To think you or a loved one may be dealing with disordered eating or an eating disorder can be overwhelming and difficult. Fortunately, if you do determine that you or a loved one may be dealing with an eating disorder or disordered eating behavior, there is help available. But, to determine what type of help may be best for you or your loved one, it can be helpful to first identify if you’re truly dealing with one of these issues. So, if you’re wondering, “how do I know if I have an eating disorder”, there are a few things you can consider first.
Do You Obsess About Your Weight, Body Image, or Size?
Those struggling with eating disorders may spend more time worrying about their weight, body size, or body image than others. So, this can be a defining characteristic of determining whether or not you may be living with an eating disorder. Therefore, you can ask yourself, is this something that consumes many of your thoughts? Is this something that you are concerned about more than your peers or loved ones? If so, this may be a sign that you could be struggling with an eating disorder.
Do You Often Diet or Exercise Excessively?
Another characteristic of certain eating disorders is obsessive behaviors that are conducted in attempts to control body size, weight, and image. These behaviors can include routinely dieting and restricting eating. And, exercising excessively in order to lose weight or change size, weight, and body image. So, if you find yourself continuously going on diets or exercising more than is necessary, this could be a sign that you are living with an eating disorder.
Do You Have a Fear of Gaining Weight?
Eating disorders like anorexia nervosa and bulimia often come with characteristics of fear surrounding gaining weight. This fear is the driving force behind certain behaviors including excessive exercise, purging (forceful vomiting, using laxatives, etc.), and compulsive dieting or restricted eating. Those who have a fear of gaining weight may want to find further help to determine whether or not they are living with an eating disorder.
Do You Display Disordered Eating Behaviors?
Disordered eating is one of the most common and easily recognizable symptoms of eating disorders. Disordered eating behaviors can include counting calories, neglecting to eat certain food groups (sugar, fats, etc.), fasting, binging, and purging. Typically, disordered eating behaviors are in an attempt to gain control. This can include control over one’s emotions, mental health symptoms, weight, or body size.
Do You Feel Negativity About How You Look?
It’s common for people who are dealing with eating disorders to feel negatively about how they look. This can induce feelings of wanting to control their weight or influence behaviors of disordered eating. Having negative thoughts about one’s own looks can lead to negative self-image and self-esteem. Thus, leading to wanting to establish control over one’s own image by developing disordered eating behaviors and habits that can lead to the development of eating disorders.
Getting Help for Eating Disorder From Willow Place
Now that you’ve read about some of the defining characteristics of eating disorders, you may have a better understanding of whether or not you may be living with an eating disorder. Fortunately, for those dealing with these mental health issues, help is available. For example, treatment at an outpatient facility like Willow Place for Women, which offers therapeutic services for women living with eating disorders and other mental health issues. Find out more about how we can help on our website.