Eating Problems

Are you worried about your eating habits? Do you feel that you’re eating habits or thoughts about eating are taking over your life and affecting how you function day to day? Are you unsure of whether you may have an eating disorder?

Your eating habits may differ day-to-day and may differ from those of others.  Lots of people have different eating habits. You might eat a lot one day, be less hungry another day, or go through phases of wanting to eat more or less healthily. But that doesn’t mean you have an eating problem. However, if you are focusing a lot on calorie counting, controlling what or how much you eat, exercising excessively, or if you have urges to eat and then make yourself sick, these are signs you could have a problem.


What things should you be aware of?

Symptoms of eating problems includes:

Here are some types of eating behaviour which you might be experiencing quite often, or taking to extremes:

  • losing appetite
  • eating when not hungry
  • obsessing about your body (e.g. being too fat, or not muscly enough)
  • eating only certain types of things or following fad diets
  • being afraid of gaining weight
  • dramatic weight loss or gain
  • making yourself sick
  • no longer enjoying eating socially or leaving the table quickly (to be sick or hide food)
  • focusing on buying or cooking food for others
  • feeling secretive about eating
  • excessive weighing / exercising
  • being secretive about/preoccupied with food
  • being self-conscious about eating in front of others


Problem eating can also be a sign of an underlying issue that is impacting your mental health. So take a moment to think about what could be contributing to your eating problem? Common problems: family issues, habits and traits (perfectionism, low confidence, competitiveness, comparing ourselves to others), difficult life experiences (exam stress, bullying etc, social pressures (social media, pressure from peers). It could be that by identifying and addressing these issues my relive your symptoms and behaviours. It could be useful to talk these through with a trusted adult or medical professional.


Seeking support

If any of the symptoms above are affecting your everyday life, then you should seek help and support.

  • Talk to an adult that you trust
  • Speak to your gp/school nurse
  • BEAT (Eating disorders charity) – Email for support and guidance: Youthline email support is open to anyone under 18: , access the BEAT online web chat, call the Youthline: 0808 801 0711
  • Chat Health: School nurse support – Text: 07507330205


YOUNG MINDS: Tips from young people

  1. “I’d recommend talking to someone you trust about what it is that makes you anxious so that they can support you in managing your intake.”
  2. “Avoid apps, accounts or websites that contribute to your negative body image and your relationship with eating.”

“Looking at your body every day might be hard, but try to see and remember all the things your body does for you.”