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IE - Dysfunctional Eaters

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Old 05-06-2014, 02:54 PM   #1
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Default IE - Dysfunctional Eaters

I've grown perceptive of dysfunctional eaters around me and amazed by how many different kinds of eaters there are!! I never paid attention to this sort of thing before, I've always had a very clear picture of how I wanted to see myself in the future as an eater and I finally discovered that IE is the only way that I could get there. I find myself very uncomfortable around disordered eaters in general. Disordered eaters have a way of penetrating my mood or psyche, their issues are obvious.

Such as:

- My friend X who criticizes herself before she puts any morsel of food in her mouth, every single time! "Not like I NEED to eat this sandwich but oh well" or "Can I steal one of your fries? I don't know how I'm gonna push these last 4lbs if I keep eating this way." It's like every time you eat with her she feels tremendous guilt and self consciousness about eating. She's thin by the way.

- The guy in our group who is a fitness geek who is always talking about protein, ratios, carbs, and drinks powders who's every meal makes me a better person.

- The family member who eats super super fast and literally cleans her plate at every meal I've ever shared with her.

- The overweight person who barely eats in public. You swear that you have no idea how they got to be 250lbs eating so little that you just assume that they are closeted binge eaters.

And most recently I ran into a few old friends at a recent work event. Friends from my college days. three of them all in one room I was practically certain that they are anorexic, all of them! Didn't eat anything at all, picked at their food, pretending to eat and looking so frail that it made me scared.
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Old 05-06-2014, 04:26 PM   #2
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Ugh I totally understand. Most of the exposure I get to other people eating is through my job:

My boss is a disordered eater and I share and office with her so I can't really get away from it. Whenever someone brings donuts to the office she complains about how unhealthy they are and about how she's overweight. Then she eats one or two. She's constantly talking about her weight. She drinks diet coke like a fiend (a habit I'm trying to break). She's always dieting or talking about dieting. She talks about food all the time, too- a drippy cheeseburger that she ate or cocktails that she had.

Then there's there are a couple of women upstairs who are always trying to eat healthy. Beansprouts instead of noodles, no bad carbs, no red meat, no cheese, big beautiful packs of berries from whole foods that are super expensive. They're always complaining about there being donuts, candy, or pizza at the office.

Then there's super athletic bro athlete guy. He's always talking about macro ratios and clean eating. He comments on my food when it's healthy. He'll give me a thumbs up if I'm eating chicken breast, vegetables, and fruit for lunch he'll tell me "good for you!" but ignores me if I'm eating cheese, pickles, and bread.

It wouldn't be that big of a deal if people just ate what they wanted to eat (for whatever reason, disordered or not). The problem is that people talk about it. They talk about their bodies and their eating habits and it is triggering for me.
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Old 05-06-2014, 06:48 PM   #3
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Years ago I went to a group held for people recovering from eating disorders. I was seeking help to heal from my own (starve/binge). Although ultimately, I do better and have done better working through it alone.

Anyway, one of the main commonalities was the secret keeping. Some of the people there were recovering from anorexia and/or bulimia. We all agreed that often we wanted to be alone with our disease. This manifests in many ways, but an example of something I did frequently many years ago was avoid going places that did not have "safe food" which was food I could eat without then dealing with guilt. So if my friends went out for pizza, and I knew that the place only served pizza or past dishes and friend food (not safe foods) I'd decline if I couldn't sway them to eat else where. And I never made my restaurant choice about the food! When I asked friends to change places it was because the other place was closer or cheaper, never about the food there!

But talking about it was a no no, because it drew attention to my disease and its a shameful feeling. If I went all day without eating as I often did, I didn't tell anyone. I didn't talk diet talk or anything that might be topic related to me disorder. I binged or starve and never talked about eating with anyone, for fear they would find out... It seems to me that some of the people you are talking about do not have disordered eating. They may have a preoccupation with their food or weight at this time (bathing suit season is coming) or for the ones that are very fit, it is obviously their passion. But I wouldn't go so far as to say disordered eating just because they have habits or behavior that make you uncomfortable.

In my experience ,for people that truly have eating disorders, it is not something they wave like a flag and talk about, complaining about donuts to others, or are vocal about their diet endeavors...they are usually more about hiding it from others...

Perhaps the example given of the obese person that wont eat in front of others would be this. As they will not even eat in front of others (shame??) but obviously they have a closet binge eating disorder, as you pointed out, as evident by their weight.
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Old 05-06-2014, 09:18 PM   #4
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It may be a matter of perception but in IE alerting with guilt and shame is considered dysfunctional. Secret eating is only one aspect of dysfunctional eating. Others would be guit and shame, justifying food "well I only ate a small breakfast so it's ok if I eat this donut now," self judging, and all methods of controlling food intake such as calorie counting, food restriction or deprivation, weighing food, etc. In relation to an intuitive eater this is all dysfunctional.
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Old 05-07-2014, 12:36 AM   #5
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Intuitive eating addresses all kinds of problematic food behaviors and reasoning, not just eating disorders. There are many people who benefit from IE who don't have eating disorders but they still consider their relationship with food to be troubling.

I guess the terminology might be confusing. I can only speak for myself but I'm pretty sure that disordered eating =/= eating disorders in wannabe's original post.
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Old 05-07-2014, 08:37 AM   #6
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Yes I should clarify, that I did not mean eating disorders, that's why I called it dysfunctional eating. What I listed above was food behaviors that are problematic. Someone who says something negative to themselves each time they put a bite of food in their mouth may not have an eating disorder, but it could mean that they have a poor relationship with food and a low self esteem - I remember this particular friend was getting married last year and had lost an extreme amount of weight, she ate so little that she constantly felt weak and even passed out a few times all in the name of losing a few pounds to look a certain way in a dress. I wouldn't say she has an eating disorder, but that is an extreme situation that is neither healthy nor sustainable - hence she has gained all that weight back since, and a little extra.

Or for example the person who is self righteous in their fitness quest, they tend to be really preachy which I take to mean that they're trying to convert other people and show them the way, and they act sort of like martyrs. These people tend to swear off certain foods in the name of everyone's health, and frankly that's not a particularly healthy relationship with food either. You don't need to demonize food in order to be fit.

Or the person who cleans their plate and eats really fast, that's also dysfunctional. It seems almost impossible to imagine that whatever amount of food a restaurant puts in front of you is the exact amount that needs to go into your stomach. It's like the border of the plate determines your eating. It seems to me that if someone is eating according to how hungry they are they'd stop at a certain point, based on the extremely large portion sizes in restaurants. That or they would still be hungry and ask for more food. But what are the chances that every bite of food is the exact amount of food your stomach needs? Your stomach can't see the food can it?
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Old 05-07-2014, 09:28 AM   #7
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At my fattest, people would say that I was like a vampire because I seemed to subsist on no food. I was great at secretly eating, mostly because I was ashamed to be a female glutton, it felt so socially taboo to be a woman and such a big eater. The only person who could match my eating were giant men. I would pretend to be as full as others after a normal size meal. I have a talent for eating a lot of food esp now that I don't have a thick layer of fat to weigh down my belly as I eat and I'm considering entering an eating contest cause I don't feel that shame anymore. This could be me.

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Old 05-07-2014, 09:35 AM   #8
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Ok, I see now that you are not talking about true eating disorders. I think that the idea of dysfunctional eating is a matter of opinion, so you can list those that, in your opinion, do not have a healthy relationship with food, but is there any real evidence or literature behind it? It seems there's books about IE that say this, but there is also an entire community that think IE is complete hogwash. Actually, I frequent some fitness forums/sites and within the fitness community, especially more hard core like bodybuilding, they feel IE is an excuse for fat people to stay fat by being able to eating whatever they want. So while you are saying the health nuts counting calories, macros and micros and swearing off certain food are dysfunctional in their eating, they believe the same about you. And I'm sure they can site books they've read supporting their opinion.

I think people need to do what works for them. But I don't agree that observing and label others eating habits should be part of that journey. Do IE books say to do that? I've never read any. Do they actually tell you to notice others around you, or is that something you are doing on your own?

Do what you have to do, but know that as much as you are critiquing other people eating habits, some of them are doing the same to you. And really no one is right or wrong, I guess.
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Old 05-07-2014, 09:45 AM   #9
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Yup, its pretty interesting. There's a strong inclination amongst many to push for less obsession over food, more moderation, more moderate goals but at the same time, a lot of us post about food and the way we eat and the way that others eat etc probably way more than anyone else that we may define as being "too obsessive." I just think that with some of the methods and the time spent - it doesn't feel like most people (including myself) are practicing moderation and going for moderate goals, but instead are just not-very-moderately thinking about how to doo moderation for moderate goals. With all this effort, might as well go for the gold itself.
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Old 05-07-2014, 09:52 AM   #10
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Believe me, I don't there is a person on earth that can criticize myself or my eating as much as I have lol. But thanks for trying your best to try to make me feel like crap, anytime someone calls me a fat slob is not a good day indeed.

No, IE books do not tell me to judge other people. Instead, it's more of an awakening that happens as you figure out your own body's needs. It's just seeing things from a different perspective. I always knew for example that my husband did not have an eating disorder, I knew he always ate when he was hungry and didn't eat when he wasn't hungry. Sometimes that used to bother me a lot because I couldn't relate to it. For example I would be cooking his favorite meal, pasta bolognese and he'd ask when dinner would be ready. I'd tell him 35min or so. He couldn't wait, he would literally look for food to eat immediately! And very often that snack would prevent him from eating dinner, the dinner that I made especially for him. This would p*** me off. Now I understand, he's just really in tune with his hunger, he doesn't feel well if he doesn't eat when he's hungry and doesn't feel like he should have to wait. I don't get upset about that anymore, he can always eat my pasta later or tomorrow for lunch, it's not like it's going to waste. I now respect his need to honor his hunger.

IE just makes you aware of the natural eating patterns that other people naturally engage in. Like my son, kids are naturally intuitive eaters and I've learned a lot about eating from watching my son. He eats slowly, mindfully, he only eats the things he wants to eat, you can't force him to eat if he's not hungry just "because it's dinnertime" and I'm learning a lot by the people around me who seem to be casual and not anxious around food. I've always looked up to that, I don't like be anxious or nervous around food and so I'm very sensitive to that heightened sense of anxiety in others.

It's not about judging, it's about being observant. Locke for example finds this triggering, I don't really find it triggering but I do enjoy being around strees-free eaters and feel very comfortable where as being around judgemental eaters makes me nervous - probably because it mirrors my own disordered eating which I was so ashamed of, and nobody likes to see their own bad behaviors mirrored back to them. It did not make me nervous enough not to eat anymore, but it certainly had that effect in the past.

No matter what methods we choose to use are all individual and us IEers are here to support eachother just like every one else. I would like others to participate in the IE threads but I think it's uncalled for to call someone's method hogwash or to call them lazy fat people.
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Old 05-07-2014, 10:47 AM   #11
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Furthermore putting someone down for their dieting choices is unproductive. There is also a difference between saying "I tried xyz diet and for such and such reasons it didn't work for me" as opposed to "IE is just an excuse for people to stay fat." If I'm not doing a certain method it's because it didn't work for me, but judging someone and calling them fat and lazy and claiming that it's hogwash is pretentious, judgmental and unacceptable on a weightloss forum IMO.
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Old 05-07-2014, 04:36 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pixelllate View Post

I thought this was a picture of you at first but then I googled and found out that she is "The Black Widow". Apparently, her advantage is her skinniness itself, weighing only 98lbs.

BUT... she works to stay skinny - per Wikipedia:

"To stay in shape, Thomas has one meal a day, with lots of green vegetables and fresh fruit, and always avoids junk food. She exercises by walking on an inclined treadmill for two hours, five times per week."
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Old 05-07-2014, 05:00 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wannabeskinny View Post
It's not about judging, it's about being observant.
Using terminology like "dysfunctional" and "disordered" when discussing these eating habits in your first post does sound judgmental, though. And I think that's GlamourGirl's point. If IE is working for you, that really is wonderful and great and I hope you will find this method as your ultimate success. However, when you post something like this:

Quote:
It may be a matter of perception but in IE alerting with guilt and shame is considered dysfunctional. Secret eating is only one aspect of dysfunctional eating. Others would be guit and shame, justifying food "well I only ate a small breakfast so it's ok if I eat this donut now," self judging, and all methods of controlling food intake such as calorie counting, food restriction or deprivation, weighing food, etc. In relation to an intuitive eater this is all dysfunctional.
...I find this fairly judgey. For me, counting calories and tracking my macronutrient intakes works for me. It is the only thing that works for me. It would be more "dysfunctional" for me not to curb my binging behavior in response to stress and other negative stimuli through calorie counting. I can't do IE because my desire to eat isn't exactly tied into my more natural hunger signals. And counting calories, or allowing myself extra ice cream one evening because I didn't eat as high of calories earlier in the day, isn't tied to any sort of shame or guilt. It's tied to, "Oh sweet! More ice cream! Rock on!" Binging on a bucket of ice cream because I had a bad day at work, or eating an entire large pizza when I find out a family member is dying, is tied to guilt and shame.

Anyway, by the definition you give here, my eating behavior is dysfunctional, and that word has a lot of negative connotations. I'm not personally insulted, but I can see how others who, for example, count calories would be insulted by this.

Perhaps in the future you can find some other words that more accurately describe your point, assuming you didn't actually mean doing anything but eating intuitively is doing it wrong. And by your most recent response it doesn't seem you meant that. That's just how the word choice comes across.
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Old 05-07-2014, 05:01 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pixelllate View Post
More power to you, pixellate! To me that just looks like the gut ache from h**l.
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Old 05-07-2014, 06:00 PM   #15
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Its seems my post really struck a cord with you, wannabeskinny. I'm not sure how well you actually read my post, but *I* don't think that. I think I was very clear that those thoughts are ones I've read on other fitness forums. I'm simply telling you that while you seem to think (at least this is gathered by so many of your posts on IE) that IE is the only truly mentally healthy way to eat, there are many many people that think IE is, yes, hogwash. Or dysfunctional, if you prefer that term.

I never used the word judgmental, though I agree someone can perceive your post that way. I don't see the point or gain in posting about people's eating habits that you believe are dysfunctional or why you think you have the authority to label them as such. As atmos said, some people need to use these methods, to lose weight. Its not dysfunctional. Its a way to ensure that someone is taking in enough or not too many calories to either gain or lose weight. But for others calorie counting can absolutely be triggering and not a healthy behavior for them in their weight control journey. Its really a case by case basis. Like I said, no one is right or wrong.

I am being blunt about some people thinking IE is "something fat people do to stay fat", but its not *my* thoughts or words. Its out there on the internet, along with many many other things I don't believe. And I never used the word "slob" and I think you adding that in really shows that you skimmed my post and heard what you wanted to hear, and that this is a very sensitive point for you. Understandably. I have specifically google IE along with negative words to heard from people / posts that did not find it useful. I did this because I consider what I'm doing now IE. I believe that's my current practice. And I know I'm not using it to stay fat, though I will admit it slows my weight loss a lot when I do not count calories/portions etc. I'm doing it right now because calorie counting is VERY triggering for me to start restricting and under eating. And that ultimately leads to a binge. So I'm in this limbo where my IE has taken me to this current weight and I need to start counting calories, but I don't want to trigger my ED. If anything IE is the only place I can exist at peace for now.

You really need to relax a little. And read posts before replying. And stop putting words that are in *your* head into my mouth.
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