Thursday, February 26, 2009

National Eating Disorders Awareness Week

The last week of February is Eating Disorders Awareness Week. I asked my sister-in-law, Jen, to write up a little blurb for me to post on the subject (she has her degree in psychology and worked at an eating disorder clinic for a couple years). There's a lot of great information and some fantastic tips! THANKS JEN!!!

This week is National Eating Disorders Week. There are many people in this world that have no clue that an eating disorder is the number one mental disorder with the highest mortality rate. While there are many who may be ignorant to the fact that eating disorders are a real disorder and not just a preoccupation with weight, there are many contributing factors that can assist in unhealthy eating habits and unhealthy body image.

Body image is how you see yourself in the mirror or picture yourself in your mind. We've all heard it many times... You are your own worst critic. There are many body image "suppose toos" out there in the media right now. Consider sitting down to the television and paying attention to how many emaciated models have been computer enhanced, ads that include large people who are seen negatively, ads that glamorize diets, or people relying of food to cope with stress, frustration, or loneliness. The answer is simple... it's not real and it's all a ploy to get you to buy a product. Even worse, it displays an unhealthy lifestyle with impossible expectations of what you "should" look like. Consider the following:

* Research reveals that 40-60% of girls in high school perceive themselves to be overweight and are actively trying to lose weight.
* Approximately 10-15% of these girls can be considered "chronic dieters", two-thirds of who are not overweight.
*Ninety percent of eating disorder sufferers are female.
*Girls are particularly vulnerable to the development of body dissatisfaction, unhealthy dieting behaviors and eating disorders.
* And estimated 10 million American women and girls have active, destructive eating disorders - including anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating disorder.
~NEDA website

A Solution?

I along with many other women grew up in a house where body image was huge. Every diet in the book was tried; not by me but by other women in my family. I recollect an experience where my mother told me my outfit would be much cuter on me if I was 20 pounds leaner. I was given "the look" when I ate seconds at dinner, or had a bowl of ice cream before bed, or even chose a muffin over toast. I got smart and, more importantly, got real. I was lucky; I got to work with therapists and eating disorder patients every day for two years. I quickly learned of my own unhealthy lifestyle and found the solution that works for me. I can't even tell you how good it feels to be relieved from the pressures of needing to be thin. What an empowering feeling to have!

There are many ways to not get caught up in the negative pressures from the media. Personally, I have found it's easier for me to listen to my body. I eat what I want when I am hungry. I don't diet and I don't restrict. Research has proven that by doing this, you are very unlikely to ever have a weight problem or an eating disorder. It's very basic: eat when you're hungry, stop when you're full. I'll go ahead and put in a plug for a favorite book that goes through all the steps of intuitiveness - "Intuitive Eating". Read it. It will change your entire perspective on food and weight, in a healthy way.

Also, I have seen many women with poor body image put together lists. Listing positive things about your body can help you have a more positive outlook on it. It most likely won't automatically change all your negative thoughts, but it will surely help! The more that you do it, the more likely you will feel good about who you truly are and care about the body you naturally have. Along those lines, think of your body as your personal vehicle that gets you place to place. Honor it! Respect it! Fuel it!

I also find it empowering for people to know their limits. And example... I don't own a scale. I am the kind of person that cannot have a healthy relationship with one. I get depressed and down on myself when I look at how much I weigh and how far away it is from "what it should be". So I got rid of the darn thing. I will never have one in my house. A simple way to stay ahead of the game. Know your limits. If it makes you feel bad or wrong, stay away from it.

While I am nowhere near an expert on eating disorders, I have had many experiences with the debilitating effects of them. I have witnessed lives that have been taken, and seen women deny their true beauty inside. Eating disorders are crippling. It is a vicious cycle that gets worse without the use of continuous effort and most often professional help.

Thanks Again Jen!!! I'll have to have you write up more on intuitive eating and our perspective of beauty!!


Nike Trainer

Related Posts with Thumbnails