Everyone has different eating habits. Some people like to eat three average sized meals a day, some prefer one large meal per day, and others like to graze; eating small portions throughout the day. Normal eating is eating when you are hungry. However, for many they eat too much or too little over extended periods of time. If this is the case, the person may be in danger of developing or already have an eating disorder.
Eating disorders aren't just about food. They are about complex problems and emotional pain. An easy example to use is the effect stress can have on one's eating; you may begin to crave certain foods or loose your appetite entirely. For the person that does not have an eating disorder their normal eating habits return when the stress or pressure has been alleviated. For a person struggling with an eating disorder food can become a disguise for unexpressed or unresolved emotions.
Eating disorders are rife with physical complications and dangers including malnutrition, dehydration, electrolyte imbalance, vitamin and mineral deficiencies, edema, tearing of the esophagus, muscle atrophy and the list goes on. It is critical to seek help if you identify with having an eating disorder or to support a loved one with theirs by encouraging treatment.