Working On Us Prompt: If Disordered Eating Isn’t About Food or Weight

Today, I am once again joining in with the Working On Us Prompt. I hope the link works, as it once again gave me an error 404 when I tried to visit it. There are really two question prompts for this week’s Working On Us. I may post a separate post about the second question. The first asks what if eating disorders aren’t about food or weight? What are they about?

As a person with disordered eating tendencies, I can totally empathize with this question. I mean, yes, I am obese, but that in itself doesn’t qualify you for help with disordered eating other than a monthly kick in the ass from a dietitian. Well, that just isn’t enough for me.

Then again, I was told by my psychiatrist that I do not have an eating disorder, because the amount of food I eat during a “binge” isn’t big enough. Well, I understand. That doesn’t mean I don’t struggle with my relationship with food or weight.

Because that is really what disordered eating is all about: the relationship we have to food and our bodies. It isn’t about how much you eat, how much you weigh, or how often you exercise. It’s about the thoughts that go on in your mind.

For clarity’s sake: at the time that I was told I do not have an eating disorder, I was in the early stages of recovery from purging, which in itself does warrant an eating disorder not otherwise specified diagnosis. I was never fully bulimic, but I was coming close. That’s not my point though.

I struggle a lot with disordered thoughts about food and my weight. In fact, I think about food the majority of the time and those thoughts are not usually healthy.

Once, when I read a book about someone with an eating disorder, her psychiatrist suspected she was an alcoholic too. She administered a simple screening tool, which asked whether the girl had tried to cut back on alcohol, was getting annoyed or angry when people commented on her drinking, ever had alcohol first thing in the morning, and then there was another question. She answered “Yes” to three out of four questions. Well, I can answer yes to the three I remembered here when substituting alcohol with food. I occasionally overeat first thing in the morning, have very regularly and unsuccessfully tried to control my food intake, and I do get angry like all the freakin’ time when someone makes a comment about my food-related habits.

Yes, I knnow that to the outside observer, I appear like just an unmotivated, overindulgent fatass. What they don’t see are the inner battles I fight each and every day to deal with my disordered eating tendencies.

7 thoughts on “Working On Us Prompt: If Disordered Eating Isn’t About Food or Weight

  1. Astrid, Thank you so very much for participating in “Working on Us” Week #5 Prompt #1. Your story is so moving. You brought up a very valid point…It’s not about the damn food at all, it’s what’s happening inside of us that makes us think of food. There are a number of factors that goes into eating disorders, and most of which are triggers that compel us in our need for food.
    Heck, I was a raging alcoholic up until 4 years ago. I could drink enough alcohol that would kill someone, but I rarely ate. Once I quit drinking and was put on medication for all the mental health issues… That’s when I began gaining a great deal of weight. No matter how healthy I eat, I still only shed 16 lbs since April of this year. The sad thing is this… I went right back into my old eating habits based on comfort and sustaining my nerves. I know that makes no sense, but disorders such as this are really hard to understand.
    I thank you again for participating.
    God Bless YOU!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I dont have the healthiest relationship with food. It’s MUCH better now than it was, but I know I could slip back at any time given the right stressors on me…ect.
    I’ve been under and over weight.
    I struggled with it for years because of bullying.
    Eating was the one way I could be in control. It was a way I could make myself a new person. I was very regimental about what I ate, the little bit I ate, I was underweight at the time, but I saw myself fat.
    Then I went through a time of somewhat “normal”. I gained weight and yo-yoed for years.
    Then my illnesses made me gain, and I couldn’t stop.
    Then I lost 82 pounds. And started to completely freak about food again.
    I felt powerless about everything in my life, but I can control what I eat. I’m petrified to gain weight. I was weighing every morsel I ate. If I did not know the calorie content I did not eat. I broke down in sobs in the grocery store because I could not find bread with few enough calories I would allow myself to eat it. I tried and tried to purge but could not get it to come out. But no one cared because I did not have a disorder yet.
    That pisses me off about both of our stories, no one helps because it’s not bad enough yet. If they helped earlier it might not get that bad.
    I don’t know what happened with me, something clicked. I started mindfully and intuitively eating. I weigh myself every day still, but I don’t count calories, I don’t weigh my food. I try to eat well, it makes me feel better, I’m trying to listen to my body more and feed it.
    However, if the scale started to go up, I’m a bit more careful for a while, less treats and stuff.
    One big thing I thing that changed, my father died, and I dealt with how he was always telling me I needed to lose a few pounds.
    Anyway, it’s never about the food is it?
    Is it even ever about weight?
    I wonder how many people have disordered thinking (and actions) about food, that aren’t labled an eating disorder. And how many of those develop into a full blown eating disorder.

    Thank you for sharing you story.
    You aren’t alone. 💕

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh Wendy, thanks so much for sharing your story! It is heartbreaking but also comforting to know I’m not alone. Yes, I agree with you about many people being judged not bad enough even though they struggle greatly. This is so sad.


  3. Its so complex. It should never be about what we eat, when how etc. And it never usually is. I’m sorry that psychiatrist didn’t see your struggles and the turmoil you were obviously going through.

    Liked by 1 person

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