How you feel about food weight, and self-image is important. It can be very difficult to know how to create and maintain healthy eating habits in a changing and chaotic world where a lot of pressure is attached to body-image. It can be hard to know where to begin, and even what to think about oneself. At Creative Living Center, we can help you establish a mindset and a plan that will set you on the right path to feeling great, no matter what eating disorder you may have, or fear you might hold.
Symptoms of Eating Disorders:
- Chronic dieting despite being dangerously underweight
- Frequent weight fluctuations
- Obsession with factoring in calories and fat contents of food to diet
- Engaging in ritualistic eating patterns, such as: cutting food into tiny pieces, hiding food and/or eating alone
- Continual preoccupation with food and cooking, some individuals will cook intricate meals for others but refrain from eating these meals themselves
- Depression or lethargic stage
- Withdrawal and isolation through avoidance of social interaction, which may include family and friends
- Switching between periods of overeating and fasting
- Episodes of excessive over-eating
Common types of Eating Disorders:
- Anorexia Nervosa-An individual with anorexia nervosa will usually have an obsessive fear of gaining weight and unrealistic ideals or ideas about body image. This person is likely to fiercely limit the amount of food they consume, and will view themselves as overweight, regardless of looking underweight to others. This eating disorder can have damaging health effects like: brain damage, multi-organ failure, heart difficulties, bone loss, and infertility. Individuals with Anorexia are at the highest risk of death compared to most others with eating disorders.
- Bulimia Nervosa-Individuals will partake in repeated excessive overeating, followed by behaviors such as: forced vomiting, excessive exercise, or extreme use of drugs that increase bowel movement. Men and women with Bulimia often fear weight gain and feel severely unhappy with their body image. Their eating cycle is typically secretive, and individuals may feel intense feelings of shame, guilt, as well as a lack of control. Bulimia can cause gastrointestinal problems, severe hydration, and heart difficulties.
- Binge Eating Disorder- Individuals with Binge Eating Disorder frequently lose control over their eating and will overeat in large quantities. Unlike Bulimia, episodes of binge-eating are not followed by self-induced measures to counter-act it. Binge eaters may become obese and are at an increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease. Persons who binge eat are also very likely to experience intense feelings of guilt, distress, and embarrassment which can further their continuation of the eating disorder if not resolved.
The root cause of an individual’s eating disorder may stem from a combination of factors. Please keep in mind that the exact cause of an eating disorder may be hard to discover. Here are some factors that create negative environments that may facilitate an eating disorder.
- Negative body image and/ or poor self-esteem
- Irregular hormone functions
- Nutritional deficiencies
- Dysfunctional family dynamic, especially those including childhood sexual abuse, or severe trauma
- An occupation that puts heavy stress on being thin for looks or performance. Examples include: ballet, modeling, rowing, diving, gymnastics, wrestling, & long distance running
- Cultural and/or peer pressure among friends and co-workers or family
- Stressful life changes and transitions
- The media portrays an “ideal” body image that is not only ideal, but also unrealistic to obtain for most body shapes. Those with eating disorders are likely to regularly criticize their appearance, partake in obsessive
- Those with eating disorders are likely to regularly criticize their appearance, partake in obsessive self-scrutiny in mirrors, and criticize their weight in photographs
- Personality traits such as perfectionism & self-criticism can influence the development of a negative internalized body-image
- Both men and women struggle with eating disorders, and there is evidence that men are becoming more concerned with their body image. However, eating disorders in men are often miss-diagnosed as depression