Saturday, September 19, 2020

Eating Disorders


Eating disorders can have very serious health conditions that can be physically and emotionally devastating.

Over 7 million women in the USA are affected. Anyone can develop this disease, but it affects mostly girls between the age of 15 to 25.

Unfortunately, many women don’t get help until much later in life because of their shame or feelings of guilt.

Anorexia Nervosa is an illness involving obsession with weight and being thin.

They may lose excessive weight by starving themselves and/or excessive exercising.

Anorexia is one of the highest mortality rates of any psychiatric disorder.

Warning Signs of Anorexia Nervosa

  • Dramatic weight loss
  • Preoccupation with weight and food
  • Believe and feel they’re fat
  • Apprehensive of gaining weight
  • Deny hunger
  • Consistently miss meals
  • Play with the food on their plates
  • Feel the need to exercise to burn calories
  • Withdrawing from friends/family and social activities

Health Risks of Anorexia Nervosa

  • Heart failure
  • Osteoporosis
  • Muscle loss
  • Dehydration
  • Extreme dry skin and hair loss

Bulimia Nervosa is a serious illness that occurs mostly in females characterized by compulsive overeating normally followed by self-induced vomiting or laxative abuse. Secret binging on large amounts of food is common, but the guilt from doing that will make them purge to get rid of the extra calories, or they will fast or exercise to extremes.

Warning Signs of Bulimia Nervosa

  • Binge Eating
  • Purging
  • Excessive need to exercise
  • Swelling of the face, cheeks and jaw
  • Sores or calluses on the hands from self-induced vomiting
  • Teeth become stained
  • Withdrawing from friends/family and social activities

Health Risks of Bulimia Nervosa

  • Heart Failure
  • Rupture of the esophagus
  • Chronic irregular bowel movements
  • Possible gastric rupture

Eating disorders may revolve around food and weight, but they stem from psychological, emotional and social issues.

They can start out as stress related issues, and go much deeper. There’s no single cause, research has shown genetic makeup, and psychological and social factors all have an impact.

Low self-esteem, feeling inadequate, depressed, anxious or lonely can contribute to an eating disorder as well as family issues or personal relationships, feelings of degradation, and physical or sexual abuse. Social ideas of beauty and being thin also contribute through pressure to be the “ideal look.”

One of the hardest things to do is admitting and accepting that you have an eating disorder.

Reaching out to ask for help is the second hardest thing to do.

Many of you feel that since this is your problem, you should deal with it on our own. You never have to walk through it alone!

If you’re reading this today, and you have an eating disorder, let me encourage you to seek help. You have nothing to be ashamed of or to feel guilty about. Know that there are people that love you and want to help. You are not alone. Please talk to someone and reach out!

Excellent information and help finding treatment are available at NIH Eating Disorders.

If you know someone that has an eating disorder, learn all that you can about their condition. If they reach out to you, be positive in your support to them. Let them see in you that life is about appreciation and character. Express your concerns for them, and encourage them (very gently) to seek professional help.

The most effective treatment for an eating disorder is psychotherapy or counseling, as well as treatment for medical and nutritional needs. Treatments will vary for each person based on their problems and needs.

Books for Overcoming Eating Disorders

Life Without Ed: How One Woman Declared Independence from Her Eating Disorder and How You Can Too

The Food and Feelings Workbook: A Full Course Meal on Emotional Health

Goodbye Ed, Hello Me: Recover from Your Eating Disorder and Fall in Love with Life

Gloria Brown
Women's health and wellness retreat leader providing vacations and trips for women to get in shape -- and stay that way! On you can find my articles about weight loss, health and women's issues. Please feel free to contact me on

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