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Question
Posted by: Maggie | 2010/09/24

Do I have a bad relationship with food?

Hi, I''m 23, female, 1.75m tall and I weigh between 55- 56kgs (it doesn''t fluctuate higher or less). I''ve been obsessed with food for years but I don''t starve or binge. I feel bad for eating, even if its just a bowl of cereal. I have an office job but walk for at least an hour a day. I bring as little food to work as possible but then get hungry at night (I do eat breakfast and my lunch) so sometimes I eat a big meal at night. I have no control when it comes to treats. I feel terrible for doing this but then I don''t have the energy to exercise some more. Do I have an unhealthy attitude towards food? What can I do about it?

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageEating Disorders Expert

Hi Maggie,
In short, I have to say that your short description does paint a rather unhealthy picture. For one thing, you are slightly underweight, and should be weighing closer to 60 kilograms for someone of your height (and age). Your weight should also fluctuate a little more that one kilogram, especially if you are menstruating regularly. Are you menstruating regularly, as this is an important indication that your body is producing sufficient oestrogen? You say that you don’t starve, yet you appear obsessively preoccupied with eating small quantities of food which is an unhealthy sign. Your getting hungry at night might be due to a lack of sufficient calorie intake during the day. This might also be what accounts for your feeling out of control when it comes to treats (which I assume are refined carbohydrates). Maggie, I suggest you consider two steps: First, I would advise you to see a registered dietician and have your current eating habits reviewed and probably revised. You should try to eat three equivalently sized meals (breakfast, lunch and evening meal) though the day, with a small snack between each meal and one before bedtime. Given your questionable attitude to food (and likely your body), I suggest you consider seeing a psychologist, preferably one who has some experience in working with clients who suffer eating disorders. I am not sure whether you live in a large city or whether you come from a smaller town, but Cape Town, Johannesburg, and Durban all have specialists. You can email me for a specialist if you wish. Professional treatment is expensive, so make use of your medical aid if you have one and budget for what you can afford. However, please do something to change your current picture, as it will very unlikely change for the better on its own. I hope this helps.
Regards, Graham

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2
Our users say:
Posted by: Eating Disorders and Obesity Expert | 2010/09/27

Hi Maggie,
In short, I have to say that your short description does paint a rather unhealthy picture. For one thing, you are slightly underweight, and should be weighing closer to 60 kilograms for someone of your height (and age). Your weight should also fluctuate a little more that one kilogram, especially if you are menstruating regularly. Are you menstruating regularly, as this is an important indication that your body is producing sufficient oestrogen? You say that you don’t starve, yet you appear obsessively preoccupied with eating small quantities of food which is an unhealthy sign. Your getting hungry at night might be due to a lack of sufficient calorie intake during the day. This might also be what accounts for your feeling out of control when it comes to treats (which I assume are refined carbohydrates). Maggie, I suggest you consider two steps: First, I would advise you to see a registered dietician and have your current eating habits reviewed and probably revised. You should try to eat three equivalently sized meals (breakfast, lunch and evening meal) though the day, with a small snack between each meal and one before bedtime. Given your questionable attitude to food (and likely your body), I suggest you consider seeing a psychologist, preferably one who has some experience in working with clients who suffer eating disorders. I am not sure whether you live in a large city or whether you come from a smaller town, but Cape Town, Johannesburg, and Durban all have specialists. You can email me for a specialist if you wish. Professional treatment is expensive, so make use of your medical aid if you have one and budget for what you can afford. However, please do something to change your current picture, as it will very unlikely change for the better on its own. I hope this helps.
Regards, Graham

Reply to Eating Disorders and Obesity Expert
Posted by: Eating Disorders and Obesity Expert | 2010/09/27

Hi Maggie,
In short, I have to say that your short description does paint a rather unhealthy picture. For one thing, you are slightly underweight, and should be weighing closer to 60 kilograms for someone of your height (and age). Your weight should also fluctuate a little more that one kilogram, especially if you are menstruating regularly. Are you menstruating regularly, as this is an important indication that your body is producing sufficient oestrogen? You say that you don’t starve, yet you appear obsessively preoccupied with eating small quantities of food which is an unhealthy sign. Your getting hungry at night might be due to a lack of sufficient calorie intake during the day. This might also be what accounts for your feeling out of control when it comes to treats (which I assume are refined carbohydrates). Maggie, I suggest you consider two steps: First, I would advise you to see a registered dietician and have your current eating habits reviewed and probably revised. You should try to eat three equivalently sized meals (breakfast, lunch and evening meal) though the day, with a small snack between each meal and one before bedtime. Given your questionable attitude to food (and likely your body), I suggest you consider seeing a psychologist, preferably one who has some experience in working with clients who suffer eating disorders. I am not sure whether you live in a large city or whether you come from a smaller town, but Cape Town, Johannesburg, and Durban all have specialists. You can email me for a specialist if you wish. Professional treatment is expensive, so make use of your medical aid if you have one and budget for what you can afford. However, please do something to change your current picture, as it will very unlikely change for the better on its own. I hope this helps.
Regards, Graham

Reply to Eating Disorders and Obesity Expert

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