Eating Disorders and Growing Up



Although we are already a semester into the school year in the Northern hemisphere, for those South of  the equator it is the beginning of university life for many.

Starting someplace new and entering into a new stage of life can be stressful. So always keep an eye out for the signs listed below, whether you’re starting university now, are part way through it or are in a different stage of life. 



Starting university is a milestone, no doubt about about that, but for many it can trigger an eating disorder that will have a lasting impact on your life. 

For many it may be the first time they are away from home, in a new environment with new people. These factors can make you more susceptible to an eating disorder. 

Mary Boggiano, an Associate Professor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham herself struggled with an eating disorder at university and had this to say on the matter. 

“A lot of students have heard about the ‘freshman 15. To keep from gaining weight, some students engage in risky behaviors such as excessive dieting or purging food. In many cases, people learn about the risky behaviors from others students in their dorm or over the Internet, so that obsession about weight can become infectious.”

Boggiano gives a list of signs of eating disorders:

  • A preoccupation with calculating calories, fat grams and carbohydrate grams
  • A need to weigh oneself more than once a day
  • Allowing the numbers on the scale to determine mood
  • Exercising, skipping meals or purging after overeating
  • Exercising to burn calories rather than for health or for fun
  • An inability to stop eating once eating begins
  • Eating in secret
  • Feeling guilty, ashamed or disgusted after overeating
  • Basing self-worth on looks or weight
  • Worrying continuously about weight and body shape
  • Abusing diet pills or laxatives

The most common eating disorders are anorexia, when you stop eating completely or eat very little in an attempt to lower and control your weight, and bulimia. Bulimia is when you might use laxatives or vomit to get rid of the food you have eaten so that you do not gain weight. 

Another common eating disorder is binge eating, where you eat large amounts of food in an uncontrollable manner for a short period of time. You feel guilty and bad about yourself but do not get rid of it like bulimia. 

Boggiano says, “This often leads to weight gain, which is upsetting to them, yet to overcome the distress, they turn to food. It’s a vicious cycle.” 

Eating disorders can cause long term health problems and if left untreated they can also cause death. Boggiano encourages all who think they may have an eating disorder to seek help. “Whatever you do, don’t try to take care of it by yourself. It will only get worse.”

Original article can be found here: