8 Ways People Hide Eating Disorder Symptoms

People with eating disorders go to great lengths to hide these eating disorder symptoms from friends, loved one’s and coworkers. Below are several different methods that individuals with eating disorders utilize to help hide their disorder.

1. Purging

Individuals who suffer from bulimia often purge after eating. This can be done through numerous methods, including laxatives, vomiting or enemas. Vomiting is one of the most common methods. Individuals try to cover up their purge by running water while they are using the bathroom to mask the sound, use perfume or air freshener to mask the smell in the bathroom, and chew gum or use breath mints after purging.

2. Hidden Stashes of Food

Often, people who are suffering from bulimia or a binge eating disorder will hide food because they are uncomfortable to eat in front of other individuals. These stashes are often hidden in the individual’s bedroom, cabinets, closets, under the bed or in a suitcase.

3. Strict Routine of Eating

Especially with anorexics, individuals will only eat “safe foods”. This may be so obsessive that the individual eats the exact same food at breakfast, lunch, dinner and as snacks. They become comfortable with only certain foods and will not allow themselves to eat any other foods. They also may have an exhaustive list of foods that are off limits.

4. Empty Containers of Food

If you notice containers of foods that are inexplicably empty hidden in the bottom of the trashcan or out in the recycling bin, someone in your household may have an eating disorder. Often these individuals will buy food in secret and eat the food in private, then dispose of the evidence at the bottom of the trash can or out in the recycling bin. They may also take their trash with them so they can dispose of it at separate location.

5. Lying about Eating

Individuals who suffer from anorexia, bulimia or a binge eating disorder may lie about when they last ate. Anorexics and bulimics may say that they already ate to avoid eating. They may use this excuse to skip eating all together or so they can have a personal and private time when they can eat and then possibly binge. Overeaters may lie about the last time they ate so that they are able to eat more food without anyone noticing.

6. Training for Sporting Events

If an individual is suffering from anorexia, bulimia or over exercising, they may compulsively workout. To avoid attention, these individuals may join numerous sport teams, clubs or events. For athletes, they may constantly sign up for races or longer distances, giving themselves an excuse to workout more and more.

7. Baggy Clothes

Both individuals suffering from anorexia and bulimia may wear unnecessarily big or baggy clothes. They also may dress in layers. This is done to hide the shape of the body and to also mask any weight loss.

8. Food Rituals

Individuals who have an eating disorder often begin to have compulsive eating habits. This could mean cutting food into tiny pieces, chewing food and spiting it out, moving food around a plate, or requiring that they eat at the exact same time every day.


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