In total, there are four stages that people who suffer from this condition go through before, during, and after being treated for the disorder. The first stage involves the person exercising excessively. They might increase the number of hours each day to burn calories. The second stage involves the person thinking about taking supplements and dietary aids to lose or maintain their current weight. This stage also involves the person being very cautious about their food intake, whether it involves how much food they are going to eat, what they are going to eat, and how frequently they eat.
The third stage involves the person not only being restrictive about their food intake but also about how many calories they are consuming. Thoughts of how many calories that are consumed versus burned weigh heavily on their minds, and it is not uncommon to see them push their food around on their plates. Sometimes, they might chew the food and then spit it out. Physical symptoms might include dark circles around their eyes and just the appearance of looking gaunt.
Finally, the person actually begins to look in the mirror for signs that they actually lost weight. They might look at their ribs and back to see if they are showing. Moreover, isolation is a part of this stage where they eat alone and decline offers to eat out as to avoid detection.