“I already ate at school.” “I’m not hungry.” “I’ll get fat from eating that.”
The earlier an eating disorder is detected, the less time it has to intensify. Spotting warning signs of any type of disordered eating can benefit the person affected and parents can detect the signs by noticing even the slightest changes to their child’s emotional behavior and physical appearance.
- Preoccupation with weight, exercise, dieting, and appearance
- Intense change in moods; frequent irritability
- Social isolation
- Discomfort when eating with others
- Restriction of specific foods or food categories
- Intense concern with physical appearance and weight
- Increase in exercise
- Engagement with fad diets
- Food rituals (i.e. ripping food apart, excessive condiment use, calorie counting, excessive chewing, etc)
- Perceptible changes in weight (either increase or decrease)
- Feeling cold/complaining of feeling cold frequently
- Difficulty sleeping; sleeping too much or not enough
- Teeth problems (i.e. discoloration, sensitivity, erosion, increased cavities)
- Difficulty concentrating/poor memory
- Dry hair/skin
- Poor immune system
All above-mentioned traits should be recognized within the context of eating, exercise, and perception of self. There are times where a child can be challenging authority and not wanting to eat as a way of defiance; that does not equal an eating disorder. It can be hard to distinguish the normal developments of a child/teen pressing the boundaries versus one that is truly struggling.
Continue to follow me on this journey as education is provided around how to determine whether your child or someone else you know is struggling with eating. Please don’t hesitate to reach out for help, it can save a life.