During their initial appointment with me for a nutrition consultation, many of my clients complain they have “weird” eating habits. They even feel a bit embarrassed they can’t do something as simple as eat normally.
Some of these clients just need nutrition education to get them on the road to healthier food practices. Others have disordered eating practices or outright eating disorders.
If you wonder if you have an eating disorder, this SCOFF quiz can help assess your situation.
1. Do you make yourself Sick because you feel uncomfortably full?
2. Do you worry you have lost Control over how much you eat?
3. Have you recently lost more than 14 pounds in a 3-month period?
4. Do you believe yourself to be Fat when others say you are too thin?
5. Would you say that Food dominates your life?
Give yourself 1 point is for every "yes."
If you score 2 or higher, you likely are struggling with anorexia or bulimia.
Do you have food(s) that you try to stay away from because you fear you will overeat it once you start with a small bite?
For many of my clients, cookies, peanut butter, and bagels fit into this category of “trouble foods.” These hungry athletes try to stay away from these “fattening foods.” They believe that eating, let’s say, one cookie will lead to eating 200 cookies, and they will end up getting instantly fat. Sound familiar?
If a food has too much power over you, try this experiment (as suggested in the book Beating Your Eating Disorder):
• Weigh yourself (first thing in the morning) on Day 1 of the experiment.
• Make one dietary change that you are sure will make you get fat (such as eating a big cookie at breakfast).
• Maintain this one change for 7 days (without making any other food or exercise changes), then weigh yourself again.
• Repeat this experiment for another 7 days. Take the average of the weights. (Weight fluctuates due to shifts in water.)
Have you gotten fat? Doubtful.
Take note: if the scale has gone up a tiny bit, the gain is likely due to replenishment of depleted muscle glycogen (carb) stores. For each one ounce of carbs stored in your muscles as glycogen, you also store about three ounces of water. Hence, do not obsess about a number on the scale. Rather, observe how much better you feel during the day and also during your workout.
While food experiments sound like a good idea, the reality is they can be very anxiety provoking and hard work. Eating more calories is hard because you are giving up control without being sure you will feel better in the long run. To learn how to take the power away from trigger foods, try reading Beating Your Eating Disorder. Other self-help books are available at www.gurze.com.
Just imagine how nice life will be for you and your loved ones when you can wake up without food fears and rigid food rules… this is a change worth making!