The pressure to be perfect is on for both men and women. Men and women have to show exceptional performance at work by getting there early, staying late, and out performing their peers. Both men and women have to be the perfect friend, spouse, lover, and family member. Neither can afford to make mistakes.This quest for perfection doesn’t end professionally or personally. It is also a physical journey. Men and women have to have the perfect skin and the perfect shape. They have to the perfect nose, perfect eyes, perfect smile. Above all, the need to be the perfect weight.
This quest for the perfect body may result in self esteem or body image issues and self loathing. In more severe cases, it can result in an eating disorder. Ultimately, a single one of these factors or a combination can result in serious illness or death.
There are several ways to identify if you or someone you love has an eating disorder. Keep in mind that not everyone will have the same or all of these symptoms. Some people may not exhibit any signs of an eating disorder at all. Despite this, here a few things you should look out for.
Obsession Over One Body Part: We all express concern over certain parts of our body from time to time. My hips are too small, my thighs are too large, look at how flabby my stomach is. However, if you or someone you know is constantly referring to a body part that seems just fine to everyone else you should monitor the situation closely. This could be a sign of obsession which could manifest itself into improper control of a person’s diet.
Strange Eating Habits: Many people with eating disorders rearrange food on their plates, eat foods in a certain orders, measure what they eat or chew excessively. Although being conscientious about what and how much food you consume is good, ritualistic eating may be a sign of that you are stepping into the danger zone.
Change in Diet: It’s good to swear off chips, cookies, sodas and other fatty foods, but sometimes it can be a sign of trouble. Believe it or not, a person can eat too healthily. For instance, if you or someone you know swears off all fat, sugar, and starch and refuses to eat anything but celery sticks and water for an extended period of time, he or she may be in the danger zone.
Change in Appearance: He or she may begin to wear baggier or more revealing clothing. If the disorder has advanced far enough, he or she will become very thin, possibly to the point where their ribs are noticeable. Posture my also change.
Preoccupation with Physical Appearance: In one way or another, we are all preoccupied by our looks. After all, we want to look and feel our best. However, a person with an eating disorder will constantly nitpick at their appearance. I’m too fat, I’m too skinny. My butt is huge, my thighs are flabby. My stomach isn’t flat. Maria said she liked my hair; there’s nothing else to like about me. This preoccupation can severely interfere with a the person’s every day activities.
Other symptoms include: dramatic weight loss and fluctuations, bingeing and purging, refusal over eat, obsession over weight, mood swings and frustration, anger, and depression.
If you or someone you know has an eating disorder, immediately seek help. If left untreated, an eating disorder can cause severe illness and even death. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. You can start by telling someone you trust, calling 1-800-931-2237 or visiting http://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/