Eating disorders were once considered just another aspect of having a mental illness. Nowadays however there is a lot more recognition of the seriousness these diseases have on young people and slowly the stigma is fading. If you suspect that someone you know or in fact think you might be suffering yourself keep an eye out for these little known signs.
1. You avoid the foods you used to love.
Something that a lot of people assume about eating disorders is that sufferers tend to avoid high calorific foods but that isn’t necessarily the case. A lot of the time foods that the person once saw as a reward or was associated with joy (like a morning croissant) is now filled with shame. Starting to reject your favourite foods can be a sign of disordered eating.
2. You’re unhealthily counting calories.
Unless you have been put on a strict diet by a medical professional to save your life, there really isn’t a need to count calories. Counting calories can be the start of an obsession with figures and numbers when it comes to food. What might start out as an innocent game of counting calories could turn into a full blown eating disorder.
3. You compensate with liquid.
Drinking an excessive amount of water or low calorie drink instead of eating solid food is in itself an abnormal behaviour when it comes to food. If you are forcing yourself to drink your calories instead of eating them, it could be a sign of something more serious going on within your mind and body.
4. You are developing odd rituals.
Things like only being able to eat between certain times or only eating with a spoon are small things that can develop into more problematic issues. Food should be seen as fuel that nourishes your body, not as something that needs to be monitored obsessively.
5. You feel the need to feed others.
This is usually just a distraction technique to turn the attention from you to the person enjoying the food. A person suffering with an eating disorder might reason that they couldn’t possibly have a problem with food, they just cooked you a fantastic meal! This type of behaviour is in a sense a defence but one that can be quite obvious to others around you.
6. You are exercising obsessively.
We all know that exercise is simply part of a healthy lifestyle. However once the routine of daily exercise becomes something that has to be down otherwise you can’t eat for the rest of the day, there is a problem. Habits like forcing yourself to do a certain number of exercises before you’re allowed to eat is something that people with an eating disorder think is okay.
7. You’re avoiding social situations.
Usually when they involve food and everyone knows that there is hardly ever a party where canapes and nibbles aren’t served. Reasoning with yourself to not go to a social event because there might be the temptation of food is a very serious sign of disordered eating and shouldn’t be ignored.
8. Secretly bingeing.
Consuming a large amount of food in one sitting can be a sign of a number of different eating disorders and when it’s done in secret, it’s become a serious problem. If you are ashamed of the amount of type of food you are eating even though others around you would consider it normal, it might be time to seek out professional advice.