It Takes One To Know One

A few days ago I was packing my lunch and getting ready to leave for work; I was taking yogurt. What else can I eat (if I want to avoid excruciating stomach pain)? Cottage cheese, rice cakes, fruit leather, string cheese and applesauce. As I assemble my measly lunch I start to justify it to my mum, not that she was criticizing it or expecting anything different. I explain that cottage cheese on a rice cake epitomizes anorexic eating. She responds, wisely, by saying that no one would recognize this as an “anorexic” combination unless they too had experience with anorexia. The phrase that sticks in my mind is this: “You can always pick each other out in a crowd; you know the mannerisms.” I didn’t take offense to this comment in any way. Much to the contrary I appreciated her candidness.
Simultaneously I wondered: What are these mannerism that I both exhibit and almost subconsciously recognize? I know what the “symptoms” of anorexia are, but I never know what exactly catalyzes me to think “oh, she/he has an eating disorder too.” (Note: The following observations have no scientific basis, they are simply my own record of oddball behaviors).
– Personally, I think we look around a lot while eating in the presence of others; it’s as if a running inventory concerning who’s eating what must be maintained.
– We never eat at a regular pace. Meals either vanish quickly; as if swallowing food whole will somehow spare you the “shame” of consumption; or they are they eaten surreptitiously and painfully slowly, drawing out each taste as if you may never be allowed to taste again.
– Conversations don’t come naturally over food. With family and close friends I’m fine, but outside of these settings I either chat rapidly in an effort to distract people from the fact that I’m eating (I’m still uncomfortable to be seen eating, but it is getting easier with experience), or I’m at a complete and total loss for words (imagine that…me, unable to ramble on).

Eating Disorder Self Test. Take the EAT-26 self test to see if you might have eating disorder symptoms that might require professional evaluation. All answers are confidential.

Find a Treatment Facility Near You

Click on a state below to find eating disorder treatment options that could be right for you.

The information provided on EatingDisorders.com is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between a patient/site visitor and his/her health professional. This information is solely for informational and educational purposes and we encourage all visitors to see a licensed physician if they believe that they have an eating disorder. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Neither the owners or employees of EatingDisorders.com nor the author(s) of site content take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading this site. Always speak with your primary health care provider before engaging in any form of self treatment. Please see our Legal Statement for further information.

Copyright © 2008-2017 EatingDisorders.com.
Company Information

© 2017 EatingDisorders.com. All rights reserved. Use of this site constitutes acceptance of EatingDisorders.com's terms of service and privacy policy. The material on this site is for informational purposes only, and is not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment provided by a qualified health care provider.