National Eating Disorders Association

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Does my boyfriend have an ed? Please help!

I'm not sure where to start and I'm pretty sure this will be long so please bear with me.
My s/o is unsure whether he has an eating disorder... A few months ago he was making himself sick and cutting down food/starving himself. He said that he wanted help but now he's saying he doesn't think he has an eating disorder he thinks he is just being obsessive about his weight. He also denies purging since a couple of months. We're in a long distance relationship so I'm scared that he is doing those things and lying.
Any advice on what it could be would be appriciated.

Hard to say, but...

Dear NotSure

Well, you know how it goes : Everyone is concerned about their weight these days. But it's the way people approach it that makes the difference.

It's hard to know what "being obsessive about his weight" means. Because people with EDs are definitely obsessive about their weight. Regular dieters can be that way too of course, so one would need to know the forms it takes for him. Is he weighing himself obsessively ? Once a day like many ordinary people, or does he do it several times a day ? Does he pass harsh personal judgments on himself if the scale goes the wrong way ? Some dieters can laugh about their efforts and take a light hearted view if they gain a little, but for people with EDs, it's not a laughing matter at all.

Purging can seem like an interesting discovery at first, and something that you might tell someone close to you about. But it's also something that can quickly get out of hand. If it got to a point where you found yourself relying on it as a regular thing…there's a chance you might not want to admit to that. If you then found that you couldn't control it, then for guys, there's a pretty fair chance that you really might not want to admit to that.

So it's hard to say. But I would keep in mind his attitude towards his dieting. Again, most dieters can be kind of light hearted about their ups and downs, but if it seems like he's starting to get edgy and defensive when the subject comes up, or that his moods seem to hinge more and more on how he perceives his achievements in this area, that that might indeed be a reason for concern.