Do I Have a Problem with Food

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Glasgow and West Scotland Eating Disorders Service

your voice counts : recovery exists

Do I Have a Problem with Food & Eating?

'I look normal and I’m not sure if I have an eating disorder’.

Some people think that because someone looks ‘normal’ then they can’t have an eating disorder.

We can look ‘normal’ but still have all these thoughts, feelings, worries, concerns etc. going on underneath.

As far as we are concerned, if someone says that they have difficulties with food and eating and that it affects their life in some way, then they may have an eating disorder and need help and support.  See more information below.

Eating disorders do not discriminate.  They creep upon anyone – male or female – of any age or background.  Eating disorders don’t care whose life they destroy. 

- Talking EDs -

Can You Tell?

Eating disorders come in many different forms and most people who have problems with food and eating do not meet all of the diagnostic criteria set out in lists and manuals.

Most people with an eating disorder or disordered eating do not fit into a specific category. We are all different. The myths and stereotypes often portrayed by the media and medical profession are inaccurate and must be challenged

It is important to reassure you that Talking EDs provides help, support and information to anyone who feels that they have problems with food and eating and that affects their life negatively in some way.

Please do not worry about accessing services because you have been told you look ‘normal’ or that your problems, thoughts, feelings, or behaviours are not 'serious', 'distressing' or 'frequent' enough. People can look ‘normal’ and be of a ‘normal’ weight but are, underneath, very ill and debilitated by their eating disordered thoughts, feelings and behaviours.

You deserve help and support from those who really understand and 'get it'.


If you  wish to think a little more about whether you might be experiencing an eating disorder or disordered eating, here's some questions to ask yourself (see bottom of page).

Some  questions will apply to you and others will not. We are all different: our experiences and problems with food and eating will be individual to each of us and  differ from person-to-person.

For more information about some of the different types of eating disorders known, please see the box to the left. 

Try not to let the 'labels' or 'names' put you off: most people with  food and eating problems   experience a combination of these, often at the same time or over a period of time.  No matter what problems and difficulties you are experiencing, you deserve help, support and someone to talk to.


Please tick the box beside all statements that apply to you. There are no right or wrong answers - just your own personal experiences that are unique and important to you.

1.  Do you use self-starvation, laxatives, diuretics, enemas, diet supplements, purging, self-induced vomiting, or excessive exercise as a way of losing weight or controlling the amount of food you eat? 

2.  Do you engage in any of the above when you are feeling sad, angry, lonely, depressed, confused, stressed, or when you are feeling under pressure or out of control?

3.  Do you spend a lot of time cooking for other people, reading recipes or looking at the calories and fat content in food?

4.  Would you worry about a family member/friend if they talked to you about having similar eating and food behaviours as you have?

5.  Do you hide food, eat alone, avoid eating in front of other people or engage in secretive behaviours surrounding your eating behaviours and/or buying and eating food?

6.  Do you even feel relieved, less stressed/pressurised, comforted, or more in control after restricting your food intake or bingeing and/or purging?

7.  Do you often feel guilty after a binge, after a snack, after overeating or after eating a small portion of food?

8.  Do you ever feel that you have immediately gained weight after eating even a small amount of food?

9.  Do you ever drink water, diet drinks, tea or coffee to suppress your appetite or to stop yourself from eating food?

10. Do you even smoke cigarettes as a way of curbing appetite and/or to stop yourself from eating?

11. Do you lie about what you have eaten and how much? Do you say you're not hungry, have already eaten, feel sick, are cutting out certain foods, eating healthier or that you haven’t eaten when you have? Maybe you say you haven't eaten, when in fact, you may have eaten a lot of food?

12. Do you ever do any of the following: avoid eating in public; make excuses to avoid eating meals; wear loose clothes to hide your weight/body; hide food; steal food; use laxatives/diuretics/diet supplements/enemas/caffeine pills; eat in secret; or exercise in secret?

13. Do you ever set weight targets only to find that when you reach the target you wish to lose more weight?

14. Do you weigh yourself often?

15. Does the number on the scales affect your mood and feelings of self-worth, or how ‘good’ you are as a person?

16. Do you chew and spit food (chewing food, then spitting it out rather than swallowing it)?

17. Do you binge (eat large amount of food in short period of time)?

18. Do you restrict your food intake or starve yourself (eating very little/nothing/as little as possible)?

19. Do you purge (self-induced vomiting, using laxatives/diuretics/enemas, exercising excessively)?

20. Do you take diet supplements, laxatives, diuretics, appetite suppressants, use enemas or use other substances to combat the effects of eating)?

21. Do you compulsively overeat (eat even when you are not hungry)?

22. Do you experience any other thoughts, feelings or behaviours about food and eating that affects your life in a negative, unpleasant or distressing way? If so, take note of these and get in touch for some help, support and a listening ear.

If you have found that you answer 'yes' to some of these questions, you may find that you wish to access some help and support from professionals who understand and can offer an  empathic, understanding and supportive space and listening ear. Browse the website for more information about the help and support we offer and please feel free to then get in touch via the Contact Page on this website.


Below is  a list of  types of eating and food problems we currently know about. There may be more types  that have not been researched or identified. Many people often experience a combination of these  and  find that the 'type' of eating and food problem they experience can change  over time or vary  at different points in their life

  • Anorexia Nervosa
  • Bulimia Nervosa
  • Orthorexia
  • Binge Eating Disorder
  • Chew and Spit Disorder
  • Pica
  • ARFID (Avoidant Restrictive Food Intake Disorder)
  • Purging Disorder
  • Night Eating Syndrome
  • Rumination Disorder
  • Emotional Eating
  • Selective Eating Disorder
  • Compulsive Overeating
  • EDNOS/OSFED (Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified/Other Specific Feeding or Eating Disorder)
  • UFED (Unspecified Feeding or Eating Disorder)

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