Am I starting to have an eating disorder?

Hello! This has been on my mind for awhile now and honestly it’s not the first time I’m going through this. I tend to have ‘episodes’ of catastrophic thoughts about how I look and how my eating habits will cause me to look a certain way etc… and now it’s happening again

I’ve picked up exercising as a coping mechanism and I started to realise a shift. From wanting to workout as a form of break from school, work and anxiety, I started to see workouts as a way to stay slim, fit and healthy. I started to exercise more, and when the time of the month comes, I rest and I eat… a lot… and recently I’ve been having super negative thoughts about how I look especially since I started to see signs of me gaining weight.

At the end of 2022 when I was going through a ■■■■ ton of negative events, my weight hit the lowest at 50kg. But it was also when I felt happy about how I looked. Ever since I gained and now that I’ve been yo-yo between 51-53kg, I feel anxious when I see it go from 52kg to 53kg and I get super worried if it hits 54kg.

I started to be more mindful of what I eat. But honestly I felt like that made it worse… and ugh I really really don’t know what to do about it all…

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good to know i’m not alone in this problem. same as you, i also excessively exercise. i exercise everytime i want to eat a meal. it also affects my social life because i keep on rejecting get togethers since im sure there’ll be some form of eating involved.

it would be helpful to know if this is an eating disorder and if it is, know what it’s called so that i’m not second guessing if im just living a healthy life or actually killing myself.

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Hi there @Yeothang,

Thanks for coming on and sharing about your struggles with your eating habits and attitudes towards your self. I also hear you about your anxious feelings and recognising that your thoughts about your weight might not be helpful. No matter, your thoughts and feelings given your circumstances are valid. :people_hugging:

You mentioned that this is not your first episode - are you able to recognise what might had let you to develop this attitude towards your looks and your weight? What about tasks and anxious feelings that you were trying to break from? It must’ve been very overwhelming for you during those periods. I hear you about developing positive habits although they gotta be healthy and that it will be more helpful if self-worth is not just tied to weight or shape; instead things that matter to you like values and values-driven goals - that could help shift the focus away from weight gain/numbers on the scale.

In the meantime, we can perhaps consider alternative ways to cope with overwhelming emotions and unhelpful thinking by expressing your emotions in a helpful manner, being kind to yourself, and shifting (to a more helpful) perspective.

Whether your body image (concerns about your physical appearance and distressing emotions) and eating is considered disordered, it will be best to have an assessment by a qualified professional that takes into account your history, the duration and intensity of the distress, signs/symptoms associated with the disorder, etc. So one of the first steps could be a referral from polyclinic for a clinical assessment which will details the sort of treatment and support that matches your needs.

I would think that there’s more you’re able to share about what you’re going through and that I’m curious to hear what you think about all of this. Remember that you deserve and can get the necessary support you need. Until then, take care! :slightly_smiling_face:

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Not a fitness guru but I think most people have a certain “body set weight” so if you eat and move normally you won’t deviate too much from it.

But if you lose too much in a short period, your body will try to compensate and bring it back up to the body set weight. Similarly if you gain too much weight in a short time, your body will try to curb your appetite and bring it down too.

Maybe instead of focusing on just pure numbers, can focus more on how you feel instead? I think exercise is a great way to cope and if that makes you feel happy then can do more - just try not to binge eat after exercising, otherwise it’s counterintuitive.