Anorexia affects MILLIONS of people each year. If that weren’t scary enough, the amount of deaths caused directly by anorexia has SKYROCKETED over the last five year.
Got your attention? Good! It’s important to be aware of the warning signs of anorexia. This way, you can tell if a loved one has an eating disorder. The best way to identify these triggers, fears, and other warning signs is from a recovered woman!
A recovered member of the Addiction and Body Imaging Recovery Alliance shared her story and provided the below information.
I’m not sure when I became anorexic, but my obsession with food and dieting started at nineteen. I became infatuated with the attention I received after I started to lose weight! Needless to say, the thinner I got, the harder it was to hide my eating disorder. I’d wear baggy clothes because I was afraid people would notice my rapid weight loss and force me to eat!
I was obsessive about my daily activities, making sure to always have something scheduled during mealtimes. I’d run for breakfast, work for lunch, and drink for dinner. It wasn’t long before people began to notice my unhealthy habits. In the beginning, the more weight I lost, the more compliments I received, and the better I felt. After a little while, those compliments turned into comments about my health.
I firmly believe it was the people in my life that saved my life! They recognized the warning signs of anorexia that went beyond extreme weight loss. These signs aren’t easy to see, because eating disorders are a disease of secrecy. I know I went to great lengths to hide mine! My loved ones noticed my dull eyes, brittle hair, fatigue, fainting spells, even my pale complexion! Slowly, people began to ask if I was going through any serious health issues. I denied everything.
However, as time went on, people began to notice my strange habits. Things like going directly to the bathroom after means, cutting my food into tiny pieces and pushing it all over my plate, obsessively talking about how overweight I was, and severe mood swings. They noticed that even small things like going to the grocery store, resulted in huge emotional outbursts. See, I’d read all the food labels, obsessively, until I burst into tears.
By this time, my eating disorder was evident. It was difficult for my family and friends to approach me with their concerns though. I was in intense denial and had NO intentions of changing. Still, I was approached over and over in respectful, non-confrontational ways. These talks of concern and love slowly made me willing to listen. In the end, I became willing to see a food counselor. It was there I learned the truth about my eating disorder. Soon after, I was on the road to recovery.
So, what are the warning signs of anorexia? Be on the lookout for extreme weight loss, strange eating habits, obsession with food and calories, excessive exercise, hair loss, and inconsistent emotional states. These are the major warning signs. Now, everyone’s different and may exhibit their eating disorder in a unique way. Still, knowing the above signs is a huge help.
Eating disorders can be treated! Remaining recovered though? Well, that’s a a lifelong journey. Treating anorexia may involve seeking psychological help, as well as nutritional and dietary support. Medical monitoring also helps tremendously.
Talk to a doctor if you fear that you, or a loved one, is suffering from the warning signs of anorexia!