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.

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Fear of eating in public

Feeling shy or self-conscious about eating in public can be related to body image issues—a person may feel that others are watching and judging, for instance. But it can also be an indication that eating, period, has become nerve-wracking. "Eating can be enormously anxiety-provoking for someone with an eating disorder," Bulik says. "Doing it in public just compounds the enormity of the task."

Although not wanting to eat around other people is a hallmark of anorexia, it can occur with all eating disorders. "Even people with binge eating disorder will eat very small amounts when in public, then binge when alone," Bulik says.

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