Have you ever been on a diet? If you are reading this perhaps the better question is, “what diets have you tried?” I feel like I have tried them all. Low carb, low fat, low calorie …every time convinced this would be the answer, and every time landing back where I started.
For me, a successful diet is one where I maintain my weight for a year or two, but it always comes back. Every time I regained the weight I chipped away at my self-esteem. I felt like a failure. I was 12 when I started yo-yo dieting, so I had decades of experience that would shape my self-esteem, self-image and self-confidence, or lack thereof, for years. Yo-yo dieting is just one symptom of what is called disordered eating.
What is Disordered Eating?
Disordered eating is a series of behaviors that do not meet the full criteria for an eating disorder. Nonetheless, it describes an unhealthy relationship with food and body that impacts a person’s life. Some of the behaviors are:
Why is Disordered Eating a Problem?
Consider disordered eating a gateway drug for eating disorders. While not everyone who engages in disordered eating will end up with an eating disorder, people who have eating disorders began with disordered eating behaviors. Eating disorders are dangerous conditions that impact one’s emotional and physical well-being and have a tremendous impact on the ability to have healthy relationships with others.
Even if you never were to develop a diagnosable eating disorder, disordered eating takes a toll on your physical, mental, and emotional health, and can adversely impact your relationship with yourself and others
Physically yo-yo dieting, gaining and losing weight repeatedly, is linked to heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. Emotionally yo-yo dieting can be tied to depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem. Yo-yo dieters can be extremely critical of themselves, and those negative messages take its toll on how you feel about yourself, which can impact how you relate to friends, family and romantic partners.
What can you do?
Come back for more tips on how to get off the road of disordered eating and on the road of body acceptance and food peace.
I am a marriage and family therapist and mindfulness and mindful eating teacher. My passion is helping others to heal their relationship with themselves, their bodies, food and other people.