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how do you know if you're anorexic?

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so, what really qualifies as anorexia? how do you know if you have a really serious problem? 

Edited Nov 29 2008 17:07 by nycgirl
Reason: Locked as several posts were against posting guidelines. Please read the last post in the thread. Promotion of starvation diets or habits that exhibit signs of an eating disorder ("pro-ana", "pro-mia", etc.) is prohibited.
21 Replies (last)

If you have a negative self-image, always doubting yourself, thats psychological. If you are eating minimal calories a day for a substantial period of time. Another psychological aspect, and this is just from personal experience, is that your brain could start to hate food, think of it as a poison instead of a necessity.

There are other factors I am sure, that I have left out.

One thing though, if you have to question yourself something must be wrong somewhere, so either talk to someone, or keep yourself in check and keep yourself healthy.

okay, well i'm a senior in high school, and i'm pretty active...i can't go a day without some sort of exercise. but i'm eating around 800 calories a day. I've lost 20 pounds in the past 2 1/2 months, i think. i don't really know how to stop, or if my eating habits are event that terrible. 

I'm a guy so maybe it's different for me. I don't know. I do know that I never really felt like I wasn't eating intentionally. People would tell me I needed to eat and all that, but I had a hard time listening because I didn't think I wasn't eating (if that makes any sense). I guess the way I finally realized it was when my mother started keeping track of what I ate on a regular basis and actually showed it to me.

My suggestion is just to keep track and listen to what the numbers tell you and  LISTEN TO THE PEOPLE ON THIS SITE! There are a lot of people willing to help. It's hard to fix but first you have to see a problem for yourself. 

If you've lost that much weight and you're eating that little, there is definitely a problem.  If you find it very difficult to eat more, that about confirms that there's a problem.

i don't know how to start eating a normal amount again, though. i mean, mentally. just thinking about having 1000 calories a day or more makes me feel frantic, and out of control. the thing is, my mother is starting to get on my case, and i end up lying to her about what i've eaten. what do i do to convice myself it's okay to eat more?

First I think you're doing well by seeing that there's a problem.  As far as how to fix it, it sounds like the best thing for you would be to talk to someone who cares about you about it.

Anorexia IS a disease.  Your comment about control pretty much convinces me that you ARE anorexic.  For me at least it was always about control, not about weight loss.  Tell your mother the truth.  Let  those who love you help you get better.

Have you looked at the really useful links and advice page by Calorie Count Plus' expert on eating disorders? ngdisorders_guide.html

Check it out, it really might help you learn about the disease and what signs to look out for as you increase your calories.

I agree with the above poster that if you are already questioning that your behaviour is a little concerning it shows you are an intelligent young lady who doesn't want to let herself get sick and is going to do well.

Please realize that you want to make sure to eat no less than 1200 a day to function properly and even then you will likely lose weight still so it really is nothing to worry about.

Good luck with everything and please take care of yourself.
I know how you feel about eating 1000 plus cals it's scary, so away i motivate myself to eat more than just 800 is i remember that if i get too few cals then i'll end up putting on weight because my metabolism slows down and burns less cals.
thanks, I have been worrying a lot about the speed of my metabolism. To negate that i've been having a lot of protein, but I know that can only do so much. And yes, scary would be the right word to describe it.
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think of it this way - people not too anxious about weight, often think a few pounds less would be nice because clothes for a special occasion would look better. (slightly loose is nicer than way too tight) To loses 5 pounds 2 months would be regarded as nice effortless change.  20 in 2 months would be regarded as effort, going out of control and having to regain it type effort. you doing that without effort is not a good sign.   As an example I've been way overweight and all of a sudden I started losing weight-15 lbs in about 2 months easily- was suprised and pleased and somewhat puzzled, till a blood check showed I was servely anemic. Another diget lower and I might be offered a transfusion. luckily for me it was my heavy periods, and iron pills had me normal(with the weight regained) in two months.   So yes, 20 pounds in two months when you are not stressed (blood loss in my case) is something you are right in thinking is not right.

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I am 22 years old.  I have been trying to recover from anorexia for over 8 years.  I know what you're going through.  I have one and only one suggestion: GET HELP NOW! 

I have seen more than one friend DIE (that's right DIE) due to anorexia.  Right now, tell your mother you have anorexia (don't say "I'm anorexic" since anorexia is a disease, it does not define you as a person) and they MUST get you to an eating disorder SPECIALIST (NOT a regular psychologist or psychiatrist).

Things to keep in mind. 

1. You will never ever fully recover from anorexia (I guess it's kind of like cancer or HIV, you can go into remission or you can get a handle on the disease but it never fully disappears), so you will need to spend a lifetime of watching yourself (I've met anorectics who are in their forties and fifties are still at it).  This sounds a little scary but it's important to understand that because it is SO easy to relapse back into anorexia or switch to bulimia or exercise bulimia.  The good news is that there are a lot of other women in the same boat, and we're here to help. 

2. You will never be happy with your body.  That's the definition of anorexia.  Instead of trying to be happy with your body, try to find something that is acceptable and is NOT a number.  This is important.  For me, I want to feel strong and powerful.  I won't feel thin or beautiful (means the same thing to me) but I realize that I will NEVER feel thin or beautiful no matter how much I weigh), but I will (one day) feel strong, and that's acceptable to me.

3. Try to disambiguate happiness with skinnyness.  This is that absolute hardest thing and I still haven't completely figured this out.  I used to think that I would never be happy unless I was skinny.  Today I try to visualize happiness in terms of other things, like happiness is rescuing stray cats (which I do).  Or happiness is finishing a Sudoku in under 10 minutes, stuff like that.

4. Anorexia is a DISEASE.  It is like cancer.  I'm sure you've read about people saying "I had the strength of will to live, so I beat the cancer."  This applies to ED (eating disorders) as well.  Have the strength to live.  Have the strength to fight the disease.  If you start visualizing Ana as an enemy rather than a friend, it will be easier to "convince yourself to eat."  That voice in your head that says "you're fat, you're disgusting, you're worthless, you don't deserve food," or "what are you weak?  you can't even control your appetite?" or "what are you doing?  you're giving in by eating that!" isn't you.   That is NOT you.  That is not you thinking, that is the enemy that lives inside you.

I completely and totally know what you're going through, go ahead and drop me a message if you need someone to talk to.  I was more of a depressive anorexic rather than an obsessive anorexic (which sounds closer to what you are), but I'll still help you out in any way I can.

Luv and Good Luck

i don't know if i agree that anorexics can't ever get better like 100%. cause if you're right then i don't know what i'm going to do. the thought of struggling with this for the rest of my life is so depressing. so are you sure?
With hard work and a great therapists i reckon you could get through it :)
Might take quite some time, but i think you could get there if you REALLY wanted to beat it.
Goodluck everyone.
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Well. I've been recovering for 8 years and have met a bunch of fellow recoverees and I haven't met one who was free of body anxiety and stuff. But then again, have you ever met more than a handful of women who were happy with their bodies? My goal is to get to a point where I'm as anxious about my body as the average (non-ana) woman.

I think the biggest key is to not confuse happiness with skinnyness (i.e. what you perceive skinnyness to mean). Thin should equal happy, however everywhere (parents, media, our own heads) we are told that this is true.

I was valedictorian of my high school, I graduate from an Ivy League college **** Laude (With Honors in Latin, because the idiot computer thinks it's a curse word), and was part of a honors society, and yet, the only time I ever felt proud of myself was when I lost weight. How messed up is that? Objectively speaking I should feel so good about achieving academic success, and yet, I don't.

That's what Ana did to me. I'm done with feeling bad about myself and measuring my self worth by numbers on a scale.

Ha. Easier said than done though. I've nowhere close. At least I'm at the point where I realize I'm being ridiculous.

People with eating disorders dont get 100% better.  Its unfortunate but true.  But with the help of a good therepist and behavior mod, you can become healthy and start to live your life again.  There will be times when the old urges come back and you struggle with body image issues, but you will be better equipped to deal with those situaions than you would have previously.  Recovery is hard and a life long process, but it is worth it.



Hey we may not get 100% better, but honestly pretty much all of us using a site like CC have eating/body image issues. We either starve or we binge/purge or we just binge.

So don't get all freaked out thinking you'll never be perfect--none of us are.

I am in remission and have been in remission for over 10 years. So yes, you can do that, you can get to a much, MUCH better place in your head.
  Somehow I do not think it is impossible. Is really your attitude to life. some people never change. its like trying to make an atheist out of someone who is very religious. Either it works or it does not.   by such a definition those who recover from  anorexia problems were just going through a phrase. people who do not get over ED are people who cannot change certain aspects of themselves. Lots of people are like that- mental illness is what is the usual label- if so, 90% of people suffer it in some form or another and for varying lengths of time.   Do not be depress if you suffer from ED all your life- there are worse mental blocks you could have that can mess up your life.   No great consolation, but that is why a therapist you trust is very useful- they will help you not feel so hopeless or alone. In time you may manage and not need a therapist.

To have clinical anorexia nervosa (AN), you have to meet all of these four criteria:

  1. Underweight ("Refusal to maintain body weight at or above a minimally normal weight for age and height")
  2. Intense fear of gaining weight or becoming fat, even though underweight.
  3. Disturbance in the way in which one's body weight or shape is experienced, undue influence of body weight or shape on self-evaluation, or denial of the seriousness of the current low body weight.
  4. Missed period for at least three cycles

People who don't meet one of these criteria but still have seriously disordered eating are usually diagnosed as "eating disorder not otherwise specified" (ED-NOS). For example, there are people who are near death from restricting calories, but haven't missed a period- these people are ED-NOS (at least until they change the diagnostic criteria in the next few years).

The only person who can tell you whether or not you have AN is a qualified doctor.

Congrats on recognizing that this is a problem. I wish you the best of luck in finding help.

Original Post by renastar23:

People with eating disorders dont get 100% better.

Uh, sorry rena, but this is FALSE.

Lots of people hang on to aspects of their eating disorder, but it IS possible to make a 100% recovery. Don't post personal opinions as facts, I know many people who have completely recovered and have 100% normal relationship with food. They do not have negative thoughts or negative-self image and food no longer runs their lives.

ok so i completely DISAGREE with the whole "you cant fully recover from an ed"

yes you can!!! i attend a recovery centre clinic outpatient set up thing and there are ppl there ( careworkers=FULLY recovered past ed suffers and even some of the therpaists used to have eds but are fully recovered) who are fully recovered and work on helping us suffering to recover. they wud not be able to do this job if they themselves still had an ed and with the careworkers theyre jus recoverd ppl who attended the clinic too an recovered and u usually spend the day with them an they walk about recovery an motivate you...ive met 3 of of which have fully recovered, have no ed behaviors or wanna do any behaviors, are ed thought free and dont base their self worth on their weight and size.....

u can fully jus takes a hell of a lot of effort and work and self reflection and recovery...if u want it enough and do everythin possible and have great support you can definetly 100 percent recover....

i think its very negative to say no one fully recovers...everyone is a differnt case and has different outcomes with their ed and how they recover or stay in the ed....ppl who are suffering need hope and dont need to be told "recovery isnt possible"...i think thats jus such a personal opinion, not a fact as no_audience said.

those who are tryin to recover.....YOU CAN DO need help and a great support and help from an ed specialist etc.....have faith in urself !!

Maybe the poster who said you can't recover is saying something similar to how people say you never are "recovered" from alcoholism- you are always "in recovery." So you might develop a completely normal relationship towards alcohol (or food), but having had the disorder will always be part of who you are.

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