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4 Silent Signs of Eating Disorders

Eating disorders can affect people of all ages and generally encompasses more than one condition, which may include –

  • Anorexia Nervosa – people have a significant fear of gaining weight, even if they are thin
  • Binge Eating – people eat massive amounts of food at once
  • Bulimia Nervosa – people binge on food but then rid themselves of what they have eaten, among other conditions. 

According to the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa & Associated Disorders (ANAND):

It is estimated that more than 28 million Americans will have an eating disorder at some time during their life, with each patient’s mortality rates significantly elevated compared to their non-eating disorder counterparts. This is why many patients seek quality eating disorder treatment programs to help them through the recovery process. 

Because eating disorders are insidiously present in the population, it is vital to have a complete understanding of the signs that manifest when someone has an unhealthy relationship with food. This knowledge is beneficial because it prepares loved ones (and patients) to select one of the eating disorder treatment programs, like, that would best suit the afflicted individual. 

Studies have shown that both genetic and societal (i.e., psychosocial) factors play a role in eating disorders.

Signs/Symptoms of Eating Disorders

#1 Food is a Primary Focus

If food and eating consume your thoughts (disrupting life as you once knew it) – which would include –

  • What to eat
  • How to prepare it
  • Determining how to ‘neutralize’ the food intake – i.e., exercise, etc. – or any other food-related obsessive thought.

It is likely you may be headed towards unhealthy eating behaviors or an eating disorder. 

Note: however, choosing to be nutritionally aware is positive and not a sign of an eating disorder – if the thoughts/behaviors do not disrupt your everyday life. 

#2 Dieting Offers a Constant Confidence Boost

Often, dieting can start innocently, with an attempt to eat healthy for all the right reasons, but morph to become a serious eating disorder. This is often seen in Type A personalities or those with a healthy competitive drive, but an eating disorder can develop in most people outside the above-noted characterizations. This jump to unhealthy food choices happens when a person mistakenly believes (really distorts) that their newfound food selections seem to resolve other problematic issues – like providing more attention or increased peer acceptance, to name a few. 

#3 Nutrition Labels Have Become Sacred Doctrines

Reviewing nutrition labels is a great way to gain the knowledge required to make intelligent food choices. However, a nutrition label focus but may become a dangerous obsession if left unchecked. Label obsessiveness does not encourage the use of information to make prudent nutrition decisions but to determine how to restrict food intake and which foods will no longer be allowed. If your hyper-focus regarding food raises a few eyebrows now and then, you may want to talk with someone about your current relationship with food. 

#4 You Are Obsessed With Your Weight

While one’s weight is indicative of many health factors, many other body measurements are equally important, like –

  • Heart rate or blood pressure
  • Cholesterol levels
  • Blood sugar, to name a few. 

Does your daily mood depend on the number you saw on the scale this morning? Moods dependence on the scale might be an early sign of an eating disorder and worthy of a chat with your doctor or therapist.

Many eating disorders and medical experts agree that diets do not work long-term and often lead to more serious issues than a few extra pounds. Eating disorder treatment programs offer great options for both patients and their supportive family members and friends.

Image by Engin Akyurt from Pixabay 

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