Common Food Rituals Anorexia Nervosa Patients Frequently Do

Commonly referred to as just anorexia, anorexia nervosa is a serious eating disorder that usually sees a person adopt eating methods that are extremely unhealthy just to lose weight, or vice versa.

Per health experts, there are a slew of factors that often lead to its development and are usually specific for the person who has it. This may include past trauma, genetics and mental health conditions, such as depression and anxiety.

Studies show that those who are the most at risk of developing it are females who are typically in their teenage and young adult years. Unfortunately, it’s hard to diagnose quickly because people who have them aren’t aware of it, or are usually reserved people who don’t discuss their thoughts about food and body image. Thus, making it hard to recognize symptoms.

However, they do have common food rituals that can be identified. Here are some of them:

Obsession with dieting, food and calories

Closely monitoring (to the point of constant worrying) of calorie intake and dieting is a common anorexic characteristic. As such, anorexic people may record every food they’ve eaten, sometimes even memorizing a food’s calorie content.

Constant changes in mood and emotional state

Unfortunately, anorexic people are also commonly suffering from other conditions such as anxiety, perfectionism or even depression. Another common symptom is extreme self-control with food.


Purging behavior such as self-induced vomiting is another common anorexic symptom, as well as extreme use of over-the-counter medication. Usually, anorexic people follow their binge-eating with purging in order to lose weight and speed up the emptying of their stomachs.

Distorted body image

People suffering from anorexia also most likely have a negative view of their physical self, and so they go to extreme lengths to find an “acceptable” body image. Anorexic people also commonly have an extreme drive to be thin.

Engaging in food rituals

Because anorexic people have obsessive behavior, they also usually engage in food rituals. These rituals include eating meals at the same time everyday, eating foods in a certain order, arranging food in a plate, cutting food into small pieces, only eating meals in specific places, excessive chewing and counting calories before eating the food.

Anorexia Anorexia primarily affects adolescent girls and young adult women. Stefano Pollio/Unsplash