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What are the Signs of an Eating Disorder? Insights from an Eating Disorder Psychologist

Updated: Apr 24

Your eating disorder signs and symptoms checklist; how to spot the signs of an eating disorder from an eating disorder psychologist

Eating Disorder Psychologist Sydney

Living in today’s society we are constantly being exposed to diet culture. Quick fixes, extreme weight loss, magic pills, fat-burning exercise routines, we just can’t escape it! It is no wonder that the number of eating disorders recorded annually worldwide has doubled in the last 18 years.

Research published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition last month found that between 200 and 2018 the number of people suffering from an eating disorder doubled from 3.4% to 7.8%.

We are now talking 70 million sufferers worldwide!

Do I have an Eating Disorder?

As a fully recovered eating disorder psychologist, when I look back on my journey, my issues with food began a long 4 years before I fell into the trap of anorexia and bulimia needing eating disorder treatment. I started to show eating disorder symptoms such as becoming more aware of the way my body looked and in particular, the parts I did not like. The more I focused on this the more I wanted to change my weight. So I embarked on my first diet at 16 years old, skipping meals and increasing my exercise. Unfortunately, my parents were not aware of the signs of an eating disorder or eating disorder symptoms I was displaying nor understand how my unhealthy behaviours were progressing. If they did know how to spot these issues developing maybe I could have got help long before it progressed into a serious illness.


The main problem when trying to answer the question; "do I have an eating disorder?" or "what is an eating disorder?" is that there are so many combinations that someone can display and even in some cases they will hide these symptoms from people around them. This is why this knowledge and understanding is absolutely essential. I have developed a complete checklist of eating disorder symptoms, see the link below for direct access:

It is important to realise that not all of these warning signs mean that your loved has an eating disorder. These can also be signs that they are starting to struggle with food and the way they look and may need some early help before it progresses any further. Dieting and starting to focus on food and weight may not be the cause of eating disorders but they are often a precursor.

Research has found that:

  • 50% of young girls and 25% of young boys have tried dieting to change their body

  • More than 33% of girls who are at a healthy weight try to diet

  • Up to 50% of women are on a diet at any one time

  • Moderate dieting = 5x more likely to develop and Eating Disorder

  • Extreme dieting = 18x more likely to develop and Eating Disorder

These stats just highlight the importance of understanding your loved ones' changes in behaviour and being able to recognise when a simple comment about their appearance or slight change in appetite, for example, is going too far.


Need some help?! 

If you are interested in taking that next step and are ready to speak with an eating disorder psychologist in Sydney please get in contact with Hannah Myall, who has also fully recovered from an eating disorder and has since spent the last decade helping individuals and families work towards eating disorder recovery.

Book a free consultation with Hannah and find out how she may be able to help you,

Got a question? Send Hannah an email at

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