Signs You Have an Eating Disorder

Updated: Oct 9, 2020

There are five critical signs of an eating disorder. First, that food, weight, or body image rules every aspect of your life. Second, you hide evidence of your eating disorder. Third, your priorities have changed. Fourth, feelings about food, weight, and body image have heightened. Fifth, your habits shift.


One sign of an eating disorder is that food, weight, and body image rules your thoughts, speech, and actions. You always think about food, your weight, or your body. Conversations revolve around weight or body image. Your responses, discourse, and thoughts revolve around losing weight, and you often think about or use inappropriate ways to lose weight.

If you feel like you have lost control over your life, you might have an eating disorder. You feel like food dominates your life. Thinking about weight affects your mood. You often compare yourself to others and feel out of control when you eat.

Can you identify with any of these factors?


One sign of an eating disorder is hiding the parts of your life you know will reveal your disease. For example, you often hide evidence of your eating habits or exercise patterns. You eat in secret or make excuses to eat by yourself. You refuse outings that interfere with your ability to eat. You hoard food or have to replace food.

You can’t keep track of the lies anymore. Excuses only work so long; that’s when the lies start. To further hide what you are doing, your deceptions get more elaborate and reach more people. Those closest to you are beginning to question your motives.

You often wear clothes that don’t fit. Wearing clothes that are too big is one way to hide weight gain, weight loss, or other insecurities. The part of your eating disorder that is the hardest to conceal is your physical appearance. You don’t like seeing your body. If you do anything to mask the way you look, you might have an eating disorder.

Can you identify with any of these factors?


One sign of an eating disorder is that your priorities change. You put more importance on how you look or what you wear. You make food and exercise a priority. Weight comes before having fun or eating. You aren’t satisfied with your body or your weight.

You only see weight. When you meet someone new, you automatically check out their body and compare it to your own. You judge this new person based on their appearance and inevitably like or dislike them depending on how they compare to your body.

You don’t let anything get in the way of exercising. If exercising is part of your eating disorder, it becomes an end-all-be-all. You have to stick to your workout routine no matter how busy you are or how inconvenient it is.

Can you identify with any of these factors?


One sign of an eating disorder is a modification in your feelings around food, weight, and body image. You feel like others are watching you eat. You often feel fat. You want to be thinner or fatter.

Guilt is one predominant feeling when it comes to an eating disorder. You often feel guilty about eating or missing a workout. You feel guilty about your eating habits or exercise routine (that’s why you hide it as best as you can).

Fear is another emotion essential to an eating disorder, especially anxiety and worry. You are scared of gaining weight or being fat. You are afraid of the scale and food.

Loathing is another part of disordered eating. You are disgusted with other people who are skinnier than you or don’t have the problems you do. It’s more than comparison - it’s being extremely upset with someone who is “prettier” than you.

Anger is the last emotion central to an eating disorder, specifically recovering from an eating disorder. You are angry with yourself and what you are doing. So mad and frustrated that you want to change.

Can you identify with any of these factors?


One sign of an eating disorder is that your habits evolve. You have drastically altered your eating habits. You made rules for yourself about food. You categorize food into good or bad. You are obsessed with calories and caloric density.

You have a workout routine that doesn’t change. You were working out twice a week now; you never miss a day. Instead of walking on the treadmill for an hour, you have to run for two. You won’t budge on morphing your exercise practices, no matter what the situation.

You have weird rules about body image like when you step on the scale. You changed the way you shop for clothes. You don’t wear your favorite sweater anymore but cycle through the same three outfits that make you look skinny.

Can you identify with any of these factors?

Do you have an eating disorder? Take the Eating Disorder Severity Test.

Further Reading:

9 Signs You Might Have an Eating Disorder

7 Signs You Might Have an Eating Disorder

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