Disordered eating can lead to an eating disorder, but not everyone who has disordered eating has an eating disorder. I guess i can atleast say that eating disorders are a mental illness, maybe disordered eating is as well somewhat, but eating disorders are when a person loses control. It may have began as wanting control over food, but once you have an eating disorder you actually have very little control over food. Either you eat too little or too much and its not "you" controlling that (in this post i guess i will sort of seperate the sick person and their eating disorder, even if it sort of the same person... but its easier to explain that way).
Disordered eating and an eating disorder are also about the extent of the behaviours and how much they control you. I mean disordered eating can affect social, mental and physical health and can stop you from living a better quality type of life.
I guess disordered eating is also the type where people are scared to eat certain foods because they think they have a weird texture or they have some type of weird belief about the food. Or when someone has very rigid eating times. From my own opinion i can think that people who are obsessed with eating every 2-3 hours for their metabolism or muscles, that is a little disordered.... because then you arent listening to your body. You are eating just because you think your metabolism will slow down if you dont or you think your muscles will waste away if you dont. However, sometimes you do need to eat even if you arent hungry and that isnt disordered, that is making sure you get the energy you need. But if you are very rigid and get anxiety if you eat at different times then that is disordered.
Below is some information which might clarify it a little better. But in a way disordered eating isnt a diagnosis and it isnt as extreme as eating disorders even if it can affect the person negatively in many ways and can be a form of OCD as well - such as food cant be touching each other on the plate or eating only one type of colour per meal (i.e just purple foods or just white foods or just green foods etc).
According to Beth Fontenot, "Disordered eating is characterized by a wide range of unhealthy eating behaviors and weight loss methods such as chronic restrained eating, compulsive eating, and habitual dieting. It may also include irregular eating patterns, avoidance of certain foods or food groups, and the denial of physical hunger and satiety, usually for the sake of losing weight. Disordered eating may begin as an effort to drop a few pounds or get in better shape, but the behaviors can become obsessive. Some disordered eating patterns can include symptoms of both anorexia and bulimia nervosa" Source (X)
- Self worth or self esteem based highly or even exclusively on body shape and weight
- A disturbance in the way one experiences their body i.e. a person who falls in a healthy weight range, but continues to feel that they are overweight
- Excessive or rigid exercise routine
- Obsessive calorie counting
- Anxiety about certain foods or food groups
- A rigid approach to eating, such as only eating certain foods, inflexible meal times, refusal to eat in restaurants or outside of one’s own home
- Concentration and ability to focus-- do thoughts about food, body and exercise prevent concentration or impede performance at work or school?
- Social life--is socializing restricted because it might require eating in a restaurant, consumption of foods that are scary or uncomfortable, or disruption of exercise routine?
- Coping skills-- Is food consumption and/ or restriction used as way to manage life’s problems or cope with stressors?
- Discomfort or anxiety-- How much discomfort do thoughts of food and body cause? Are these thoughts hard to shake and anxiety provoking?