Tips & Info on Eating Disorders

The moment you suspect that someone might be suffering from an eating disorder, first express your concern to the person.
Think of:
* I have notice you have a low body weight.
* Do you want to talk about this? Do you need help?
* I recommend that you talk to your parents / guardians or doctor about this.

When do you have an eating disorder and when do you not?
Some people have problems with eating or with certain types of foods. There can be various reasons for this, such as limited taste, certain allergies or stress. There are also people who have trouble maintaining their weight. For example, they have an overactive metabolism. Or people who love food and are therefore overweight, but would want to learn to eat healthier. These people do not necessarily have an eating disorder. But sometimes these people do want help from their environment or a dietitian to get back to health.

An eating disorder is often actually a mechanism that arose because of underlying problems. You may be thinking, “I have no problems. I had a great childhood. ” Indeed, you don’t have to have severe trauma or a bad childhood to develop an eating disorder.

An eating disorder and the behaviours that come with it are actually the symptoms of underlying problems. Some examples are a negative self-image, low self-confidence, a feeling of loss of control over your life, high sensitivity, etc. In many cases the cause of an eating disorder is a combination of several problems.

This already shows that the problem with an eating disorder is not about the problem with eating. Rather, disordered eating is a manner of coping with problems. Unfortunately this is a seriously destructive way to cope. It is very difficult to get out of this alone without any help. That is why it is very important to take problems seriously, whatever they may be.

Eating problem or eating disorder?
Something is no longer an eating problem, but an eating disorder if it gets in the way of your (daily) life, if it restricts you to such an extent that it affects your life in a negative way, while you do not want to.

Tip 1: Talk
Get the person to talk about his / her eating issues with those around them. It is scary to say they may have an eating problem or eating disorder, but it is very important to be open. Let them talk about their problems, no matter how small or big they seem to you. They are valid problems and you deserve support!

Tip 2: You do not ” just ” pretend
If something is a problem, you have every right to get help and support with this.

Tip 3: Eating problem
Do you not necessarily recognize the person in what you read about eating disorders, but s/he does have eating problems? Perhaps s/he will benefit sufficiently from experiencing  support out of his/her network. Help the person and make agreements about their eating pattern. A dietitian can also help with this, because even then you deserve help.

Tip 4: Diagnosis for those with an eating disorder
Have you been diagnosed with an eating disorder or are you not given a label? Then ask yourself why you think you need that label. Look at yourself & your habits and if you feel you need help, ask for it! You deserve that, regardless of the problem.

Tip 5: BMI
Of course you can calculate BMI, but the severity of an eating disorder does not depend on one’s weight. Many people think that you have to be extremely low weight to have a serious, life-threatening eating disorder. But even if your weight is reasonably healthy, you can have a dangerous problem with eating. So take people seriously and don’t just look at appearance!

Online treatment is possible
The threshold for seeking help for those with an eating disorder is often high. Many people who have problems with eating experience a sense of shame and fear. Fear of not being taken seriously, fear of judgments from both bystanders and social workers, but also fear of what is to come. For example, therapy in a group or treatment for which you have to interrupt your studies. These can be all kinds of objections that keep people from seeking help. Online treatment for eating disorders can overcome some of those concerns and thus lower the barrier to professional help.

Online treatment is increasingly being offered for eating disorders. The website www.etendebaas.nl has been treating eating disorders by means of an online treatment process since June 2009 and research by Tactus and the University of Twente shows that this treatment is very effective.

Chat about possible eating disorders / problems is also possible at https://chat.proud2bme.nl/  

You cannot say whether someone has an eating disorder. That person deserves help.
For any challenge!

If further consultation is desired, the THMP confidential adviser can be contacted via info@themodelshealthpledge.nl 

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