Do you have a healthy relationship with food? Can you eat when you’re hungry and stop when you’re satisfied?
Eating disorders come in many guises, yet they’re often misunderstood and stereotypes abound. Many people mistakenly believe that a person develops an eating disorder merely because of their need to attain a beautiful, slim body. However, it seldom is that simple. Eating disorders are often underlined by complex psychological issues such as low self-esteem and a person’s need for control over their life. By taking control of their bodies and food intake, they feel more empowered.
When we think of eating disorders, it’s often anorexia and bulimia that first come to mind. There are, however, a number of other unhealthy eating patterns and lifestyle choices that could also develop into eating disorders and cause serious damage to your health. These include: cutting out whole food groups to lose weight, avoiding certain foods because of an imagined, undiagnosed food intolerance, obsessive counting of kilojoules and fat grams, binge eating, developing an unhealthy obsession with healthy foods, and extreme exercising to control weight and eating patterns.
Though it is important to achieve and maintain a healthy weight and minimise the intake of foods high in fat, salt and sugar, food should not take over your life.
If you are spending a lot of time every day thinking about food - such as when, where, and what you will eat – you have a problem. If you constantly weigh yourself and the number on the scale determines your mood for the rest of the day, you have a problem. And, if you use laxatives, diet pills, self-induced vomiting or excessive exercise to keep your weight down, you definitely have a problem.
These are just a few of the many warning signs that indicate that you need to re-evaluate your relationship with food. If you suspect that you, a friend or family member may be suffering from an eating disorder, get help today.
Recovery is long process, but with the combined help of a dietician and psychologist and the support of your loved ones, it is possible.
- (Birgit Ottermann, Eat Well newsletter, Health24, February 2012)
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Anorexia: a cry for help