ED Classification for ‘Eating Healthy and Purging’

By January 10, 2013

I am a very successful 22-year-old. I have a BA in international affairs and international security. I just bought my first home and have the most amazing boyfriend in the world. I am starting law school in the fall, but I am obsessed with food. I am 5’1” and weigh ***. It started with eating healthy and limiting my almost uncontrollable desire for chocolate. It has since developed into my eating healthy and purging. No matter how hard I try, I always eat until I am over-full. Even if it is a fairly normal sized meal, I still feel over-full. (I was raised in a household where we were punished for not finishing everything on our plate.) It has developed into my purging on a regular basis. I don’t know if it is bulimia because I only eat what would be considered a regular meal. My biggest weakness is chocolate, but not in unreasonable amounts. I will eat a candy bar and purge. I will eat dinner and purge. I feel overfull and still think I need to eat. It is a battle with my mind to not go get more food. I guess I want to know where I fall in the ED classification? Unfortunately, with my house payments and other bills, I can’t afford to get treatment, not to mention I would never use my insurance for fear of my boss/uncle finding out. What do you suggest?

Dear Visitor,

It seems you have a lot of guilt surrounding food and eating. You said you are obsessed with food, but what about weight? Are you trying to lose weight? It also sounds like your restricting has caused you more food obsessions and more guilt. This is very common. It is the way our minds and bodies work. I would ask you to consider how rational your thoughts about food truly are? For example, did you know there is no such thing as a “bad” food? A calorie is a calorie. All foods fit into a healthy, balanced way of eating.

Chronic purging may cause delayed gastric emptying which may be why you feel very full after eating normal amounts. Your medical doctor can test for this and there is medicine that can help. There are several standards for diagnosing an eating disorder. For example, if you are a normal body weight, purging without binging is an “Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified” or EDNOS.

It is a good idea to make sure your medical doctor evaluates you for medical side effects or complications. Typically, without professional help, an eating disorder will continue a downhill spiral. You said you cannot afford to see your doctor about this right now. My question is can you afford not to see a doctor now? It sounds like very good things are happening in your life and you have so much potential. An eating disorder will only disrupt future goals and happiness. Please see “Finding Treatment” for more information.

Eileen Stellefson Myers, MPH, RD, LDN,FADA