Yesterday at the grocery store I found this little guy on the Manager's Clearance table buried under piles of Halloween decorations.
I justified that with winter coming I'd be blow-drying my hair a lot and should protect it from damage with this serum. So I plopped down the $6 for the itty bitty bottle, with the secondary reasoning that it was originally $14 and I've been conditioned to bargain-hunt since infancy.
But another justification could be that some time ago, I set up a rewards system for myself to stop drowning my sorrows in Oreos and tortilla chips. Then, when I forgot to binge, I forgot the incentives too.
It used to take very little effort to count calories, and a lot of effort to stop. I used to drink tea to fill my stomach when I was hungry. I worried about half a cup of all-purpose flour in a recipe and left nuts out of homemade granola because they were "fattening."
I've only recently realized that, though my anorexic teenage days were long behind me, my eating was disordered right up until about May of this year. It takes surprisingly little to cross that line. Go to any reputable-looking health/nutrition site or forum and read some comments...you'll find tons of people talking about how they'd be so much happier 5 pounds thinner, how much "discipline" it takes to stay away from "bad" foods, and what swaps they can make to feel like they're eating real food for fewer calories. This is not "health;" it is disordered.
There's no point in citing a medical definition of an eating disorder, because you can't really diagnose it from physical symptoms. Part of the definition of anorexia is being severely underweight. At 15 years old and 105 pounds I was technically within the "normal" BMI range, but I can assure you, I was anorexic.
You can't define it by behavior, either, because what would be a perfectly normal choice for one person could be disordered for someone else. Take, for example, last night's dinner:
I added steamed broccoli to my portion of teriyaki chicken. I did this because chicken and rice alone is boring, because I like the snap and texture of broccoli and the way the buds trap salty-sweet sauce, and because the green makes the bowl look pretty. The disordered me from a few months ago would have done the same, but because I wanted to minimize the fried chicken and bulk my meal up with low-calorie vegetables to lose weight while "feeling" like I was being properly fed. It's the same behavior, but last night I finished my meal very happy and content, whereas a few months ago I would have finished nervously waiting for when the clock struck 7 and it was acceptable to dive into the refrigerator for dessert.
Extreme cases notwithstanding, no doctor or psychologist can tell for certain whether a set of behaviors is disordered, because we have no alien technologies that allow us to read a person's mind. Whether eating salads for lunch is a healthy or disordered choice depends on motivation. Are you eating it because it tastes good, you need vitamins and roughage, it's a good bargain for the price, you don't like the other options, or you have an office party later you want to be hungry for? Or are you eating it because you want to be a size 4, you want to feel "virtuous," or you think frenemies would look down on such a fat, frumpy person for eating a hamburger? Are you signing up for a road race because you genuinely want to be strong and enjoy running, or because you want to match up to a celebrity blogger or get a runner's svelte silhouette?
When it comes down to it, any decision regarding your body that leaves you hungry, hurt, or unhappy is disordered.