How to Tell If You Have
A Problem With Food

By Abigail Natenshon
Author of When Your Child Has An Eating Disorder

  1. You don’t eat three meals a day. There is never time for breakfast.
  2. Some “meals” consist of foods that are not nourishing to your body, like chips or diet pop.
  3. You don’t eat a wide variety of nutritious foods.
  4. You don’t feed your body at regular intervals.
  5. You do not eat a cooked hot meal with your family most nights.
  6. Your home does not have a lot of nutritious foods on hand for meals and snacking.
  7. You spend a lot of time watching television or eating in front of the television.
  8. The television is on during mealtimes.
  9. You rarely go outside to play or walk.
  10. You do not take gym in school or do after school sports.
  11. You feel guilty if you eat; particularly things like chocolate or French fries.
  12. You are embarrassed about how you eat or how you look.
  13. It takes trying on many outfits before you can find one that you feel looks good enough on you.
  14. You are afraid or uncomfortable about eating in front of others.
  15. You feel that you should never leave the dinner table feeling full or satisfied.
  16. You are uncertain about which foods are good for your body and brain and which are not.
  17. You do not have a regular menstrual period.
  18. You drink protein mixes or grab a Power Bar instead of sitting down to a meal.

Psychotherapist Abigail H. Natenshon has specialized in the treatment of eating disorders with individuals, families, and groups for the past 28 years. She is the author of When Your Child Has an Eating Disorder: A Step-by-Step Workbook for Parents and Other Caregivers, Jossey Bass Publishers, San Francisco, CA. October 1999. Based on hundreds of successful outcomes, this book shepherds concerned parents step-by-step through the processes of eating disorder recognition, confronting the child, finding the most effective treatment for patient and family, and evaluating and insuring a timely recovery. A guide to eating disorder prevention, this book is useful to parents, health professionals and school personnel alike in countering the pervasive epidemic of unhealthy eating and body image concerns, and destructive media and peer influences. Her work can be reviewed further at her web site at To order visit

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