• Signs around Food

    Eating habits have become more regimented. Eating at certain times of the day, only use certain plates and cutlery, and insist on eating food in a certain order

    Dramatically under or over eating

    Fixation on food and counting calories

    Wanting to eat in private

    Weighing themselves frequently

    Not eating all day then binging at night

    Making themselves throw up

    Wearing bagging clothes to hide body

    Starting to move food around the plate a lot, or chopping it up into tiny pieces or certain shapes before eating it

    Using a lot more condiments (such as sauces) or seasoning (such as salt and pepper) on food more than usual

    Becoming fidgety and anxious during mealtimes

    Eating the same foods over and over again

    Starting a new diet e.g. becoming vegetarian, vegan, clean eating or going gluten-free

    Obsessively using performance enhancing supplements

    Becoming interested in cooking but not eating the food

    Long list of foods that “can’t” be eaten

    Ritualistic or secretive eating

    Spending longer time then normal in the bathroom or in the shower especially after eating

    Stomach pain and gastrointestinal upset

    Eaing only foods that “bulk” the person up while neglecting other food groups

    Medical Signs

    Failure to gain weight or height according to growth curve for children

    Significant weight loss or gain

    Weight loss at any time during childhood or adolescence (even if starting at higher weight)

    Constant, recurring nausea

    Gastrointestinal upset

    Chronic constipation or diarrhea

    Fainting, weakness, dehydration

    Injuries from overexercise

    Pale, dry skin or brittle hair because of lack of nutrients

    Requiring nutritional supplements to grow or treat nutritional deficiencies

    Mood and Thinking Signs

    Increased rigidity and anxiety

    Self harm

    An inability to recognize that they may be ill (anosognosia)

    Flat or blunted affect

    Beginning to harm oneself (eg cutting, hitting, hair pulling)

    Difficulty sleeping


    Mood swings

    Feeling no one would care if they were gone

    Feeling never enough or never good enough

    Suicidal thoughts

    Social isolation

    Concerns that social peers are judgemental

    Becoming more child like with an inability to express feelings

    Exercise Signs

    Exercising purely for weight loss and not for joy

    Exercising even when sick or severe weather

    Compensating for eating through exercise

    Obsessive weightlifting or “bulking” up 

    Thoughts about Body Signs

    Beginning to express dislike of specific body parts

    Fixation on perfecting body

    Obsessions about being big and muscular 

    Believing one’s body is too large despite objective reality

    Obsessive mirror checking

    Obsessive weighing

    Is it an eating disorder?

    This is a list to help you identify an eating disorder in your self or a loved one. It is not exhaustive. If you identify with any of these signs, we recommend a professional consultation.

    *Identifying eating disorders can be complicated because often the affected person does not know they have a problem. This is also known as Anosognosia and is caused by changes in the brain during the illness.

    Is it an Eating Disorder?

    Content to come…