It’s always important to look out for the health of those you care about, especially if you’re a parent with growing children. When it comes to looking out for signs of an eating disorder, keeping track of your child’s, friend’s, or family’s habits is key, but it’s also important to be aware of them for yourself. You may not even know that your own symptoms or struggles with food are part of an eating disorder.

Therefore, familiarizing yourself with key signs will help you get the help you need if an eating disorder arises for you, your children, or other loved ones. 

Here are five key signs of an eating disorder you should watch out for. 

Extreme Exercise Habits

This one can easily be overlooked because exercising is healthy, after all. However, too much exercise can be counterproductive and a sign that someone may be obsessed with losing weight or else working off any food they have eaten. A person with an eating disorder may desperately want to exercise as soon as they’ve finished eating, or else indulge in too much intensive exercise all of the time. 

Avoiding Eating 

This could be at home or even purposefully avoiding social situations that may involve eating in any capacity. This can be easier to keep track of at home if you have a child avoiding eating during family mealtimes. Those with an eating disorder may refuse to eat, eat minimally or feel very uncomfortable eating in front of others. 

Actively Making Yourself Sick 

Purposefully making yourself sick to purge your body of the food you have eaten is a sign of an eating disorder. Some people choose to do this because they are obsessed with controlling their weight, losing weight, or canceling a heavy binge. To do so, they try to bring food back up to remove it from their body.

However, what’s important to note is that bringing food back up isn’t always a sign of an eating disorder. Some conditions like dysphagia result in difficulty swallowing and bringing food back up. If this is the case, food thickening agents exist, like Simply Thick, to help with keeping food down. 

Nevertheless, any signs of purposefully bringing food back up should always be looked into and diagnosed. 

Unhealthy Relationship with Food 

It’s easy to presume eating disorders only relate to avoiding food or eating unhealthy food. However, you can actually suffer from disorders that see you obsessively eating healthily to the point of extreme routine and strict diet habits. Any radical or obsessive behavior towards food, in any form, can be a sign. 

Physical Changes and Signs 

Physical symptoms can manifest in many ways. This could be severe weight loss or even extreme weight gain. It could be dizziness, coughing, digestive issues, suffering from colds, or even failing to have a period. It’s therefore important to pay attention to physical changes, too.