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Help, I think I have an eating disorder!

Katy Harvey, MS, RD, LD, CED


Meet Diane*.  She had struggled with her eating and body image as far back as she can remember.  Having been on every diet under the sun, she still couldn't keep the weight off.  In fact, she had dieted herself up to her highest weight ever.  When her doctor suggested bariatric surgery she decided it was her only hope.

Fast forward to a year after surgery, and Diane has started regaining the weight she lost.  There was an initial "honeymoon" period during which she lost weight relatively easily, but now it's creeping back on.  She finds herself grazing on food throughout the day, and notes that her stomach holds more food than it did a few months before.  

Diane cancels her upcoming appointment with her surgeon because she doesn't want to face the embarrassment of getting on the scale and fears ridicule from the surgeon over what she's been doing with her eating.  So she avoids in order to save face.  (And who can blame her, right?).  

Time goes on, and eventually Diane is back at her pre-surgery weight.  She's devastated.  And ashamed.  And mad at herself.  "I failed again.  I'm such a loser," she thinks to herself.  


But the truth is - SHE DID NOT FAIL.  And she certainly isn't a loser.  Diane was suffering from an eating disorder.


How is this possible?  How come nobody told her?  Didn't her surgeon see it?  Had she done this to herself?

Despite efforts to screen people for eating disorders prior to surgery, they often go undiagnosed.  Studies suggest that roughly 30% of people seeking bariatric surgery actually have an eating disorder - with binge eating disorder (BED) being the most common one.  

Realizing you have an eating disorder after bariatric surgery can be a shock.  Many times, people don't realize it until they have regained some or all of the weight they lost.  The eating disorder finds ways to have you eat "around" your surgery.  

As a dietitian who specializes in BED, I have treated tons of people who have an eating disorder after bariatric surgery.  And what I can tell you is that recovery is possible.  You are not alone, and there are people out there who can help.

If you think you might have an eating disorder, click here and start healing your relationship with food today.  You deserve it. 


*Name and certain details have been changed for privacy.

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I'm kind of surprised that only about 30% are diagnosed(?) with an ED.

I personally think everyone who needs WLS has severe problems with eating/food - if one wants to call that an eating disorder or not doesn't matter in the end.

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