Subtle Signs of Eating Disorders
Compulsive behaviors similar to those seen in obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) can also appear with eating disorders. These so-called rituals can take the form of cutting food into tiny morsels, or arranging food in certain patterns. They are mainly associated with anorexia (which often occurs alongside OCD), but they are sometimes an early sign of binge eating disorder as well.
Rituals are "both a tactic not to eat and also a piece of the obsessionality associated with anorexia nervosa," Bulik explains. "When eating disorders are starting, people will try to make it look like they are eating by cutting things up and shifting food around on the plate so as not to draw attention to how little they are eating."