What Is the Difference between an Eating Disorder and a Diet?

What Is the Difference between an Eating Disorder and a Diet?While certain behaviors associated with diets and eating disorders may seem similar, there are major differences between the two, from their goals, eating habits and exercise habits.

Goals of Diets Vs. Eating Disorders

While both dieters and those with eating disorders are concerned with losing weight, that’s where most of the similarities end. The goals of each a diet probably includes the following elements:

  • Wanting to reduce intake of fatty, sugary or other unhealthy foods
  • Improving general health, energy levels, mood and etc.
  • Eating for long-term health
  • Avoiding diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure and etc.
  • Improving muscle tone and general strength
  • Reducing pain

While these goals mark those who are dieting, people with eating disorders only want to lose weight. They are not concerned with their overall health, only with being as thin as possible. Their motivation is often connected to an unhealthy body image, control issues or other psychological distortions. Even when everyone around these people hear concerns about low body weight and they endure many problems, they still see themselves as fat.

Habit Differences between Eating Disorders and Diets

A person on a healthy diet monitors caloric intake and eats a balanced diet. She may avoid fatty foods or those that contain carbohydrates or sugars, but she will eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. On the other hand, those with eating disorders behave differently: anorexics simply do not eat, and bulimics eat and then purge the food through self-induced vomiting or laxative abuse. They are not interested in healthy foods at all, as they see every calorie as an enemy.

Exercise Differences between Eating Disorders and Diets

While many dieters emphasize regular exercise to help with weight loss, people with eating disorders either don’t exercise at all or they do it compulsively. Some may work out for hours a day to make sure that they burn every calorie they took in and more. This can result in serious injury.

Help for Eating Disorders

The following symptoms may indicate an eating disorder:

  • Dishonesty about eating
  • Vomiting or laxative abuse after eating
  • A persistent belief that you are fat even when people trust say you are too thin
  • Eating to comfort yourself during times of stress or anxiety
  • Exercising despite injury

If you are even slightly concerned about an eating disorder, please call our toll-free helpline immediately. Anorexia and bulimia are deadly psychological disorders, so even if you think you can control your eating disorder, you probably cannot. Our team of counselors can help you find comprehensive, caring treatment for your body, spirit and mind. Don’t wait another day or skip another meal. Put this disease behind you and call our 24 hour, toll-free helpline now.