’s ideas of what is normal are so skewed—by their peer group, socioeconomic status, genetics, parenting practices. And so, if you’re in doubt, know that it’s always better to ask and be told you live within normal limits than to live with an untreated eating disorder that will only get worse.”

If you have noticed that your obsessive habits regarding eating and food has taken a negative impact on your physical health, mental health, or social life, it might be time to seek an evaluation. Early prevention can help you get on the path to recovery sooner and live a more healthy and balanced lifestyle. Aurora Recovery Centre offers various levels of treatment for people with eating disorders and any co-occurring disorders. For more information, call us today at 844-515-STOP.


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