Anyone can face an eating disorder these days, and this is no joke: according to statistics , as a result of such disorders, one person dies every hour. These conditions include not only anorexia nervosa and bulimia, but also “binge” overeating, diabulimia (a disorder in which people with diabetes refuse insulin to lose weight), dieting or detox systems; at the same time, the person has impaired perception of his own body and relationship with food. The reasons for the development of eating disorders are not entirely clear – both genetics and environmental factors, such as the influence of society and popular culture , play a role . This problem affects people of any age, gender and gender. We have compiled a list of eleven signs that may indicate a problem with your eating habits.
You are unhappy with your figure
One of the signs of an eating disorder (it goes with others) is dissatisfaction with the reflection in the mirror. For example, it may seem that you have “too thick” legs, “too small” breasts or, in principle, “imperfect” body parts. Such thoughts negatively affect mood, self-confidence and health. Negative body image is common: a Dove poll showed that about one in two women in Russia is unhappy with their appearance. Unfortunately, there is no qualitative Russian statistics on men, but judging by world trends , many of them are also dissatisfied with their bodies.
The most important reason for a negative attitude towards your body is the influence of unrealistic stereotypes about beauty; the situation is aggravated by low self-esteem. A person may be worried about the opinion of others if negative statements about appearance have been haunted since childhood. Working with a psychotherapist and playing sports can help you fall in love with yourself – but not because you can lose weight in this way. Physical activity makes it possible to see what the body is capable of, regardless of size, improves mood and reduces feelings of anxiety.
You are embarrassed to eat and drink in public
Fear of eating in front of others can harm both socialization and nutritional quality. Eating is an important part of life, be it breaks between classes or couples, business lunches or dates in restaurants. The reluctance to eat in public can be caused by fear of being judged for eating “too much”, “wrong” foods, or not being able to do it “nicely.” If the above is about you, try to understand the reasons and understand what exactly you are afraid of. If there are people around you who refuse to accept you as food, it may be worth stopping communication with them, because food is your own business.
If the problem lies in the area of fear of “looking stupid”, you should learn the simple rules of etiquette and do not hesitate to ask – remember that, for example, before the 2000s with ubiquitous sushi, no one knew how to eat with chopsticks. If the fear of eating and drinking in public is so unbearable that you are unable to do anything about it, it is worth talking to a therapist. There is nothing shameful in this – on the contrary, the ability to admit that you need the help of a specialist is a manifestation of strength.
You often have weakness or dizziness
Lack of nutrients and energy can adversely affect basic body functions. Stress, negative emotions, dangerous weight loss and low blood sugar levels lead to physical and mental fatigue. Prolonged fasting can have serious long-term health consequences, such as bone and muscle problems, as well as metabolic disorders, including diabetes and obesity.
Especially dangerous is the lack of nutrients at critical moments for development – during puberty, growth, pregnancy. If you are constantly tired, cannot recover in any way, you feel dizzy, then you need to see a doctor, because these symptoms can indicate a variety of health problems. You should not resort to self-medication, because the reasons may not be obvious and require clinical intervention.
Your weight is inadequate for your height and age
Of course, the cause of too large or small body weight (from a medical point of view) can be various problems, including hormonal disorders or even cancer. Although BMI is not an ideal tool, it gives you a good idea of how close your weight is to the normal range for a start (for adults, the ideal BMI is between 18.5 and 25 kg / m²). Of course, common sense and individual characteristics should be taken into account: for athletes, due to muscle mass, a healthy BMI may be higher than the standard, and for a person with one leg or arm, it may be lower.
For children and adolescents, it is recommended to use WHO tables . To maintain a healthy weight, it is best to follow reputable dietary guidelines such as the UK’s Eatwell Guide . If more detailed instructions are required, consult your dietitian or your healthcare professional.
You induce vomiting, diuretics, or laxatives
Bingeing episodes can be accompanied by feelings of shame, especially if perceived as a breakdown from the diet or an attempt to eat “normal”. In addition to negative emotions, overeating also causes discomfort in the stomach. To get rid of these feelings, many begin to resort to “cleansing” methods by inducing vomiting after eating or by stimulating the kidneys and intestines with medications.
Regular use of such products leads to serious problems: dehydration, electrolyte imbalances, diseases of the teeth, digestive tract, kidneys and heart. It is important to understand that neither vomiting nor laxatives will help get rid of everything eaten, and the damage will be serious. In the presence of such manifestations, it is worth trying to reconsider your relationship with food; One of the most effective practices is intuitive nutrition – a system built on an attentive attitude to hunger, satiety and one’s own body as a whole.
You are constantly on a diet and are afraid to get better.
If you are constantly counting calories, weighing yourself several times a day, and trying new diets , this is an eating disorder. It can also manifest itself by constantly downloading new weight loss apps, buying diet books and subscribing to dozens of nutritional gurus. Diet tracking is important, and there is nothing wrong with seeking advice and guidance, as long as it doesn’t turn into an obsession.
Restrictive diets are necessary for obesity and some other diagnoses, but must be strictly controlled by a specialist. If your weight is making you anxious, it is worth consulting with your doctor, rather than trying to resolve the issue on your own. Drastic methods may be needed when there are serious health risks, but in other cases, you need to strive for balance and an active lifestyle. It is important to remember that there are no “bad” and “good” foods, the main thing is a common diet for a long time. There is no food that, in a small amount, will cause irreparable harm – a complete prohibition can be talked about only in case of severe allergies or intolerances.
You exercise too much
An obsessive desire to exercise – to lose weight or “improve” your own body – is also a sign of an eating disorder. An obsession with sports can develop from the desire to burn off all the “extra” calories or show others that you are leading a healthy lifestyle. At the same time, skipping a workout causes panic, anxiety and even greater self-loathing. Against the backdrop of constant diets, exhausting sports can harm the body, depleting it.
Of course, being active is the most important part of a healthy lifestyle, but it is good in moderation. WHO recommends aerobic exercise for 150-300 minutes per week, with moderate intensity – it can be a quick step, swimming or just cleaning. It is recommended to devote two or more days to strength exercises. Exercise needs to be supported with adequate nutrition that supplies the body with the necessary substances and energy, otherwise going to the gym will do more harm than good.
You have irregular periods
With a severe lack of weight, at least ten percent below normal, the work of the reproductive system may be disrupted – the body simply does not have enough energy to regulate it. Small changes in cycle length can be harmless , but if your period doesn’t come for a couple of months, it’s best to talk to a specialist.
Keeping a menstrual calendar is a good idea; such calendars help to notice problems as early as possible, and also simplify the answer to the gynecologist’s question about the last menstruation. Now there are many applications where you can enter information about mood or ailments at different periods of the cycle.
Food runs out very quickly at home
If food in the house ends earlier than planned, and you constantly go to the refrigerator to “grab” something, or eat in the middle of the night – this is also a sign of problems with eating habits. Binge eating attacks, when a person buys a can of peanut butter or ice cream “for a week” and eats it in the evening, can lead to feelings of shame and self-loathing. This binge eating is a reason to ask for help.
You can also try to determine which foods are eaten immediately, and set certain boundaries for yourself – for example, not buying this product, but eating it from time to time in a cafe (where the portion size is limited). A complete ban is not the best solution, as it can lead to further breakdowns and an even greater sense of shame.
You criticize others for their eating habits
If your own nutrition seems so perfect that you allow yourself to openly criticize other people’s nutrition, this is also a wake-up call. Even when you do it “with the best of intentions,” you may not know exactly what is behind the other person’s food choices.
If you find yourself in the habit of judging people for their food, try to avoid discussing diet and lifestyle while eating altogether. Just as you should not be accountable for your food to others – no one is obliged to explain to you why he eats this. After all, one of the basic factors in a healthy relationship with food is pleasure in it. By commenting on the diet of others, especially while eating, you break a harmonious relationship with food for both them and yourself.
You skip meals and don’t feel hungry.
An irregular diet negatively affects the body’s response to hunger and satiety, and sometimes a person deliberately ignores these signals. In this case, there may be a feeling that you constantly want to eat – or, on the contrary, it seems to a person that he is not hungry, although objectively a lot of time has passed since the last meal. The second option is often disguised as being overly busy – when we “forget” to eat because of work or school.
As a result, the amount of food does not correspond to the needs of the body – and a manifestation of this imbalance can be too low or too high weight, as well as weakness or disruption of the intestines. Planning meals helps to make meals more regular and enjoyable, as well as creating a good environment: at the table, with beautiful dishes and with a mobile phone put away.