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Is It Possible to Have an Eating Disorder and Be Overweight?

By January 9, 2013

Can you be overweight and still be diagnosed with an ED? I am 5’6″ and weigh *** lbs. I weigh myself every day, sometimes more than once. I worry about every single thing I eat and hate my body. I no longer enjoy foods. I enjoy cooking the food, but I eat a lot more than necessary and I can’t sit and enjoy a meal because I feel guilty. Even if I know it is what would be considered healthy (broiled chicken, steamed veggies, etc.), I worry about what if I used to much oil on the chicken? My weight is almost always on my mind and I am not happy. I always assumed people who suffered from ED’s were thin. I get SO excited when I come across a new diet, or start one that I know has worked before, but I’ve never gotten past more than a few weeks on a diet before I am right back to overeating and re-gaining weight. I want to know if perhaps I should start researching and reading more about ED’s? I plan to purchase Constance’s book tomorrow. Thanks in advance for any answers. – Jill

Dear Jill,

Thanks for your courage to ask this question. Yes; it is entirely possible to have an eating disorder and be overweight. In fact, many of the women I have worked with over the years have been above their set-point weight. Although the symptoms you describe may not fully meet an eating disorder diagnosis, they are clearly impacting the quality of your life.

What you describe in feeling completely “controlled” by food and hating your body are very common themes in disordered eating. The good news is there is hope! By all means, read Constance’s book…that will provide great insight into your struggle with food. Also consider taking a self-test and explore the many articles and videos on this site.

It may be helpful to schedule appointments with a therapist and dietitian to start talking about why you are using food this way and how to get back to more freedom with eating and body image. The dietitian can provide some structure to your eating plan until you are better equipped to eat intuitively with balance, variety and moderation. The therapist will help you to understand the feelings driving your disordered eating; the two of you can develop a plan to meet emotional needs in better ways than by using food.

Most importantly, ask for help because it is out there and available to you…you are not alone in this struggle. You can do this!

Juliet N. Zuercher, RD