In today’s world, it seems that everyone is obsessed with dieting, especially when all you see once you open Instagram is a flood of beautifully-made salads, smoothies, or oats. This may just leave you feeling guilty, which is not okay. Food and dieting have become a big part of our society as diets such as the Ketogenic diet become more popular, leading to unhealthy fixations for what we eat and how we see ourselves.
Of course, it is not necessarily alarming if you feel you can relate to a few items on our list, however, if you feel that you can relate to most of the list, if not all, it might be time to bring it up with someone you can open up to, especially if it is effecting your everyday life. That can be anyone from a family member, a friend or a doctor, just to reframe how you view food and your relationship with it. Read ahead to find out.
1. You’re constantly thinking about food and/or your weight.
Sometimes consistently thinking about your next meal, or what you’re currently eating, can have a huge impact on your lifestyle and can interfere with your daily functioning. While it’s okay to occasionally think about your food and appearance at certain times, it should not be obsessive, especially if they’re riddled in anxiety and guilt, drowning out other, more pressing, concerns.
2. You’re worried about eating in front of other people.
There should be no shame when it comes to eating. If you feel hesitant to eat in front of your friends or family or avoid going to places where you know food will be served, it is recommended that you see a therapist.
While this more commonly occurs in people with anorexia nervosa or bulimia nervosa, one doesn’t have to have a specifically diagnosable eating disorder to feel this way and it must be treated if it continues to interfere with your life.
3. You’re fixated on only eating “healthy” foods.
Orthorexia is an eating disorder whereby a person becomes obsessed with only “eating clean” or “healthy” while consistently reading nutrition labels and actively seeking out only healthy foods. While it may begin from a place of wanting to feel better, misunderstandings surrounding healthy eating lead to fears of certain food groups or cutting out foods you love just to limit your calorie count.
4. You have rituals around food that feel compulsive or stressful.
While not all food rituals are a sign of eating disorders, rituals such as cutting food into small pieces and excessively chewing it could be a sign of anorexia nervosa. If you feel that your rituals are dictating your life or causing you stress, it may be time to talk to someone.
5. Your lack of an appetite comes with mood changes.
If you consistently notice a change in your appetite when your mood fluctuates it could be a sign of some mental issue. Even if you don’t have any other mental health symptoms, it is important to have your physician check out why this may be happening.
6. You’re severely restricting calories.
Constantly restricting calories may point to many eating disorders, however, don’t believe myths that restricting calories is only an issue if you’re losing a lot of weight. People can still be diagnosed with eating disorders without losing any weight.
Restricting your food intake can also be dangerous and can lead to bingeing and deprivation in the moment. Becoming preoccupied with only calories is not healthy at all.
7. You feel like you can’t control how much you eat.
A common misconception is that bingeing is only a problem if followed by purging but a lack of control over what you do can be terrifying and may even lead to mental isolation. This can leave to disgust, depression and unhealthy eating habits.
8. You’re already wondering whether or not to see a mental health professional about your food habits.
If you think about seeking therapy, it’s probably because your mind is telling you to do so. Not sure where to start? Check out http://taskeen.org/ for a compiled database of therapists. Otherwise, you can visit any local hospital and contact their counselling department.