Eating is essential for survival, but for some people, it can become a source of stress and anxiety. Disordered eating is a pattern of disturbed eating behaviors that can range from mild to severe and can have serious consequences on physical and mental health.
One common form of disordered eating is being too restrictive with food and ingredients. This can take many forms, such as cutting out entire food groups, eliminating specific ingredients, or limiting the amount of food consumed. While these restrictions may start with good intentions, such as wanting to improve health or lose weight, they can quickly spiral out of control.
Being too restrictive with food and ingredients can lead to an unhealthy relationship with food. People may become obsessed with counting calories or micronutrients, avoid social situations that involve food, or feel guilty or ashamed after eating certain foods. These behaviors can lead to feelings of anxiety, shame, and guilt, which can harm both mental and physical health. Being too restrictive with food and ingredients can also lead to nutrient deficiencies, causing a wide range of health problems, such as weakened immune systems, anemia, and osteoporosis. This can also lead to imbalanced hormone levels, which can cause menstrual irregularities and infertility.
It is important to remember that all foods can have a place in a healthy and balanced diet. Depriving the body of essential nutrients can lead to cravings, binges, and ultimately, a cycle of disordered eating behaviors. The key to a healthy relationship with food is to adopt a balanced approach to eating that allows for flexibility and variety. This means allowing yourself to eat a variety of foods, including those that may not be considered “healthy,” in moderation. It also means listening to your body’s hunger and fullness signals and avoiding extreme diets or restriction.
If you suspect you may be struggling with disordered eating, it is important to seek the help of a healthcare provider or a registered dietitian.
Written by Director of Nutrition, Madison Shaw, RDN