Eating Disorders - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 09-10-2008, 04:29 PM
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What constitutes an eating disorder? Is it only anorexia or bulimia?



Can an eating disorder mean being fairly obsessed about food, daydreaming about what fabulous fare you're going to be conjuring up that evening?



Can an eating disorder mean bouncing off the frigging walls because you're going to your favorite Thai food place?



Do you think that vegetarianism masks an underlying eating disorder?



I'd really like to know your thoughts...
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#2 Old 09-10-2008, 04:47 PM
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From wikipedia "An eating disorder is a compulsion to eat, or avoid eating, that negatively affects both one's physical and mental health."



On that basis I don't believe that vegetarianism is an eating disorder.



I know that some people may use it as an excuse to be exempt from communial eating (with family, friends etc), giving themselves better control how much and what they eat under the pretense.



Certainly if you've been anorexic or had a similar ED then turning vegan is far far easier, as you're used to/have the mindset for restricting what you eat and denying yourself things you would otherwise feel the compulsion to have.
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#3 Old 09-10-2008, 05:10 PM
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Your wikipedia definition is what I always thought an eating disorder was. But I read something online today that was saying that being fairly obsessed with what you ate, or overly excited about what you're eating or are going to eat, also constitutes a disorder. I get really excited about food, but I always thought it was positive.



I think that some people can be fairly obsessed with vegetarianism in general, and I know that I can slide into that as well. But, do you think it has to do with the fact that we have to be diligent (and therefore seen as obsessive), since the status quo style of eating is, in general, not too veggie friendly?
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#4 Old 09-10-2008, 05:18 PM
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the most commonly known eating disorders are anorexia, bulimia and binge eating disorder. However a large amount of people who have an ED actually fit into the ED NOS diagnosis which is Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified. This can meet someone has all the symptoms but 1 or so of anorexia, bulimia etc or maybe they suffer from something like pica, rumination syndrome etc



to me an eating disorder is where food is used to deal with emotions



for me my eating disorder has meant a 24/7 obsession with food, calories, restricting, binging/purging etc. so for me i would think about food all the time, watch cookery programs, read cookery books and magazines, read all the nutrition labels on the back of things, walk around the supermarket for ages and ages looking at the food amongst other behaviours. i would cook for people, bake eccesivly but wouldnt eat it myself. often i would dream about things to do with my ED, so eating or b/p. for me it was all that i would think about.



at the same time i would do everything to avoid eating, i would also avoid restaurants where i would be made to eat, family meals, family occasions, socialising, anywhere where i would be made to eat.



but my ED was at the beginning anorexia and later on bulimia, so it may well be different for someone with one of the other EDs.



some people are vegetarian or vegan and have an ED. However for some people their vegetarianism/veganism is part of their ED. so where as some people would say they have a food allergy or intolerance, some people say they are vegan/vegetarian so that they can avoid eating fear foods in a more socially acceptable, less obvious way.
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#5 Old 09-11-2008, 10:57 AM
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Hey, Ces. Thanks for your post.

So, essentially an eating disorder can also be about obsessing about food (going to the store, checking out food, watching cooking shows, etc.), but NOT LETTING YOURSELF HAVE ANY OF IT? If that's the case then I certainly do not have an eating disorder! I go shopping, cook, and EAT!



I was asking my husband what he thought about this and he was like, "You don't have an eating disorder! You're very food focused, though." He also said I never say that I feel fat (except before my period) and he said (laugh), "You think you're beautiful! You don't have any disorder." To which, I was laughing.



Also, as far as hiding behind vegetarianism goes, I'm never really in social situations where everyone's eating except for me. There's always a great vegetarian option. If anything, people are like, "Where do you PUT all that food?"



I think I'm just fairly obsessed with vegetarianism. I think I have been for 16 years. Anyone else?
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#6 Old 09-11-2008, 11:24 AM
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To me, a disorder would have to cause some sort of problem in your life or you causing those close to you to experience due to food to truly have an "eating disorder"... same as for an addiction. Once it starts causing problems in your life or for your family, then it becomes a disorder.



A mental disorder is defined as a psychological or behavioral pattern that occurs in an individual and is thought to cause distress or disability that is not expected as part of normal development or culture.



Lots of people plan their meals, monitor their health, and get excited about going out to a favorite restaurant. No different than going to see your favorite play or sports team, at least I don't think.
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#7 Old 09-11-2008, 11:28 AM
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Yes i do agree. At some point, maybe not at the very begining, but fairly quickly, an ED causes both those that love you and yourself huge amounts of distress, worry and pain. There is a very good reason why so many people with EDs become suicide statistics.
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#8 Old 09-11-2008, 12:49 PM
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And when I say I'm kinda obsessed with vegetarianism, what I mean is, if I meet someone for the first time and it comes out that they're vegetarian, it's like my eyes are opened to a whole new side of them that I really resonate with. Suddenly, they're the most interesting person to me.



--Or--



If I'm going out to eat at a restaurant that FEATURES vegetarian options, I'm just so giddy inside. It makes me feel special. And you know what this probably is? I think it's the fact that I grew up in a family of 5 kids, and sometimes I think we had to fight to eat (ha ha). I think that now that I'm a grown up and can make my own choices, go where I want to eat, shop for what IIIII want, I'm just so excited to be able to treat myself really, really well. You know?
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#9 Old 09-13-2008, 03:48 PM
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you sound like you're passionate about food and vegetarianism (which is great and positive!), which is completely different to the life destroying effects of eating disorders. my anorexia almost killed me and i've learnt it was never really about food, that was just a mask and a coping strategy for a whole heap of underlying issues! i was also vegan before my eating disorder and it wasn't related, but i definitely used the veganism as an excuse for not going to restaurants/eating with people.

as long as you carry on eating the food you prepare, i wouldn't think you have anything to worry about
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#10 Old 09-13-2008, 04:24 PM
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I actually think its natural to be completely obsessed with food, in a positive way. I spend a lot of time thinking about where my food came from, what I would like to buy, buying it, growing it, preparing it, making food for other people and enjoying it. If food is a positive experience for you and it makes you happy, that sounds pretty much the way that humans were geared to think - we just happen to have a lot more choices and freedom with food than our ancestors did! But hunter/gatherers - I mean, they are defined by their methods of collecting food, and their lives revolved around collecting, preparing and eating.



I don't think its an eating disorder, I think its a natural perspective about food from someone who is probably connected with their body.
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#11 Old 09-21-2008, 09:24 AM
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I wonder why you suspect anything about an eating disorder, not to cast a negative light on the discussion. What made the possibility occur to you? Do you feel your thoughts about food occupy time you wish you spent thinking of something else, or doing something else?
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#12 Old 09-21-2008, 09:47 AM
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Yes- it's just my thoughts about food, as in, I'm always thinking about it. And yes, there are other things I should be doing.
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#13 Old 09-21-2008, 01:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Elanor View Post

Yes- it's just my thoughts about food, as in, I'm always thinking about it. And yes, there are other things I should be doing.



I think you might be a foodie, like most of us here.

I don't think it's a disorder, per se. Think of it more as a passion!

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#14 Old 09-30-2008, 10:38 AM
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Cassiel, in my second post, I mentioned that I'd read something that said if one is overly excited or obsessed about food, then that can constitute an eating disorder.



I guess Synergy's right. I'm a foodie. Yeah. I like that.
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#15 Old 10-21-2008, 09:03 AM
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I agree with the others, you're just very passionate about vegetarianism which is great. That is something to be proud of!! I don't think you have an E.D. Enjoy food and stay postive and passionate about food in a healthy way.
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#16 Old 10-21-2008, 09:27 AM
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Elanor- i think if your focus on food is causing you problems, and 'disorder' in your life, then perhaps its a disorder. for example:



-if you're so focused on dreaming about menus and mentally conjouring flavour combinations in your head at work, that you're unable to do your job on a daily basis and getting in trouble for it,

-if you're so passionate and driven to go try out a new expensive veggie restaurant that you neglect your responsibilities- like not picking up the kids from school cos you're outside the place sniffing the air, getting into debt to fund eating there daily,

-if you're so enthused about cake that you're stopping strangers in the street to ramble on about it and can't stop even though they get that "imma punch you now, lady!" look in their eyes,

-if you get so depressed when your dining plans change that you feel unable to get out of bed that morning, or start to sob hysterically about it in the street,

-if you're ritualistic about what you eat, and when, and how, and why, and how much, in what order, etc, and freak out if you have an odd number of peas or one is too yellow,



etc.... its perhaps out of control.



if you're just a bit "yay, food is brilliant!", thats slightly different. its like the fine line between passion and madness.
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#17 Old 10-25-2008, 01:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Elanor View Post

Cassiel, in my second post, I mentioned that I'd read something that said if one is overly excited or obsessed about food, then that can constitute an eating disorder.

not to neccessarily negate that this kind of behavior could be a disorder but it wouldn't be an eating disorder. eating disorders are in some way related to negative interactions with food; restricting food intake or fasting, purging by vomiting, laxatives, or exercise, overeating without the ability to stop, feeling extremely guilty for eating (there was a girl in a documentary who tried to kill herself because she ate 2 slices pizza). there's specific criteria listed in the DSM IV to diagnose eating disorders if you care to look them up specifically.

some eating disordered people use being vegan or vegetarian as an excuse to get out of eating. the worst part of that is that most treatment centers don't allow vegetarian or vegan diets.
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#18 Old 10-27-2008, 12:06 PM
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My ridiculously immature ex-boyfriend has recently run out of stupid things to say about me, so he's begun a rumor to my friends, new and old, that I'm only Vegan to hide an eating disorder. Apparently, as I understand from reading posts in other forums, this is a common accusation, and simply idiotic, in my opinion. Yes, I do have issues with food, but I think it comes from having a poor body image, which I never had until I picked up modeling, and I went Vegan before I became a model. Because of the negative impact it has had on me personally, I don't model anymore, but when I was modeling, I'd only allow myself to eat about 500 calories a day, and I was super strict about which foods I could eat, and I would call myself an ugly fat-a$$ every time I ate something so that I felt sick with guilt and would stop eating. Now THAT is a problem. But loving food and seeing it as a good thing, which it is, is not a problem or a disorder; it's a passion, like many people above me have mentioned. I'm relearning that food is fuel, and good for your body and mind, and slowly accepting myself for the way that I am. But I would say that you are simply passionate and that food is a great interest to you, and you do not have a disorder. =]
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#19 Old 10-28-2008, 10:09 AM
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I haven't visited this ED post for some time now. First, hoodedclawjen, you made me laugh out loud. Thank You for that.



And Gear Shifter, Thank You for your post, too. It was interesting-- it took me back down memory lane, as I, too, used to model. I stopped because of the negativity as well. I remember a woman from Milan taking one look at me and saying, "My dear, you must watch your weight and your skin. Eat just fruits." I was fifteen and VERY skinny, but had good muscle tone from running and surfing. I remember thinking, WTF?! I'm still a little girl who wants to play in the sun and the ocean and be healthy. What am I doing this for?! I had a pretty good sense about who I am from a young age.



As for the conclusion of your post, yes, food is fuel- not just for your body, but also for your mind. Your body-mind is a canvas waiting to be enriched by food-beautiful food!
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#20 Old 10-28-2008, 01:39 PM
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[QUOTE=Elanor]

And Gear Shifter, Thank You for your post, too. It was interesting-- it took me back down memory lane, as I, too, used to model. I stopped because of the negativity as well. I remember a woman from Milan taking one look at me and saying, "My dear, you must watch your weight and your skin. Eat just fruits." I was fifteen and VERY skinny, but had good muscle tone from running and surfing. I remember thinking, WTF?! I'm still a little girl who wants to play in the sun and the ocean and be healthy. What am I doing this for?!QUOTE]



It's incredible how cruel people can be. I mean, I understand that there are standards in the modeling world, just as there are standards in any profession, but I have had photographers laugh in my face when I asked if they would want to collaborate, and tell me that I am way too fat and that they don't work with plus size models. I'm 5'9", and when that was said to me, I weighed 130 lbs. I was constantly being told that I needed to lose at least ten more pounds, but I could nver break that 130 mark. But, now, I'm glad I never did.
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#21 Old 10-28-2008, 02:18 PM
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I don't know if you are still concerned with what you said in your original post, but I kind of agree with what Hooded Claw was saying.



I wouldn't place too much emphasis on giving it an 'eating disorder' label, but rather, if your obsession with food makes you unhappy, or gets in the way of your normal every day functioning, then I would say it's a problem. But if you enjoy your obsession with food... then by all means continue to enjoy your vegetarianism!

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