If you or someone you love suffers from an eating disorder, you probably have lots of questions. This is even more true if you suspect they have an eating disorder but have not yet received a diagnosis/or disclosed this to you.
Clarity helps us to make positive decisions. A diagnosis provides reality. But often, to find the answers we’re looking for, we have to ask the right questions.
So what questions should you ask? And who do you ask?
We’re going to break it all down for you. And we’ll start by considering who you’ll most benefit from talking to about eating disorder issues. We recommend talking to the following people.
Yourself (or Your Loved One): After all, there’s no better resource on your own eating habits than you. The trick here is to be honest with yourself. Getting better requires a reality check. But we’re not looking for you to conjure up feelings of guilt or shame. Try to be honest without beating yourself up in the process.
Your Primary Care Doctor: Eating disorders affect more than just your size. If you suspect an eating disorder or know that you have one, it’s good to schedule a visit with your primary care doctor. You can ask for tests to assess your current physical health, which will help guide your goals in the weeks and months to come. Do note, not all doctors are well-versed in eating disorders and may not notice signs/symptoms.
An Eating Disorder Treatment Center: Getting better on your own can be a tall order. That’s why we recommend you seek help from medical professionals who can walk with you every step of your journey to health and wholeness.
Your Counselor or Therapist: Understanding the reasons behind our actions can go a long way toward healing. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) offers a practical way for therapists and patients to dig into the past, understand it, and make a plan for the future.
Your Registered Dietitian: Dietitians look at how and what we eat like detectives to help optimize health. Looking at your intake patterns and behaviors around food and eating beliefs, a qualified Dietitian can help determine what changes you need to make to get better physically and mentally in your relationship with food and body.
With these categories in mind, let’s look at some questions you might want to ask.
Questions to Ask Yourself (Or Your Loved One)
Are my eating behaviors normal or concerning?
Do I hide my eating habits from others?
Am I eating a well-balanced diet?
Do I consume enough calories at mealtime to feel satisfied?
Do I ever eat to the point of feeling sick?
Am I overly worried about my weight?
Do I find myself regularly critiquing my body?
Based on the response to these questions, should I consider speaking with my doctor?
Questions to Ask Your Primary Care Doctor
How might an eating disorder affect my body physically?
Can you please conduct a routine physical while I’m in the office?
Can you do bloodwork for a complete blood count (“CBC”), complete metabolic panel (“CMP”) as well as any other areas that might show a lack of function due to an eating disorder?
Can we check my orthostatic vitals? (Blood pressure and heart rate while lying down, sitting, and standing)
What concerns do you have based on your findings?
Questions to Ask an Eating Disorder Treatment Center
How do you approach eating disorder treatment?
What are your treatment options?
What should I expect if I choose to enter your facility?
How much experience do you have working with people like me?
Questions to Ask a Therapist
How can we get to the root cause of the problem?
Can therapy actually help with eating disorder recovery?
What practical steps will we take to help me reach healing and wholeness again?
Questions to ask a Registered Dietitian
What patterns do you notice I’m making with my eating?
What concerns do you have for my health based on the way I’ve been eating?
What is your philosophy and way of helping people recover? (Be looking for keywords of “intuitive eating,” “health at every size,” and/or “weight inclusive.” If the dietitian is selling weight loss, look for another).
With your questions at the ready, we encourage you to take the first brave step today and begin answering them. And if we can ever help with any questions, please reach out to us at 562-434-6007 or complete our contact form.