A dietitian says she's seeing more clients with eating disorders or eating concerns since COVID-19 hit.
Helen Barnett, of Dubbo in NSW's Central West, said the pandemic had "definitely uncovered more problems because of lack of social engagement".
Research showing people were turning towards food to "basically replicate that social engagement" lost in recent months was "definitely bearing out" in the people coming to her, she said.
The dietitian who specialises in eating disorders says she is "not really surprised".
"If you think about how we tend to socialise, it's always over food, so if people are then stuck at home and they're no longer able to see their friends, they're just eating more food, because they're lonely, they're bored, they're isolated," she said.
...they're just eating more food, because they're lonely, they're bored, they're isolated. But they're also craving that social connection.Dietitian Helen Barnett
"But they're also craving that social connection.
"...if there is someone or people with underlying eating disorders, or problems with food, to start with, then it's exacerbating those underlying eating disorders."
For others the isolation was causing anxiety and then a lack of hunger, Ms Barnett said.
"This is because people react differently to stress and anxiety - so leading to anorexia [or] restriction-type eating disorders," she said.
Ms Barnett also reported the pandemic had prompted people to consider their priorities.
"There's definitely an increase in eating disorders but I think there's also an increase in people who are suddenly... taking stock of their life and what's important to them, particularly younger women who are maybe in their 30s and they've got young kids," she said.
"They're thinking, 'my relationship with food is really problematic, and I don't want my children to have the same relationship with food that I have, and what's really important in my life'...
"I think a lot of people are starting to think 'I just want to be healthy'."
I think being self-compassionate is really necessary at this time.Dietitian Helen Barnett
The dietitian says she works in concert with psychologists and GPs.
Ms Barnett, who is back to doing face-to-face consultations, recommended anyone who thought they had the symptoms of an eating disorder start by seeing their GP.
She suggested the Butterfly Foundation and the Inside Out Institute as useful resources and encouraged people not to be hard on themselves.
"I think being self-compassionate is really necessary at this time," she said.