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Eating Disorder Signs and Types – Do You Have An Eating Disorder?

Did you know that in the US alone, an estimated 20 million women and 10 million men have or have had an eating disorder at some point in their lives?

A lot of people right.

You may be wondering what are the eating disorder signs?

Whilst I dislike the word disorder I will start with the description of common eating disorders and then share how to know if you may have an eating disorder. It’s for you to decide for yourself only, if you have an issue with eating and no one else.


Anorexia Nervosa Eating Disorder

Anorexia nervosa, is a disorder where the sufferer starves themselves because of the desire to either maintain an unrealistic and unhealthy body image or because of emotional reasons they don’t want to eat and want to punish themselves or to disappear altogether. Anorexics label food as good and bad, they isolate to avoid eating and suffer a huge amount of anxiety when going to social events where they may have to eat food they don’t want to.


Chewing and Spitting Eating Disorder

Among the lesser-known and less-studied eating disorder behaviors is that often linked with Anorexia is chewing and spitting. This activity consists of chewing food, usually food that is highly enjoyable and energy-dense, and spitting it out before swallowing. The reason the person with this eating disorder does this is to enjoy the food’s taste while preventing the ingestion of calories.

Chewing and spitting has some similarities to bulimia and binge eating because it can involve consuming larger amounts of high calorie foods, but is also similar to anorexia and restrictive eating in that the food is not actually ingested.


Bulimia Nervosa

Bulimia nervosa, a disorder that triggers the sufferer to consume large amounts of food (binge), and then to rid themselves of as much fat and calories (purge) by vomiting. However, it is not always after a large binge, some people with bulimia will purge after just a small amount of food because they want to get rid of the food and / or avoid gaining weight. Often, they feel disgust or guilt after eating and this triggers the bulimia episode.


There are other purging eating disorders besides bulimia and the bulimia pattern of being sick. Other purging behaviors, such as using laxatives, diuretics or excessive exercising to control their weight or shape.


Binge Eating Disorder

Binge-eating disorder is where the sufferer compulsively overeats in a two-hour period. A binge eater will frequently eat in secret and may hide food. Binge eating disorders are on the rise and have similar symptoms to those with bulimia or the binge-eating subtype of anorexia, as all report experiencing a lack of control during binges.


Compulsive Eating Disorder

Compulsive Eating Disorder is where a person eats and grazes all day on food, also called an over eater and over eating disorder sometimes. Basically, once they start they cannot stop thinking of the next food to eat and then the next etc. They may be able to not eat for periods of time for example in the morning but once they begin to eat they cannot stop.


Night Syndrome Eating Disorder

Another type of eating disorder experienced by people is night eating syndrome and includes individuals who frequently eat excessively at night, often waking up and going to get something to eat in the middle of the night.


Orthorexia Eating Disorder

Orthorexia is the term for a condition that includes symptoms of obsessive behavior in pursuit of a healthy diet. Many people living with this Orthorexia condition may report that it started off as a positive way to improve their health, yet they become so rigid in it and it has the opposite effect. Cutting out so many foods limits their diet and their health suffers immensely. People with Orthorexia also often display signs and symptoms of anxiety disorders that frequently co-occur with anorexia nervosa or other eating disorders. Where they too worry about food they label as “Bad”  Like those with bulimia and anorexia they have rigid rules around eating they avoid situations and when they do eat outside their rules become overwhelmed with guilt.


Pica Eating Disorder

Is an entirely new eating disorder a condition only recently recognized as an eating disorder. Individuals with pica crave non-food substances such as ice, dirt, soil, chalk, soap, paper, hair, cloth, wool, pebbles, laundry detergent or cornstarch.


Lastly, there are Eating disorder not otherwise specified (EDNOS): This disorder includes any other possible conditions that have symptoms similar to those of an eating disorder but for whatever reason they don’t fit into any of the categories above.


I was diagnosed with an undiagnosed eating disorder, which was frustrating. I have had many of the above, I use to binge as a child as it was feast or famine in my house. I later discovered bulimia as a way to try to keep thin, then started late night eating and compulsive eating until I reached 19 when I flipped to only eating carrots and apples and wanted to stay way under a healthy weight. When I tried to break away from this and eat normally I developed bulimia. In my Bulimia days I would again binge and be sick or compulsively eat and then starve myself. In an attempt to stop the bulimia, I developed Orthorexia where I banned all meat, dairy, desserts, carbohydrates, sweets and even fruit at times. Looking back now and seeing it objectively I can see how I went from one eating disorder to another and never had any peace or freedom from it at all until thankfully I had an amazing breakthrough and from this breakthrough I have created a proven step by step system to help people free themselves from eating disorders including: changing the eating patterns, reducing anxiety and guilt around eating, dealing with the emotional triggers that lay beneath eating disorders and strategies to overcome the urges and compulsions to eat or avoid food.

My mission is to help others also become free, so they can experience inner calm, have peace with food and their bodies.


Here are some signs that you may have an eating disorder


Remember that eating disorders are not about only the size of a person, they are about how you view yourself, how you treat your body and how you feel before and after eating.  Many people I have worked with look great on the outside. Yet on the inside they are consumed with guilt, anxiety and stress around food. They feel bad about eating and their habits and this effects their self-esteem and overall enjoyment of life.


Here are some of the most common eating disorder signs and behaviors associated with eating disorders:

  • You have lost a lot of weight in a short period of time
  • Or you have gained a lot of weight in short period of time
  • You eat large quantities of food in less than 2 hours
  • You vomit after eating
  • You secretly binge on food
  • You have rigid and restrictive rules around food you are not willing to change
  • You take laxatives, diuretics or diet pills
  • You hoard large amounts of food, fear of not having enough
  • You exercise compulsively and intensively more than 6 times a week
  • You hide food for later
  • You have anxiety over food before eating and during meal times with others
  • You feel guilty after eating
  • You use prescription stimulant medications and/or stimulant drugs to suppress your appetite
  • You eat until you cannot move
  • You use food as a comfort or reward
  • You isolate yourself, so you eat alone
  • You perform the same eating ritual repeatedly
  • You have low self-esteem when it comes to your body and your eating your habits
  • You lie about the food you eat
  • You have stolen food
  • You feel unhappy with your weight and body
  • Your mood is dependent on the amount of food eaten that day
  • You repeatedly weigh yourself and track your progress
  • You repeatedly label yourself as fat or unattractive
  • You have withdrawn from friends and family, particularly following questions about your eating or size
  • You avoid meals or situations where food may be present
  • You have a preoccupation with weight, body size and shape, or other specific aspects of your appearance
  • You obsess over your calorie intake and calories burned via exercise, counting, analyzing and tracking food and weight
  • You spoil food (like pour water over it) just to make sure you won’t eat it

Can you identify with two or more of these?


If yes, do you do not need to label yourself with an eating disorder the only thing to ask yourself is do you want to change?


I remember when  people used to say to me Nicola is everything ok with your eating… I’d say exactly what they wanted to hear, I’d admit I had  a problem but say I am trying to deal with it in my own way. But really I was either not ready to change my eating habits or didn’t actually know how to stop the anxiety and guilt around food.


Then the person who meant well would come up with a certain type of food for me to eat or plan like say:


Exercise less

Eat more carbs

Try not to be sick

You just need a little more fat on you

Do you like cheese, have a bit more cheese and dairy

You need to eat more meat and protein

Well don’t lose any more weight


That was the conversation over.


I had over 500 conversations like this over the 20 plus years I suffered from my eating disorders, maybe much more than that.


Whilst I appreciated their love and concerns it didn’t help me. Because I needed a solution, a plan of action, a number or email of a specialist coach who could tell me what to do.


If you are ready to step into action then book a peaceful eating session with me here CLICK HERE


If you are not ready to discuss it yet, then that’s totally fine too, I get that. Download my 5-part audio to become free from emotional eating and harmful food control and learn 3 secrets to set you free. Many people email me to say it has changed their life for the better. CLICK HERE


As a former sufferer, I know what its like and I know from experience what works and what doesn’t. If I can leave you with one thought to reflect on it would be that eating disorders often reflect something much deeper than food and weight and are often linked with low-self-esteem and self-hate.


Whatever eating disorder you may have symptoms of you do not need to label yourself as someone with an eating disorder. All you need is the right tools and a huge dose of self-love.  I know this may sound crazy and I don’t know you yet but I really do value, appreciate and admire you. It takes guts to face our issues and to decide we deserve more out of life. It’s brave being here and reading this even. I will say this it is not always an easy path breaking free in the beginning but with the right support, help and advice there is definitely light at the end of the tunnel.


Do check out my 5-part audio as I really explain the secret to shifting unwanted food behaviors and breaking-free from the unsatisfying cycle of frustration and self-medication with food. CLICK HERE


With love and appreciation, Nicola

Mihaela BotnariMihaela Botnari
12:54 17 Mar 23
Thank you for destroying my relationship. My partner reached out for support and you advised him that there is nothing for him to heal and that he should send his girlfriend for therapy, like this is your place to tell him. I’ve been through therapy myself and I know how to make the difference between a good therapist and someone who just wants to get more money, and the second seems to definitely be your purpose!
Helen HHelen H
19:13 10 Nov 22
Nicola’s support and advice proved invaluable when my marriage was struggling. Over a series of meetings (online and fact to face, to suit our needs), Nicola helped steer us through a very difficult time. She was always calm, neutral and never made us feel like we had failed or had ‘messed up’. Nicola has a wealth of experience and keeps up with current research, but has a very unique approach to getting you back on track. With regular support materials and just being there, she helped us realise that our relationship could go on; by making us look at ourselves and helping us consider the tools we needed to move forwards. I can honestly say that I don’t think our marriage would have survived such a difficult time without Nicola’s expertise. I often listen to Nicola’s podcasts on Spotify when I’m needing a bit of extra support. Thank you, Nicola
Justin LossJustin Loss
13:23 30 Jun 22
Nicola has been a massive help. I had tried traditional counseling and it had seemed to be moving me further away from what I wanted. After listening to several of Nicola's podcasts I decided to reach out to her. The discovery call was enlightening and she described a process that was more focused on creating a better future vs reliving the pass. From there I went through her Breakthrough Program...All I can say is Wow! Her program and guidance has quickly changed my mindset which has in turn improved all my relationships and overall stress level. I highly recommend working with Nicola and can't thank her enough for her help and care.
Ciaran CarlisleCiaran Carlisle
22:16 23 Jan 22
My partner and I spent a number of sessions with Nicola discussing our relationship difficulties, both together and one on one sessions. She has been so good to talk to - incredibly helpful and understanding with our problems.My partner and I have come out of this with a better understanding and move love for each other. Nicola has taught us many techniques to use in situations were we feel at odds which has been fantastic. We would recommend Nicola 100% for relationship advice.Thank you so much again.
Loida Delgado-PerezLoida Delgado-Perez
03:09 22 Jan 22
Nicola's marriage counselling have been life changing for both my partner and I. The learnings have been exponential and have transform us individually and as a couple. We reached out to Nicola at the lowest point of our relationship and about to break apart. Her compassionate and smart yet practical advice and exercises transform us in such a way that we are now at the best we've ever been personally and as a couple.As a result we've decided to get married and book Nicola every year for a couple's check in! I couldn't recommend her sessions more to anyone feeling stuck and wanting to be in a better place. Best investment of time, money and effort EVER. Thank you Nicola, you are an inspiration to me and many others :)
Christianne KaddoumChristianne Kaddoum
17:19 20 Oct 21
The hours I’ve spent working with Nicola have been the most valuable of my life.I now feel equipped to do things differently. It’s been the most liberating and empowering experience and I’ve learnt things that will stay with me forever.Through the excellent help from Nicola, it is now possible for me to have a different and healthier approach to various situations.She has professionally helped me to consider my perspectives in a way I hadn’t before.I can finally begin to reframe my life experience and see them in a whole new light.Thanks Nicola!