There are a few common traits that people with eating disorders posses. Beside those whose bodies change and are physically obvious – there are “hidden” characteristics.
When you google signs of an eating disorder sufferer, these are some of the typical ones:
- Chronic dieting despite being hazardously underweight
- Constant weight fluctuations
- Obsession with calories and fat contents of food
- Engaging in ritualistic eating patterns, such as cutting food into tiny pieces, eating alone, and/or hiding food
- Continued fixation with food, recipes, or cooking; the individual may cook intricate meals for others but refrain from partaking
- Depression or lethargic stage
- Avoidance of social functions, family and friends. May become isolated and withdrawn
- Switching between periods of overeating and fasting
But as someone who has lived with an Eating Disorder for over 20 years, there are traits that people develop. Let me share three of the most common ones with you.
- Drinking through a straw
- Gum chewing
I did and continue to do these things. Not because I’m in the depths of an eating disorder, but because they become habit. I love gum. I actually drink through a straw (particularly coffee) because I don’t want it to stain my teeth. The counting I have gotten better at. I only catch myself doing it once in a while and can quickly get out of that old habit. The counting is a strange one and quite honestly I’m not sure why I did it. But I would drink and count the sips. While I ate I would count the chews. Very consuming and maybe it was a way for me to slow things down? I’m not entirely sure – but it is something I have read that is very common.
As you can probably tell from my experiences, an Eating Disorder is very isolating. It is very secretive. It really does take on a life of it’s own. I never really recognized how time consuming and alone it becomes. Time that could’ve been spent doing better more productive things. Like living.