In order to reduce their calorie intake, anorexics will typically restrict their food intake. Restricted eating can refer to limiting the quantities consumed of all types of food and / or avoiding certain food groups such as dairy or meat.
Many people skip the odd meal here and there, but it can be a cause of concern if a young person is regularly skipping meals and particularly if they are skipping multiple meals each day.
Scheduling activities during lunch
Many anorexics will manage to skip lunch without causing too much of a fuss by ensuring that they are far too busy to fit lunch in. They might schedule study, sports music etc for every lunch break and never make it to the school canteen.
Strange behaviour around food
Anorexia is an illness that is typified by strange behaviours around food. Many sufferers develop complex rules about what they can and can’t eat and how they can eat it. Perhaps carefully cutting all food in half and eating only one half for instance. Anorexics can also get very distressed around food so if you see a young person exhibiting signs of panic whilst eating or near to people eating, this is a cause for concern.
Wearing baggy clothes
Anorexics will often hide their wasting frame underneath oversized clothes. This can be either because they feel ugly and fat and want to hide their true shape, or because they want to cover up their weight loss so it doesn’t get questioned.
Wearing several layers of clothing
As their weight loss increases, anorexics will feel increasingly cold all the time as they don’t have the layer of fat to insulate them that most of us have. In order to compensate for this they’ll often wear several layers of clothing and will often be seen to wrap up warm even on relatively mild days.
Anorexia is a disease of rules and perfection – this often gets applied to every area of a young person’s life and not just food. As such, you’ll often observe that they become more perfectionist in their approach to school work, perhaps discarding a whole page of writing due to one spelling mistake and opting to start again.
Increasing isolation / loss of friends
As the disease takes grip it is hard for the sufferer to focus on anything other than their internal battle with food. As such they tend to neglect their friendships and become quite isolated. Cutting themselves off in this way also decreases the potential for them having to eat in a social situation which can often be one of the biggest fears an anorexic can face.
Believes they’re fat when they’re not
A distorted body image is a key indicator of anorexia. Even as they waste away anorexics will cry themselves to sleep over their bodies which they perceive as obese. If a young person you know has wildly inaccurate views about their own body weight then you are right to be concerned.
Avoiding PE or Swimming
Anorexics will often avoid situations which involve them undressing in front of other people. Partly because they are ashamed of their bodies which they believe to be grotesque and overweight and partly because they may be trying to hide the extent of their weight loss.
If you would like further support, Pooky can deliver an eating disorder training session at your school or college.
You may also be interested in other free eating disorder resources I have uploaded: [gallery_bank type=”individual” format=”masonry” title=”true” desc=”false” responsive=”true” animation_effect=”fadeIn” album_title=”true” album_id=”3″] [gallery_bank type=”individual” format=”masonry” title=”true” desc=”false” responsive=”true” animation_effect=”fadeIn” album_title=”true” album_id=”4″]