How Far is Too Far? - Eating Disorders Victoria
Home ~ How Far is Too Far?

How Far is Too Far?

Home ~ How Far is Too Far?

This page contains information about ‘How Far is Too Far?’, a website resource previously developed by Eating Disorders Victoria.

'How Far is too Far?' now lives here

If you’re reading this, you may have been searching for the ‘How Far is Too Far?’ website. This website was developed by EDV in 2015 to support Victorians in recognising early warning signs of disordered eating and eating disorders.

This website has now been retired. Key information regarding from ‘How Far is Too Far?’ can now be found on this page, along with additional resources recommended by the EDV team.

When does ‘healthy’ become unhealthy?

When you have a healthy and balanced relationship with food and your body, you set yourself up for a whole range of broader physical and mental health benefits.

Disordered eating is not the same as an eating disorder. Although the behaviours can be the same, they are less severe and occur less frequently. Nonetheless, disordered eating is still a problem and puts you at risk of potentially developing an eating disorder, anxiety or depression in the future.

Similarly, negative body image can be a risk factor for developing an eating disorder and compulsive exercise can be a feature of an eating disorder. Whether diagnosed with an eating disorder or not, these experiences can be harmful to someone’s wellbeing.

People’s attitudes and behaviours around food, exercise and their bodies fall along a spectrum. You can move along this spectrum in either direction, and there is some overlap, but it’s important to remember that anyone can move towards a having a healthy and balanced relationship with eating, exercise and their bodies.

Being alert to the signs

Do you know someone who…

  • Feels preoccupied with their body weight
  • Makes themselves sick after eating
  • Thinks constantly about food
  • Tries to hide or conceal their body because they are self-conscious
  • Lets their body shape and weight determine how they feel
  • Eats in secret
  • Becomes anxious if they are unable to exercise
  • Fixates on what they believe are flaws in their appearance
  • Uses food as a means of comfort
  • Avoids eating even when they are hungry
  • Feels guilty if they miss a chance to exercise
  • Exercises even when injured or sick
  • Exercises mainly to improve how they look
  • Feels scared at the idea of gaining weight
  • Avoids social commitments or outings because of how they feel about their appearance

Any of the above could indicate disordered eating or an eating disorder. It’s important not to ignore these warning signs.

What to do if you are concerned

If you are concerned that someone you care about is taking things too far, it’s important not to stay silent. These concerns are unlikely to resolve on their own, and sometimes professional help is needed.

Be prepared

Ask yourself, are you the best person to have this difficult conversation? If you are, be prepared and educate yourself about eating disorders – and have some websites ready or numbers for them to call for help. Create a safe and private environment for discussion, being mindful of privacy. Think about what you are going to say before you talk to them. Call the EDV Hub if you’d like tips on what to say.

Having the conversation

Be calm, open and honest about your worries. State that you are concerned about some of their behaviours around exercise and food, and use examples to keep things factual rather than emotional. Use “I” statements and be sensitive and non-judgemental with your language. Remember, it’s not your role to diagnose, but you can express your concerns and give them referral information to seek professional help.

Responses and reactions

Be prepared for a range of reactions. They may be ready to listen, or they may become angry or upset, and they may deny that there is a problem. Be patient and if the reaction wasn’t as positive as you were hoping, don’t be discouraged. You might let them know that you will keep checking in on them. If you feel like you’re not the best person to continue the conversation, you could recommend an option provided below.

Next steps for seeking help

It may take some time for you or someone you care about to feel ready for the next steps of seeking help. Often when people engage in disordered eating or eating disorder behaviours, they are trying to cope with a range of challenging feelings, beliefs or experiences. Admitting something is wrong can feel daunting, and there may be resistance to addressing some of the concerning behaviours.

Finding a safe, non-judgmental person to speak to can be a great first step. This may be a friend or family member, or a professional. EDV offers a range of exploratory help-seeking services for those at the beginning of the help seeking journey.


The EDV Hub is usually your first port of call when contacting Eating Disorders Victoria. The Hub is a free and confidential service providing information and peer support for people experiencing eating disorders or those who are supporting them (family, friends, professionals etc.). We offer a safe place for you to seek information, openly discuss your experience with eating disorders and ask any questions you may have.

EDV Telehealth Counselling

EDV Telehealth Counselling is a free support service that is available to any Victorian who is concerned they may be experiencing or currently diagnosed with an eating disorder, as well as those caring for someone with an eating disorder.

Our qualified Counsellors offer an understanding and expert ear to talk to. Counsellors work to understand your unique situation and provide tailored information and support. Counselling sessions are free and are available for up to five, 30-minute sessions.

Other useful resources

The Reach Out and Recover (ROAR) website has a self-assessment tool that can produce a personalised report to take to the GP. ROAR will help you to see the extent and impact of any issues you are experiencing, and will provide help with the next steps to take towards recovery.  It was developed with extensive input from lived experience of seeking help and clinical expertise.

Feed Your Instinct (FYI) is an interactive tool designed to help people who are concerned about a loved one’s eating and/or body image problems. The Feed Your Instinct Eating and Body Image Checklist outlines some behaviour changes you may have noticed in a loved one. Once the checklist is completed, FYI will generate a personalised report with a summary of the information you have provided and suggested strategies for you to implement.

Visiting a GP

An important step for anyone experiencing an symptoms of an eating disorder is to visit a trusted GP. GPs are able to diagnose eating disorders and refer people to appropriate options for treatment. For further information about visiting a GP, please read our comprehensive guide here. 

Keep learning about eating disorders

EDV has a wide range of information and support services available to Victorians impacted by eating disorders.

Was the page helpful?