If you're not severely underweight, and you don't purge regularly, you may figure your eating struggles aren't indicative of an eating disorder and do not require treatment. But there are plenty of eating disorder patients who don't have severe anorexia or bulimia. They still deserve and can benefit from eating disorder treatment. If you notice any of the following signs in yourself, consider seeking care.
Restricting Food Intake
Do you closely restrict the amount of food you eat? Trying to stick to calorie goals to lose weight can be a healthy habit, but taking it to the extreme is not. If you are constantly trying to meet lower and lower calorie intake goals, this could be a sign of an eating disorder. If you always feel like you're hungry and you want more, but you always tell yourself to just ignore the hunger, that could be another red flag. Many cases of anorexia start with mild to moderate restrictions, so seeking care at this stage could help keep your eating disorder from getting worse.
Only Eating "Safe" Foods
Do you have a list of foods you consider "safe" and another list of foods you consider off-limits? This could also be a sign of an eating disorder. It's really common among those with orthorexia, an eating disorder characterized by an unhealthy obsession with healthy eating. Yes, you should be choosing healthy foods more often than not, but if the mere thought of eating certain foods makes you feel anxious, that's a red flag.
Thinking About Food Constantly
How much time do you spend thinking about food each day? If it's always in the back of your mind and you spend several hours just focusing on it, then you could have some eating disorder-related struggles. Some patients spend all day looking at recipes, planning their meals, and researching different foods.
Binge Eating, or Feeling Out of Control Around Food
Binge eating disorder is an eating disorder characterized by periodic binges or periods of extreme over-eating. It's becoming increasingly recognized by medical professionals. If you ever have episodes where you drastically over-eat and feel completely out of control while doing it, then you should seek eating disorder treatment.
Eating disorders vary greatly in their symptoms and severity. Even if you think the problem isn't huge, you should seek treatment. It's best to get this care and correct any unhealthy eating and thinking as soon as possible. To learn more, contact an eating disorder treatment facility near you.