National Eating Disorders Association

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Restrictive Eating Disorder?

I am not exactly sure if I fall into any particular category as far as eating disorders go, but I do know for sure that I have an unhealthy relationship with food. This started about three years ago when I decided I wanted to lose some of the freshman 15 and get healthy. My family is all very much into health and fitness and at the time, my brother was training for a body building competition..I wanted to start my new healthy lifestyle too! I downloaded the every popular myfitnesspal app and starting counting my calories and exercising everyday. For awhile I used the app correctly, using up all my calories and exercising appropriately..but then the downward spiral started. I am a very determined and goal oriented person and I was set on eating "clean" and being a perfect example of a health nut. I eventually began under eating and became obsessed with numbers. It no longer had to do with being skinny or healthy necessarily, but now it was a battle against myself to do better and better. I started getting angry and anxious and depressed along with having some physical consequences of an eating disorder..something had to change. I made the big step (while in tears...) to delete the app and begin my attempt at recovery. I am now so much better than I was before but am still consumed with food mentally. I redownloaded the app and use it more appropriately now, but still leave remaining calories and count everything that I put into my body. I stay with my safe foods and although I am a healthy weight and am much more comfortable enjoying foods I crave, I still think way too much about food and calories and exercising and partake in some behaviors. I just want to get to a point where enjoying "fun" foods doesnt give me so much anxiety and guilt and I can enjoy food throughout the day without obsessing over all of its numbers. Is this restrictive eating disorder? And regardless..where do I go from here to continue my recovery?:(

Hi there!!!


Thank you so much for posting this! I think it is AMAZING that you want to continue your recovery! It truly shows how much you know that the ED ruins our lives.

It sounds like you've fought a lot of this alone... Have you ever considered seeing a therapist? If you don't know where to find a specialist the NEDA Helpline can help! All you have to do is call at 1-800-931-2237 and they can provide a list of resources! When you see a therapist they can provide a professional opinion which options would be best for your treatment to continue recovering. I don't know what your options look like, but they might include support groups, partial hospitalization, or residential.

I know that it is scary to seek others for help. Often we reflect on those people who ended up not helping us in the past. However, professionals never judge patients and forums like these seek to lift you up always! It is important to surround yourself with as much support as possible!

That said, have you heard of the NEDA Navigators? They are volunteers who can serve as "recovery buddies"! Here is a link about them:

I highly recommend trying it out!

Hope you are ok! Let me know if you have any questions!!!

Hey cmscholl!

Hey cmscholl!
I think it's great you've made it this far! Keep up the good work! I don't know how much of help I can be since I am nowhere near close to recovery...actually, just joined this site today! Nonetheless, I agree with you in the fact that those "healthy lifestyle" apps can be abused which leads to obsession. You did a lot more "perfect" version of what I did. I don't mean to turn the attention to me, but I feel I need to establish some credibility with you first. I began a pretty restrictive diet when I started running cross country. I would do fine for about 4 days, and then binge on protein-heavy foods. I saw cross country as a weight-loss program (and I did lose weight), not as a competitive sport, which wasn't fair to my team. Anyway, when I began college, I stopped running. And I've gained back all the weight I lost since joining...and the binge tendencies are still here. Although now, I binge on carb-heavy foods, which pack on the pounds a lot more. I think I only binged while running because I was ACTUALLY that hungry due to restriction. Now, I think it's a combination of "I've done so well, I can binge today" or just giving up on weight loss entirely. So, I see where you're coming from. From here, I think you should continue on your path to success and work on maintaining what you've got. You've already come so far! :D
As far as getting food out of your head, I cannot help there because I suffer from the same thing. Something to get your mind off food until the next meal, like reading or watching your favorite TV show (something leisure) sometimes helps. But I agree that it is all thought-consuming, I still don't know what to do.
Hope this helps!

Hi cmscholl,

Hi cmscholl,
I agree with the comments above and I think it's great that you've already taken steps to change your behavior! That is an accomplishment in myself - don't ever forget that! And you've brought up a crucial point about having these food-related thoughts still consume your mind. You are definitely not alone in this. So much of the power of disordered eating comes from redirecting our attention back to meals and numbers constantly, and that is also what can make it difficult to overcome.

I would encourage you to consider Michael's suggestions of reaching out to the NEDA Helpline or a therapist, as professional support can help you figure out strategies to start not only recognizing when these feelings occur, but also figuring out how to manage them in a healthy and productive way. You deserve to feel free from them and have control of your life back! Also, it's important to remember that not all eating disorders fit into neat categories or labels. Even though there are several official medical diagnoses out there, in reality, everything fits on a continuous spectrum and anyone can have features of any officially named ED depending on their particular situation.

It sounds to me like your thoughts around food are heavily impacting your life in a negative way - and that is the most important criteria for starting to make a change! Seeing a counselor, therapist, or nutrition could also help you sort out which obstacles might be the hardest for you to get past, and allow you to create a plan that words for you specifically.

Here are some links that might be helpful too:
Complex EDs:
Positive body image:

I can definitely relate to having goal-oriented personality traits - but that shows me that you have the strength and determination to channel that energy into becoming well (health comes first!) so that you can achieve the most you can in other aspects of your life as well!

Hope this helps,


A recommendation to get your mind off food and the thoughts after your done eating is coloring or writing. In the past I found coloring to be very effective for me. I became so distracted with making sure I stayed in the lines I didn't even notice the over barring ED thoughts, it was also very relaxing. Hope one of these suggestions can help you guys!

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