“My weight is 32…God! I am just so HUGE!”
“Anything more than 500 calories a day, is like a poison for me”
“I need to chop this banana into 40 tiny pieces”
“I love to cook. But as far as eating is concerned, I rather keep myself off the hook!”
“I have no clue why is my menstruation cycle so disturbed lately!”
“I feel so cold all the time, I’m wearing a coat even in the night!”
“I end up eating and sometimes puking much more than I engage in social meetings!”
It is important to know the warning signs and symptoms of an eating disorder.
It is also essential to understand that these warning signs may not be as easy to spot as they sound. The people with eating disorders often feel extremely shameful or guilty about their behavior. In certain cases, people suffering from eating disorders do not recognize the illness, or even if they do they will not want to give up their behavior at first, because their behavior in a way, is a coping mechanism.
Therefore, usually people try to hide all the signs and symptoms of an eating disorder.
A person will NOT be demonstrating ALL the symptoms mentioned below, since each eating disorder has specific signs and symptoms which will be discussed in the explanation on ‘Types of eating disorder’.
It is also possible for a person to exhibit several of these signs and yet not have an eating disorder. It is always best to seek a professional opinion.
Behavioral Warning Signs:
- Maintaining an unreasonable stringent diet (counting calories of the most healthiest meal or beverage – such as coconut water, skipping meals regularly and so on)
- Binge eating which includes eating secretly as well (chocolate wrappers appearing in the bin, disappearance of large amounts of food from the cupboard or fridge)
- Vomiting or use of laxatives (frequent trips to the bathroom after meals)
- Excessive or compulsive exercise patterns (e.g. exercising even when injured)
- Frequent avoidance of eating meals by giving excuses (e.g. claiming they have already eaten)
- Behaviors focused around food preparation and planning (e.g. shopping for food, planning, preparing and cooking meals for others but not consuming meals themselves)
- Obsessing about body shape and weight (e.g. interest in weight-loss websites, dieting tips in books and magazines, images of thin people, constantly checking the weighing scale)
- Sudden change in dressing style (e.g. a newly developed interest in baggy clothes)
- Never agreeing to feeling to hungry
Physical warning signs:
- Sudden changes in weight
- Sensitivity towards cold (feeling cold most of the time - even in warm environments)
- In women – disturbance in menstrual cycle
- Fainting, dizziness and fatigue
Psychological warning signs:
- Distorted body image and most often, negative body image (eg. complaining of being/feeling/looking fat when actually he or she is actually healthy or underweight)
- Extremely sensitive to comments or criticism about body shape or weight, eating or exercise habits
- Intensified anxiety during meal times
- Depression or anxiety
- Moodiness or irritability
- Low self-esteem
- Feeling of no control over one’s life