Eating Behaviour, Body Image and Teens

Healthy eating is eating what you want when you are hungry and stopping when you are full. You recognize what you crave and let your body have what it needs, including a balance of fruits, vegetables, protein, dairy products, and carbohydrates. You allow yourself treats for special occasions or just because you feel like it sometimes. You don’t deprive yourself of any food group or particular food because you think it is “bad”. You look at food primarily as a pleasant way to fill your body with fuel so it can function at its highest capacity.

 

You have a healthy body image when you are comfortable with your size, shape, and body parts. You wear clothes that flatter your shape, and you are relaxed about how you move. You don’t compete with other women or feel bad about yourself when you think you are less attractive than another woman or than the cultural stereotype. You have few, or no, negative thoughts about your body.

 

Some of the more common eating disorder behaviours are listed below. As you read the list, think about your own eating behaviour. On a scale of 1 to 10(1 =not at all, 5= often, and 10 = always), circle the number that best describes you.

 

Take time to look at your eating behaviour:

 

I have excessive control over the way I eat. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

I ignore my body’s signals of hunger or fullness. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

I eat when I feel strong emotion instead of when I am hungry. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

I focus totally on food and eating. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Food and eating take up all my time. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

My daily living activities are affected by either eating or restricting food. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

I allow my weight and body image to interfere with my relationships. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

I allow thinking about eating or not eating to interfere with my relationships. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

My weight and body image interfere with my taking part in normal activities. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

I struggle constantly for perfection in dieting, body image, or weight. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

I have lost or gained a large amount of weight in a short period of time. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

I am overly concerned with weight loss. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

I weigh myself on a scale more than once a week. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

I have strict rules about how much food I eat. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

I have food taboos, such as, “I shouldn’t let foods from different food groups touch each other on my plate.” 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

For a long time, I have been strict about what foods I eat. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

I compensate for taking in too many calories by exercising. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

I vomit or use laxatives to help me lose weight. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

I eat large amounts of food in a short period of time without wanting to. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

I don’t realize when I have eaten too much. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

When I binge, I lose track of how much I’ve eaten. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

I forget to eat for days at a time. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

I eat only diet foods and diet drinks for days at a time. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

I am usually dissatisfied with my appearance. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

I am always dieting. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

I use diet drugs and herbal supplements to help me lose weight. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

I think about having gastric bypass surgery or liposuction. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

I lie about my weight to my friends and parents. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

I have at least three different sizes of clothes in my wardrobe. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Even at my lowest weight, I am not satisfied with what I weigh.

 

Look over your responses to this exercise and consider these suggestions:

 

If you circled 5 or higher for more than two statements, you may be on your way to developing an eating disorder. You may need help and should learn more about eating disorders. If you circled 5 or higher for more than four statements, you are definitely at risk of developing an eating disorder. Talk to an adult – parent, teacher, counsellor, or doctor-right away. If you circled 5 or higher for more than five statements, your health may be in danger. You should seek medical attention.

 

Join us at Pebbles n Pearls to learn Life Skills that will help you to learn to manage your eating behaviour.

 

 


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