Eating disorders are often described as an outward expression of internal emotional pain. Obsessive thoughts about, and the behaviour associated with, food are a maladaptive means of dealing with emotional distress. This emotional distress is often a negative perception of yourself, a feeling of being unable to change “bad” things about yourself and food is used as an inappropriate way of taking control.
Perhaps due to media images of what constitutes perfection, people often feel a strong desire to be thinner than their bodies naturally tend to be and put their lives on hold waiting for the day that they will be thin enough so that everything then miraculously comes right for them. They confuse who they are with what they look like and as a result may drastically change their eating patterns and be at risk of developing an eating disorder. This can apply to both excessive over-eating and/or under-eating.
There are several recognised eating disorders such as anorexia, bulimia and compulsive over-eating.