At times, a parent, carer or guardian might already suspect that something is going on. They might have noticed that the young person makes comments about being overweight when they’re a perfectly healthy weight, or that the young person is always tired.
They might have noticed that the young person has started to exercise excessively or that they disappear to the bathroom after meals, or even want to eat away from family where it’s possible to hide food.
They might have noticed that the young person is developing an obsessive thought pattern around food and meal times.
Young people can become withdrawn, irritable and anxious around mealtimes. They might complain of being unwell, not liking food or only wanting to eat specific foods.
This anxiety in family social situations does not just revolve around feeling as though they will be pressured to eat, but they’re also worrying about feeling judged about their weight, as well as about what or how they eat, among other things.
(We say “feeling judged” because family and friends don’t need to be judging the young person for them to feel as though they are being judged.)