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Signs you may be suffering with an Eating Disorder

By Lee Neagle MA, LPC| 3 Min Read | May 18, 2023
Recognize Eating Disorder Symptoms - Inner Haven Wellness

It is challenging to understand and recognize the warning signs and symptoms of an eating disorder in our culture. We live in a society that places excessive emphasis on body shape and size, often rewarding behaviors that contribute to the development of disordered eating and/or dysfunctional relationships with food.  This disordered/dysfunctional focus around food, weight, and shame can potentially lead to the development of an eating disorder. You may find yourself struggling, while the people around you frequently comment on how “healthy” you appear.

Eating disorders are one of the deadliest mental health conditions, and like any other disease, individuals that receive treatment earlier have better outcomes.

In order to help you recognize whether you or your loved one may be suffering from an eating disorder, we’ve compiled a list below of six general warning signs and symptoms of eating disorders.

We’ve also listed sub bullet descriptions for how these eating disorder symptoms may look in everyday life.

If you or a loved one is experiencing any of the below eating disorder symptoms, we can help with a free eating disorder assessment over the phone. Reach out to us today!

What are Some Eating Disorder Symptoms?

Six Warning Signs of an Eating Disorder

  • Significant preoccupation with body shape, weight, and size
    • Signs of emotional distress around minor changes in body/weight/size. 
    • Topics of conversation focus around body, weight, food and size
    • Frequent dieting and discussion of dieting
  • Rigid Food Rituals – If these rituals are not followed it will create marked anxiety or stress
    • Eating in a certain order
    • Cutting food into extremely small pieces
    • Overuse of condiments
    • Eating extremely quickly or slowly
    • Chewing and spitting food out
    • Removing entire food groups of their diet
    • Skipping certain meals
    • “Cleansing and Detoxing” the body through fasting behaviors
    • Hyper focus on tracking macronutrients and calories 
  • Constant Body Checking
    • Frequently checking for flaws in any reflection
    • Pinching, poking, and prodding any parts of their body for reassurance things haven’t “changed”
    • Frequent weighing of oneself, this can be multiple times per day
    • Consistently asking others if they look alright
  • Dramatic Physical Changes
    • Weight gain/loss in short periods of time
    • Loss of menstrual cycles
    • GI distress (constipation, reflux, cramps)
    • Loss of bone density
    • Cavities or loss of tooth enamel
    • Thinning or loss of hair
    • Muscle weakness
    • Reduced ability to naturally heal wounds
  • Dramatic Emotional Changes
    • Mood swings
    • Increased impulsivity
  • Impaired Social Functioning
    • Avoiding social gatherings around food
    • Avoiding spaces where the body may be a focus (swimming)
    • Consistently using the bathroom right after every meal
    • Increased time working out to the detriment of other life responsibilities.
    • Increased social isolation
    • Making food for others but not eating it themselves
    • Controlling others meal/food choices

A list of potential eating disorder symptoms can sometimes create confusion when they seem to contradict each other. It is important to remember that there are a variety of eating disorders and an eating disorder is not universally present in one specific way. 

At Inner Haven, we understand the confusion that may arise and we are here to help you navigate through it. If you suspect that you or a loved one may be struggling with an eating disorder, we encourage you to take our eating disorder quiz. This valuable tool serves as a first step in a journey towards a healthier self.

When you are ready, we can provide guidance and help you understand your treatment options.

If you are reading this list and you have concerns please contact us today for a free assessment.

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