A recent study found that the number of individuals struggling with an eating disorder was on the rise. What can we do about this?
It’s not always enough to promote body positivity and healthy eating standards when you’re with your loved ones. Some may require more direct intervention and hands-on help to recover from problems with eating.
How can you recognize the signs that someone in your life may need eating disorder treatment?
Read on for five signs of disordered eating to be aware of.
Preoccupation With Dieting or Counting Calories
Because diet culture is so prevalent, many people brush off signs like a fixation with dieting or counting calories as “normal.” However, this is often part of a restrictive diet or a cycle of binging, purging, and fasting. If your loved one has become very particular about what they’ll eat and when, it may be a sign of disordered eating.
Avoiding Eating Around Others
Did you use to enjoy meals with a loved one who will no longer eat in front of you? Some people with disordered eating may become very self-conscious about eating in front of others. They may also claim that they’ve already eaten or will eat later when this is not the case.
Dramatic Weight Changes
Dramatic weight loss, gain, or new and drastic fluctuations may indicate disordered eating. Keep in mind that other medical conditions can also play a role in sudden changes in weight. However, if there are no medical conditions that you know of and the person whose weight has changed exhibits other signs of disordered eating, this is cause for concern, as their disordered eating is starting to make a tangible impact.
Related Changes in Health
Eating disorders like bulimia and anorexia nervosa don’t just impact a person’s weight. They can also cause other noteworthy health problems. For example, disordered eating may disrupt or halt menstruation, cause constipation or stomach pain, or lead to issues like hair loss.
Issues With Body Image
Does your loved one often critique their own body? Do they refer to themselves as overweight or spend time pointing out parts of their body that they wish were thinner? If so, it’s time to have a discussion with them.
Many people of all ages, identities, and cultures experience body image issues at some point in their life. By helping your loved one to seek guidance and treatment right away, you may help to prevent disordered eating from occurring.
Don’t Ignore the Signs of Disordered Eating
The rate of eating disorders is rising and we should all play our part in helping our loved ones to stay safe and treat themselves with kindness. If any of these signs of disordered eating sound familiar, consider talking to your loved one about potential treatment options.
Our mental and physical health is important and there are many ways that we can strive for good health all around. Take a look at our health content for more tips and guides to healthy living.