Have you recently decided you wanted to lose weight or not like the way you look?
Have you gone on a diet that has become a bit more of an obsession and you are restricting your calories more and more?
Or do you have trouble “saying no” to many of the delicious foods that others are indulging in and you cannot stop yourself?
Are you on an eating “binge” and having no control?
Are you taking extreme measures to lose weight or get rid of unwanted calories by taking over the counter laxatives, diuretics or ipecac? Exercising excessively? Making yourself throw up?
It often begins with an innocent desire to lose weight or manage it but becomes a disordered way of eating and thinking about food and weight. It can take over your perspective and start to become a very loud negative “voice” in your head that will not allow you to follow a healthy path. Anyone can be affected by these eating issues…anyone. It is realizing when it may be time to get some help. If you recognize any of the signs or symptoms below, now is the moment to reach out and get the support you need.
There are different types of eating disorders: anorexia nervosa, bulimia, compulsive or binge-eating or a combination of all of them together. All of them can lead to serious health issues – heart problems, kidney and liver issues, skin issues, stomach and esophageal complications, diabetes and anemia as well as many others.
Anorexia Nervosa – Restricting of all food and drinks that results in excessive weight loss
Signs and Symptoms that are often associated with Anorexia include:
- Refusal to eat
- Denial of hunger
- Afraid of gaining weight
- Lying about how much food has been eaten
- Excessive exercise
- Flat mood (lack of emotion)
- Social withdrawal/isolation
- Preoccupation with food or cooking constantly for others
- Reduced interest in fun activities
- Depressed mood or irritability
- Possible use of laxatives, diuretics, ipecac or diet pills
Other Signs and Symptoms of Anorexia may include:
- Extreme weight loss/very thin appearance
- Covering up or wearing many layers of clothing to hide weight loss
- Can’t sleep or sleeping too much
- Dizziness or fainting
- Hair that thins, breaks or falls out
- Soft, downy hair covering the body
- Loss of menstruation
- Dry skin
- Intolerance of cold
- Racing or irregular heartbeat
If you're concerned that someone you know may have Anorexia, watch for these possible signs:
- Skipping meals or making excuses for not eating, ex:”I already ate.”
- Eating only a few certain "safe" foods, usually low in fat and calories
- Adopting unusual eating rituals, such as cutting food into small pieces or spitting food out after chewing
- Cooking elaborate meals for others but refusing to eat
- Repeated weighing of themselves
- Frequent checking in the mirror for perceived flaws
- Complaining about being fat
- Not wanting to eat in public
Bulimia – eating large quantities of calories and purging oneself afterward through vomiting, exercising, over-the-counter meds or a combination.
Most people with bulimia are of normal weight or even slightly overweight, so it may not be obvious to others that something is wrong. If you notice any of the below symptoms it may be time to seek out some help.
Signs and Symptoms someone may be suffering from Bulimia:
- Constantly worrying or complaining about being fat
- Having a distorted, excessively negative body image
- Repeatedly eating unusually large quantities of food in one sitting, especially high-fat or sweets
- Not wanting to eat in public or in front of others
- Going to the bathroom right after eating or during meals
- Exercising too much
- Cuts, sores, or scars on the knuckles or hands
- Damaged teeth and gums
Other Bulimia signs and symptoms may include:
- Preoccupation with your body shape and weight
- Fear of gaining weight
- Feeling a loss of control over eating and quantities
- Eating until the point of discomfort or pain
- Eating excessive amounts of food in a binge than in a normal meal or snack
- Forcing yourself to vomit or exercise too much after eating
- Abusing laxatives, diuretics, enemas, or ipecac after eating
Binge or Compulsive Eating – Consuming large quantities of calories or binge eating with a loss of control.
A binge eating episode can last a few hours, but some people binge on and off all day long. Binge eaters often eat even when they’re not hungry and continue eating even after they are full. Often they eat very fast and frequently do not enjoy or taste the food they are consuming.
Signs and symptoms of binge eating or compulsive overeating
- Inability to stop eating or control what you’re eating, even when full.
- Eating large amounts of food very quickly and in a short period of time.
- Hiding or hoarding food to eat later in secret.
- Eating normally around others, but binge-eating when you’re alone.
- Eating continuously throughout the day, with no planned mealtimes.
- Feeling stress or tension that is only relieved by bingeing.
- Embarrassment over how much you’re eating.
- Feeling numb while bingeing—like you’re not really there or watching yourself.
- Never feeling satisfied, no matter how much you eat.
- Feeling guilty, disgusted, or depressed after overeating
- Desperation to control weight and eating habits.