Eating Difficulties

What Are eating difficulties?

A sign of an eating difficulty can be when the way you think about food gets in the way of your health & your life. 

  • Eating difficulties can happen to young men and young women.
  • Eating difficulties can be treated.
  • Only a trained doctor can tell you for sure if you have an eating difficulty.

Names for eating disorders:

  • Anorexia Nervosa is when a person eats very little and doesn’t get the calories they need every day to keep their body healthy. 
  • Bulimia Nervosa is when a person throws up what they eat as a way to control their calories. Sometimes a person with Bulimia will use laxatives (they make you go to the toilet) to quickly get rid of their food as well. 
  • Binge Eating Disorder is when a person overeats and cannot stop
  • Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified: a person will be given this diagnosis when they have signs of more than one eating disorder, but not all the signs.
  • Muscle Dysmorphia: young men struggle with this more often than young women. This is when a person uses too much exercise, a strict diet and sometimes steroids to build muscles and change their appearance.
  • Body Dysmorphia is when a person can no longer see their body as it truly is. (illustration on left to help explain)

How do eating difficulties happen?

Sometimes eating difficulties start as a way to deal with difficult feelings or when a person feels out of control with parts of their lives.

Things like being bullied about your appearance, not liking how you look, thinking you need to look like someone else (famous people / popular peers/friends), or a very terrible experience can start an eating difficulty developing. 

People who have eating difficulties can sometimes eat too much, eat too little, and/or exercise too much as a way to feel better or in more control.

What Can You Do If you Think You Have An Eating Difficulty?

  1. Talk to someone you trust: a teacher, a guidance teacher, your GP, your parents or a favourite family member can all listen to your worries. They can also help you find out if you have an eating difficulty and how to get the best help for you.   Sometimes even just sharing your worries can help you feel better.
  2. Keep a food diary: sometimes keeping a note of what you are eating every day can help you see that you might need help making healthier choices for your body to stay fit and have more energy.
  3. Relaxation: for a lot of people, things like Yoga or Meditation can help them feel more in control of their bodies and more relaxed about them too. Yoga and meditation are great for helping you find more positive thoughts about yourself.
  4. Art: sometimes it is really hard to talk about how we feel about our bodies. Some young people find it easier to explore and understand how they feel by drawing or painting. Art is amazing too for helping people relax and increase their self-esteem (click here for more info on self-esteem).


For all eating difficulties:
Men & eating difficulties:
Anorexia & Bulimia:
Binge Eating: