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Eating Disorders If you or someone close to you is struggling with an eating disorder, reach out here to ask questions or to receive support for recovery.

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I Can't Eat in Front of Others - November 27th 2012, 01:53 AM

My family and friends have commented on how little I eat, or how I seem to not eat at all. I can't eat in front of them, I try, but I can't. I pretend to be asleep during family dinner, or I make sure I'm out of the house at that time. I avoid social situations where I would be forced to eat. At school I tell my friends I don't have lunch money, or I don't feel well. Which is true, when I have to eat in front of people, I feel like I'm about to be violently ill. My stomach churns and I feel dizzy, I can't physically or mentally force myself to eat in front of anyone. It's complete torture to me when I have to.

Has anyone else had this problem?
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Re: I Can't Eat in Front of Others - November 27th 2012, 11:44 AM

I think you need to have a think about what it is about eating in front of others that makes you feel this way. I had a similar problem where I couldn't stand people looking at me while I ate... I could be in the same room as them, but couldn't eat anything if they happened to be looking at me. It also depended on what kind of food I was eating, for example cereal was one food I simply could not eat in front of people - I had to be alone. When I thought about it, it was mostly silly little fears like being afraid I'd get food on my face or that I looked weird while eating, and then it developed into a fear of people judging me based on what I was eating. I'm still like this now and I find every excuse to eat in private, though this behaviour is also part of my eating disorder. Do you have difficulty eating in general or is this simply an issue of being unable to do it in front of people? Hopefully someone else will be able to help you out some more with this, but I'm thinking that there's maybe something underlying - such as a fear or anxiety - that's causing this problem you have. Take care <3

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Re: I Can't Eat in Front of Others - November 27th 2012, 06:39 PM

I do have problems with eating in most cases. In my mind, I have to justify everything I do, and eating is something I can no longer justify. And justifying everything is now something I hold no control over, I have to do it. I guess my main problem with this is that if I don't eat in front of someone, I often won't eat. I'm at a healthy weight for my height, though I know this causes a lot of problems internally.

It's not like I'm afraid, but I just can't. Lately it's been getting worse, which is why I made this thread. I never had problems with eating in front of others until about a year ago, which is really when I started to starve myself. When I think about eating in front of others, I feel anxious, but it's more about the food than the people. It was only a mental thing, but now it's becoming physical too. Nothing major has really changed, my eating was getting better, I wasn't purging as often, but one day I just had to do those things. Since then, this has gotten worse.
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Re: I Can't Eat in Front of Others - December 1st 2012, 05:34 AM

I have that problem too haha but also at the other end of the spectrum! I really hate eating in front of my friends. I hate eating when no one else is because I feel that well they aren't so I don't need to but I also hate eating alone because I think "this is silly because I need to prove that I do eat - so may as well save it for when people see me!" I live with just my mum - so infront of my friends I barely eat a thing...then when I get home I don't like to eat anything unless mum is watching me and is also eating (tea time!) it is a right pest because before ED we were so relaxed about meal times I barely ever ate at the same time! Now we have to have our meals together because I won't eat without her there!
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