We are all familiar with the big names in the world of eating disorders: Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa, Binge Eating Disorder, and Compulsive Overeating.
But between and beneath these psychological giants lies a vast terrain known as Disordered Eating.
People suffering from Disordered Eating but not AN, BN, BED, or CO may be diagnosed with "Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (ED-NOS)". They may exhibit the traits of Orthorexia Nervosa (patients with this disorder obsessively avoid and refuse to consume foods considered "unhealthy." They are obsessed with eating only perfectly pure foods), or subclinical symptoms of AN, BN, BED, or CO.
An example of someone with Disordered Eating but perhaps not yet a full-blown eating disorder is, well, a stereotypical healthy living blogger.
This stereotypical blogger may subsist on an entirely 'clean' diet, consisting primarily or even exclusively of vegetables, egg whites, carefully selected protein powders, and chicken breast. The problem is not necessarily the foods she eats, though - the problem is that she will have a breakdown when facing a mandatory break from her specific diet. For example, she may freak out if she has to go to a restaurant that does not offer any "healthy" (by her standards) options. She cannot simply indulge and move on.
Excessive exercise may or may not be present in an orthorexic patient.
Another example would be a woman with Exercise Bulimia. If this girl indulges a craving and feels she has overeaten, she will spend hours at the gym until she feels 'clean' and 'in control' again. She may also restrict her caloric intake the day following a binge or an episode of self-perceived overeating.
Then, of course, there are examples of ED-NOS that escape easy definition.
When this picture was taken, I was obsessively weighing my food, eating the same safe foods every day, and was completely inflexible in terms of my workouts and my dietary intake. I was dieting for a contest, but the tenants of Disordered Eating are there: inflexibility, obsessive focus on my food intake and exercise output, and, as a fun bonus, a fixation on my appearance.
Basically, to my mind, Disordered Eating and Eating Disorders may be summarized as afflicting a woman with an obsessive, unnatural fixation on food, caloric intake, or the quality/cleanliness of that food/caloric intake. Body image problems may be involved, but NOT all Eating Disorders or ED-NOS involve body image.
This is of course rampant within the healthy living blog community. I mean, most healthy living blogs do in fact focus on food - and healthy/clean food at that - and excessive exercise. And who is attracted to this genre of blog? People who also have an unhealthy focus on food.
That is why irresponsible blogging bothers me so much.