ED 101: The Basics

So for those who are completely new to the world of eating disorders, whether you’re a support trying to learn and be there for your loved one or you simply are just trying to educate yourself- there are some basic words we use in the eating disorder community that you’ll hear fairly often.

1. ED- no….not erectile dysfunction…at least not in this case. ED is simply ‘eating disorder’ but way quicker to type!

2. ED Voice– It’s easier to think of an eating disorder as a separate person. Individuals with ED’s usually use the idea of an ED voice to help explain the shift in their mindset. The ED voice is the one saying you shouldn’t eat, you should go to the gym, you shouldn’t go out (Check out my blog for further details)

2. Treatment– Aka intensive therapy. There are different levels of care but any form of treatment is very emotionally draining and takes a lot of work!

3. Resi– Short for residential, a more intensive form of treatment where the patient lives at a specialized facility for a period of time.

4. Triggering/ Triggers– Triggers are anything that gets the ED excited or cause the patient anxieties. Triggers could include someone talking about calories, talking about body weight or simply going to the gym.

5. Food Rules– The Holy Grail of the ED diet. Food rules can be different for each individual. Food rules could include, not eating any carbs, not eating fruit, only eating green vegetables, not eating after 6 pm, not eating fruits before meals etc.

6. Food Rituals– Food rituals are the way a patient behaves with their food. They may not be aware they are even doing it, but not doing so brings lots of anxieties! This could include cutting pieces up very tiny, only eating one food group at a time, weighing food, measuring food, eating a specified times, only using a particular bowl/plate/glass

7. Safe Foods– foods the patient feels comfortable consuming

8. Fear Foods– foods the patient does not feel comfortable consuming

7. Restricting– This refers to reducing or eliminating certain foods, whether it be not eating at all or only eating safe foods, or even wanting a specific food but listening to the ED voice when it says “you shouldn’t eat that”

8. Binging– This is when a patient eats an unusual amount of food but feels out of control and unable to stop, can typically occur after periods of restricting

9. Purging– This is a behavior a patient will use to rid calories consumed or just to release anxieties. Purging can be in the form of throwing up, over exercising, or excessive laxative use.

10. Body Checking– Oh the joys of bad body image. Body checking is basically the verb of having a bad body image. It’s the obsessive thought or behavior over the body. This can be done by checking in mirrors and reflective surfaces, pinching body parts, frequently weighing oneself, or asking others if one looks fat. It is can be done hundreds of times a day (no not exaggerating) and can become habitual.

11. Meal Plan– Every ED’s nightmare. Once in treatment, a patient’s nutritionist will put him/her on a meal plan, providing the correct nutritional needs to the patients  (the point is to follow it, which is always a work in progress)

12. Team– Patients have a team which includes a therapist and nutritionist and may include a psychiatrist and various doctors.

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