Eating disorders usually have warning signs

The following information was obtained from the Yukon Educational Student Network:
How can you tell if your teen might have a problem? The more warning signs there are, the more likely they may have an eating disorder.
Warning signs of anorexia
•is significantly underweight
•skips meals
•denies being hungry
•exercises for long periods of time
•eats only low-fat or low-calorie food
•weighs self frequently
•has to be perfect in everything
•chews food and spits it out
•wears layers of clothing to hide thinness or to keep warm
•likes to cook for others or collects cookbooks
•talks mostly about food and body weight
•claims to be fat even when underweight
Warning signs of bulimia
•disappears into bathroom after meals
•has frequent mood swings
•eats large amounts of food but doesn’t gain weight
•hides food in their room
•withdraws from family and friends
•is very self-critical
•prefers to eat alone
•shoplifts food
How can you help?
•Never tease anyone about their weight or shape, and discourage others from doing so
•Don’t speak negatively about yourself or your body
•Teach children and teens that ultra-thin media images are unrealistic and unhealthy
•Encourage your family to eat meals together as often as possible
•Teach the importance of eating a variety of nutritious foods
•Be a good role model for healthy eating and exercise
•Don’t encourage young people to go on a diet to lose weight
•Listen to, and accept, the feelings of young people
•Help build self-esteem by encouraging the development of skills and interests that are unrelated to appearance
•If you suspect an eating disorder, seek help from a health care professional who is experienced.
For more information, contact your local physician or Riverside Community Counselling Services.
Editor’s note: Eating Disorders Awareness Week is Feb. 4-10.