What we eat and how we eat gets a lot of attention lately. While some helpful guidance is alright when you have a healthy relationship to food, it’s way too easy to go overboard when you’re still young or when food has been a problem for you in the past.
It’s the kind of problem that tends to start with small and seemingly innocent signs but may develop to become something that takes control over your life.
Even if you think that you may never develop an eating disorder yourself, it’s good to know about this so that you’re able to look better after your friends, children and other family members. The more you know about these early warning signs, the clearer it will be to you when it’s time to seek professional help.
Here is a handful of the most common signs of an early-stage eating disorder so that you can take even better care of those you love.
Constant and repetitive dieting
You may already know someone who has been doing this for a while; they gain some weight and jump on the first diet trend wagon they can find, only to fall off again within a few months. The problem with spotting this sign is that it’s so common – and you surely wouldn’t approach your mother-in-law with your concerns when her blood sugar is low from all the dieting.
The trick is to see this in combination with other signs. If you have a teenage son or daughter, for example, and they’re constantly dieting and avoiding certain food groups, it could be a sign of an unhealthy relationship to food.
This, together with signs of sudden binge-eating, is a common warning when someone is developing an eating disorder to keep your eyes open in case a lot of food suddenly disappear from your fridge. You can have a look here if you’re wondering where to get help for anorexia nervosa, by the way, so that you know where to turn in case you should get your suspicions confirmed.
Signs of compulsive exercise patterns
This is another one that may be common for those who exercise a lot so try to see it in combination with other evidence. Staying true to your exercise routine is great and surely something that a lot of health freaks would push themselves to do – but, just like with everything else, it could go overboard.
Try to notice any signs of compulsive exercise routines such as if the weather is terrible, if they just suffered an injury, or any other refusals of interrupting their exercise.
They might become distressed if they’re not able to exercise as they had planned, for example, and they may show other signs of compulsiveness such as insisting on completing a certain number of exercises each time.
You can probably think about a lot of other signs that their relationships to food and body image are becoming unhealthy. A list of good food and bad food, for example, social withdrawal from situations where people eat together, as well as frequent excuses for not eating meals tend to accompany the signs above.
Keep your eyes open, in other words, and learn as much as you can about the disorder. That way, you’ll be able to talk to them about if without judgement and help them to recover.