Do I have an eating disorder …?

A bullets 5 yellow flowers on yellow aa-img028_crThe EAT-26 Eating Attitudes Test for Anorexia and Bulimia

This well-established medical eating disorders self-test for anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa was developed by D. Gardner and is reproduced here with his kind permission*. It will help you decide if you have an eating disorder. You can only make a definitive diagnosis of eating disorder through your doctor, but this scale will give a reliable indication. There are four easy steps, below.

Eating problems have a spectrum from mere behavioural habit though serious behaviour addiction with sometimes complex roots, up to live-threatening conditions.  Health-threatening bulimia nervosa and anorexia nervosa require specialist medical and other treatment; in Bristol, you need to be part of the NHS STEPS programme. For less severe forms of disordered eating, the solution-oriented therapy, hypno-psychotherapy and emotional healing methods which I use have the potential to bring radical change. You will find websites which claim to “cure bulema” in a couple of sessions. They are referring to the some simpler situations only.

My approach is sympathetic and human. I emphasise self-love, self-forgiveness and true emotional healing while at the same time helping you take direct control of your eating habits, using cognitive-behavioural methods, right from day one.

Step 1: Complete the following questionnaire

For questions 1-25, score:
Always=3, Usually=2, Often=1, Sometimes=0, Rarely=0, Never=0
For question 26, marked (#), score:
Always=0, Usually=0, Often=0, Sometimes=1, Rarely=2, Never=3

  • I am terrified about being overweight.
  • I avoid eating when I am hungry.
  • I find myself preoccupied with food.
  • I have gone on eating binges where I feel that I may not be able to stop.
  • I cut my food into small pieces.
  • I am aware of the calorie content of foods that I eat.
  • I particularly avoid food with a high carbohydrate content (i.e. bread, rice, potatoes, etc.)
  • I feel that others would prefer if I ate more.
  • I vomit after I have eaten.
  • I feel extremely guilty after eating.
  • I am preoccupied with a desire to be thinner.
  • I think about burning up calories when I exercise.
  • Other people think that I am too thin.
  • I am preoccupied with the thought of having fat on my body.
  • I take longer than others to eat my meals.
  • I avoid foods with sugar in them.
  • I eat diet foods.
  • I feel that food controls my life.
  • I display self-control around food.
  • I feel that others pressure me to eat.
  • I give too much time and thought to food.
  • I feel uncomfortable after eating sweets.
  • I engage in dieting behavior.
  • I like my stomach to be empty.
  • I have the impulse to vomit after meals.
  • (#) I enjoy trying rich new foods.

*EAT-26 Garner, D.M., Olmsted, M.P., Bohr, Y., and Garfinkel, P.E. (1982). The Eating Attitudes Test: Psychometric features and clinical correlates. Psychological Medicine, 12, 871-878. Copyright (c) D Garner ( and used here with permission.

Step 2: Answer the following questions Yes or No:

(A) In the past 6 months, have you gone on eating binges where you feel that you may not be able to stop?
(Eating much more than most people would eat under the same circumstances.)

(B) In the past 6 months, have you ever made yourself sick (vomited) to control your weight or shape?

(C) In the past 6 months, have you ever used laxatives, diet pills or diuretics (water pills) to control your weight or shape?

(D) Have you ever been treated for an eating disorder?

Step 3: Check if you are significantly underweight for your height

Check if your body mass index is below the preferred weight for your height using the NHS BMI calculator:

Step 4: Combine your results

If your score in Step 1 is 20 or higher;
OR you answered Yes to any question in Step 2;
OR your weight is below the approximate rule-of-thumb minimum for your height in Step 3,

then you may well have an eating disorder. Only your doctor can provide a definitive diagnosis.

If the intensity or frequency of vomiting or purging, or the degree of weight loss, is severe, then I strongly recommend that you go to your doctor. Full-blown bulimia can be permanently damaging to long-term health; full-blown anorexia has the potential be fatal. Equally, if anyone around you has expressed concerns for your health, then I strongly recommend that you visit your doctor. Such severe eating disorders need specialist help. In such health-threatening circumstances I can only assist as a component part of a person’s medical team.

If your score is less than 20, but higher than you’d like, then you may well have emotional eating or less serious eating disorder.

If your symptoms do not to threaten your health, then give me a ring and find how I can help you to explore how to your eating, to feel good about your body and have a happy relationship with food and with your body.

My approach with eating disorders is warm and human, with an emphasis on self-love and self-forgiveness. I use depth hypnotherapy methods (eg inner child regression) to uncover and help heal the hidden emotional roots, and hypnosis and cognitive-behavioural self-help so everyday life changes in the way you want.

Just give me a ring: 0845-3510604 / 0117-955-0490. Leave a message and I’ll call you back. I’m happy to answer questions or arrange, in Bristol, a free, no-obligation half-hour introductory meeting.

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