'I look normal and I’m not sure if I have an eating disorder’.
Some people think that because someone looks ‘normal’ then they can’t have an eating disorder or difficulties with food and eating. We can look ‘normal’ (Whatever normal means!) but still have all these thoughts, feelings, worries, concerns etc. going on underneath. As far as we are concerned, if someone says that they have difficulties with food and eating and that it affects their life in some way, then they may have an eating disorder or eating distress and need help and support.
Eating disorders come in many different forms and most people who have problems with food and eating do not meet all of the diagnostic criteria set out in lists and manuals. See the box to the right for some of the different types of eating disorders and disordered eating we know of in the field. Please note: some of these eating disorders are very uncommon and we may not have experience of working with that particular eating disorder.
Most people with an eating disorder or disordered eating do not fit into a specific category. We are all different. The myths and stereotypes often portrayed by the media and medical profession are inaccurate and must be challenged
It is important to reassure you that Talking EDs provides help, support and information to anyone who feels that they have problems with food and eating and that affects their life negatively in some way.
Please do not worry about accessing services because you have been told you look ‘normal’ or that your problems, thoughts, feelings, or behaviours are not 'serious', 'distressing' or 'frequent' enough. People can look ‘normal’ and be of a ‘normal’ weight but are, underneath, very dsitressed and debilitated by their eating disordered thoughts, feelings and behaviours. You deserve help and support from those who really understand and 'get it'.
After reading the information about eating disorders and disordered eating on the other pages of this website, you might be thinking 'Do I have a problem with food and eating?' or 'Do I have a difficult relationship with food and eating? We aim not to put labels on the people we work with (unless, of course they want a name for the type of eating problem they might be experiencing). We tend to look at the symptoms, behaviours, thoughts, feelings and any other signs that might demonstrate that you're having a difficult time with food and eating.
Below are some of the behaviours. thoughts and experiences you may be experiencing with food and eating. Remember: this is just a starting point and there are many other signs, symptoms and experiences that might also apply to you personally. Try the Eating Questionnaire below and become more aware of your relationship with food and eating
If you wish to think a little more about whether you might be experiencing an eating disorder or disordered eating, here's some questions to ask yourself in the Eating Questionnaire below. This is a self-questionnaire and we will not receive a copy if you complete it. It's for you to complete on your own so you can reflect on your relationship with food and eating.
Some questions will apply to you and others will not. We are all different: our experiences and problems with food and eating will be individual to each of us and differ from person-to-person.
For more information about some of the different types of eating disorders known, please see the box to the right above.
Remember, as we said above, try not to let the 'labels' or 'names' put you off: most people with food and eating problems experience a combination of these, often at the same time or over a period of time. No matter what problems and difficulties you are experiencing, you deserve help, support and someone to talk to. We are here to listen, support and be with you on the journey to getting better.
If you have answered 'yes' to some of these questions, you may find that you want to access some help and support from professionals, such as the Talking EDs team. We understand how difficult this is and we can offer an empathic, understanding and supportive space, a listening ear and tailored psychotherapy and counselling treatment at your pace. Browse the website for more information about what support and services we can offer. Please feel free to get in touch via the Contact page of this website if your would like some support, need more information, have any questions or would like to access our services. We are here to help you make sense of this and support and guide you towards a better relationship with food and eating (and many other things too).