Eating disorders are sneaky.
Realizing you have a problem is the first step to recovery, right? But sometimes, the very initial signs of anorexia are easy to miss…
Unless you’ve been there.
So if you’re wondering if you or someone you love is heading down the path leading to an eating disorder, here are two early warning signs I wish I had picked up on in my own life sooner.
Eating in secret
Because anorexia involves an intense fear of being fat, there’s a certain shame associated with eating. I remember cramming protein bars in my mouth in bathroom stalls at school…having a ziploc bag of dry cereal I could hide in my lap while driving. I became queen of saying, “Oh, I just ate” or “I’m not hungry yet” when I was in social gatherings that involved food…even if I was really hungry.
There’s no rational explanation for it. You know everyone eats. You know everyone knows you eat. But somehow, this mindset begins that anyone who sees you eating will be disgusted.
Or that anyone who sees you eat will think you’re fat.
It sounds strange, but when I began restricting my calories, I cooked more than I ever had. I’d make dinner for my family. I’d bake cupcakes for my co-workers. I’d bring hot brownies to the kids I baby-sat.
So while one would think cooking would create temptation, it didn’t. Instead, it gave me a sense of normalcy.
There’s a certain familiarity just being around food. Cooking gave me a way to be around food without having to eat it.
These warning signs may appear before drastic weight loss or any other physical signs of anorexia. If any of these signs sound familiar, please reach out and get help before your eating disorder escalates any further.
To read more about my battle with anorexia, check out my book, The Look that Kills: An Anorexic’s Addiction to Control.