~Body Image~
What is it?
Body Image Self-Assessment
Ideal Weight
Body Types
Tips for a Positive Body Image
Tips for Staying Healthy
Eating Disorders
Body Dysmorphic Disorder
Male Image Issues
Support Groups
Diet Industry
The Media's Effect
More than just Dolls?
Eating Disorders

Anorexia Nervosa

Anorexia nervosa is characterized by self-starvation to avoid obesity. People with this disorder believe they are overweight, even when their bodies become grotesquely distorted by malnourishment. Women who strive for less than 15% of ideal body weight are at risk for anorexia nervosa.
Physical complications include cognitive disturbance, muscular weakness, changes in sleep patterns, electrolyte disturbance, anemia, dizziness, osteoporosis, constipation, irregular menses and possible infertility.


Bulimia is characterized by massive food binges followed by self-induced vomiting or use of diuretics and laxatives to avoid weight gain. Some anorexic patients combine bulimic purges with their starvation routine. These disorders generally afflict women—particularly in adolescence and young adulthood—and are much less common among men. Some researchers believe that anorexia and bulimia are caused by chemical imbalances in the brain; one study has linked bulimia to deprivation of tryptophan, an amino acid used by the body to make the neurotransmitter serotonin. Others contend that these disorders are rooted in societal ideals that value slenderness.
Physical complications include electrolyte imbalance which may result in severe cardiac arrest, dehydration, swelling of fingers, ankles and faces, irregular menses, dental deterioration and gastrointestinal disturbances.

Binge Eating Disorder

Binge eating disorder is characterized by consuming large quantities of food in a very short period of time until the individual is uncomfortably full. Binge eating disorder is much like bulimia except the individuals do not use any form of purging following a binge. Individuals usually feel out of control during a binge episode, followed by feelings of guilt and shame. Many individuals who suffer with binge eating disorder use food as a way to cope with or block out feelings and emotions they do not want to feel. Individuals can also use food as a way to numb themselves, to cope with daily life stressors, to provide comfort to themselves or fill a void they feel within. Like all eating disorders, binge eating is a serious problem but can be overcome through proper treatment.
Physical complications include obesity, menstrual irregularities, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholestrol, osteoarthritis, decreased mobility, shortness of breath, heart disease, liver and kidney problems, cardiac arrest and/or death.

Compulsive Overeating

Compulsive overeating is characterized by uncontrollable eating and consequent weight gain. Compulsive overeaters use food as a way to cope with stress, emotional conflicts and daily problems. They usually feel out of control and are aware their eating patterns are abnormal. Like bulimics, compulsive overeaters do recognize they have a problem.
Compulsive overeating usually starts in early childhood when eating patterns are formed. Most people who become compulsive eaters are people who never learned the proper way to deal with stressful situations and used food instead as a way of coping. Fat can also serve as a protective function for them, especially in people that have been victims of sexual abuse. They sometimes feel that being overweight will keep others at a distance and make them less attractive. Unlike anorexia and bulimia, there is a high proportion of male overeaters.
In today's society, compulsive overeating is not yet taken seriously enough. Instead of being treated for the serious problem they have, they are instead directed to diet centers and health spas. Like anorexia and bulimia, compulsive overeating is a serious problem and can result in death. With the proper treatment, which should include therapy, medical and nutritional counseling, it can be overcome.
Physical complications include weight gain, hypertension or fatigue, heart ailments
mobility problems, diabetes, arthritis, sciatica, varicose veins, hiatal hernia, embolism, sleep depravation, toxemia during pregnancy, high blood pressure, shortness of breath, high cholesterol levels, cardiac arrest and death.

Do you think you may have an Eating Disorder?

Take a look at the following list of questions. The questions presented involve behaviours and feelings that are common in someone suffering with an eating disorder. The purpose of this test is NOT to decide for you that you have an eating disorder, but to help you determine whether or not you have one. The only person that can decide whether or not you have an eating disorder is you. This test is also SPECIFICALLY for individuals who feel that they may have an eating disorder.

___ Do you starve yourself on a regular basis?
___ Do you binge and then self induce vomiting?
___ Do you feel out of control when you eat?
___ Do you feel powerful and in control when you are able to abstain from eating?
___ Do you binge on food when you are experiencing negative feelings?
      (ie. anger, sadness, etc.)
___ Do you feel that you do not deserve to eat?
___ Do you know the calorie content in the foods that you eat?
___ Do you feel the only control you have in your life is in the areas of food and weight?
___ Do you believe you are fat, even though people tell you otherwise?
___ Do you feel that you have to be perfect in everything that you do?
___ Do you use laxatives, diet pills, or diuretics as a method of weight control?
___ Do you exercise to burn calories, rather than to stay fit?
___ Are you secretive about your eating habits?
___ Do you feel anger towards anyone that questions your eating habits?
___ Do you feel guilty after you eat?
___ Do you hear negative messages in your head
      (ie. saying you're fat, ugly, worthless, etc.)
___ Do you avoid social events because there will be food present?
___ Do you think about food constantly?
___ Do you believe that life will be perfect and you will be happy if you lose weight?
___ Do you have an intense fear of gaining weight?
___ Do you feel ashamed of your eating behaviours?
___ Do you feel that no matter what you do, it will never be good enough?
___ Do you think that you may have an eating disorder?

If you have answered yes to three or more of the following questions, it could be a sign that you do in fact have an eating disorder or the beginning of one. You may want to consider seeing a therapist or talking with someone at an eating disorders clinic about this matter.

The Eating Disorder Test is written and created by Colleen Thompson and Michelle Comeau from mirror-mirror.org