Dr. Mehmet Oz answered:These are some of the classic signs of eating disorders. Any of them sound familiar?
Find out more about this book: YOU: The Owner's Manual for Teens: A Guide to a Healthy Body and Happy LifeHelpful? 1 person found this helpfulThese are some of the classic signs of eating disorders. Any of them sound familiar? preoccupation with appearance, body shape, or weight, with the preoccupation getting in the way of daily life consistent sadness, frustration, or anger... More
- preoccupation with appearance, body shape, or weight, with the preoccupation getting in the way of daily life
- consistent sadness, frustration, or anger about body image
- frequent self-deprecating comments
- frequent comparison to others regarding appearance, body shape, or weight
- excessive concern about a body part that seems average or okay to others
- increasing self-consciousness
- secrecy related to eating or exercise habits
- dramatic or steady weight loss and/or extreme weight fluctuations (big ups and downs)
- severely restricting food intake
- refusal to eat certain foods
- obsessing over body weight, calories, food, or dieting
- unusual eating rituals, such as rearranging food on the plate, excessive chewing, eating food in a certain order, or having to measure all food consumed
- making excuses to avoid mealtimes and eating including claiming food intolerances or allergies when none actually exist
- complaining often about feeling fat
- excessive exercise, even during bad weather or sickness; needing to get rid of calories consumed
- vomiting, diet pills, laxative use, or other forms of purging
- frequent weighing
- refusal to eat in front of others
- consistent denial of hunger
- attempts to hide appearance with clothing or posture
- moodiness, depression, withdrawn personalities
Brooke Randolph answered:One obvious symptom of an eating disorder is weight loss or weight fluctuation; however, this does not apply to everyone with an eating disorder. Meghan Bennett, Recovery Care Specialist of Selah House, LLC reminds us that "someone struggling with bulimia or EDNOS (Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified) may not experience much weight loss, may be overweight due to binging and purging, or not lose weight rapidly or drastically. The stereotype is that someone must be severely underweight or losing rapidly to have an eating disorder is misleading. Nearly half of the clients I work with in an inpatient eating disorder (ED) facility have to do little to no weight restoration."
Other clues to an eating disorder that are commonly discussed are excessive exercise, binging and/or purging, caloric restriction, picky eating, misuse of laxatives or diet pills, caffeine abuse, and misuse of ipecac or Epsom salts.
You may have also heard that people with an eating disorder may quit menstruating, lose hair, experience anemia, damage their teeth, damage their esophagus, break their fingernails easily, and grow fine hair on their face or body. You may not see that they also experience osteoporosis or osteopenia, heart problems, kidney problems, damage to their colon, low body temperature, and the decreased ability to recognize hunger.
Some healthy behaviors can become unhealthy if taken to an extreme. One of my dear friends knows the calories and nutrition information at every restaurant we visit because she is having awesome success with Weight Watchers. However, sometimes an obsession with caloric counts and nutritional information can be a signal that someone is looking for an excuse to not eat certain foods. Another healthy behavior that can be taken too far and signal an eating disorder is a focus on eating only organic or raw foods. Meghan Bennett also told me that "an obsession with 'purity' in foods is occasionally linked to sexual trauma, the patient wants nothing 'impure,' 'artificial,' or 'toxic' in their body."
Meghan also shared that she looks for some specific behaviors during meal times while she is working at Selah House. Some mealtime behaviors that could signal an eating disorder include: taking very small bites, cutting or tearing food into small pieces, refusing to eat in front of others, eating very slowly or very quickly, eating only one food item at a time, spitting food out after chewing it, drinking a lot of water during meals, hiding food.One obvious symptom of an eating disorder is weight loss or weight fluctuation; however, this does not apply to everyone with an eating disorder. Meghan Bennett, Recovery Care Specialist of Selah House, LLC reminds us that "someone... More
Dr. Ramani Durvasula answered:
Eating disorders currently fall into two major categories: those characterized by caloric restriction and those characterized by binge eating and compensatory behaviors (such as vomiting, laxative misuse, excessive exercise).
Anorexia nervosa is characterized by very low body weight (85% less than ideal), missing multiple menstrual periods, distorted body image and preoccupation with body image, and restrictive eating due to fear of gaining weight.
Bulimia nervosa is characterized by binge eating (consumption of an unusual amount of food in a single episode during which the person feels out of control), followed by some form of "purging" or compensatory behavior such as vomiting, excessive exercise, laxative or diuretic use. And these episodes occur at least twice a week for at least 3 months.
While Binge Eating Disorder is not yet a formal diagnosis in the DSM, it is characterized by regular binges that are NOT followed by compensatory behavior. Eating disorders are then characterized by disordered and consistent patterns of eating, distorted body image, and disturbances in weight.Eating disorders currently fall into two major categories: those characterized by caloric restriction and those characterized by binge eating and compensatory behaviors (such as vomiting, laxative misuse, excessive exercise). Anorexia... More
National Academy of Sports Medicine answered:
If you, or a friend are exhibiting the following, you should seek the support of a counselor or nurse to help you manage your feelings about your body and weight:
If you, or a friend are exhibiting the following, you should seek the support of a counselor or nurse to help you manage your feelings about your body and weight: An obsession with weight and food. An extreme focus on calories or... More
- An obsession with weight and food.
- An extreme focus on calories or nutrient grams (i.e. fat or carbohydrate).
- An obsessive attitude towards exercise (even when sick or exhausted).
- Avoidance of hanging out with others during meals.
- Preferring big or baggy clothes all the time.
- Dramatic or very restrictive dieting, cutting food into tiny pieces, and moving food around on the plate instead of eating it.
- Competition with others over weight and size.
- Being very defensive or sensitive about his or her weight loss or eating habits.
- Taking laxatives, steroids, or diet pills.
- Physical characteristics like bruising easily or complaining of being cold more than usual.
Dr. Michele Borba answered:Eating disorders are difficult to detect in the early stages, but here are signs to look for:
Eating disorders are difficult to detect in the early stages, but here are signs to look for: Mealtime a constant battle: Makes excuses to avoid eating, skips meals; prefers to eat alone. Meal battles aren’t really about pickiness in taste or... More
- Mealtime a constant battle: Makes excuses to avoid eating, skips meals; prefers to eat alone. Meal battles aren’t really about pickiness in taste or appearance but taking in another calorie.
- Eats in bizarre way: Spits out food; chews on the same piece of food for an unreasonable and excessive length of time; cuts food into smaller bits; hides food and says it was eaten.
- Counts calories obsessively: Constantly weighs self; intense fear of being fat, eliminates all sweets, snacks, fat from diet; relentlessly exercises to lose weight; preoccupied with appearance and size.
- Unrealistic assessment of weight: Describes self as “too fat” though obviously underweight.
- Stops menstruating or skips periods.
- Radical change in temperament: Irritable, trouble sleeping, depressed, withdraws socially.
- Physical changes: Dry skin, puffy face, yellow skin, fine hair on body, brittle fingernails, hair thins or becomes dry and brittle, swelling of feet, achy joints, cold hands.
- Hoards or hides food: Eats in secret, doesn’t eat much at meals or says not hungry but sweets and junk food missing from cupboards; empty food packages found around house.
- Strange bathroom behaviors: Retreats to the bathroom after eating; flushes toilet frequently, runs water or turns on shower; heavy use or sanitizer sprays or mouthwash to cover up vomiting sounds and smells.
- Large changes in weight: Both up or down; wears bulky clothes to hide weight.
- Uses extreme dieting methods: Laxatives, enemas, water pills (diuretics), or diet pills.
- Problems with joints, gums or teeth: Scraped knuckles from putting fingers down throat to vomit; discoloration of teeth, gums problems; swollen cheeks from vomiting, sore joints.
- Compulsive eating: Eats a lot–much more than others would normally eat in a similar situation–when not hungry; no control over eating behavior.
Dr. Mike Dow answered:Watch as Dr. Mike Dow explains the term "disordered eating" and discusses the red flags to look out for.
Watch as Dr. Mike Dow explains the term "disordered eating" and discusses the red flags to look out for. More
It's helpful to know some of the signs and symptoms of anorexia in order to be helpful in its diagnosis. People developing anorexia exhibit some of the following signs and symptoms:
- preoccupation with food thoughts, reading cook books and magazines
- food rituals that include mixing, cutting, pushing food around, eating very slowly and using excessive spices
- increased use of coffee, tea or gum
- physically: feeling cold, hair loss, headaches, stomach upset and fatigue
- socially: isolating behaviors, relationship deterioration and decreased sexual desire
- thinking: impaired concentration and focus, decreased alertness and poor judgment
- emotional and personality: depressed, mood swings, angry and increased anxiety
Body weight although sometimes a good indicator if there is a "large" loss of weight over a relatively short period of time is not always the best indicator because people lose weight. There can be a fine line about how much weight is too much weight however blood tests can be a better determination. Blood tests will reflect "normal" micronutrient values that are interpreted as normal nutrition status.
If you or a loved one exhibits some of the signs and symptoms from above along with weight loss it’s probably a good time to see a physician and get some blood work done.It's helpful to know some of the signs and symptoms of anorexia in order to be helpful in its diagnosis. People developing anorexia exhibit some of the following signs and symptoms: preoccupation with food thoughts, reading cook books and... More
Boston Women's Health Book Collective answered:
The following are signs of potentially disordered eating:
Find out more about this book: Our Bodies, Ourselves: A New Edition for a New EraThe following are signs of potentially disordered eating: Change in personality or behavior: More withdrawn, secretive, depressed, or irritable; spends a great deal of time alone or in the bathroom; prone to tantrums; shoplifts or takes money from... More
- Change in personality or behavior: More withdrawn, secretive, depressed, or irritable; spends a great deal of time alone or in the bathroom; prone to tantrums; shoplifts or takes money from friends and family members to meet food needs; denies there is a problem.
- Unusual eating habits: Stops eating with family and/or friends; is eating amounts larger or smaller than normal; stops eating entirely; engages in vomiting or uses laxatives, diet pills, diuretics, or rigorous dieting or fasting to lose or maintain weight.
- Compulsive exercising to the point of exhaustion.
- Physical symptoms: Failure to gain weight during expected periods of growth (i.e., adolescence); extreme weight change; fine, downy hair growth on the body; insomnia; constipation; skin rash and dry skin; loss of hair and poor nail quality; dental cavities; cessation of or delay in the menstrual cycle; extreme sensitivity to cold; inability to think clearly; irrational thinking; chronic fatigue.
There are many different eating disorder symptoms, which vary from person to person and also depend on the type of eating disorder. For example, by definition, anorexia nervosa presents as low body weight, fear of gaining weight, distorted body perceptions, and lack of menses. In bulimia, a binge (when someone eats too much at one time for that person's size) is followed by some form of purging, which includes food restriction, vomiting, laxative use and/or obsessive exercise. Those with bulimia or binge-eating disorders are often very secretive about their eating and purging patterns; therefore these eating disorders can be difficult to recognize. Subtle signs of eating disorders include skipping meals, concocting strange combinations of food, unexplained complaints of abdominal pain, markings on the back of the hand, or tooth decay (from vomiting), and any indications that food or being around food causes heightened anxiety. Another sign is a sudden change in diet, even a healthy change, which can be a clue that a disordered eating pattern may be forming.
There are many different eating disorder symptoms, which vary from person to person and also depend on the type of eating disorder. For example, by definition, anorexia nervosa presents as low body weight, fear of gaining weight, distorted body... More