Withall Resource

Eating Disorder Help

Learn more about eating disorder signs and symptoms and what to do if you’re concerned.

Signs & Symptoms of Eating Disorders

Eating disorders are serious, complex illnesses that can cause severe harm to those affected. That’s why it’s so important to be on the lookout for warning signs.

Common signs and symptoms of an eating disorder include:

  • Dieting or any other food restriction – especially if a young person.*
  • Changes in their eating behaviors that are more extreme.
  • Increased attention or talking about their body or weight –more talking about their body or weight in judgment terms.
  • Notable weight change, wearing larger clothing that hides their body. IMPORTANT: many times an eating disorder does not result in weight change.
  • Frequent trips to the bathroom, especially after meals.
  • Excessive exercise or a compulsive need to exercise “for health.”
  • Feeling weak or tired or sleeping more than usual.
  • Notable change in behavior, as though something is just “off.”

*Dieting is the #1 risk factor for developing an eating disorder. If a young person starts to diet , it often means they feel they need to change their body to be accepted by others. Dieting “to be healthier” is often the stated reason, but dieting does not make us healthier. Making healthy choices (be it with sleep, friendships, movement, a variety of foods) is what makes us healthy. Dieting also sometimes shows up as cutting out food groups (i.e.- sugar, carbs, meat) “for health reasons.”

What to Do if You Suspect an Eating Disorder

If you are concerned that a child or teen in your life is struggling with disordered thinking or eating, trust your gut and seek help.

If you are a parent or guardian:

  1. Take warning signs seriously and trust your gut.
  2. Make an appointment with your child’s doctor. Before the visit, confirm their experience screening and intervening in disordered eating / eating disorders. If they do not, or if you suspect they could use more information, ask them to visit www.NCEED.org to learn more about screening and intervening appropriately. Alternatively, as around for a pediatric provider who has experience with these health issues.
  3. Before the doctor’s appointment, talk with your child about your concerns. Write down the factual, objective behaviors you have seen. Examples: “you are pushing food around on your plate, but not actually eating it. You’re spending a lot of time in the bathroom looking at your body in the mirror. I have overheard you criticize your body more lately.” Next, talk to your child about the concerns. Let them know that you are not an expert in these issues, but that, together, you will visit with someone who is an expert that can help. They may get defensive or upset with you (which usually indicates you are doing the right thing), but know that no matter what your child’s reaction, you are doing the right thing by trusting your gut and seeking help.
  4. Before the appointment with your doctor, if you will not be in the room with your child during the appointment, be sure to communicate with the doctor in advance the objective behaviors you have seen (i.e. the list you made prior to talking with your child).
  5. If appropriate, pursue specialty treatment options. This may include working with your child’s Primary Care Provider, a therapist, or pursuing in-patient treatment options.

Get Support Now

You are not alone. If you or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder, The National Alliance for Eating Disorder helpline can be reached at 866-662-1235 in the US. The helpline is run by clinicians and offers emotional support for individuals and their family, as well as referrals for all levels of eating disorders.


There are many other organizations in the United States and globally doing valuable work to prevent, treat, provide support for, and advocate for eating disorders. Below is a simple list to get you started if you’re looking for additional resources.

National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA)
A nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting individuals and families affected by eating disorders.

Eating Disorders Coalition (EDC)
A coalition of organizations that advance the recognition of eating disorders as a public health priority. The EDC advocates to influence federal policy and to achieve full enactment of legislation.

Families Empowered and Supporting Treatment of Eating Disorders (F.E.A.S.T)
An international organization of and for caregivers of eating disorder patients. F.E.A.S.T. provides information and mutual support for families.

National Alliance for Eating Disorders
An organization with an eating disorder helpline and directory of eating disorder treatment providers (https://findedhelp.com/).

Are you someone with an eating disorder, but you are worried about taking time off work or school for treatment? Please check out WithAll’s Recovery Support Program.

What to Say Coaches Challenge

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Take The Pledge

THE PLEDGE: I believe that words matter. I want to make a positive impact on the kids in my life by stopping harmful diet and weight talk. I am committed to making sure that every child gets a chance to develop healthy relationships with food and body.


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Shannon assists with the logistics of development and operations and making every day run as smoothly as possible. Her day-to-day focuses on our Recovery Support Program, budget management, events, and administrative support. She enjoys being part of the nonprofit world and finding ways to help enhance the organization. She has a heart for serving others and helping people succeed.

Shannon has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Health & Exercise Science from Gustavus Adolphus College and a Master’s in Public Health (MPH) from Walden University.

Outside of work, you can find Shannon chasing her two girls around, attending sporting events and finding the next brewery or winery to explore.

Lindsay leads our operations, programming, fundraising, and communications to better fulfill our mission. She enjoys engaging with our supporters and stakeholders to build stronger connections to our work. Outside the office, you can find her planning her next trip, exploring the Twin Cities, or reading her book club’s latest pick.

With ten years of experience in nonprofit and foundation administration, Lindsay is a creative project manager working to strengthen all our operations. She loves being a part of a team deeply dedicated to discovering innovative and effective strategies to end eating disorders and is excited to invite others into this important work. Efficient and collaborative, she executes activity across all operations, including fundraising, events, communications, and programming. Lindsay has a bachelor’s degree in public relations from the University of Northwestern, St. Paul, and a fundraising certificate from the University of St. Thomas. She and her family live in Richfield, MN.

As Executive Director, Lisa leads WithAll’s strategic growth as a sustainable social enterprise dedicated to the prevention of and healing from eating disorders.

Lisa has more than 20 years of experience in public affairs, community relations, and law, and nearly 15 years of experience in non-profit leadership, most recently at Minnesota Public Radio/American Public Media. She is a graduate of Mitchell Hamline School of Law, a member of the Minnesota Bar, and a Minnesota Supreme Court appointee to Minnesota’s Lawyers Professional Responsibility Board. She volunteers with her daughter’s school and with youth sports.

Lisa does this work because she knows eating disorders are not a choice; they are deadly, and they are everywhere. She also knows kids are not born with harmful thoughts and actions around food or their body—and it’s our job as adults to keep it this way so they can focus their precious brains and time on things that matter.

Lisa finds laughter, all children, and the numerous variations of sparkling water to be delightful.