This article is part of a running series with Rowan University’s Healthy Campus Initiatives. This collaboration aims to educate students about personal well-being options. For further updates, follow @RowanHCI on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook.
Meet Caleb Jones, junior Psychology major, who wrote this article to bring awareness to an issue not often talked about. He shares, “There is increased recognition and destigmatization of eating disorders, but still little discussion about disordered eating behaviors that may not seem so obvious or extreme.”
At least 30 million people of all ages and genders suffer from an eating disorder in the U.S. (Hudson, Hiripi, Pope & Kessler, 2007). In recent years, various groups have been working to end the stigma associated with eating disorders. Many of us are aware of the types of eating disorders there are and their symptoms. However, we rarely discuss disordered eating behaviors. Those who partake in disordered eating behaviors may not fit all criteria necessary to be diagnosed with an eating disorder, but this does not mean that these behaviors should be ignored.
It is also possible that individuals may not even recognize their disordered eating behaviors, especially if these practices have been a part of their lives for a long period of time. This is why it is important for us all to check in with ourselves when it comes to how we think about food. What are our attitudes, opinions and feelings about what we put in our bodies? How does this relate to how we feel about ourselves?
Disordered eating behaviors may include but are not limited to: restricting, excessive calorie and macronutrient counting, rigid rituals and routines surrounding food and exercise, shame and guilt associated with eating, and hyperfixation on weight and appearance. It is important to note these patterns in ourselves as they may be a sign that we have the potential for developing a full-blown eating disorder.
Recognizing these behaviors before they get worse gives us the opportunity to protect our mental and physical health from declining before things spiral out of control. There is no shame in struggling with an eating disorder, nor disordered eating behaviors, and everybody deserves the support or treatment they need in regards to bettering their relationship with food.
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Caleb Jones, junior psychology major
Alyssa Bauer, senior public relations major
Hudson, J. I., Hiripi, E., Pope, H. G., & Kessler, R.C. (2007). The prevalence and correlates of eating disorders in the national comorbidity survey replication. Biological Psychiatry, 61(3), 348–358.