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Did you know that more and more people are developing eating disorders? As of 2021, they were rising in the United States, with over 24 million people dealing with this unique type of disorder.

If you have problems with food, you may be wondering how to tell if you have an eating disorder. Here is an eating disorder guide, so you can know the signs and seek help when you are ready.

You’re Always Thinking About Food

Are you thinking about food constantly, even when you are not hungry? This is problematic thinking and it can lead to disordered eating.

Thinking about food in itself is not a problem, but this could be a slippery slope to restricting, binging, or an unhealthy relationship with food in general.

If you find yourself with food on your mind, especially in a negative way, try to redirect your thoughts to something more positive. Use a hobby, such as reading or crafting, to distract yourself.

You Avoid Eating With Others

When you have disordered eating, you could feel embarrassed about eating around other people. Take a look at your mealtimes or when you decide to snack throughout the day. Are you alone or with your friends and family?

You may feel self-conscious because of your eating habits. For example, if you eat too little, you may face questions from them about your diet. Sufferers of binge eating disorders often face judgmental looks and comments when eating in public places.

You Count Calories Obsessively

Tracking calories can be part of a healthy diet, but it is important not to let it turn into an obsession. You can get a general idea of how many calories are in the foods that you eat regularly, so you can make changes to lose weight.

However, counting calories too much can be a major sign of an eating disorder. If you find yourself thinking about calories all the time or you experience anxiety when you do not know how many calories are in a certain food, you may have a problem.

When you get an intervention eating disorder, it might be in your best interest to step back from calorie counting for a while.

You Exercise Too Much

Although exercising, in general, is a healthy habit, it can easily get out of control if you have an eating disorder. Exercise, especially cardio, is a great way to burn calories quickly.

One habit that is an eating disorder sign is equating exercise with the calories in food. You may eat a muffin and automatically calculate how many miles you need to run to burn off the calories.

If you find yourself exercising for any other reason than health and enjoyment, think about if it is tied to food. Some people with eating disorders exercise to the point of over-exhaustion, which can cause a myriad of other issues.

You Develop Food Rituals

Having a good routine is completely normal, and a routine can involve things like eating your breakfast at the kitchen table every day. However, if these food rituals are out of control, you should consider getting help for an eating disorder.

You may also think of rules around your relationship with food that control how you eat. Limiting entire food groups, and even following fad diets such as keto, can lead to an eating disorder.

You Have Body Dysmorphia

Body dysmorphia occurs when you observe your body and you do not see a true depiction of what it looks like. This mental problem is common among those who have eating disorders because you may always see yourself as bigger than you want to be.

Body dysmorphia can be extreme and cause you to restrict calories to dangerous levels. You will not know the extent of the problem if you continue to see yourself in a way that makes you upset.

One common habit of those with body dysmorphia is obsessively examining the parts of your body that you deem to be problem areas. Dysmorphic behavior can be exacerbated by incidents such as overeating or episodes of depression and anxiety.

You Limit Your Food Intake

An obvious sign that you have an eating disorder, particularly anorexia nervosa, is restricting food. Severely limiting calories is a way to lose weight quickly and get to what you consider your goal weight.

However, limiting food to extremely small amounts can actually have the opposite effect of what you want. Eventually, your body will go into starvation mode and hang on to every calorie it can get. This will cause your weight loss to plateau.

Sometimes the feeling of an empty stomach can make you feel like you have power over your body and you can control what goes into it. Even if you eat very few calories, having a full stomach can cause distress.

You Find Negative Online Spaces

Although the internet can be a wonderful place to communicate with others, there are negative spaces as well. There are many forums online designed for people with eating disorders to share disordered habits.

These forums are harmful and even dangerous, so if you find yourself on one, you could be in deep trouble. Often, users will brag about how long they can starve themselves or post challenges with major caloric restrictions.

Forums and spaces are also common areas for people to post “thinspo,” which includes pictures, videos, and artwork depicting inspirational skinny bodies.

How to Tell If You Have an Eating Disorder

If you think that you might have an eating disorder, you are not alone and you can find help. When you learn how to tell if you have an eating disorder, you can move forward and look at getting treatment.

Want to learn more about how to take care of your body in a positive, healthy way? Take a look around our site for more healthy habits and inspiration.

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