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May 4th, 2013

Eating Disorders – Recognize the Signs

There are three prevalent types of eating disorders. People suffering from Anorexia Nervosa are obsessed with being thin and often eat very little. Those with Bulimia Nervosa are also fearful of gaining weight, but engage in excessive eating followed by self-induced vomiting, use of diuretics, laxatives, and/or excessive exercise to rid the calories consumed. Compulsive eaters generally overeat as a means of coping with and/or avoiding difficult emotions.

For many who suffer from eating disorders, controlling food intake and weight allow them to feel “in control” or powerful over something. While eating disorders offer some temporary relief from very real emotional conflicts, long-term physical consequences and emotional aftermath (including feelings of guilt and self loathing) pose significant long-term challenges as the disease progresses.

  • Anorexia Nervosa (“Ana”)
  • Dramatic weight loss
  • Preoccupation with weight, food, calories, fat grams, and dieting
  • Distorted body image and perfectionism
  • Visiting pro-anorexia websites
  • Extreme calorie and/or fat restriction
  • Obsession with what can and cannot be eaten – “good” & “bad” food lists
  • Self-induced vomiting after meals
  • Family history of eating disorders or abuse
  • Dishonesty about eating / hiding food
  • Difficulty expressing feelings
  • Regular fasting and skipping of meals
  • Embarrassment/shame/anxiety about eating in public to the point of refusal
  • Refusal to eat certain foods, progressing to restrictions against whole categories of food (e.g. no carbohydrates, etc.)
  • Frequent comments about feeling “fat” or overweight despite weight loss
  • Physical symptoms, including mood swings, depression, limited energy, brittle nails
  • Two skipped periods (menstrual cycles) in conjunction with weight loss
  • Use of diet pills or laxatives (for weight loss or due to fear of weight gain)
  • Excessive exercise/ calorie counting/ portion controlling
  • Sudden decision to become a vegetarian
  • Withdrawal from family, friends, and/or hobbies
  • Denial of hunger
  • Anxiety about gaining weight or being “fat”
  • Avoiding mealtimes or situations involving food
  • Focus on diet books and/or dieting behavior
  • Food rituals (eating foods in certain orders, excessive chewing, etc.)
  • Going to the bathroom shortly/immediately after meals (anxiety, if not)
  • Excessive consumption of nutritionally unbalanced meals
  • Fainting, headaches, slowed thinking, poor memory
  • A history of falling outside of recommended BMI ranges at annual physicals
  • Bulimia Nervosa (“Mia”)
  • Evidence of binge eating, including disappearance of large amounts of food in short periods of time or finding wrappers and containers indicating the consumption of large amounts of food
  • Self-induced vomiting after meals
  • Family history of eating disorders or abuse
  • Dishonesty about eating/hiding food
  • Difficulty expressing feelings
  • Use of diet pills or laxatives (for weight loss or due to fear of weight gain)
  • Going to the bathroom shortly/immediately after meals (anxiety, if not)
  • Excessive consumption of nutritionally unbalanced meals
  • Fainting, eroding tooth enamel, and headaches, slowed thinking, poor memory
  • A history of falling outside of recommended BMI ranges at annual physicals
  • Excessive exercise/ calorie counting/portion controlling
  • Unusual swelling of the face
  • Calluses on the back of the hands and knuckles
  • Discoloration or staining of the teeth
  • Schedules or rituals to make time for binging and purging
  • Withdrawal from family, friends, and/or hobbies

  • Compulsive Eating
  • Difficulty controlling portion size
  • Eating when bored, stressed, tired, sad, and angry
  • Frequently eating in response to cravings
  • Eating alone due to embarrassment
  • Feelings of disgust, depression, or guilt
  • Periods of eating much more rapidly than usual
  • Exhibits low or hyper self-esteem
  • Excessive food consumption
  • High sugar consumption
  • Excessive consumption of nutritionally unbalanced meals
  • Large amounts of missing foods
  • A history of falling outside of recommended BMI ranges at annual physicals

Get Involved

parents

Navigating the adolescent years is one of the largest and toughest responsibilities we will face as parents. It is scary to see someone that you care about engage in harmful choices. We are here to help you to prevent your child from making damaging life choices.

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students

We're here to help you face and overcome potentially life-derailing challenges. Discover the many ways in which you can amplif(i) your voice in the name of making good decisions. We're here as an informative, inspirational resource as we share our personal stories. Join the movement by sharing your story and speaking up for yourself and the people you love who may be going through a hard time.

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educators

You are an educator, influential in the lives of the students and parents you serve. Creating a positive culture within your classroom starts and ends with you. We are here as a resource for your school to make sure every classroom environment is one that is conducive to positive learning and growth.

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