Signs of an Eating Disorder That Shouldn’t Be Mistaken for Healthy Habits
Mass culture dictates diet and healthy lifestyle rules and every day online, fitness bloggers with perfect bodies tell us to work out every day and eat arugula salads for dinner. However, they rarely talk about the consequences and side effects of this lifestyle.
In the U.S., 30 million people have developed eating disorders from dieting and trying to become attractive and fit. This article pertains to both men and women of different ages with different body types — many of them don’t even know that they’re in a risk group!
Bright Side has collected several warning signs that indicate it’s time to reconsider your diet before a more dangerous disorder develops.
10. You spend a lot of time examining your body’s flaws.
One of the most popular rituals that girls have is standing in front of the mirror while looking at their bellies and hips. There is nothing wrong with this unless it’s happening 15 times a day.
People who have an eating disorder are so fixated on their bodies that they feel like they have to check their belly after every meal. They do this in order to reduce their level of anxiety.
9. You panic when you skip a workout.
Being physically active is a great way to lose extra weight and improve your mood, but just like everything else, you shouldn’t have too many workouts.
If you have a family, a job, friends, hobbies or children, then everyday workouts can make you exhausted and antisocial. When skipping a workout makes you feel discomfort or panic and you feel the need to burn calories right after a meal, this may indicate an eating disorder.
8. The condition of your hair, skin, and nails has worsened.
When an eating disorder becomes too serious, its consequences are noticeable in a person’s appearance. If a person doesn’t get enough nutrients from food, their skin starts peeling. The person might start losing their hair and notice a decrease in the condition of their nails.
There may be other signs too like bags under the eyes, swelling, dryness in the mouth, vision problems, and period problems in women. This is the body’s way of showing us that it isn’t getting the right care and the situation needs to be fixed as soon as possible.
7. Food is the biggest pleasure of your life.
Many people say this as a joke and there is nothing unusual about getting pleasure from food. But if this pleasure becomes more important than everything else or if you don’t have enough energy or time for anything else, this is a worrisome sign that means you probably should see a doctor.
An obsession with food and eating is a popular problem because it’s much easier to buy and eat something tasty than it is to build a relationship that makes you happy or to achieve success at work. But easier doesn’t always mean better.
6. You’re scared of eating with other people near you.
If a person has an eating disorder, meeting friends at a restaurant becomes torture. “What will they think if I eat the entire meal?” or “They ordered salads, and I want a pizza, so I’ll just order water,” “If I order something else, everyone will think that I’m fat,” “I’ll eat the dessert at home,” — these are just some of the thoughts that are provoked by an eating disorder. With thoughts like these, a person can’t relax and enjoy good food with nice people.
5. You regularly have cheat meals.
Cheat meals are days when you can forget about your diet and eat anything you want. They are usually a bridge between orthorexia and bulimia. Overeating leads to feeling guilty, so the person starts controlling their diet even more which leads to overeating and feeling guilty again.
A person with an eating disorder could eat 10,000 calories a day and still feel hungry. It’s very difficult to break this vicious cycle unless you ask for help.
4. You’re constantly thinking about food.
“If I eat 5 nuts now, I can’t eat for 4 more hours,” “Will I get fat if I eat carbs after 6 pm?” “I need to buy 7 packs of low-fat cottage cheese on my way home or I’ll be hungry all week,” or “I’ll just look at this biscuit but I won’t eat it.”
Thinking about food is a radio in the head that can’t be turned off or in other words, orthorexia (an eating disorder characterized by an excessive preoccupation with eating healthy food). These people think about their food far in advance, try to control their appetite, and eat good food no matter what the circumstances are.
3. You cook complex and delicious dishes only for other people.
People who don’t eat their favorite foods often try to feed other people with something tasty. Participants in their ’40s that took part in The Minnesota starvation experiment said that during the 13 months they ate harshly, they really wanted to read recipe books.
An eating disorder can make a person invent new delicacies for their relatives. There is a possibility that once everyone leaves the table, the chef will lose control and eat everything that he or she has cooked. Such behavior may indicate bulimia.
2. You’re always cold.
When you have very little fat in your body, it’s difficult for you to warm up. And this isn’t just a problem that people with a “low-fat” diet have. If you always have a blanket with you even in the summer, and you take your jacket with you everywhere just in case, you may not be eating enough.
1. If you felt hungry when reading this post but decided that it wasn’t a good time to eat...
In most cases, the signals that tell us when we’re hungry and when we’re full are programmed during childhood. These signals help a person to provide their body with new energy and nutrients when needed. If a person ignores these signals too often by overeating or not eating enough, the signals may be disrupted and can provoke unhealthy eating behavior.
Is food your friend or your enemy? Tell us in the comment section below!
Illustrated by Anna Syrovatkina for BrightSide.me