A Nutrition, Body Image and Exercise Obsession Checklist

Reprinted from Eating Disorders Review
May/June 2010 Volume 21, Number 3
©2010 Gürze Books

At the iaedp meeting in Orlando in March, Page Love, MS, RD, LD, of Nutrifit, Sport, Therapy, Inc., Atlanta, offered the following checklist she provides to eating disorders patients with body image, nutrition, and exercise problems.

Potential Problem


Extreme dietary practices


Suggested Tactics


Low-carbohydrate eating

Allow a fiber source at every meal

Low-fat eating

Allow a vegetable fat source (e.g., nuts)

Vegetarian eating style

Try a new vegetarian protein source

Avoiding entire food group

Allow alternative food (e.g., soymilk)

Meal skipping

Skip one less meal per day

Avoiding snacks

Try a single “safe” food for a snack (e.g., pretzels, energy bar, banana)

Appetite-suppressing practices


Excessive caffeine

Alternate decaf beverage options

Excessive gum chewing

Chew 1–2 less pieces/day

Excessive water intake

Limit fluid intake to 2 cups per meal

High consumption of “air” foods

Choose nutritionally dense foods (e.g., yogurt, peanut butter, hummus)

Other food rituals

Only eating one food at a time

Allow a mixed food (e.g., peanut butter crackers)

Stopping eating by a rigid

Allow a single food after dinner time of day

Fat-free meals

Allow at least a light condiment

Not mixing food groups/nutrients

Allow a carbohydrate and protein together (e.g., cereal and milk, sandwich)

Frequent weighing/measuring

Body weights

Weigh one less time/day or week


Weigh one less food per day

Numbers over-focus

Calorie counting

Count other things

Carbohydrate counting

Count to meet a minimum carbohydrate goal

Fat gram counting

Count to meet a minimum fat goal

Label reading

Focus on other nutrients you need more of versus less of (e.g., protein, calcium)

Body checking

Count how many times in typical day and step down frequency with alternative behaviors

Negative body statements

Come up with a counter statement (e.g., “I like my ______”)

Over-exercise patterns

More than coach’s guidelines

Adhere to professional guidelines

No rest days

Allow one to two rest days per week

Exercising when injured

Adhere to trainer/physical therapist recommendations

Same training daily

Alternative movement (e.g., yoga)

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