Subtle Signs of Eating Disorders

Worried your loved one may be at risk for anorexia or bulimia? These warning signs can help you spot a problem.
poor-body-image

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Poor body image

Negative or obsessive thoughts about body size, a key factor in all eating disorders, can occur very early on in the disease, says Cynthia Bulik, PhD, an eating disorders specialist at the University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill.

Warning signs of poor body image include negative self-talk ("I'm so fat," "I have no self-control") and misinterpreting other people's remarks. "Comments like, 'My, you have filled out nicely' can be received as 'You look fat,'" Bulik says. This body insecurity, she adds, sometimes emerges—or gets worse—when young girls compare themselves to idealized figures such as Disney princesses and rail-thin actresses.

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