Here are some of the common warning signs to help spot an eating disorder in yourself or a friend:
- Purging. Purging behavior is never part of a healthy diet and should be considered a red flag.
- Never-ending dieting. Most people have a weight-loss goal and are satisfied when they meet it. What’s more concerning is when people lose the weight and rather than feeling better, they start to feel worse and keep having ever-shifting downward weight-loss goals.
- Isolation. Eating is a very social activity, and even when people are dieting they continue to engage in lots of social activities. But people with eating disorders begin skipping out on roommate dinners and other social activities involving food.
- Severe food limitations. We’re not just talking about quantity, but also the types of food and how it’s eaten. Individuals with eating disorders tend to be extremely rigid in what foods they will eat — only eating a particular food and refusing to eat anything else, for example — and they have food rituals. They may cut up their food into tiny pieces or have a certain way of eating that they just have to follow.