How to Spot the Signs of an Eating Disorder

Sad teen worried about appearance holding a measure tape sitting on a couch in the living room at home

Did you know that approximately 24 million people suffer from an eating disorder in the United States and 1 million in Australia? 

Eating disorders are one of the most debilitating conditions to have. They affect every aspect of your health and, left untreated, can even lead to death. In later stages, a person with an eating disorder may have dental erosions from vomiting, a low pulse and blood pressure, grey skin, hair loss, and more.

But what about in the early stages? 

Without looking closely, you may not see the signs of an eating disorder in you or your loved one. If you are wondering how to spot the signs of an eating disorder, this short and simple guide is for you. 

An Unhealthy Relationship With Food

One of the early signs of an eating disorder is an unhealthy relationship with food. You may eat until you’re past the point of fullness, avoid food, purge food, restricting food, and more. If you have powerful emotions like boredom, grief, and stress, it can trigger your eating disorder. 

If you would like to help a loved one with eating disorder, click here. 

Refusing to Eat With Others 

Another sign of an eating disorder is refusing to eat with others. Eating in front of friends and family members can be stressful and anxiety-provoking. This is because you fear the judgment you might feel based on how much you do or don’t eat.

Engaging in Rituals Around Food 

A clear sign of an eating disorder symptom is engaging in rituals around food. This includes eating specifically, eating a set amount of food, eliminating food groups, and more. If you find that you have odd eating rituals around food, you may have an eating disorder. 

Obsessing Over Food and Calories 

One sign of a binge eating disorder is an obsession with food and calories. You count every calorie, including fruits and vegetables.

You try different diets, the more restrictive they are, the better. When you are avoiding food that you consider to be unhealthy and counting calories, you may have an eating disorder. 

Exercising Obsessively

A clear sign of an eating disorder is exercising obsessively. You exercise, sometimes after every meal, to burn the calories that you just ate. Or you will exercise as a punishment for eating too much. 

When you are obsessively tracking the number of calories you’ve taken in versus the amount that you have burned off through exercise, you may have an eating problem. 

These Are the Tell-Tale Signs of an Eating Disorder

There are many signs of an eating disorder that you can notice before it’s too late. 

A person with an eating disorder will focus on their body shape, weight, and food obsessively. This leads to dangerous eating habits that affect the body’s ability to get proper nutrition. Without intervention, an eating disorder will affect the digestive system, the heart, the teeth and mouth, and more. 

That’s why it’s important to notice the signs as soon as possible. 

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