Having an eating disorder does not always present itself in typical symptoms like eating disorders. If you are feeling pressure from yourself or others to eat less, notice a change in how much food your body wants and needs, feel out of control around food, or want to lose weight for reasons other than health, you may be practicing disordered eating, which can easily lead to an eating disorder.
What is an Eating Disorder?
An eating disorder is a mental illness that influences eating behaviors like eating too much or eating too little. Generally, disordered eating is a coping mechanism for an underlying issue and can be extremely harmful if not treated properly.
How Do You Know if You Have an Eating Disorder?
Here are some questions to ask yourself that can help you get clear on whether you have an eating disorder or not:
How Much Do You Worry About Your Weight or Body Shape?
This is the only time comparing yourself to others might be helpful. Take a step back and ask yourself if compared to other people, do you worry more or less about your weight and body shape? The amount of time you spend worrying about it reveals how much power and influence it has over you, your decisions, and your self-esteem.
On a scale of 1 to 10, How Intense is Your Fear of Gaining Weight?
If the idea of gaining weight sends you into a spiral, that’s a red flag. Everyone cares about their appearance to some extent. But if the idea of gaining weight makes you extremely anxious, it might be a sign of an eating disorder.
How Often Do you Diet?
Do you go on fad diets? Are you constantly dieting or trying new diets to try to lose weight? One common sign of disordered eating or a full-blown eating disorder is constant dieting.
How’s Your Body Image?
Everyone has bad body image days from time to time. But if you constantly see your body through a negative lens, this might be something to pay attention to. If your body image has the power to change the way you see yourself as a person or keep you from doing things you love, there’s a problem.
Check-In on Your Eating Behaviors
Take an inventory of your eating behaviors. There are different types of disordered behaviors, but the most common ones are purging, under-eating, fasting, binging, and compulsive exercise.
Look at Your Functioning
Eating disorders get in the way of someone’s ability to function in work, school, or in relationships. Has your social, academic, or professional life been impacted by your body image or eating behaviors?
It can be tempting to think that if you aren’t showing physical symptoms, then there isn’t a problem. Medical functioning is just one aspect of your overall functioning. While medical concerns become a priority given how dangerous eating disorders can be, even if you are technically healthy, the other signs and symptoms discussed are equally as important.
It’s scary to admit you have a problem or to think of letting go of these patterns and ways of being. If you recognize yourself in any of the red flags listed above, give us a call or visit our website to see how we may be able to help!