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Our eating habits can have a great impact on both our physical and mental health, this is why it is important to recognise what healthy eating is and when our eating habits may becoming unhealthy.

Healthy Eating

Healthy eating and a balanced diet not only help our physical health but can also help our mental health too.

Having a balanced diet and eating healthily is about eating a wide variety of foods in the right proportions, and consuming the right amount of food and drink to achieve and maintain a healthy body weight. It isn’t about being restrictive with your eating, staying unrealistically thin or depriving yourself of foods you love.

There is an overwhelming amount of advice out there about dieting and using the food you eat as a way of controlling how you look so it is understandable if you feel confused about how you can stay healthy. It is important to remember that our bodies need a balanced and varied diet to produce the energy we need for our everyday life.

While some extreme diets may suggest otherwise, we all need a balance of protein, fat, carbohydrates, fiber, vitamins, and minerals in our diets to sustain a healthy body. It is not a good idea to eliminate certain categories of food from your diet, but rather select the healthiest options from each category.

Here is a link to the Healthy Eating Guide for Teens by the NHS which explains how you can eat well and stay healthy.

Eating disorders

Below are explanations of different types of eating disorders. If you feel that your eating habits relate to any of these then click on the explanation to find out more information and advice about getting support. You may also need to seek help from your GP or use the links below to find out about where else you can get support.


Anorexia (or anorexia nervosa) is a serious mental illness where people keep their body weight low by dieting, vomiting, using laxatives or excessively exercising. The way people with anorexia see themselves is often at odds with how they are seen by others and they will usually challenge the idea that they should gain weight. For example, they often have a distorted image of themselves, thinking that they’re fat when they’re not. People affected by anorexia often go to great attempts to hide their behaviour from family and friends.


Bulimia is a serious mental illness where people feel that they have lost control over their eating and evaluate themselves according to their body shape and weight. People with bulimia are caught in a cycle of eating large quantities of food (called ‘bingeing’), and then vomiting, taking laxatives or diuretics (called purging), in order to prevent gaining weight. This behaviour can dominate daily life and lead to difficulties in relationships and social situations. Usually people hide this behaviour pattern from others and their weight is often in a healthy range

Binge Eating Disorder

Binge eating disorder (BED) is a serious mental illness where people experience a loss of control and overeat on a regular basis. People who binge eat consume very large quantities of food over a short period of time (called bingeing) and they often eat even when they are not hungry. It is not about eating extra large portions.
Binges are usually planned like a ritual and can involve the person buying “special” binge foods. Binge eating usually takes place in private

Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified

Some people with an eating disorder may have received a diagnosis of Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (EDNOS). A diagnosis of EDNOS would typically have been given to someone whose symptoms didn’t meet all of the criteria for anorexia or bulimia or where their symptoms were a mix of those for anorexia and bulimia


It was estimated that of those with eating disorders; 10% were anorexic, 40% were bulimic and the rest fall into the EDNOS category which included BED.

Information from CAMHS about Eating Disorders.

Beat is the UK’s eating disorder charity. Their website has lots of information and advice about eating disorders.

The Mix’s expert advice about eating disorders.

Young Minds information and advice about Anorexia.

Young Minds information and advice about Bulimia.