What is not an eating disorder?



Eating disorders do not develop overnight, but rather over a long period of time. Sometimes the first signs of an eating disorder can be discovered in advance.


The first signs that people with Eating Disorders might notice can be dissatisfaction with their eating behavior, dissatisfaction with their own body, constant worry about weight and food, secretly eating, self-induced vomiting or binge eating.


Here you can find a list of warning signs of eating disorders.


The diagnostic criteria for the most common eating disorders can be found here.



Overweight and obesity


The thinness and diet madness that is common in our society leads to many misconceptions when it comes to body weight. According to current scientific knowledge, overweight or obesity is not referred to as an eating disorder, as it is not a psychological or psychiatric disorder or illness.


Eating disorders are mental illnesses, while with obesity, heredity and environmental factors (such as overeating and too little physical activity) play an important role.


However, obesity is a risk factor for health. In the case of a subgroup of obesity (e.g. binge eating disorder), psychological factors can be causally involved in the genesis and maintenance of obesity.


Overweight and obese people are also confronted with the social ideal of a thin body. A lack of social support, stigmatization as well as mockery, devaluation, exclusion, etc. can lead to psychosocial problems for those affected. Unfortunately, this already applies to children and adolescents (already in elementary school!) And then continues into adulthood.


Therefore, the Netzwerk Essstörungen has tried to build bridges to the obesity research and therapy since its founding.


When it comes to weight, you should say goodbye to misconceptions such as the Broca index, “ideal weight” or “feel-good weight”! The body mass index (BMI = kg / m2) has established itself as the standard measure for assessing body weight.


Here you can find our BMI calculator.



Diet behavior


A reduction diet is a relative (or in the case of the zero diet, an absolute) state of hunger, as the body receives less energy than it needs. It has been proven that weight loss diets promote the occurrence of binge eating.


In our society in particular, it is easy to let the norms put you under pressure when it comes to the appearance of an “ideal” body. This ideal is presented as the norm, especially on social media. It is therefore particularly important to be aware of the unrealistic claims and to be aware of your own ideas and also the measures that you take to meet this ideal, and to question them critically.


Unfortunately, dieting behavior is not always “innocent” behavior. If a person is prone to strictly restrictive eating behavior, it should be considered whether treatment for this behavior is necessary.