7 Signs Of Dysfunctional Eating

dysfunctional eating

Dysfunctional Eating Signs You Should Watch Out For

Everywhere you look today, you can find an example of the perfect body. Body image has become a huge part of American society. The quest for the perfect shape has left many people with dysfunctional eating habits and eating disorders.

If you’re concerned about your diet, or the eating habits of someone you know here are seven signs of dysfunctional eating that you should be aware of.

Preparing Food Then Not Eating It

Many times, people will prepare elaborate meals and then not eat them. Web MD list this is one of the many dysfunctional eating signs that could indicate an eating disorder. Cooking large meals and not eating them allow someone with dysfunctional eating patterns to partake in regular food preparation without consuming calories

Avoiding Eating In Front Of Others

If you know someone who chooses to eat meals alone, or seems to have already eaten at family mealtimes they may be displaying a dysfunctional eating habit.

According to Healthtalk.org, avoiding eating in public or in front of other people is a sign of an eating disorder or the precursor of an eating disorder. Many people choose not to eat in front of others because they are ashamed of either how much they eat or how little they will eat and do not wish to be judged.

Excessive Exerciseexcessive exercise

Web MD lists excessive exercise as a sign of an eating disorder. While not a symptom of dysfunctional eating, excessive exercise is something that should be watched out for if dysfunctional eating is suspected.

Often people with disordered eating will only eat after they have exercised a certain amount of time, to justify the number of calories they consume.

Safe Foods

Another sign of dysfunctional eating is having a safe foods list. Health.com talks about having safe food lists where only certain foods are considered okay to eat. These “safe” foods include fruits, vegetables, and lean meats. Very rarely do these safe foods contain high starch, carbohydrate, or fatty foods.

Disappearances of Large Amounts of Food

National Institute of Mental Health tells that in binge eating disorders people in the household will see large quantities of food disappear in short amounts of time. Another symptom of a binge eating behavior will be to find huge stashes of food wrappers in strange places. Attempting to hide the amount of food consumed by hiding the food wrappings is another way that this dysfunctional eating pattern emerges.

Food Hoarding

food hoarding

Photo credit: Hoarderhelpline.com

Keeping large volumes of food hidden and away from the eyes of people in your household is a common dysfunctional eating behavior according to the National Eating Disorders Association.

This practice is common in bulimia nervosa as well as binge eating disorder. People with these disorders do not want others to know about the quantity of food that they consume, so they will hoard food in secret places.

Hoarding food in secret places allows them to participate in the binge behavior without anyone knowing.

Distorted Body Imagedistorted body image

Always talking about how fat you are or how thin someone else is can be a symptom of disordered eating according to the National Institute of Mental Health.

Obsession with body image of yourself will often come in the form of thinking that you are too fat.

This distorted body image does not correlate with actual body weight. Many people with eating disorders will believe that they are fat despite having clinically underweight body fat percentages or body mass indexes.

Another symptom that could indicate disordered eating is an obsession with other people’s bodies. Often anorexics and bulimics will seek out photographs of extremely thin people as inspiration to starve, or purge. This behavior has become more prevalent with the advent of social media and is often referred to as finding “thinspiration.”

Whether current eating behaviors are part of a larger eating disorder or not, all dysfunctional eating should be taken seriously because it can lead to greater health problems, so if you suspect someone you know of having dysfunctional eating patterns, or you struggle with negative body image consults your medical professional.