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Q&A – Do I have an eating disorder?

Question:

Is it an eating disorder if I am hungry but I won’t let myself eat? Nothing sounds good anymore… And I’m fine with it because that means I won’t be eating all the time and I’ll be losing weight! To me it sounds like one. I would love to know your opinion and advice if needed.

Answer:

I wrote an entire column about anorexia and my battles with it. If “nothing sounds good anymore,” you sound as if you’re on the road to an eating disorder, as denying yourself food when you’re hungry isn’t healthy. You need to eat (healthy food, mostly!) until your body is satisfied. Girls, I’d like to hear what you think about this reader’s question. Do you believe she may have an eating disorder? Have you ever struggled with an eating disorder?

Image: Hemera | Thinkstock

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63 Comments

  1. Musicalviking

    Posted by Musicalviking on May 10, 2013 at 13:23

    I may have an eating disorder and I would like some intense prayer so I can get out of it!! please!!!

  2. loveaubrey

    Posted by loveaubrey on June 4, 2012 at 17:13

    Yes it sounds like an eating disorder to me. I used to have an eating disorder, anorexia, and am now recovering, but it was the worst time of my life. Know that you are beautiful just the way you are and should not go through that!

  3. Project Inspired

    Posted by vd726 on May 7, 2012 at 23:58

    Personally it doesn’t sound to me like anorexia. Anorexia is more of a mental health disorder than a purely physical one. It sounds like you are concerned about weight loss and everything and either
    a) you are so worried about your weight that food repulses you (which may easily turn into an eating disorder)
    b) you are just not hungry! I know during different days (especially when I’m on my period!), I have no appetite and can go for like 18 hours without feeling hungry at all. I usually force myself to eat atleast a granola bar or something when I get like that, otherwise you will gain weight!
    God bless

  4. sportslover

    Posted by sportslover on March 14, 2012 at 11:45

    I do the same thing. Everyone says that I am way to skinny already and I dont need to lose weight but I think it doesn’t hurt. I’m not on a diet or anything but when I get hungry, Nothing looks good so I skip meals alot (especially breakfast)I don’t think its an eating disorder

  5. Project Inspired

    Posted by Kasey on December 7, 2011 at 15:16

    I don’t think I have a problem, but it is true, I watch how much I eat, and I’ve been eating a LOT less lately. I noticed but was okay with, I though it would be a good thing, because I still eat, just not that much. Then the other day my mom told me she wanted me to eat all my lunch like she thinks I’m not eating enough. I’ve been overweight almost all my life, but I’ve lost over 30 lbs this summer (I also started volleyball, so that might make a difference) Do think I should eat more?

  6. Project Inspired

    Posted by Beautiful Bride on November 13, 2011 at 06:46

    I believe she does.I have had a eating disorder and that sounds alot like what I use to do.

  7. Project Inspired

    Posted by xXjeXsiXx on November 5, 2011 at 00:14

    Yes and no. You need to eat but not always I guess. It’s really more of a question of whether or not you’re ACTUALLY hungry or just bored. If you’re just bored, don’t eat, but if you’re actually hungry than eat.

  8. Posted by on October 28, 2011 at 09:42

    I struggled with an eating disorder last year…it sounds like one to me. At first I made a conscious decision not to eat then soon it became easy for me to where nothing sounded good. Trust me, it’s NOT where you want to be. I understand it looks like a great option. But satan’s telling you those lies, that’s you’ll be prettier and feel better about yourself and ect. But they’re just that…lies! I got away from God while destroying the body He made. I lost everything and the thought still haunts me today. I regret it. So please, stop while you can and talk to a trusted adult or good friend.

    • Posted by on October 28, 2011 at 09:48

      After awhile I actually started to miss God. I missed talking to Him and asking Him for help or just spending time in His word and telling Him how amazing He is! I pray you get to that point because that’s what brought me back!

  9. Posted by on October 10, 2011 at 13:53

    I don’t eat unless it’s a meal, i’m STARVING, or i just feel like having a snack, myself. I used to eat huge amounts of food, and it took me a long time to get to the place where I didn’t feel fat eating a snack.

  10. Posted by on October 4, 2011 at 17:24

    Hey Nicole! i need to know:

    i’m 5ft 8 inches tall and weigh 149. am i at a healthy weight? there are people who are my height in marching band(great workout btw!) and they weigh less. people call my body more curvy. i dont carry a lot of weight on my upper half

    • Posted by Nicole on October 4, 2011 at 23:36

      yes, I am a similar height and weight and I am totally healthy and feel good! 🙂 Rock it girl!

  11. Posted by on September 9, 2011 at 17:06

    I don’t know what to do about my problem. I either don’t want to eat at all or I eat a ton and I feel so fat because my sister weighs less than me and she’s 2 inches taller than me! I really have no idea what to do.

    • Posted by Nicole on September 12, 2011 at 13:02

      everybody is built different. You need to know this. You’re probably more curvy, which guys love! (in the future when you’re old enough to date) eat healthy. don’t deprive yourself so then you eat too much. Work out and do pilots (I love!) so you feel confident in your body. And remember- you are PERFECTLY made, God designed you just as he wanted! Try not to focus on your weight- but on your pretty hair, your smile, your eyes, your kindness- get involved with a hobby you love.. and just act confident and you will BE confident!

  12. Posted by on September 1, 2011 at 21:28

    I have struggled this summer with the EXACT same problem! I would be hungry and not eat, nothing sounded good anymore…and in the mean time, I thought it would be okay that I wasn’t eating more than one meal a day(thats only cause my parents made me)…..cause I would be skinnier. But I knew not eating wasn’t good for me, and I denied the fact that I had a problem, when really I knew I did. So finally I just broke down and admitted it. I asked God for help, to give me an appetite. And within a week I was back to getting hungry, and actually wanting food. So my advice to you is pray about it…God can do anything! (Matthew 17:20)

    • Posted by on October 28, 2011 at 09:46

      That’s awesome Darby!! I know exactly what you’re talking about. I did the same thing and God was there for me!

    • Posted by Nicole on September 3, 2011 at 12:39

      I am praying for you Darby!

  13. Posted by on August 31, 2011 at 00:07

    I used to when I was in 7th and 8th grade because I heard someone say I have a big butt. Now I’m trying to get past all that and live a healthy life. But it’s hard when you’ve created a bad habit. 🙂

  14. Posted by on August 29, 2011 at 21:29

    I believe that I was on my way to having an eating disorder. I wasn’t hungry, the sight and smell of food (even the mention of it) nearly made me vomit. I was force-fed by my family and my then-boyfriend. While I did use the bathroom after eating, I never threw-up; but I did try. My body just couldn’t do it. Then after losing 10 in less than two weeks I was threatend with being put in the hospital. I ended up forcing myself to eat until I gained back part of the weight.
    But from then on I have hated most foods. I can’t even eat meat/eggs/beans/almost everything without wanting to gag. I still believe that I may have an eating disorder or that I’m on my way to one. But I haven’t lost any weight so I don’t know what’s going on with me. In fact, I gained weight. I’m also anemic and hypoglycymic.

    • Posted by Nicole on August 29, 2011 at 22:59

      I am so sorry Victoria- have you talked to a counselor or a therapist, or a counselor? This is a VERY serious disorder that needs to be treated asap. You can’t keep neglecting and hurting your body like this. Please get professional help. You WILL overcome this!

  15. Posted by on August 25, 2011 at 06:36

    You may just be bored with food. Nothing compels you to eat. Try going to the market and buying something you’ve never tried before. I’ve had health problems and even when I’m not feeling an appetite I eat that way my body is processing something. You may be fatigued or stressed and you just don’t feel the need to eat. It may be that your mind is focused on something else. So go and try some different food and always be snacking if you aren’t eating as much.

  16. Posted by on August 23, 2011 at 14:58

    I think ive got a problem with binge eating… any advice nicole?

    • Posted by Nicole on August 26, 2011 at 14:35

      can you please see a counselor about this- this is a serious issue and you need to address it. I am praying for you- you WILL overcome it!

  17. Posted by on August 15, 2011 at 18:35

    It could be an eating disorder, but it could be something else. If you’re taking any medication, it could be a side affect. Talk to your doctor. (Even if your not taking medication, talking to a doctor would be a good idea) (:

  18. Posted by on August 14, 2011 at 14:31

    I used to struggle with forcing myself to throw up the food I ate. I wanted to lose weight, and so often I would go days without eating, then when I just couldn’t go without food anymore I would eat then throw it up. Although I only threw up once a day usually. I was also working out everyday for 1 hour at minimum. When I did research on Bulimia and realized if I stayed doing what I was doing I could end up dieing. I decided losing weight was not worth that. It took a long time to adjust to eating normally, but now mostly I am. And it is so freeing.

    • Posted by Nicole on August 15, 2011 at 19:26

      I am so, so happy Rose to hear that you are saved from that horrible disease. God heard your prayers!

  19. Posted by on August 3, 2011 at 14:20

    Hello, Nicole! I just have a suggestion 4 you and it has to do with health. My dad is in a business called Herbalife, I don’t know if you have herd of it. It is a great and wonderful collection of products that are made of 100% natural ingredients that help give you the energy and well being you need. I really think it is part of something divine because God’s Word speaks of something related.

    Sirach 38:4 (New American Version)

    • Posted by Nicole on August 7, 2011 at 16:10

      oh interesting! thanks Dani I’ll check it out!

  20. Posted by on July 31, 2011 at 22:01

    My cousin is only 11 and already doesn’t eat because she “doesn’t feel like it” or shes “not hungry”. I don’t think she does it on purpose, but I don’t want to see what happens if she does start that especially since she’s going into middle school. Also, her bro, who is 15, calls everyone fat and ugly with no care to anyone’s feelings and that could be part of the reason. However, she’s pretty short for her age. For lack of any other way to get thru to her, I told her she couldn’t give our 5-year-old cousin piggy back rides anymore, which she loves to do, because I didn’t believe her bones were strong enough to handle the weight, which is true. I hope it got her thinking about how she takes care of herself.

    • Posted by Nicole on August 7, 2011 at 23:12

      what a great way to show her love and support. Keep reassuring her that she is perfect just the way she is!

  21. Posted by on July 28, 2011 at 08:07

    Its is not healthy at all…i know my mom and i have been working on this muscle gain and weight lossing program on http://www.bodybuilding.com and it has me eating every 2 hour and yeah i got really tired of eating after a few day and i stop eating and i acctully gained weight..so if you not eating you will gain weight and loose your imprtaint stuff like muscle and stuff like that. If you want to loose wieght then you have to eat. but eat healthy. I hope i was more helpful and ill be praying you start eating and being healthy! God Bless 🙂

  22. Posted by on July 27, 2011 at 18:11

    i think she is on the road to an eating disorder…but I’ve been like that 2. and didnt eat 4 a week when i started to get my appetite back… it was funny i suddenly decided i wanted a turkey sandwich. 🙂

  23. Posted by on July 26, 2011 at 03:52

    I often deny myself acess to food because I tell myself i am not hungry, but I honestly do not feel hungry. Today all i had was a sandwich and a bowl of blueberrys. But I was STARVING. It’s Almost 5:00 a.m. and I still havent eaten something even though i am soo hungry. But nothing sounds good! If there was something I wanted in the house I would eat it.

    • Posted by Nicole on July 27, 2011 at 13:40

      Brianna- why are you doing this to yourself? You are so beautiful just the way you are, how God made you! Listen to Jonny DIaz’s song More Beautiful You, it will speak to you about this issue. Also, look up my article about anorexia- it’s a dangerous thing, and could take your life if you go too far. I am praying for you.

  24. Posted by on July 23, 2011 at 10:16

    I’ve never had an eating disorder, but I’ve experienced this before. Every once in a while, for a timespan as little as a day to as long as two weeks, I’m just not hungry. I just force myself to eat some sort of fruit or veggie every so often so that I know I’m not going to starve. I’m no expert on any of this, but I’d just tell you to be careful and make sure you pay attention to your needs. If you get careless (or care too much, as the case may be) you may very well develop an eating disorder.

  25. Posted by on July 20, 2011 at 06:48

    I’d say that you ar well on the way to developing a full-blown eating disorder. I’ve struggled with one, and you already have the same harmful thought processes going through your head that I did. In your case it is probably worth seeing a psychologist, a doctor, someone who is trained to recognize and diagnose eating disorders. At this point it sounds like you are in the very early stages of an ED, so IF you decided to get help, you would probably receive counseling to work on body image and pinpointing underlying factors that negatively affect how you view/use food. After all, eating disorders are usually about more than wanting to lose weight; food/weight is controllable, and the ED is something that no one can force you to give up. The fact that it’s something to control is the usual driving force for most people who suffer from them. You would probably also be referred to a dietician to learn more about food, how your body uses it, etc. IF anything I think you would be given an EDNOS (eating disorder not otherwise specified) diagnosis. It sounds like you are not at a critical point just yet, and I hope that the situation never gets that serious. PLEASE, please please please talk to someone before it gets out of control! Because when that little voice in your head that tells you not to eat gets strong enough…. you can’t break its hold alone. All the best!

  26. Posted by on July 18, 2011 at 17:46

    my sister laura has suffered with anorexia for about 2 years, and is now about completely healthy! I asked what her opinion was on this, and she says it sounds like the beginning of an eating disorder and that you should definitely talk to somebody you can trust and easily talk to, like your mom, or even your doctor! I am praying for you!!! 🙂

  27. Posted by on July 18, 2011 at 08:17

    Okay! Thanks, nicole. You have no IDEA how much you helped my day by just saying that I’m at a healthy waehgt!

  28. Posted by on July 18, 2011 at 06:09

    If you’re worried you have an eating disorder than you should talk to someone who can help you. We can give advice over the internet but none of us can diagnose it and asking/talking to someone who is a professional can’t hurt you.
    There is a lot of information we don’t have, so I don’t want you to assume you’re okay just because some of the commentators say they think you are.
    IF you have any doubts at all it’s best to talk to someone. If you’re not comfortable mentioning it to your parents there are a lot of online resources that help you.
    If you do have a problem there are signs if it’s getting worse and you definitely want to know those. Like for example, (I don’t know how old you are or if you’ve already started but if you have) are your periods regular because if you lose enough weight you’ll stop having them all together and that’s a sign something is seriously wrong.
    So, I guess my advice is learn the warning signs. Inform yourself so that you can prevent any serious harm to yourself.
    Not getting the food over works your body and you can die.

    I’ve struggled with this for a while now, so if you have questions or want to talk please feel free to email me.
    carbonwasters@yahoo.com

  29. Posted by on July 17, 2011 at 13:23

    I’ll admit that I have, but not anorexia.

  30. Posted by on July 16, 2011 at 20:23

    yes it is most likly a eating disorder

    • Posted by on July 17, 2011 at 20:09

      I struggle with this same thing every single day… I’ve tried lots of things to lose weight, but it seems all that I try doesn’t work! I excersise, and eat healthy, but my weight never changes! I’m 5’10, about 180 pounds.. am I unhealthy??

      • Posted by Nicole on July 20, 2011 at 20:14

        It depends on your body type. Is your frame medium or large? ( if you have big bones.) I also just noticed that your email says you’re a volleyball player, and that is also why you might be that weight is because a lot of it is muscle weight! With all the constant digging, spiking, and lunging on the court, your muscles are definitely working and getting stronger! Your body is perfect the way it is, just exercise regularly and make sure to eat healthy and you’ll be great! I hope this helped 🙂

  31. Posted by on July 16, 2011 at 13:18

    hey, nicole! I wouldn’t say that she has an eating disorder, but if she gets used to not eating, then I think that’s where it starts. BTW, since you were/are a model, I am 11, 5ft 3in. and I weigh 105.0. Do you think I’m at a healthy wait?

    • Posted by Nicole on July 17, 2011 at 12:01

      yes you are, and you could even gain some weight and still be healthy!

  32. Posted by on July 16, 2011 at 11:12

    You can’t deny yourself food when you’re hungry. If you’re hungry you need to eat. It’s not at eating disorder level but it sounds like it could get there if you let it. Some may say that not eating is the way to go, but it’s not. At first you actually might gain weight because your body is holding on to the fat it has. Then once it’s been happening for a while, some body organs start shutting down. If you need somebody to talk to about this, it’s probably me because I’ve struggled with this problem.

  33. Posted by on July 15, 2011 at 18:53

    I’ve never had an eating disorder but this sounds kind of like my friend when she puts food in her mouth she feels like puking and nothing tastes good and she loves it cause shes losing weight. And now she tries not eating for 3 days then eating again. And I think she may be on the verge so I don’t know thats kind of how she started. I think she needs to try to eat like fruits and veggies at least force them down you need to eat something. And actually starving yourself lowers your metabalizm and so you loose weight alot slower than if you just have a strict diet on eating fruits and veggies.

    • Posted by Nicole on July 15, 2011 at 23:17

      it really does slow your metabolism down, please consult your friend and sincerely ask if she has a problem. If she does, she should see a counselor. And pray for her, she needs your support 🙂

      • Posted by on July 17, 2011 at 19:37

        I’ve already tried consulting her and don’t worry I’ve been trying to be there for her so bad. But no matter what she just takes the starving lightly and changes the subject.

  34. Posted by on July 15, 2011 at 16:14

    Hi Nicole! (: your columns are amazing and help me in every crisis so thank you! Now to the question. I read your column on anorexia and it helped me love myself like I should. But I believe this girl may have an eating disorder because she’s happy she doesn’t want to eat. And she says nothing is interesting her to eat. I also have a close friend who had this problem and she does have an eating disorder but she Haas got help and support. My prayers are with her now and with you. thanks Nicole! (:
    -Abby

    • Posted by Nicole on July 15, 2011 at 23:18

      thank you so much Abby! Prayers are the most powerful tools in this world! 🙂

  35. Posted by on July 15, 2011 at 13:42

    I think it depends. Are you not letting yourself eat anything or just foods that you think are unhealthy? I think if you’re hungry and you’re not letting yourself eat anything then you could be on the wrong track and headed towards an eating disorder. You can always talk to your doctor about it too.

  36. Posted by on July 15, 2011 at 13:03

    I have almost the same question.. I don’t eat as much as I should and when I do its small portions… Food just doesn’t sound good to me anymore and/or I just never feel hungry..If yuu have any advice I would greatly appreciate it!(:

    • Posted by Nicole on July 15, 2011 at 23:19

      can you try making a list of delicious food that you DO like to eat? And show the list to your parents, and ask if they can make those things for you regularly to help you get more excited about mealtime 🙂

  37. Posted by on July 15, 2011 at 11:58

    I think you need to make sure it doesn’t turn into one. Remember, food isn’t your enemy if you use it right! Just remind yourself that the purpose of food is to give you nutrition, and you’ll stay healthy 🙂 I’ve struggled alot with my weight, and feeling like I’m contantly in a battle with food, and this is what my mom told me. Hope it helps! 🙂

  38. Posted by on July 15, 2011 at 11:29

    I wouldn’t call her anorexic quite yet. Anorexia is to the limit and crazy and i kinda felt the way she did for awhile but there’s always more to a story. She might be having a hard life at home or troubles at school and we can’t just judge her.

  39. Posted by on July 15, 2011 at 11:26

    i am really blessed to have never had an eating disorder….. but i still struggle with my weight!!! how can i loose weight without getting an eating disorder?????

    • Posted by Nicole on July 15, 2011 at 23:20

      I would try pilates! They have good DVDs you can buy at Target, with exercises you can do at your own house, with no equipment! I love pilates- it strengthens your muscles and helps you lean out. You’ll like it!

      • Posted by on October 15, 2011 at 06:50

        this is kind of random but funny, my 15 year old brother (who ways the same amount as his 12 year old sis aka me)is super skinny and was going to do pilates as a class at school instead of p.e. Me, my parents, and his friends all made fun of him for signing up for it since he would be the only boy so he dropped out. I think it would have been really funny if he had stayed in

  40. Posted by on July 15, 2011 at 10:55

    I didn’t struggle with an eating disorder, but there was a point when I was just never hungry and nothing was really appetizing, so I simply didn’t eat. Then my mother told me that not eating actually makes you fat because your body stores all the food because it doesn’t know when it will get more. You actually need to eat solidly every few hours to keep your metabolism running which is what helps you lose weight. If it’s weight your worried about, eat less more often, and don’t snack so much on junk food. Find other snacks such as nuts, fruits, and yogurt to eat every few hours. Even if you don’t feel hungry or don’t have an appetite, if you know you need to eat, you have to make yourself eat.

    • Posted by on July 22, 2011 at 16:10

      Rachel i agree with you. The human body’s metabolism is like a fire is you don’t through enough fuel or “food” on the fire your body goes into starvation mode and metabolizes its own muscle causing your metabolism to slow down, so you gain weight easier.