We usually break eating disorders into bulimia and anorexia and use those to dictate the signs you may have an eating disorder. But it is not always that simple. An eating disorder can be classified as any situation where you have an unhealthy relationship with food and it has (or could have) a negative impact on your health. Having an eating disorder is not something you choose, it is mental rather than physical. So to make sure you do not overlook any of the symptoms, here are some subtle signs you may have an eating disorder.
1. It is All You Can Think about
One of the most obvious signs you may have an eating disorder is that food and eating control your life. Is it all you think about or talk about? When food becomes such a prominent part of your life, it becomes an unhealthy obsession. An eating disorder does not have to even manifest into eating habits before it can be considered unhealthy. If food is constantly on your mind, you might want to seek help before it turns into something more dangerous.
2. You Won’t Eat in Front of Friends
Closet eating, or eating when you are alone, is another sign of an eating disorder. When you are too afraid to eat in front of you friends, it may indicate that you are afraid people will judge you for how much you eat. You consider eating something to be ashamed of and therefore won’t let anyone see you do it. Closet eating can also lead to binge eating when you are alone because you do not know when you will be alone next.
3. You Have Strict Safe Foods
When you have a list of foods that you consider “safe” foods, it leads you to create an unhealthy relationship with food in which “bad” foods should never be eaten. You become consumed with only eating the appropriate safe foods. While it is great to eat healthy, when you classify foods into good and bad, you might go to extreme lengths purge yourself of “bad” foods if you eat them by accident.
4. You Work out Excessively
Purging yourself of food does not necessarily have to mean throwing up or taking laxatives. Exercise can be another form of purging your body after eating. An excessive need to work out can stem from an obsession with cancelling out the food you ate. It can have a horrible effect on your health and can lead to bigger eating disorders like bulimia and anorexia.
5. You Eat Immense Amounts at One Time
Most people know that bulimia is classified by binge eating and then purging, but the act of binging can be an eating disorder all on its own. If you eat an excessive amount of food in one sitting, to the point where you feel disgustingly full, it may be a sign of a bigger problem. Sure we all have those nights where we go a bit crazy on the ice cream, but if binge eating is a reoccurring problem with you, seeking help might allow you to create a better relationship with food.
6. You Feel Guilty when You Don’t Eat Healthy
Now and then we all feel a bit of guilt when we eat unhealthy, but when you take it too far is when you should be concerned. Feeling an overwhelming amount of guilt when you eat something as small as a cookie can lead to the feeling that you need to purge yourself of those foods. You should always strive to eat healthy, but you cannot expect yourself to only eat fruits and vegetables for the rest of your life.
7. You Have Rituals
You have to separate your food. You pour water all over your food so you won’t eat anymore. You can’t eat after a certain time. These rituals turn your eating habits into more work than something to sustain your energy. When these rituals rule your eating habits, it can lead to more severe eating habits and lead to a severely unhealthy relationship with food.
So many girls feel the pressure of being thin and that makes it easy to develop an eating disorder, even without noticing how obvious the signs are. By staying on the lookout for these signs, you will be able to detect if you are developing a problem and seek help before it controls your life. What did you think of these signs you may have an eating disorder? What are other signs you may have an eating disorder?