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At Rader Programs we understand that there are many people on healthy food plans who do not have eating disorders. Under proper supervision, healthy food plans can possibly lower the risks associated with heart disease and type-2 diabetes. However, for individuals with anorexia nervosa, food restriction is motivated by entirely different factors. Those struggling with anorexia nervosa use their food restriction and purging behaviors as an attempt to control and mitigate unwanted feelings.

Understanding anorexia symptoms can help you to surmise if you or someone you love might be struggling with a deadly eating disorder. Here are some key differences between food plans and anorexia nervosa:


The goal of a healthy food plan is to lose weight by eating healthier food and engaging in healthy eating. Doctors, dietitians or nutritionists can work with you to devise the right food plan.

The goal of an anorexic is simply to be thin. Health is never a concern. In fact, individuals with anorexia frequently employ extremely dangerous means of weight loss such as ipecac abuse and diet pill abuse.

Self-Esteem and Happiness

If your self-esteem is based solely on your weight, it is likely that you are suffering from an eating disorder. Individuals on a food plan who don’t have an eating disorder assess their self-esteem based on a variety of factors, while individuals with anorexia view weight loss as the primary way of attaining happiness. While it might make individuals on healthy food plans happy to lose weight, weight loss shouldn’t be seen as the be-all-end-all key to happiness.

Anorexia Signs and Symptoms

Here are some additional signs and symptoms of anorexia:

  • Substantial weight loss
  • Denying weight loss to others
  • Dieting even when appearing thin
  • Using laxatives, ipecac, diet pills or other substances for weight loss
  • Fixation on food and weight
  • Obsession with caloric content of food

These are only some of the signs and symptoms of anorexia. Please visit our eating disorders symptoms page for a more complete list of symptoms associated with anorexia nervosa and other deadly eating disorders.