Below I’ve listed some of the behaviours and signs that I felt were symptomatic of a full blown eating disorder. Over time I’ll try and expand a little more on what I mean by each one, in case a one line summary isn’t clear enough.
I originally started writing this list in August 2018 but never published it. At the time of writing this post (May 2019) it’s nice to be able to look down this list and realise that I’ve made heaps of progress in reducing and in some cases completely eliminating these things from my life. In these cases, I’ll try to create separate posts to explain how I came to fix these issues as time permits.
Update 24th July 2019: I’ve done another review of these symptoms and many of them are gone or greatly reduced. I posted about it here.
- Overly obsessive about tracking and weighing – even weighing things like salad greens. I am completely free of this now, see my progress post!
- Overly obsessive about the ‘perfect’ macros. Getting 30ish grams of protein every meal etc. Also gone, see my progress post!
- Obsessively looking at nutrition labels when shopping. Mostly gone, see my progress post!
- Anxiety when forced to eat anything without a nutrition label – to the point of avoiding family occasions and eating out, and taking over virtually all the cooking at home. This is totally gone now, and I just don’t care any more – see my progress post!
- Restricting food all day in order to hoard macros for an evening feast. Progress here – see my progress post!
- A ‘scarcity mindset’ – going to the supermarket multiple times per week to ensure all the staples are always available to make the ‘perfect’ meal with the right macronutrient breakdown. See https://tabithafarrar.com/2018/05/brain-malnutrition-scarcity-mode/ I’ve made progress here too – see my progress post!
- Refusal to eat certain types of foods that aren’t ‘healthy’. No chocolate, no regular (high fat/carb) ice cream, very little cheese (or any full fat/high carb dairy), no pastries, very few biscuits/cakes, etc. Good progress – see my progress post!
- Fear of excess carbohydrate/fat – to the point where I was generally eating under 40g fat per day, and sometimes under 30g. Tried to eat low carb whenever I didn’t feel like I was active enough. Also good progress – see my progress post!
- Seasoning all my meals like mad to try and make things tasty. Pepper, salt, low calorie sauces like sriracha / Walden Farms, mustard etc. Tick this one off – see my progress post!
- Microwaving teas and coffees right after making them so that they’re nuclear level hot – to try and make them last longer so I enjoyed them more. Tick this one off too – see my progress post!
- Very moody especially around meal times if I wasn’t left alone to eat. ‘Bullguarding’ food. Not so much now – see my progress post!
- Started craving carbs (especially stuff like breakfast cereal and sweet stuff like sugar) really badly particularly after I started on TRT. Would eat some erythritol straight out of the packet every time I made a hot drink. Still love the carbs – but think that’s normal – see my progress post!
- Compulsions to move. Getting anxious when not hitting at least 250 steps/hr and 10k steps/day – to the point of walking round the room in the middle of meals, or tapping my thigh to get step counts up. Almost gone – see my progress post!
- Walking after every meal; which is not in and of itself a bad thing (in my opinion) but getting anxious about it when the weather is bad or I’m otherwise unable to go for a walk immediately after eating is disordered. Good progress – now I walk for joy, not because I feel compelled – see my progress post!
- Over reliance on supplements. Creatine, whey protein, casein protein, vitamin D, BCAAs, Ashwaghanda, ZMA, Pre-Workout, and others at various times. I still take supps but not so many – see my progress post!
- Over reliance on caffeine especially as an appetite suppressant. Drank a lot of black coffee – which I don’t dislike – but it was one of the causes of major bladder flare ups. Good progress – see my progress post!
- Obsession with gut health. Started consuming lots of different stuff for this – regularly drinking kombucha, apple cider vinegar, and eating sauerkraut, kimchi and those type of foods. Still there, but I don’t consider this a major concern at this point – see my progress post!
- Binge eating! Although most ED recovery resources would call this ‘extreme hunger’. This didn’t start until I allowed myself to eat more, and my metabolism improved a bit, then the floodgates opened and things got worse before they improved. They’re still happening, but less frequently now, and I’m logging them to identify triggers.