Social media culture pressures people everyday to look perfect and then present themselves as perfect to their friends and followers. Whether it's getting the best bikini picture or making sure your aesthetic is spot on, social media is constantly feeding into eating disorder culture. It could be you or your best friend, eating disorders are becoming more and more common. It's important to recognize the signs so that you can get help or help a friend who may be suffering from one.
1. Withdrawing from social situations
Most people who are suffering from eating disorders don't want to be in social situations, especially if food is involved. Inviting your friend to go for a walk to talk may be better because they will be open to the idea of exercise.
2. Excessive weight loss/gain
In some cases it is noticeable if the person has gone down a few sizes or has gone up a few. Make sure to keep an eye out for your friend if they are consistently getting smaller because they may need professional help, but it's important to approach them in a private setting first.
3. Leaving immediately after a meal
People who have an eating disorder where they binge eat (eat a lot) and then purge (vomit) after a meal, will disappear for mysterious amounts of time and won't be able to explain where they went or why.
4. Eating minimal or excessive amounts of food
The mind of someone with an eating disorder is telling them they need to be thinner, so in order to do that they either need to eat nothing at all, eat less, or binge/purge.
5. Obsessing over clothes size
Wearing a size zero or a size two is always strived for since that's what size models wear and the size society views as "Perfect" Once a smaller size is obtained, going back up a size feels defeating to someone with an eating disorder.
6. Working out obsessively
In the mind of someone with an eating disorder, the only way to compensate for the food that is being consumed is working out. High intensity, a lot of cardio, and then abs. The sole purpose of the workout to someone with an eating disorder is to lose weight, not to be healthy or destress.
7. Counting calories
The average person is told to consume around 2,000 calories a day, but knowing that it can be easy to count calories and obsess to either keep intake under 2,000 or sometimes a much lower number.
8. Going on "diets"
Many people I know that have struggled with an eating disorder tend to go on crazy diets every once in awhile because they think it will produce a result and it never really does. Diets that include cutting out important food groups just to lose weight can be detrimental to a persons health and metabolism.
9. Physical symptoms
When your weight gets too low, your bones get very frail, your heart struggles to pump blood to all areas of your body and often extremities like your nose and fingertips are freezing. Women that are underweight often lose their period and only regain it once they get to their bodies healthy weight.
Helping yourself by seeing a counselor or talking to a friend can start a healthy conversation. We all struggle with wanting to look good and your struggle shouldn't be any harder than anyone else's. Start checking in with that friend that you have noticed any of these symptoms in and think might need you or start by asking someone for help.
National Eating Disorders Helpline (NEDA):
Toll-Free Phone Number: 1-800-931-2237
For 24/7 crisis support, text 'NEDA' to 741741