Hiram College

Dieting vs. Disordered Eating

I’m sure we have all dieted or known someone who has at some point in our lives. We may also know someone who has or is suffering from an eating disorder. So, how are we supposed to know the difference? How can you tell if your friend is being calorie conscientious or has an eating disorder?  I hope that  this blog post will provide you with a little more information and maybe even clear up some misconceptions. Having an eating disorder is much more than a diet. An eating disorder is an illness that is not just about food or weight it is often about a distorted body image, a need for control and an unproductive set of coping skills. Eating disorders need to be taken seriously- Did you know that eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness? Those who suffer from eating disorders need professional support. If you or a loved one is suffering from an eating disorder remember that help is out there. In combination with professional assistance, there are also apps available for smartphones that you may find helpful. A few of these apps for recovery include: Body Beautiful, Cognitive Diary CBT Self-Help, Emotes for Disordered Eating and OneHealth Meeting Finder

The 3 main types of eating disorders:

  • Anorexia Nervosa is the disorder associated with fear of becoming fat. People with anorexia diet excessively which leads to severe weight loss.
  • Bulimia Nervosa is the disorder associated with eating large amounts of food (binging) followed by behavior to avoid weight gain (purging).
  • Binge-Eating Disorder is associated with frequently eating large amounts of food in a short period of time. People with binge-eating disorder often feel a lack of control.

Did you know…

  • An estimated 25 percent of college-age girls resort to bingeing and purging to manage their weight. 58 percent of the studied girls felt social pressure to maintain a certain size
  • Men make up 10 to 15 percent of the population with anorexia and bulimia, but are the least likely to seek help due to the gender stereotypes surrounding the disorders.
  • Almost 50% of people with eating disorders meet the criteria for depression.
  • 20% of people suffering from anorexia will prematurely die from complications related to their eating disorder, including suicide and heart problems.

Possible signs of eating disorders:

  • Preoccupation with food, weight and body
  • Compulsive exercise
  • Avoiding eating in front of others
  • Abnormal weight loss
  • Vomiting after eating
  • Frequent comments about feeling “fat”  or overweight
  • Consistent excuses to avoid situations involving food
  • Unusual swelling of the cheeks or jaw area
  • Signs/smalls of vomiting
  • Feelings of strong guilt regarding eating

Are you at risk? Take this FREE online eating disorder screening:



Help is out there:

You can contact the professionals at the Julia Health Center by calling 330-569-5952

Cleveland Center for Eating Disorders: http://eatingdisorderscleveland.org/


Sources: www.nationaleatingdisorders.org




 *Today’s blog post was written and submitted by Amy Metea, Counseling Intern, Hiram College Student Health Center