How Do You Know If You Have An Eating Disorder?

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How Do You Know If You Have An Eating Disorder?

It’s a good question.

The #1 sign that comes up is fear of food.

Sometimes the fear of food manifests in the consequences you fear what food will do to your body:

  • you fear food will make you gain weight
  • Or maybe you fear bad things will happen if you eat unhealthy
  • you obsessive, ruminate, punish, and compensate excessively if you ‘screw’ up around food

This is the main sign – fear.

how do you know if you have an eating disorder
does this make you anxious, tingly, nervous?

Some eating disorders people tend to be more slender (anorexia), but other times people struggle with weight (binge eating but not always).

Some eating disorders you eat quick (binge), but other times you eat over time (emotional).

So the real, root sign of an eating disorder is fear around food.

That’s how you can answer the question –

How Do You Know If You Have An Eating Disorder?

But it’s not just enough to know you have binge eating disorder or some other food struggle!

You have to do something about it.

And the reason I’m writing this post is because I just recently spoke with a few people at my last workshop.

A powerful story emerged from one of my private conversations …

Occasionally at a social event a woman would suddenly find her throat stuck with fear.

Fear of binging.

She told me on of her binging fears was of fondue.

hunger training
All these parts of her brain were screaming to eat the fondu

A rarer item, but nonetheless you’ll see Fondue at social events every now and then.

You’d think Fondu wasn’t as bad as say donuts, chips or pizza. Fondu is just fruit and chocolate. Donuts, chips and pizza have a lot of calories!!!

But …

The first time my friend binged on fondue at event, she just kept eating and going back for more or more.

She was at a social event, and no one was paying attention her getting 2nd’s, 3rd’s of these sugary fruits.

And eventually she had the realization:

She would have to go to her car. So she sat in her car and and felt like throwing up she was so full.

And fast forward a few years …

A few more social events with fondue…

And my friend now believes if there is fondu at a party, she is going to binge.

Cause and effect.

Her memories have an experience of Causation.

Fondue causes binge eating.

(or more precisely, social event + fondue causes binge eating)

fear of deprivation

This is where Intuitive Eating Bay Area comes in

Intuitive eating helps her realize …

She was in deprivation…feeling light headed and dizzy due to her weight loss.

Which caused the binge eating.

Deprivation was the cause of binge eating … Not fondue.

And intuitive eating is getting her to see her food fear differently.

She’s realizing that yes…

She does have an instinctual, programmed association with binge eating and fondue.

This association is similar to PSD (formerly known as PTSD).

In PSD, you associate a stimulus (like a bomb going off) with an effect (harm).

The problem is …

how to eat intuitively and lose weight

In real life there are all sorts of noises, so it’s easy to mistake a loud noise with the sound of a bomb.

Like a car honk might cause an automatic association to think you’re in EXTREME danger!

(When in reality someone is just honking at you because it’s a green light and you zoned out texting your friend while driving – stop doing that!)

The same thing occurred, with my friend, with binge eating.

Fondue (stimulus) and effect (binge eating).

Yet … she had mistaken deprivation for fondue.

Early on when she developed the fondue pattern, my friend was living in deprivation.

She was dieting and not letting herself eat what she wanted to eat.

There would be days when she just wanted to eat something healthy!

But her diet wouldn’t allow it.

She was starving herself on her diet.

And starvation can be either physical or emotion, and in my friends case, she was starving herself physically and emotionally.

She was living in a state of deprivation.


In this state of deprivation, a rare and unique item – fondue – overpowered her.

(Her defenses were low because starvation lowers self esteem and body image and immune system)

So …

In her weakened state, her body would take over and Force her to lose control and eat her beloved fondue.

Her body literally would not let her starve any more in order to lose weight.

And my friend, not knowing about intuitive eating, had mistakenly thought ….

Mistakenly thought that fondue was to blame!

When in reality the state of deprivation was to blame!

Had my friend been eating adequately, not trying to lose weight based on a too-hard-to-achieve body standard, then she would never had gotten into deprivation in the first place!

Without the deprivation setup, fondue would have been totally normal.

Fortunately now with her health at every size mindset she is learning differently 🙂

About the Author

Jared Levenson is a former binge eating wrestler turned Zen Buddhist Monk, Internal Family Systems counselor and nutrition wellness coach. He's helped hundreds of people through universal meal principles and internal family systems to make peace with food, stop binge eating, and find true health and wholeness.


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