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Podcast Transcript

Episode 19: Lesser-Known Eating Disorders Part 2

[Bouncy theme music plays.]

Sam: Hey, I’m Sam!

Ashley: Hi, I’m Ashley and you’re listening to All Bodies. All Foods. presented by The Renfrew Center for Eating Disorders. We want to create a space for all bodies to come together authentically and purposefully to discuss various areas that impact us on a cultural and relational level.

Sam: We believe that all bodies and all foods are welcome, we would love for you to join us on this journey. Let’s learn together.

Ashley: Hey, everybody. Welcome podcast family! Ashley and Sam are here again today for another episode, and actually we’re following up from an earlier episode we did this season, where we talked about lesser-known eating disorders. So, we’ve really, it kind of surprised me— we’ve really only talked about, like, four or five, Sam, I think.

Sam: I know.

Ashley: And we wanted to give you guys the rest of those that we had mentioned on the podcast. And so— which just brings me to another kind of thought. You all, we want to do an episode where we answer your questions.

Sam: Yes!

Ashley: So, please, please, please, shoot us an email, [email protected]. Let us know what your questions are, let us know how we can help you. We would love to, yeah, like I said, just do an entire episode devoted to that, so…

Sam: That would be awesome.

Ashley: I know! Wouldn’t it be great? And yeah, we love interacting with you all, so. Let’s jump in, why don’t we! And so again, starting— picking back up from this other, this previous episode of lesser-known eating disorders. Today, I think we want to cover a few more, and I will label those, then we can kind of go through those. Does that sound okay, Sam?

Sam: That sounds great. And I’m so glad we’re doing sort of a sequel to part one because there are so many eating issues that, first of all, aren’t even in the DSM. And it’s so important for our audience to know the signs and symptoms, recognize if they are struggling, have a label for it, but also recognize if a loved one is struggling with some of these things.

Ashley: Right, right. Definitely. So hopefully we can give you all language today to— yeah, just kind of understand what might be going on. So, the first one that we really want to jump into is simply disordered eating. And we— but we see this a lot, and honestly people that probably don’t even work within the eating disorder field see this a lot. So, let’s talk about disordered eating, Sam. It’s everywhere.

Sam: Yeah, I get this question all the time, specifically, “What is the difference between an eating disorder and disordered eating?”

Ashley: Yeah.

Sam: I can’t tell you how many times journalists have asked me this, or I’ve been on a podcast and they’ve asked this. But— so, I think the best way to conceptualize it, and I talked about this in part one. so go back and listen to that if you haven’t yet. But, you know, conceptualizing these issues on a spectrum.

Ashley: Yeah.

Sam: So, disordered eating, think of a spectrum in the sense that these are behaviors that can range in severity, to mild to severe. And on one end of the spectrum, on the far end of the spectrum, we would see that clinical, diagnosable eating disorder, where someone is meeting that very strict criteria that we find in the DSM-5, where if you meet that criteria, then you ultimately receive a diagnosis for that disorder. And so, the criteria is usually centered around frequency and duration of behaviors. So:

  • Are you restricting?
  • Are you binging?
  • Are you purging?
  • Are you over exercising or using any other compensatory type of behavior?
  • How often are you doing it?
  • And for how long has this been going on?
  • And is it affecting your life across various domains?
  • Is it affecting you socially?
  • Is it affecting you mentally and psychologically?
  • Is it affecting work school relationships?

Sam: The list goes on and on. So, at the far end we have those diagnoses, and then there’s that middle area, you know, where people maybe dabble in what we call disordered eating.

Ashley: Yeah.

Sam: So really, disordered eating, we’re talking about behaviors essentially, and some of those behaviors are the same as eating disorder symptoms. Restricting. You know, when you think about it, a diet usually requires you to restrict your intake, requires you to eat below what your body and brain essentially needs to function and thrive.

Ashley: Right, right.

Sam: So, dieting also requires you to follow a set of external rules, usually, in most cases. It requires you to go against your body’s own instincts, cravings, cues, and signals. So, restricting, binging, purging— like let, let’s talk about binging, for instance, there are folks in our culture who they have— they call them cheat meals.

Ashley: Right.

Sam: You know, but sometimes these cheat meals meet the criteria for a binge eating episode. So, this all sort of falls under the umbrella of disordered eating. So, it’s really any behavior where you’re really not having a healthy relationship with food.

Ashley: Gotcha.

Sam: You’re really not listening to your own— to your body’s signals and cues.

Ashley: Right.

Sam: You’re minimizing them or just flat out denying that they’re even there. It’s like, “Oh, I’m hungry. Let me just ignore this and distract myself.” You know, that’s a form of disordered eating. It’s a form of disordered eating also to decide that, you know, certain foods are bad because you’re afraid that they’re gonna make you gain weight.

Ashley: I was actually gonna ask that, Sam, like, if somebody, you know, I’m thinking of like this, a particular, like, shake, if you will, that someone might consume instead of eating breakfast, or instead of eating lunch, or instead of eating dinner. And that goes along with disordered eating as well, right? Like, “I actually want to eat a sandwich, I want to have that sensation. I’m craving, you know, maybe a turkey and cheese sandwich, and yet I deny myself of that, and I eat or drink this quote unquote shake.”

Sam: Right, like a replacement sort of…

Ashley: Like a replacement meal or something.

Sam: Sure. So, that can be disordered eating, absolutely. So, we always want to take into consideration what people have access to.

Ashley: Yeah.

Sam: So, there might be someone who maybe they have limited access to the foods that they actually really want and— or, you know, financially speaking, they might not be able to afford certain foods, or they might live in an area where they just, they can’t find the foods. You know, they live, you know, they live with what we call food insecurity, which is a systemic issue.

Ashley: Yeah, yeah.

Sam: And so, that aside, if you are drinking the shake because you believe this shake is going to change the shape and size of your body, and you’re intentionally pursuing weight loss, and you’re making a decision to go against your body’s own cravings, and culture, and preferences, and all of that, yeah, now we’re under that umbrella of disordered eating. Because what’s happening is, we’re developing a disordered relationship with food in that way. We’re creating this mindset of scarcity, where you’re not allowing yourself to have what you really want, which really just sets us up to want that food even more in the future.

Ashley: Right, right.

Sam: I mean, that’s the paradox of it all. Where, you know, whenever we are, you know, whenever we label something as forbidden, or we try not to think about something, or we try not to have something, it just ends up making us think about that thing more often.

Ashley: Right.

Sam: So, and—

Ashley: When we’re told to not press the red button, we want to press the red button.

Sam: Yeah. Or like, don’t think about a white bear whatever you do.

Ashley: Right, yeah.

Sam: I just thought of the cutest white bear ever in my head. Yeah. So, yeah. And so, disordered eating is really, these are behaviors that essentially pave the way for an unhealthy relationship with food.

Ashley: Gotcha.

Sam: And as I said before, these are really the same behaviors that we see with eating disorders. Oftentimes, you know, even the mentality of, “I have to earn my food, I have to burn off my food.” Maybe you’re not doing that very often, the way someone maybe would do if they were diagnosed with an eating disorder, but that doesn’t mean that your relationship with your body and your relationship with food isn’t suffering.

Ashley: Right.

Sam: So, I always try to make the point that you don’t have to actually have a clinical eating disorder to experience the negative impacts of disordered eating.

Ashley: Right.

Sam: Not to mention that, you know, dabbling in disordered eating or trying out a diet, all of these behaviors put us at risk for, not only developing an unhealthy relationship with food, but possibly developing an eating disorder.

Ashley: Right.

Sam: So, especially for someone who’s vulnerable, if they’re at that age, teenage years, young adult years, where we typically see the onset for an eating disorder. When you start experimenting with some of these disordered behaviors that are essentially sold to you by the diet industry and the wellness industry, when you start dabbling in those behaviors, that can potentially trigger on an eating disorder. You know, when you ask folks who are in eating disorder recovery, “Do you remember what— when your eating disorder started?” And it is amazing because many, many times they can pinpoint the exact day.

Ashley: Yeah.

Sam: “Oh yeah, I tried this diet.”

Ashley: Yeah.

Sam: And I think NEDA estimated, what is it— 20% to 25% of dieters will go on to develop an eating disorder, and even more will go on to develop disordered eating. So either way, it’s probably gonna mess up your relationship with food.

Ashley: Yeah. I just wanted to add, culturally it’s so normal, similar to what you were saying, you were saying it’s sold to us, right? Disordered eating is sold to us through everything that we take in. Through, you know, through all the media that we see, through conversations that we’re having, you know, it is kind of sold to us. So, I think often we might find ourselves, people might find themselves experiencing disordered eating and really not even having an idea that this is representative of a negative relationship with food.

Sam: 100%.

Ashley: Not even realize that this is disordered or is coming from a place of being disordered, right? Because I think t’s so common, it’s so, it’s like— like, I’m just thinking of, you know, the holiday season and how it was kind of taught, not even verbally taught in our family, but kind of behaviorally taught, that once we eat, we go for a walk. After consuming that holiday meal, right, then it’s time to get up and go for a walk. And I’m just even thinking about, what is the messaging there? Right? Like, maybe the family wants to move their bodies together. And also, is there any messaging that says, “What we just consumed was bad and we need to compensate for that.” You know, is there— and which then brings it to the messaging, “Is the food that we enjoy around the holiday is bad?” Right? No, we’re saying no to all of that. But my bigger point is that I just think they’re so— I think disordered eating, disordered behavior, you know, negative relationship with food, I think it’s so ingrained in us.

Sam: Oh, yeah.

Ashley: From the get go.

Sam: Oh, absolutely. And it’s so normalized, and in many cases it’s praised when, you know, sometimes even praised by doctors.

Ashley: Yeah.

Sam: And not only do people not realize that what they’re doing would be considered disordered eating, they might even believe it’s healthy.

Ashley: Right.

Sam: Because that’s what we’ve been taught. You know, we’ve been taught that if you’re intentionally pursuing weight loss, you are intentionally pursuing a healthier version of yourself. And that is not always true.

Ashley: Yeah.

Sam: Sometimes weight loss can be a side effect of health promoting behaviors, but not always. Not always.

Ashley: And if you engage in these behaviors and expect to see that and then don’t, how much more does that mess with our mental well-being? And that’s really why we say: no diet talk. Take it off the table. Because it’s not helping.

Sam: No, it’s really, it’s not. So, I hope that helps clear things up for some folks out there who are wondering, “Is what I’m doing disordered, or is this an eating disorder?” I mean, if you are struggling, if you feel like— for any listeners out there— if you feel like you are becoming obsessed with food, and your weight, and it’s taking up so much mental space, and you’re feeling so depressed, reach out for an assessment and remember that professional support is out there if you’re lucky enough to have access to it. Again, accessibility is a major issue across the board. But there is help out there. If anyone is listening, and if you are out there and you think you might be engaging in disordered eating, it could be helpful to give that some thought.

Ashley: Yeah.

Sam: And how might your life be different if you were able to focus more on having a healthier relationship with food and your body?

Ashley: Yeah.

Sam: Rather than pursuing weight loss intentionally. So, just some things to think about.

Ashley: Well, I have a few more that I wanna ask you about. One specifically— so, I want to briefly cover the topic of ARFID. Listeners, ARFID stands for Avoidant Restrictive Food Intake Disorder. We are actually going to do an episode later this season specifically on ARFID, and we’re going to talk with someone on their recovery journey with ARFID. But I would love to just dissect it a little bit with you, Sam, so that we can, you know, help our listeners understand what that even is.

Sam: Yeah. ARFID’s the new kid on the block, as far as diagnoses go. It was— we finally saw it in the DSM-5 in 2013. Previously, it was known as Selective Eating Disorder. But I think, you know, for our audience out there listening, I think for many, many years, people would just call this picky eating.

Ashley: Right.

Sam: But ARFID is so, so, so much more than that. I think it’s really misunderstood. And folks who have ARFID, their symptoms are interfering with their life in very significant ways. Medically, emotionally, socially. And the medical complications specifically can be just as severe as Anorexia Nervosa. Because what we’re really talking about is malnourishment.

Ashley: Right.

Sam: So, to better understand ARFID, the first signs of ARFID usually appear in early childhood and they can potentially continue through adulthood. But just to give you some examples of what someone with ARFID might struggle with— sensory sensitivity.

Ashley: Yeah.

Sam: So, these are folks who report extreme sensitivity to certain textures, tastes, smells and even the appearance of food. And so, what ends up happening is these kids, often kids are presenting with ARFID, there is a very limited rotation of what they refer to as their “safe foods.”

Ashley: Gotcha.

Sam: And so when you have a limited rotation of safe foods, you’re probably not getting the nutrition that your body really needs. Not to mention how it can interfere socially, you know, if your safe foods aren’t at a certain function, you might not want to go because it’s just, like, so distressing to be around food, or feel that pressure to eat food that you really, you know, that you really don’t want to have. There’s also, ARFID can also show up as a fear of aversive consequences. So, to give you an example, fear of vomiting, fear of having an allergic reaction.

Ashley: Right.

Sam: And so what happens is, folks with ARFID will end up restricting or just completely avoiding the foods that evoke that fear. But with ARFID, we do need to see, for the diagnosis, significant, usually at least one of the following. So, significant weight loss, or this is a kid who’s not meeting their milestones on a growth chart. So, this is someone who’s really not getting taller, not really, like, hitting those marks that we would expect to see physically. Or a nutritional deficiency, a dependence on artificial nutrition through a feeding tube. So, oral supplements. So, is this a kid that is really only getting their nutrition that way? And then also impairments in psychosocial functioning. So again, are they having issues socially? Are they having issues in their life because of these aversions to food?

Ashley: Gotcha.

Sam: So, not many providers are skilled to treat ARFID. And I think it— you know, we have an occupational therapist at Renfrew who treats ARFID, who does trainings on ARFID, who— she’s amazing, her name’s Jacqueline, and she is able to treat ARFID through exposure work at the residential level. And so, there are many avenues to treating ARFID, but one of the main avenues is exposure therapy.

Ashley: Right.

Sam: Which can be really, really helpful for someone who is struggling with these types of aversions.

Ashley: Right. And the exposure process for someone experiencing ARFID might actually be a little bit slower.

Sam: Yes.

Ashley: Than the exposure process for one of maybe— one of the other eating disorders that are walking in the door.

Sam: Exactly, exactly. So, with any exposure work, really it’s ideal that you’re really going at the pace that the client feels is doable. Never ever do we want to do exposure work where a client is feeling like they’re not ready for it, it’s too overwhelming. So, a really skilled clinician knows how to pace exposure work so that you’re building on these very small victories, and building that confidence slowly, and then eventually getting to the point where you’re facing fears and you’re developing these emotional and physical tolerances to food and to other things in life. I mean, exposure therapy is really effective not only with fear foods, but with really any fear.

Ashley: Right.

Sam: Yeah. So I’ve even done exposure work with clients with different phobias that they have, and it’s the same approach. It’s just a different feared thing that we’re facing.

Ashley: Right, exactly.

Sam: So, that’s the cool thing about exposure work, is that you can use it in so many different contexts.

Ashley: Yeah. Well, like I said, we will really dive into ARFID on a future episode, and we will thankfully get to hear someone’s story and kind of have her be able to share with all of us about past experiences.

Sam: Yes. One of the things I’ll say before we move on to the next lesser-known eating issue, with ARFID, there are certain issues that seem to frequently coexist with ARFID.

Ashley: Oh, yes, yes.

Sam: And I don’t think people really know this. We try to include this in a lot of trainings, but we frequently see ARFID alongside Autism Spectrum Disorders, ADHD, OCD, anxiety. And so we’re not only treating ARFID, we’re treating the cooccurring issues as well.

Ashley: Right.

Sam: Or, you know, helping folks with the skills needed to, you know, depending on how their brain functions, you know, some folks with autism or with ADHD, you know, we talk about, like, neurodivergence, and sometimes the brain just works differently. And so, there’s a set of skills that can be helpful when your brain is not working the way we see with sort of neurotypical folks. So, it’s really about giving people the skills to really cope with some of the things that they’re experiencing.

Ashley: Yeah, that’s awesome. Thank you, Sam.

Sam: Yeah, I’m excited for the episode where we can do a deep dive with someone who has the lived experience.

Ashley: I know, and maybe help, again, you were saying this diagnosis is a little bit newer, and so helping our listeners kind of understand it a little bit more, and maybe somebody out there is identifying with it, you know, and so hopefully between this one and our episode in the future, that will provide some support.

Sam: Yes, absolutely.

Ashley: Yeah. Okay, so, one of the other ones we talked about is called Diabulimia. Yes, also something newer, also something that we’re really seeing more of, for sure. Can you share with us some details about that?

Sam: Yes, absolutely. Okay, so, Diabulimia is essentially referring to any type of eating disorder that is occurring alongside with Type 1 Diabetes.

Ashley: Ok.

Sam: And so, some of the symptoms that we see with Diabulimia are restricting and avoiding insulin to lose weight or avoid weight gain.

Ashley: Yeah.

Sam: Which is really dangerous because folks with Type 1 Diabetes, they need insulin to survive.

Ashley: Yes.

Sam: And so, the insulin restriction, so the avoidance of the insulin, sort of operates as a purging behavior. So, when we talk about purging or we talk about compensatory behaviors, it’s a behavior that follows an eating episode in an attempt to sort of undo the eating.

Ashley: Gotcha, gotcha.

Sam: So, when we think about the word compensatory, I think “compensate,” it’s like, “What is this person doing to compensate for what they ate?” And so, what we see with Diabulimia is someone who eats something and then to compensate for that, they do not give themselves the insulin that they need.

Ashley: Gotcha.

Sam: So, this is really serious. We treat Diabulimia at the residential level. Again, this isn’t technically a diagnosis in the DSM-5. Sometimes the behaviors, the symptoms that we see, meet criteria for Bulimia, OSFED. But the medical complications are really serious and they’re a little bit different than what we see with other eating disorders. So, the medical complications can include Diabetic Ketoacidosis, infections, blindness, kidney, liver, heart disease, coma, stroke, and even death. So, this is a really serious set of symptoms. And it’s really important that parents know the signs, that everyone out there knows the signs of Diabulimia, so that hopefully it can be recognized and treated. It can really take over someone’s life, and it has very serious medical complications.

Ashley: Yeah, the medical piece with Diabulimia is, I think, really kind of the scary piece of that, right?

Sam: Oh, yeah.

Ashley: Because if someone is not getting the appropriate insulin, if their diabetes are not under control, that is not very helpful for their body, their physical being.

Sam: Right. Exactly, exactly. So, you know, folks with Diabulimia are dealing with some of the same obsessive thoughts that we see with any other eating disorder. This terror of gaining weight, you know, this internalized fatphobia and weight stigma, all of that it’s necessary to unpack in the recovery of Diabulimia. So, I think it’s important that we spread awareness about these terms. Many folks have maybe heard them in some sensational news headline, but it is very important to know the signs and symptoms because these are serious disorders and there is help for them.

Ashley: Yeah. And I wanted to say, one of the reasons we kind of were interested in doing these episodes is, Sam runs our incredible TikTok account, @RenfrewCenter, and really gets questions about these lesser-known eating disorders quite a bit. And sees, you know, there’s so much information out there, and we wanted to kind of make sure to you all, our listeners, that you had the appropriate information. That you could seek help, that you know who to reach out to. Again, feel free to call us, let us know how we can help if any of this kind of aligns with what you or a loved one is experiencing.

Sam: Exactly, exactly.

Ashley: So, the last one that I’m actually very interested to talk about this, I feel like I have seen this a lot, I’ve worked with this. I would like to help our listeners understand this diagnosis a little bit better, but Orthorexia…

Sam: Yeah.

Ashley: Yes. Can you give us an overview of that, Sam?

Sam: Absolutely. So, orthorexia, again, not technically a diagnosis in the DSM-5, although I predict it will be one day.

Ashley: Yeah.

Sam: Maybe DSM-6, I’m hoping. It would be nice to have it as a standalone diagnosis because it is different from Anorexia Nervosa. It’s similar, there are similarities. And I think it’s so helpful to have these terms so that folks know that, yes, this is a thing. It’s not exactly the same thing as Anorexia Nervosa, but there’s a name for it. There’s a set of behaviors. You’re not alone. There’s a lot of people that experience this, and they get to a certain point where it affects them, physically, mentally, socially, spiritually, et cetera.

Ashley: Right.

Sam: So, Orthorexia, you may, again— many folks have maybe heard this in the news or, you know, there’s magazines that have written articles on it. This is a term that was originally coined by Dr. Steven Bratman, he’s a doctor. This is over 25 years ago, he came up with this term because he noticed people having these very specific set of behaviors that seemed a little bit different than some of the other eating disorders that we see.

Ashley: Ok.

Sam: Essentially, it’s characterized by an obsession with consuming only healthy food, and really placing major focus on the quality of the food and the purity of it. So right now, folks who are struggling with Orthorexia, the closest diagnosis that we can give them is probably Other Specified Feeding or Eating Disorder. And that’s sort of like that umbrella term for folks who don’t really fit neatly in Anorexia, Bulimia, or Binge Eating Disorder. But with Orthorexia, there are very serious consequences that are really just as serious and just as debilitating as any other eating disorder. So, what ends up happening is folks with Orthorexia will often create very rigid rules about food, but the intention behind it is to achieve optimal health.

Ashley: Right.

Sam: So, it’s not always about pursuing weight loss, it’s not necessarily always about trying to prevent weight gain, the way that we typically see with Anorexia. This is really about trying to become the healthiest version of yourself and healthism is really at the root of it. Like, healthism is sort of like this idea in our culture that we should all be morally obligated to pursue health at all costs.

Ashley: Gotcha.

Sam: Like, somehow that’s the most important thing in life, is just to be the healthiest version of you, when there’s like so many bad things in life that—

Ashley: Well, and that makes me also think that there are, there’s not just one path of health. I mean, health means, you know, spiritual, physical, emotional, relational, right? Like, there’s so many different pillars of health, but, right.

Sam: Right. So, it’s like how do you define health?

Ashley: Right, right. Exactly.

Sam: And to take such a narrow view, that health is really all— is only physical. When really how healthy can someone be when they are obsessing over food, they are not able to even go out to eat with their friends because they’re terrified that the menu isn’t gonna have the purest options?

Ashley: Right. That’s what I’m thinking about, like, where is the relational health? You know—yeah, right. Where is that when this focus on the “food health,” I’m doing air quotes here, is so strong. Yeah.

Sam: Exactly, exactly. So, with orthorexia, there might not really be that intention to restrict food or, you know, they might not even be counting calories. They might not be trying to limit what they’re eating in any way. But their rotation of “safe,” quote, unquote, “healthy,” quote, unquote, pure food becomes so narrow that often times they start to become malnourished. They do eventually lose weight oftentimes because they’re not getting the nutrients that they need. I mean, that’s the irony of it! It’s sort of like, in this pursuit of health by the act of consuming only quote unquote “healthy foods,” they end up unfortunately becoming quite unhealthy.

Ashley: Yeah.

Sam: And it’s hard, I think, for many folks to wrap their mind around because they really think, “How could this be? All of my effort is going in to eating the healthiest foods and being the healthiest version of myself.” And what actually ends up happening is they start to suffer physically and mentally, of course. And, you know, a malnourished brain is a depressed brain, a malnourished brain is an anxious brain. So, there’s this pathological fixation on healthy eating that ends up causing medical, psychological, and social complications. Very similar to what we see with anorexia or other restrictive eating disorders.

Ashley: Gotcha, gotcha.

Sam: So, Orthorexia, the recovery of Orthorexia is very similar to anorexia, in the sense that we have to work on renourishing the body, of course. We have to work on unpacking and challenging those internalized beliefs that are rooted in healthism, which is easier said than done.

Ashley: Yes.

Sam: And again, exposure work. Implementing exposures to a wide variety of foods because there’s this fear that, “If I eat a certain type of food that’s not pure, that’s not healthy, that I won’t be okay.”

Ashley: Right.

Sam: So, in Orthorexia recovery, all foods fit, just like any other eating disorder recovery. Unless, of course, there’s a legitimate allergy or medical condition, of course. But—

Ashley: Right. And no food is good or bad.

Sam: Exactly. We’re not labeling food as good or bad. And we’re teaching that food can be a source of pleasure, it can be a source of culture, connection, celebration. This is about repairing a very damaged relationship with food.

Ashley: Yeah.

Sam: So, of course, there are also deeper emotional and relational components that have to be addressed in recovery as well. Folks with Orthorexia are so hyper focused on food that they’ve lost sight of the other areas of their life that are so important. Their relationships, their values, their passions, their goals. And it’s about rediscovering those and living a life essentially aligned with those deeper, more meaningful values.

Ashley: Right. And right, aligned with your values and who you truly are, right? You want to enjoy those relationships, you want to enjoy, you know, the different parts of your life that make you you. And when we get stuck in that place of really, kind of overwhelmingly being consumed by the idea and the thought of food, and what we’re gonna do for the next meal, what we’re not gonna do, right, it takes over. And so, what I really wanted to say also was— so, we’ve been able to, in these last two episodes, we’ve been able to really kind of define some of these lesser-known, and these kind of exist under what we call OSFED, Other Specified Feeding and Eating Disorders. And I just wanna say, if some of this, you know, feels familiar to you, okay, let’s talk. If you’re hearing some of us— or if you’re hearing some of what we’re saying and not every piece feels familiar to you, and yet you still feel like you have a negative relationship with food, you still feel like something— like this relationship with food is interfering with the rest of your life, perhaps there is something there, right? And perhaps we don’t have a name for it yet. So definitely reach out, definitely call, definitely connect with the support person to try to unpack some of what’s going on.

Sam: Yeah, there are many folks who are just not going to fit neatly into a diagnosis. That does not mean that you’re not suffering, that you’re not experiencing complications physically, mentally, socially. And so, I think it’s important to think about, less about a diagnosis, and more about, “What’s your relationship with food? What’s your relationship like with your body? And are you suffering in any way?” Because you deserve help and you don’t have to have— I mean, diagnoses have somewhat of a place in the psychological world in the sense that, I mean, diagnoses are really just a way providers can sort of communicate with each other about what is going on with a client.

Ashley: Yes.

Sam: You know, and it’s really— what is more important are the behaviors and the symptoms that you’re experiencing, and how are they impacting you? And you are the expert on yourself. You know if something is causing you issues, if something is making you unhappy, or anxious, or agitated, and you deserve support with that, whether it’s from a therapist, or a dietician, or a psychiatrist. You don’t need to have a clinical diagnosis to get support.

Ashley: Right. So reach out if you need it. If any of any or part of this feels familiar, and still that relationship with food or your body feels quite overwhelming, reach out. We’re here for you. So, you all, thank you again for joining us for this episode of All Bodies, All Foods. We have really enjoyed going over these topics with you and hope that that gives you a better understanding of some of the stuff that we see as practitioners, some of the stuff that we work with, and perhaps it’s given you language for maybe something you might be experiencing or something, you know, a loved one might be experiencing. So, if you liked this episode, you can support us by subscribing, rating, leaving a review, and sharing our podcast with others. If you would like to learn more about us or follow us, we’re on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and TikTok, at @RenfrewCenter is our name. For free education, events, trainings, webinars, resources, and blogs, head over to our website at And a reminder, we want to do an episode focused on your thoughts and your questions. So please submit questions to us, [email protected]. We want to connect with you as much as possible and really be a resource for you. So definitely reach out and email us. Thank you again. Hope you enjoy and we’ll see you next time on All Bodies. All Foods.

Ashley: Thank you for listening with us today on All Bodies. All Foods. presented by The Renfrew Center for Eating Disorders.

Sam: We’re looking forward to you joining us next time as we continue these conversations.

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