Disordered Eating and Negative Body Image Self-Assessment

Disordered eating refers to a continuum of eating behaviors that can be linked to managing overwhelming emotions or to negative beliefs about ourselves, food, or our body image.  Not every person with disordered eating behaviors or a negative view of their body has a diagnosable eating disorder (i.e., anorexia, bulimia, or binge eating disorder), but they may eat or not eat due to stress, use food to find comfort or to establish a sense of control, or have rigid or strange food rules or rituals that affect their health, relationships, and overall functioning.

Please answer "Yes" or "No" if you have engaged in or experienced any of the following over the past three months.

  1. Felt guilty after eating?
  2. Felt preoccupied by what I ate?
  3. Weighed myself multiple times each week?
  4. Ate to the point of feeling sick or uncomfortable?
  5. Skipped meals to avoid weight gain?
  6. Ate only "safe" foods with low calories, fat, etc.?
  7. Used laxatives, diuretics, or diet pills to control weight?
  8. Vomited after meals to keep from gaining weight?
  9. Hidden the fact that I ate or did not eat food?
  10. Ate to feel comfort or to feel better?
  11. Felt anxious or worried if not able to exercise?
  12. Felt ashamed of my body size, shape, or appearance?

If you answered "Yes" to 4 or more of these, then you might have disordered eating or negative body image.  If you are concerned about your eating behavior or thoughts about your body, please seek medical and/or psychological support.  If you are a Vanderbilt faculty or staff member, you can start by calling Work/Life Connections – EAP at (615) 936-1327 for a free, confidential assessment.

Please consult the Vanderbilt Health and Wellness Resource Library for more information on Disordered Eating and Negative Body Image.  You can also access other online screening instruments through Mental Health America of Middle Tennessee.