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Eating disorders

What is an eating disorder?

A person has an eating disorder when their weight or what they eat becomes an obsession. Most often, their goal is to keep getting thinner, even if they’re already thin. That being said, some people may have an eating disorder without wanting to lose weight. They eat huge amounts to comfort themselves, without really being hungry. These people then feel very guilty and ashamed, which can make them depressed.

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An eating disorder is not…

  • being a picky eater: it can be normal to eat less when you’re stressed or to want to follow a specific routine related to food
  • occasionally having problems eating healthily, being on a diet, or being concerned about your body or weight

Thus, just because someone pays attention to what they eat or is on a diet, that doesn’t mean they have an eating disorder.

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Various eating disorders

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Frequently asked questions

Do you think you have an eating disorder?

If you have symptoms of an eating disorder, you need to know that you can be cured. But it’ll be hard for you to do it alone. Consult a professional who can help you. It’s also important for you to be supported by your parents and/or a trusted friend throughout the process. They’ll be your closest allies when the going gets tough. The road to a cure may seem long and hard but it’s worth it! Getting better will allow you to live a full life, realize your potential, and become the person you truly are again!

I can’t manage to help my friend eat more. What should I do?

Some things that won’t help: forcing him/her to eat more, congratulating him/her if he/she eats something, or complimenting him/her on his/her appearance. Your friend might feel pressured, which could lead him/her to withdraw from other people. Your friend’s health depends on his/her psychological condition, and only health care professionals can help him/her get better. What you can do is help your friend to consult someone. Avoid making comments on his/her appearance, food, or weight. Just be there and listen to him/her. The first step toward a cure is to confide in someone and realize that one has a problem...

How do I know if I really have an eating disorder?

Certain signs can give you a hint: you’re never happy with your weight and it obsesses you, you isolate yourself and avoid meals with other people, your eating habits have changed a lot (you hardly eat any more or, on the other hand, you eat too much), you feel guilty after eating, etc. Once these signs have been identified, get support from trusted people like your parents or a friend and consult a health care professional. He/she is the only person who can diagnose an eating disorder.

Can eating disorders be treated?

Of course, provided that you get the support you need. Consult a health care professional, who will know how to support and help you. Don’t give up, even if it seems to take a long time and isn’t always easy. Once you’re completely cured, you’ll finally be able to concentrate on your dreams and goals and you’ll achieve them more easily.

Is there a problem if I’m careful about what I eat?

There’s a difference between an eating disorder and taking care of your health by paying attention to what you eat. If you feel dissatisfied with your body and that leads you to avoid food or make yourself throw up, you need to consult your doctor. These practices are risky for your health, and it’s important for you to develop other tools to take care of yourself. If necessary, seek help from a professional, such as a nutritionist or a personal trainer, who can guide you to better practices.

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