National Eating Disorders Awareness Week
There are many stereotypes surrounding eating disorders, so people often do not want to talk about it. This can make it difficult for people to get the help and support they both need and deserve.
What are eating disorders?
Anorexia is characterized by self-starvation and excessive weight loss.
Bulimia is characterized by a cycle of excessive eating (binge eating) followed by actions to make up for over eating, such as self-induced vomiting.
Binge eating disorder is characterized by recurrent binge eating and can result in shame or guilt following the period of excessive eating.
Eating disorders are complex physical and social illnesses that affect people of all ages, genders, ethnicities, and backgrounds. Some signs and symptoms that are important to look for include:
- Change in how a person interacts or feels about food, loss of interest, or change in personality
- Withdrawal from social activities, especially avoiding eating around others
- Change in food rituals, such as cutting food into very small pieces, chewing for a long time, or eating very slowly
- Constant review of self-image or appearance, over exercising - even if sick
- Negative self-esteem tied to appearance
- Hoarding or hiding food, or eating in secret
- Often disappearing immediately after eating
If someone you know is experiencing an eating disorder, there are many things you can do to help. Some things you can do are:
- Have a private conversation and voice your concerns
- Remind them you care about them
- Be prepared for a difficult conversation, and make sure you are bringing this up out of love
- Do not give advice on weight loss, diet, or appearance
- Do not over simplify
- Use "I" statements to depict how you are feeling and avoid placing blame
- Recommend they seek professional help
- Educate yourself as there are many myths about eating disorders
For more information, visit: www.nationaleatingdisorders.org