Expert chat: Healthy Eating

Kim and Renata are from the Community Eating Disorder Service for Young People in East London. They both see young people every day who have difficult relationships with food and are experts in providing the right care and guidance.

Kim & Renata, our eating disorder experts

Kim & Renata, our eating disorder experts

Kim and Renata are from the Community Eating Disorder Service for Young People in East London. They both see young people every day who have difficult relationships with food and are experts in providing the right care and guidance.

Shanice: I struggle with binge and comfort eating for coping when I’m stressed, anxious or depressed. When things get too much for me, I go to food for comfort, sometimes I just buy sweets etc. and eat it really quickly and a lot more than I would if just a treat to try to make me feel better. Do you have any tips for managing it?

Kim & Renata: That does sound really hard to manage, but you seem to notice your emotions while it is happening, which is a positive first step. We wonder if you have been offered any forms of support to manage difficult feelings?

Shanice: Yeah, I currently have a psychiatrist, and I’ve had a lot of therapy before. Basically I am getting support, but it’s a lot of waiting and being passed on to other people

Kim & Renata: That sounds really difficult. What are the other ways that help you cope and be happy other than eating? Maybe you talk to friends or watch movies, go out etc.?

Shanice: Sometimes music and my dogs always cheer me up. I normally like to walk when I listen to my music, and I just go into my own world, which is nice and sometimes cheers me up a bit and my dogs always make me smile

Kim & Renata: That’s great to hear! Those seem like positive things in your life and healthy ways to help you feel a little better. It might make sense to keep doing the things that make you feel happy and less stressed. We would recommend the Centre for Clinical Intervention, which offers lots of resources around overcoming an eating disorder. The CCI has self-help materials and useful resources that can help while you are waiting for your professional support to kick in.

James: Beat are also specialists in issues around food and eating. They run a few support services like message boards and a helpline. There’s a link at the bottom of this article.

The Mix has some information on binge eating disorder here.

Tracey: Should I be taking vitamin supplements if I don’t eat veg? My diet is so bad, as I’m so fussy. I’m very particular about food, but I need to try and be healthier in general.

Kim & Renata: We would recommend a balanced diet. However, we’re not doctors so perhaps it would be good to have a chat with your GP? If you are worried, ask for a blood test. It might also be worth considering seeing a dietician. If you find that there are certain foods you find hard to eat, perhaps they can help you with a balanced diet considering what you like and don’t like. Dieticians are really good at working with people who have restricted diets for all kinds of reasons. If that sounds interesting, you can ask your GP to refer you to a community dietician.

Tracey: That’s really good, if anyone can help me figure it out I’m sure they could, good idea thanks.

What is a balanced diet? Find out here.

Ali: If you want to lose weight, I’m guessing you wouldn’t recommend undereating. So why would it not be a good way?

Kim & Renata: If somebody wants to lose weight, we would recommend a balanced diet and very slow weight loss. We would want to know, though, if the person really needs to lose weight or only thinks they should lose weight. That’s because we know being underweight and undernourished can have long term health problems and can affect mood, concentration and energy levels. It can also have an impact on social interactions. If someone is under-eating it might be good to establish why it is happening so then one can decide what to do next. Do you know anyone who is under-eating at the moment and are you worried about this person?

Ali: I was a bit worried about my friend to be honest. She feels a lot of pressure to look a certain way and she just gets so obsessed with her weight.

Kim & Renata: We are sorry to hear that. It can be really tough feeling that kind of pressure. If your friend is worried about her weight perhaps she can talk to her GP. Sometimes the best thing we can do as a friend is to reach out and let them know they can talk to us. Knowing someone cares can really help. It might be worth having a chat with her about that and see how she is coping?

James: We have an article on supporting a friend with an eating disorder that might provide a few tips on having that conversation (whether or not she has an eating disorder).

More support with healthy eating

Check out the Centre for Clinical Intervention here.

Next Steps

  • Beat help people overcome eating disorders through helplines, online support and self-help groups. Call 0808 801 0677 or, if you're under 18, call their Youthline on 0808 801 0711.
  • Men get eating disorders too (MGEDT) run discussion boards for men with eating disorders where you can get peer support.
  • Chat about this subject on our Discussion Boards.


Updated on 19-Oct-2022