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Warning Signs of Anorexia and Bulimia

Disordered Eating May Indicate Presence of Female Athlete Triad


Anorexia is a condition in which a girl's diet does not allow her to maintain her weight within 15% of the mean for girls her age and height. (Remember: daily requirements for calories, carbohydrates, and protein are greater for athletes).

  • Warning Signs:
    • Sudden weight loss or gain
    • Distorted body image
    • Obsession with weighing oneself
    • Avoidance of social eating (i.e. a girl who likes to eat alone)
    • Preoccupation with food and dieting/unreasonable fear of being fat (girls on severe diets in one Australian study were 18 times more likely to develop an eating disorder; moderate dieters were 5 times more likely than those who did not diet; a Harvard researcher says 44% of high school girls and 15% of boys diet)
    • Hair loss
    • Intolerance to cold
    • Obsessive exercising


Bulimia is where a girl engages in "binge eating" (i.e. eating too much uncontrollably in one sitting) and then purging (vomiting, exercising intensely) to get rid of the food just eaten.

  • Warning Signs:
    • frequent use of bathroom after eating
    • Fluctuating weight
    • Bloodshot eyes
    • Swollen glands
    • Swollen extremities
    • Discolored teeth (i.e. eroded tooth enamel from frequent vomiting)
    • Feelings of depression, guilt or shame about eating
    • Suicide attempts
    • Drug use
    • Aches and pains
    • Dramatic fluctuations in athletic performance

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