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seaweed
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17 Oct 2015, 12:54 am

has anyone else here struggled with an eating disorder or disordered eating? I've heard that people on the spectrum have a high risk of developing eating issues, and i know at least for me, my aspergers traits definitely correspond. like the obsessive focus on a repetitive task, need for things to be done in "the right way", the relief in the ability to control something when everything else seems so chaotic...I'm weight restored now and have an ambiguous mix of disordered compulsions, but I think if my brain worked differently I would be recovered at this point.

if you have struggled with eating and/or body image issues no matter if they are mild or severe, can you describe if and how they may relate to your asd?



Rocket123
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17 Oct 2015, 2:41 pm

seaweed wrote:
if you have struggled with eating and/or body image issues no matter if they are mild or severe, can you describe if and how they may relate to your asd?

I believe I have body image issues. I developed them quite young. When I was 8, I began to gain weight. I think I used food to comfort me. Let’s just say that I worried a lot -- enough to buy myself a used Worry Bird at a garage sale.

As I got heavier, I remember being teased about being a “fatty”. Being heavy wasn’t the only thing I was teased about. I remember being teased when I was 6 by the older neighborhood boys. They called me a girl’s name, I guess because I didn’t act like most other little boys. In any event, I developed body image issues somewhere around that time. I became quite self-conscious of being seen in public without a shirt (at the swimming pool or beach).

I remained heavy until I was about 19. At some point, during those darkest days of my life (at least so far), I decided to start exercising. I cannot remember what triggered it. But, I found my grandfather’s old exercise bicycle and began to write it obsessively every day. Eventually, I ended up losing about 50 pounds. To a point that people (such as relatives or my parents friends) would comment about how skinny I was.

What’s funny (I suppose) is the diet I maintained, while I lost that weight. It consisted of two chicken patty sandwiches (with the crust cut off), a stack of Pringles and a handful of M&Ms. Plus a can of Coke. Seriously.

Since that time, for > 30 years, I have maintained the same weight. It’s not by happenstance. I do this by obsessively exercising and regulating my food intake.

- First, I am obsessive about exercise. I never miss a day of exercise, unless I am deathly sick, hurt or away on vacation where exercise is impossible. I become quite agitated if I am unable to exercise. I feel so good after I exercise.
- Second, I regulate my food intake. I eat a bit healthier now than I did when I was younger. Still, I weigh myself multiple times per day and will avoid certain foods based upon how much I weigh at any particular time. I have learned to simplify this “regulation” activity by just eating the same thing for breakfast and lunch every day (well, truthfully I have a certain lunch I eat when I am at home and another lunch when I am at work). I know just about how much I need eat to maintain my same weight. I have also optimized the process for making the food I eat (as I like being efficient as well). And, most importantly, I have no angst (as I tend to become tense when my weight fluctuates).

So, how does this relate to ASD. I have no idea. All I know is this (body, food, exercise) is simply yet another thing that I obsessively worry about. This (my obsessive worrying) is the one thing I wish I could “turn off”.



Princessdracula
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18 Nov 2015, 5:51 pm

iv been dealing with disordered eating for like my entire life :oops: but i recently lost weight and it sent it into HYPERDRIVE. i hav always been a really picky eater but over the last few months iv become really paranoid about the way food is grown/prepared/etc which just further restricts my diet



nurseangela
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18 Nov 2015, 6:02 pm

I'm NT. I was anorexic all three years of high school. Got down to 100 pounds, exercised every chance I got and survived on coffee, diet coke and beer. Lost a lot of my hair and slept all the time. It was a control issue. I had to change HS's and knew no one. It all stopped after HS ended. I have an addictive personality too.


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nick007
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19 Nov 2015, 6:12 pm

I binge eat sometimes. I only ate one meal a day when I lived with my parents cuz I was an extremely picky eater which is common with AS. I had problems cooking due to disabilities & OCD which is a comorbid with AS & my mom didn't like having to cook special meals for me so she only did it 1ce a day when we didn't have leftovers to eat & weren't eating out. I started eating 3 meals a day after I moved in with my girlfriend & I got a little less picky about what I eat & I'm able to cook a couple things. I kind of broke the habit of binging but I slipped back into the habit recently even thou I still eat 3 meals a day. I'm trying to work on that again.


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tropicalcows
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20 Nov 2015, 11:08 am

I have an eating disorder. I started at a healthy weight and dropped 20+ pounds through restriction and exercise. Now I'm underweight. I haven't gotten a diagnosis or treatment yet, but my counselor has noticed my weight loss. So it's probably only a matter of time before I have to face reality. I feel like I'm not thin enough to have a true eating disorder. That's probably my disordered brain talking though.



b9
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20 Nov 2015, 11:13 am

the worst eating disorder i ever suffered was when the main course came out before the entree's in a very disorganized restaurant.



seaweed
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20 Nov 2015, 9:57 pm

Princessdracula wrote:
iv been dealing with disordered eating for like my entire life :oops: but i recently lost weight and it sent it into HYPERDRIVE. i hav always been a really picky eater but over the last few months iv become really paranoid about the way food is grown/prepared/etc which just further restricts my diet


same here about the "cleanliness" of the food I eat. when I was younger I was really afraid of produce that was beginning to mold, other spoiled or "off" food types that my mom told me were still ok to eat, because I was scared they would make me sick. but as I got older I became more concerned with where the food comes from, how its grown, what macro and micro nutrients I need to eat to be as close to perfect as possible every day on a calorie restricted diet, what foods to avoid because they are unhealthy or are "empty calories", etc. I've been a lot less strict lately but when I have been the most strict i just get increasingly paranoid and stuck in yet another routine thats also never good enough.

tropicalcows wrote:
I have an eating disorder. I started at a healthy weight and dropped 20+ pounds through restriction and exercise. Now I'm underweight. I haven't gotten a diagnosis or treatment yet, but my counselor has noticed my weight loss. So it's probably only a matter of time before I have to face reality. I feel like I'm not thin enough to have a true eating disorder. That's probably my disordered brain talking though.


I once had a therapist who was not a good therapist for me but she said this one great thing in relation to depression, I was telling her that I didn't think I had the right to be depressed because my life situation is a lot better than so many others who I feel like have more reasons to be depressed. and she said that depression is like gas molecules in an airtight jar, and that no matter how many molecules or how big the jar is, they will always occupy the entire jar. I think this directly relates to eating disorders in that, no matter how much you believe that you don't suffer as much as others, your suffering is very real and fills you up entirely. it seems based on your response that this is a relatively new manifestation, and if you can get help now and truly want that help then now is the best time, because the further it progresses the harder it is to control it.



seaweed
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20 Nov 2015, 10:04 pm

b9 wrote:
the worst eating disorder i ever suffered was when the main course came out before the entree's in a very disorganized restaurant.


wow, I'm so sorry :( if I was asked to eat a steak before I ate a salad whatever sanity I had left would crumble away like rotten cheese. I admire your strength.



seaweed
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20 Nov 2015, 10:38 pm

Rocket123 wrote:
So, how does this relate to ASD. I have no idea. All I know is this (body, food, exercise) is simply yet another thing that I obsessively worry about. This (my obsessive worrying) is the one thing I wish I could “turn off”.


in the short time I've been a member here I've noticed that discussions about obsessions and special interests tend to be geared towards enjoyable pursuits, which is great because many of those same things tend to be ostricized in an nt setting. but I think obsessions and special interests don't always come from a happy place.



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21 Nov 2015, 12:30 pm

Hello,

I've had anorexia since I was 16 (I'm 30 now). The very worst is now a long time behind me (hospitalised when I was 17) but I seem unable to shake the rest of it. I do think it's very related to my ASD in several ways:

1. I did a good job of pretending to be neurotypical, which caused untold stress in the form of depression and anxiety. At first the AN helped me cope (by the time it stopped helping me cope I was addicted to the AN).

2. I was bullied at school, due to a combination of ASD traits and behaviours and being unusually tall. Years of that caused me to think I was worthless, and perhaps starving oneself is a way of demonstrating those thoughts. I also thought I was being bullied because I was fat (I wasn't; just tall) so losing weight improved my self esteem at first.

3. I'm extremely obsessive, with obsessive thoughts (aka intrustive thoughts) as well as behaviours, and very single-minded - both traits in ASD. This made it possible for me to starve myself without "giving in" to the hunger.

4. My body feels permanently uncomfortable. Being underweight and empty of food feel more comfortable; although as I'm discovering now, being underweight for these kinds of timescales is actually pretty painful in other ways.

5. I'm not sure about this one, but I wonder if I use being underweight as a visible expression of the internal pain caused by my invisible ASD and other disorders.



Rocket123
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21 Nov 2015, 7:52 pm

seaweed wrote:
Rocket123 wrote:
So, how does this relate to ASD. I have no idea. All I know is this (body, food, exercise) is simply yet another thing that I obsessively worry about. This (my obsessive worrying) is the one thing I wish I could “turn off”.


in the short time I've been a member here I've noticed that discussions about obsessions and special interests tend to be geared towards enjoyable pursuits, which is great because many of those same things tend to be ostricized in an nt setting. but I think obsessions and special interests don't always come from a happy place.

I personally do not consider this stuff (body, food, exercise) a special "interest". With that being said, I think I understand what you are suggesting. My mind seems to "zoom in" on certain topics. And, this definitely is one of them.