According to the American Psychiatric Association (APA), eating disorders are “illnesses in which people experience severe disturbances in their eating behaviors and related thoughts and emotions”. You become preoccupied with food, body shape, and weight. About 9 percent of people in the US suffer from eating disorders.
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The condition has various triggers, symptoms, and lasting damage. Specialized treatment is required to manage eating disorders. It is very important to tell when you have warning signs of eating disorders. And, never hesitate to seek assessment and treatment from professionals. Here are some telltale signs that you have an eating disorder.
Rigid food and exercise rules
Don’t mistake this for healthy living habits. If you have rigid rules regarding food and exercise, it might be a sign that you’re having an eating disorder. Making effort to count the number of calories is having an inflexible mindset. With the growth in the wellness industry, having most conversations focusing on healthy eating might not be a good thing.
Ideas such as eating only vegetables and fruits indicate an eating disorder disguised as a wellness lifestyle. Being obsessed with the purity and quality of food ignoring body changes and weight loss is a sign that you’re having orthorexia. When this happens, you should visit eating disorder treatment centers in Florida for assessment and specialized treatment.
Anxiety inducing clothes, foods, and places
Do you have foods that give you anxiety? Having a list of foods whose texture and calories give you fear is a sign of an eating disorder. This avoidance pattern is likely to extend to other aspects of your life including places and clothes that trigger distress. You may begin to hate wearing some of your clothes because you no longer feel comfortable with your looks in them. Having such avoidance behavior significantly affects one’s life. You can tell this when you begin to avoid social outings.
Significant dieting history
Diets are not always effective. Habits such as intuitive eating are more effective when it comes to long-term weight loss. The philosophy behind this is to get empowerment to make healthy choices for your body. Diets just impose restrictions and shame. No one can tell you’re having an eating disorder by just looking at you.
Medical diagnoses only diagnose 6 percent of people having eating disorders as medically underweight. You can have an eating disorder regardless of body shape and weight. Trying out various diets without weight loss programs can be a sign of an eating disorder.
Another sign that you may be having an eating disorder is when you indulge in binge eating. Alternatively, you might limit your food intake especially when overwhelmed or stressed. According to Mayo Clinic, emotional, eating is a coping mechanism to suppress or soothe negative emotions. People use it to get comfort when stressed.
Emotional eating is usually discreet and disclosure evokes shameful feelings. Understanding emotional eating requires getting a deeper understanding of your eating habits. Most times, the disorder includes restricting or limiting food intake.
Commitment to physical fitness is healthy and fun. However, it ceases to be so when you use exercise as a tool to lose weight or punishing yourself for eating. There’s a clear distinction between excessing exercise and working out to get into a better shape. You have to identify whether you have self-hatred or trying to get your desired body shape. The ultimate goal of working out should be to improve your well-being.
Some of the signs of excessive exercise include:
- Working out with an injury
- Exercise to compensate for weight fluctuation or eating
- Feeling obliged to workout
- Neglecting social life to work out
- Emotional distress when you miss your workout
Hating your body
Do you often get thoughts of hating your body? This usually results from various aspects of your life. These might include:
- Weight stigma
- Observation of modeled behavior
- Family history
- Social media hype about the ideal body
You can tell you’re not happy about your body when you usually make negative remarks about your appearance. Saying things like you’re so ugly and fat is a clear indication of suffering from an eating disorder.
Who is at risk of eating disorders?
Some people are at a higher risk of eating disorders than others. People with poor coping skills, when exposed to stress, are more likely to suffer from eating disorders. Family problems such as a harsh parent, detachment from parents, or overprotective parents might trigger an eating disorder. Society today has a description of beauty that might give you food problems. Thinness is associated with beauty today and trying to become thin might make you anorexic.
One of the best ways to find a solution to your problem is acceptance. You can tell whether you have any of the signs highlighted above to know whether you have an eating disorder. However, visiting a treatment center is very important for assessment and professional treatment.