5 Signs of Troublesome Restrictive Eating Behaviors

Restrictive eating behaviors often indicate underlying issues, such as eating disorders. If you or a loved one completely avoid specific food groups or skip meals, it could be a sign of developing an eating disorder. Recognizing and addressing these behaviors is crucial for promoting healthier eating habits and addressing underlying causes. Several symptoms can help identify problematic restrictive eating behaviors:

Labeling Specific Foods and Food Groups as “Good” or “Bad”
Restrictive eaters tend to categorize food as “bad,” “unclean,” or “unhealthy.” However, all food can contribute to good health. While too much sugar can be detrimental, natural sugars from fruits can be digested and provide energy. Avoiding sugar entirely may indicate restrictive eating patterns.

Refusing to Eat Specific Food Groups
Eliminating entire food groups from a diet, such as dairy, fats, or carbohydrates, is a red flag. All food groups are important for a healthy diet. Exceptions should only be made based on specific health reasons prescribed by a physician.

Experiencing Food Phobias
Fear surrounding food often points to deeper issues. Food phobias may include fear of weight gain, eating in front of others, or losing control over eating behavior. These fears may also manifest as specific food anxieties, like associating chocolate bars with weight gain.

Only Eating During Specific Times
Adhering strictly to set eating times or refusing to eat if unable to eat at a specific time can indicate problematic eating patterns. Obsessive concern about eating times or inadequate nutrition due to inflexible schedules may be signs of harmful eating habits.

Avoidance Behaviors
Withdrawing from social interactions, particularly avoiding eating in front of others, is common among individuals with restrictive eating tendencies. Withdrawal may occur to elude judgment or conversations about eating.

Assisting a Loved One with Restrictive Eating Behaviors
If you observe these behaviors in a family member, friend, or loved one, it’s important to have a conversation about seeking help for eating disorders. At Lotus Healing, we provide support in establishing a healthy relationship with food, understanding thought patterns, and developing a healthy lifestyle and recovery. Contact us today to learn more about how we can assist you.

Dr. Dixie Brown is a PhD level Therapist, Integrative Medicine Practitioner, and Nutritionist with 15 years of experience working in Mental Health, specifically with trauma, eating disorders, and substance use.

Dixie Brown

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Lotus Healing helps substance use and mental health providers, foundations, organizations and healthcare companies address urgent healthcare challenges that impact their ability to provide high quality healthcare to vulnerable populations by prioritizing organizational leadership, structure, education and research and commitment to improved organizational wellbeing.

Lotus Healing helps substance use and mental health providers, foundations, organizations and healthcare companies address urgent healthcare challenges that impact their ability to provide high quality healthcare to vulnerable populations by prioritizing organizational leadership, structure, education and research and commitment to improved organizational wellbeing.

Lotus Healing helps substance use and mental health providers, foundations, organizations and healthcare companies address urgent healthcare challenges that impact their ability to provide high quality healthcare to vulnerable populations by prioritizing organizational leadership, structure, education and research and commitment to improved organizational wellbeing.

Lotus Healing helps substance use and mental health providers, foundations, organizations and healthcare companies address urgent healthcare challenges that impact their ability to provide high quality healthcare to vulnerable populations by prioritizing organizational leadership, structure, education and research and commitment to improved organizational wellbeing.

Lotus Healing helps substance use and mental health providers, foundations, organizations and healthcare companies address urgent healthcare challenges that impact their ability to provide high quality healthcare to vulnerable populations by prioritizing organizational leadership, structure, education and research and commitment to improved organizational wellbeing.