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What Are The Warning Signs For Anorexia?

Anorexia Nervosa is a serious mental condition where a person will deliberately lose weight by severely limiting their caloric intake. They may skip meals or attempt to ‘compensate’ for the food they have eaten with intense exercise. Sufferers will often need professional help to recover and it can take years or even become something they live with for the rest of their lives. 

There are a few warning signs to look out for that someone you know is suffering from anorexia. 

Preoccupation With Food And Calories

One warning sign that a person is anorexic is that they have an unhealthy preoccupation with their weight, the amount of food they are eating and their caloric intake.

They will likely cut things out of their diet that they consider to be fattening (former favorites are now ‘forbidden’ foods) and become quite agitated if you suggest last minute changes to a meal. You may also notice that they begin to skip meals as a way of avoiding calories and that they avoid eating with other people.

A person who is anorexic can also become obsessed with food in a way you might not expect – suddenly all their thoughts are on food, sending pictures on social media, giving food related presents and so on. Their whole life focuses around food even though they’re not actually eating it. 

Dramatic Weight Loss

Dramatic weight loss is considered by the Mayo clinic to be when a person loses more than five percent of their body weight in six months to a year.

If a person meets the criteria for dramatic weight loss and there is no underlying medical reason, there is a possibility that anorexia is a cause. It is always important to visit a health care professional in cases of dramatic weight loss. However, if anorexia is the cause you may find that the person finds reasons not to visit the doctor or dismisses what the doctor says. This is because they know the reason for their weight loss and they don’t want to be forced to eat more than they want to or even see that it might be a problem to their health. 

It’s very important to seek treatment for eating disorders as early possible. The impacts of not eating on the body are severe, wide ranging and long-lasting. Treatment is often complicated, meaning that it could be a while before the person can be convinced to eat normally again – lengthening the time their body is under immense strain. It’s important that they start on their recovery journey as early as possible in order to achieve the best outcome.

Dressing In Layers 

A person with anorexia will normally have sever body image problems – often a person with an eating disorder will say that they hate themselves or their body. They will therefore try to cover up their ‘hideousness’ with many layers and refuse to wear something which might be too revealing. Clothing in general becomes a large problem for someone suffering with anorexia – buying clothes or choosing an outfit becomes a major source of stress and anxiety, which in turn leads to a dramatic increase in their weight loss. 

Often they will try to hide their body appearance from friends and family, particularly if someone has commented on their weight loss. The intention is to either keep losing weight or not gain weight and so they hide in layers to try to disguise their weight. 

 Having a very low body weight also makes people feel the cold more easily, so they may wear layers for this reason.

Maintaining A Rigid Exercise Regime

For some people, anorexia manifests itself as exercising in an attempt to compensate for the food they have eaten. 

They will stick to their exercise regime no matter what the weather, if they have an injury or if they are unwell. They will also often become visibly distressed if they are prevented from exercising even if its just a delay of a few minutes. 

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