What does an eating disorder look like?
It could look like your daughter. Your brother. A friend. Or even you. The thing is, you can’t tell just by looking at someone. Eating disorders can affect anyone, regardless of age, gender, ethnicity or size. If you’d like help, click “Connect With an Expert” to contact a clinician at The Center for Eating Disorders, or read more about what eating disorders look like in children, teens and adults by clicking on a section below.
If you are concerned that your child may be suffering from an eating disorder, click below to learn more about the symptoms, and the specialized treatment we offer.
If you think that you or someone you love may have an eating disorder, click below to find out what signs to look for and where to go for support.
If you are a coach, counselor, teacher or doctor and believe someone in your care may have an eating disorder, click below to learn more about how to help.
Is An Eating Disorder Affecting Your Life?
See For Yourself.
We've adapted this cognitive-behavioral exercise to illustrate how an eating disorder may be impacting your life or the life of a friend or loved one. Take a few minutes to complete this eye-opening activity.Begin the Exercise
Thoughts and feelings regarding eating, food, body shape and weight can significantly impact the way people feel about themselves. In the midst of an eating disorder, these areas can become overly influential and may take up a lot of time and energy in a person’s life. Our interactive tool provides individuals and family members an opportunity to take a personalized look at these impacts.
Before you begin, consider the following questions:
- How much do each of the following elements influence how you feel about yourself?
- How much time do you spend thinking about or engaging in the following areas each day?
- Answering honestly, how would you measure their value and importance to your self worth?
Now, using percentages, rate the relative importance of each of the following areas in your life, then click "Next":
A Healthy, Balanced Lifestyle:
Now that you've completed your personal chart, take a look at an example of an individual who is generally healthy and does not struggle with eating or weight problems. They might have a lifestyle that looks like this, where sources of self-evaluation and life priorities are balanced and spread across a wide variety of areas. Take a look, and then click "Next" for a side-by-side comparison.
These images are not a diagnostic tool but can help to shed light on the day-to-day impacts of an eating disorder. Eating disorders are progressive illnesses that affect all areas of life, gradually interfering more and more with personal commitments, priorities and overall enjoyment in life.
What do you notice about how daily life has changed since problems with eating began, or worsened, for you or a loved one? How have days shifted to accommodate or enable the illness? Even when you're engaged in normal activities, do you find yourself distracted or exhausted by thoughts of food and weight? If so, you or your family member may be suffering from an eating disorder.