Eating Disorder Questionnaire
Do you or your loved one …
- Constantly think about your food, weight, or body image?
- Have difficulty concentrating because of those thoughts?
- Worry that your last meal is making you fat?
- Experience guilt or shame around eating?
- Count calories whenever you eat or drink?
- Feel “out-of-control” when it comes to food?
- Binge eat twice a week or more?
- Believe you are fat when others reassure you that you are thin?
- Obsess that your stomach, hips, thighs, or buttocks are too big?
- Weigh yourself several times a day?
- Exercise more than an hour every day to burn calories?
- Exercise to lose weight even if you are ill or injured?
- Label foods as “good” and “bad?”
- Vomit after eating?
- Use laxatives or diuretics to keep your weight down?
- Severely limit your food intake?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, even if you don’t fit the exact diagnosis for an eating disorder, your attitudes about body image, weight and food behaviors may need to be seriously addressed. An eating disorders professional can give you a thorough assessment, honest feedback, and advice about what you may want to do next.
How to Express Concern
If you are worried about the eating behaviors or attitudes of a loved one, it is important to express your concerns in a supportive way. It is also necessary to discuss your worries early on, rather than waiting until your friend has endured many of the damaging physical and emotional effects of eating disorders. In a private and relaxed setting, talk to your friend in a calm and caring way about the specific things you have seen or felt that have caused you to worry.
What to Say—Step by Step
- Set a time to talk. Set aside a time for a private, respectful meeting with your friend to discuss your concerns openly and honestly in a caring, supportive way. Make sure you will be some place away from distractions.
- Communicate your concerns. Share your memories of specific times when you felt concerned about your friend’s eating or exercise behaviors. Explain that you think these things may indicate that there could be a problem that needs professional attention.
- Ask your friend to explore these concerns with a counselor, doctor, nutritionist, or other health professional who is knowledgeable about eating disorders. If you feel comfortable doing so, offer to help your friend make an appointment or accompany your friend on their first visit.
- Avoid conflicts or a battle of wills with your friend. If your friend refuses to acknowledge that there is a problem, or any reason for you to be concerned, restate your feelings and the reasons for them and leave yourself open and available as a supportive listener.
- Avoid placing shame, blame, or guilt on your friend regarding their actions or attitudes; rather, recognized that these actions and attitudes may feel beyond their control. Do not use accusatory “you” statements such as, “You just need to eat.” Or, “You are acting irresponsibly.” Instead, use “I” statements. For example: “I’m concerned about you because you refuse to eat breakfast or lunch.” Or, “It makes me afraid to hear you vomiting.”
- Avoid giving simple solutions. For example, “If you’d just stop, then everything would be fine!”
- Express your continued support. Remind your friend that you care and want your friend to be healthy and happy.
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- NEDA (http://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org)
- Something Fishy (http://www.something-fishy.org)
- Eating Disorder Hope (http://www.eatingdisorderhope.com)
- Academy for Eating Disorders (http://www.aedweb.org//AM/Template.cfm?Section=Home)
- National Association for Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders (http://www.anad.org/)
- Eating Disorder Coalition (http://www.eatingdisorderscoalition.org/index.htm)
- The Elisa Project (http://www.theelisaproject.org/)
- The National Association for Males with Eating Disorders (http://www.namedinc.org)