If you’re worried that you or someone you love may be struggling with an eating disorder, there are some symptoms that could indicate an unhealthy relationship with food and body image.
Here are seven major signs.
1. Rapidly losing and/or gaining weight
Starving yourself in order to lose weight fast, bingeing without feeling in control of what or how much you eat, and purging after a binge are all signs of eating disorders and may result in rapid weight loss or gain.
2. Not wanting to eat in front of others
With an eating disorder, it can be difficult to feel comfortable eating in front of other people, whether that’s because you don’t want people to notice you’re eating too little or too much, you feel shame or guilt when eating, or you feel like you can only eat certain foods.
3. Being overly concerned about body image
Everyone wants to feel good about themselves, but it may be a sign of disordered eating if you develop an obsession with physical flaws, appearance, and have an unhealthy expectation of how your body should look.
4. Relying heavily on rituals for eating
Things like excessive chewing, always starting a meal with a salad, or only eating at certain times of the day are just a few examples of ritualistic eating. You may have an unhealthy relationship with food if you feel like you can only follow rigid rules about eating and have developed inflexible eating habits.
5. Exercising excessively
Exercising and working out are healthy in moderation, but they can become part of an eating disorder if you are constantly exercising in order to lose calories or punish yourself for feeling like you’ve eaten too much.
6. Becoming preoccupied with nutrition
Eating well and being educated about nutrition is a good thing. But obsessively tracking calories, labeling foods as good or bad, restricting what you eat, or jumping on diet trends can signal an unhealthy relationship to food.
7. Physical symptoms
There are many physical symptoms that come with eating disorders, including stomach pains, fatigue, cramps, weakness, dizziness, and acid reflux.
It’s important to know that those with eating disorders may display all, some, or none of these signs at any given time. And some of these symptoms may exist but be hidden. If you’re concerned, the best thing to do is see a physician or mental health counselor to have a personalized conversation. They can help you develop healthy eating habits, deal with underlying issues that cause an unhealthy relationship to food, and view yourself with love and compassion.
If you’re ready to have a conversation about an eating disorder, contact us today.