There are some common eating habits that people may assume are perfectly healthy, but they can actually harm your mental health. Some people are able to incorporate certain food-related behaviors into their lifestyle without feeling too restricted or stressed. However, some people may be more prone to eating disorders or eating disorders.
Ultimately, it’s a good idea to take a look at how your habits and mindset around food affect you. We spoke to nutrition experts and dietitians to find out exactly what they see over and over again in their clients that may be a sign of disorderly behavior around food.
If you notice you are displaying any of these behaviors, it doesn’t automatically mean you have an eating disorder or even disordered eating tendencies, but it does mean you may want to speak to a professional to find out. more.
Let’s find out exactly which eating habits can be disordered behavior.
Intentionally skipping meals
Skipping meals, or substituting noncaloric beverages in place of meals to “save” calories for later, can be a sign of deeper disordered behaviors. An example of this would be constantly skipping breakfast and drinking only coffee.
Not only is saving your calories by skipping breakfast potentially messy, it’s also likely to increase hunger and cravings later in the day and make it even more difficult to meet your nutritional goals.
We spoke to Kayley Myers MS, RDN who explained how good restrictive behaviors can be harmful. “A common disordered eating habit is avoiding certain foods to compensate for what you ate earlier in the day. This is usually fueled by rules about what we ‘should’ eat rather than our internal experience,” says Myers.
Obsessive calorie counting
Counting calories is controversial in the messy food space. Some people can track their diet by counting calories with very minimal negative side effects. Others, however, may become anxious to see their meal calorie counts or daily totals.
Counting calories or counting macros can be incredibly overwhelming without professional support or guidance on what those numbers mean. We recommend working with a registered dietitian to ensure you have support and training when tracking your food.
Counting calories in foods that are already very low in calories like mustard, spices, or hot sauce can indicate that there’s a messy pattern at play.
Obsession with food quality
There’s a new type of eating disorder on the block called orthorexia. Rather than restricting or overeating, people with this type of disorder eat regularly and can appear incredibly healthy and balanced in their choices. However, on the inside, they are very stressed and anxious that their food choices are “clean”, which can affect their mental health.
With the rise of social media and “what I eat in a day” videos, dietitians are waving red flags about increasing orthorexic tendencies.
Mandy Tyler, M.Ed, RD, CSSD, LD told us, “Extreme focus or obsession with eating ‘clean’ can become a form of eating disorder or possible orthorexia. What begins with a desire to eat healthily can turn into an elimination of many foods that do not meet the individual’s definition of ‘healthy’ or ‘clean’.”
Sticking only to individual “safe” foods
There are many reasons why someone might think certain foods are unsafe. Barring allergies, it’s possible that food sensitivities or health issues have made certain foods incredibly harmful.
People with irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS, frequently report a fear of food due to gastrointestinal reactions. This is valid, but super complex and often requires trained medical professionals for support.
Andrea Senchuk, RD, MHSca Monash-trained dietitian, explained how IBS and food fears may be linked.
“IBS can be painful to live with. There is no cure, symptoms fluctuate and finding an effective treatment can feel like searching for a needle in a haystack. surprising that, in their attempt to cope with persistent digestive symptoms, many people with IBS develop disordered eating behaviors Driven by fear of painful cramps, embarrassing gas, urgent diarrhea, or constipation for several days, some people with IBS may chronically undernourish, skip meals, or strictly stick to a short list of “safe” foods,” Senchuk says.
Guilt of tripping you
Food guilt or viewing foods as “bad” can moralize our eating. If you struggle with disordered eating behaviors, you may feel immense guilt and shame after eating. Often, these scenarios are associated with arbitrary, self-imposed food rules that may or may not be rooted in science.
KeyVion Miller RDN, LDNdietitian and culinary nutritionist says, “Guilt can arise because you’ve eaten food after a certain time of day, or you feel extra anxiety because you’re hungry before a certain time of day. day. Sometimes in our quest to lose weight or do what we think is “healthier”, we ignore our mental health. We shouldn’t risk emotional health just to follow a current trend that doesn’t help. truly not.”
Eliminate whole food groups
The majority of the population, barring specific health conditions, would do well to incorporate Equipoise into their diet. When we cut out or remove whole food groups, we often feel more limited and are more likely to binge later.
Specifically, when removing an entire food group with the intention of weight loss or fear of weight gain, we see an increase in the likelihood of it being a disordered pattern.
Kim Arnold, RDN of Enlitened Nutrition expands on this topic further. Arnold says, “Removing or severely restricting an entire food group because of fear that it will negatively impact weight or cause poor health is a form of eating disorder. I often see it with carbs and sugar. There are many carbohydrates that provide quality nutrition. and energy and can support a healthy weight. I’m a firm believer that all foods can work when not taken to extremes.
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