Because early intervention in an eating disorder generally leads to quicker recovery, recognizing the early signs and symptoms is crucial. However, eating disorders can be hard to recognize in the early stages for several reasons. First, the initial changes may be subtle. Your loved one may simply cut back on sweets or decide to exercise a bit more. Naturally, these changes typically elicit praise from others, not censure. In addition, it takes time for the disordered eating to impact the physical body enough to be noticed by others. People suffering with Anorexia may also resort to wearing baggy clothing in an attempt to hide weight loss or other bodily changes. Thus, by the time significant weight changes or other forms of physical deterioration become obvious, the disease is no longer in the early stages. For individuals suffering from Bulimia, the physical signs are even more subtle, as weight fluctuations tend to be less drastic than the weight loss associated with Anorexia. By the time changes in hair, skin, teeth, nails or other more serious medical complications arise, the disease is well progressed.
Second, the initial changes often mimic modern attitudes 검증사이트 about food, nutrition and weight loss. For example, deciding to “eat more healthy” may translate into consuming more fruits and vegetables, less starchy or fatty foods, or deciding to eliminate meat from the diet. None of these decisions would be considered out of the norm and may be supported by family and friends as representing better food choices consistent with increased health consciousness. Thus, the accolades that individuals receive further fuel the disease. Indeed, as long as a proper nutritional balance is maintained, such changes would be fine if they stopped there. The problem with sudden or severe dietary changes, however, is that these changes may play a role in triggering the onset of an eating disorder for those who are already vulnerable either genetically or environmentally or both.
Third, due to common misconceptions about the disorder as well as the stigma surrounding the disease, people are reluctant to consider the presence of an eating disorder or simply do not know how to recognize the symptoms. In addition, because eating is both an intensely private as well as public behavior, friends or loved ones may be reluctant to observe or confront the issue, particularly if they are only noticing small changes.
Fourth, because denial of the problem is a common characteristic of those with an eating disorder, casual observers are easily persuaded that no problem exists and the person is able to progress further into the disease before their repeated denials become suspect. Individuals with eating disorders also become quite skilled at the appearance of eating. For example, they may cut food into smaller and smaller bites, push the food around on the plate or even dump food into a napkin to give the appearance of having consumed at least part of their meal. In addition, the early stages of disordered eating may be cleverly hidden in the form of refusing “unhealthy” food such as not eating hors d’oeuvre at a party, refusing dessert or swearing off dairy or meat products. The avoidance of a particular food form is not so much the problem. It is the increasing restriction of additional food forms that become an issue and signals a potential problem.
Finally, for families who experience other life challenges such as parents who have little time with their children due to stressful working situations or when the various activities of all the children pull parents in too many directions at once, leaving little time for family meals or gatherings, disordered eating may go unnoticed for quite some time by simple lack of opportunity for observation.
To protect against disordered eating, particularly if eating disorders run in the family, make a point to have frequent meals together so that you have an opportunity to observe the eating behavior of your loved ones and to be aware of their normal eating patterns and preferences so that you would be able to spot significant changes. Be sure to model healthy attitudes toward food, diet, exercise and your physical body both in word and in action. Provide balanced, nutritious meals and insist that they eat properly at school. Do your best to avoid over-reliance on fast food or restaurant meals.
Most importantly, if you are concerned about your child’s nutrition or food intake, take corrective action immediately to make certain that potential problems are exposed and remedied before disordered eating has an opportunity to take root. Remember, however, that disordered eating is not really about the food. It is a negative coping skill for an underlying emotional problem. Until the underlying problem is corrected, one poor coping skill (e. g., disordered eating) may simply be substituted for another (e. g., substance use). Make a point to look beyond the surface symptoms and into the emotional pain that is fueling it all. For more information on the role of food in eating disorders, see the ezine article: “What Are Eating Disorders: Is it About the Food? ”
It seems that our society has this “healthy eating” thing backwards. The moment we recognize that we want to change our eating habits we automatically focus on what we are doing wrong. What specific changes do we need to make? Should i change my grocery list? Should i clean out all snacks and restock the pantry? Usually, very little thought is put into what influences us to eat the way we do. Actually, our daily food selection is brought on by an array of influences going all the way back to young childhood. We are also taught all about the “should” and the “should-nots” along the way. We seldom think about what we really want for ourselves in the process.
The word DIET is heard so frequently that it’s become very accepted and almost expected. Anytime you listen to the television or sit around with a group of people it doesn’t take long before you begin to hear about the new diet that is proven to help you lose weight and melt inches. The unfortunate reality is that 90-95% of people who lose weight from dieting gain their weight back. In my opinion, the word diet ranks with up there with many other four-letter words. It’s derogatory, judgmental, and it sets you up for moments of pleasure which almost always end in failure. The word can be thought of as an acronym that it stands for: D-deprive, I-intimidate, E-eliminate, T-torture.
There is a substantial amount of research which points out the variety of ways the body is damaged by dieting. Dieting can decrease metabolism, and the body will get better at using less energy to survive, in addition to teaching the body to retain more fat when you start eating again. Restricting food has been shown to lead to overeating in both humans and rats. Dieting creates external cues to tell us when and how much you should eat, in which we lose our ability to detect hunger and satiety. Dieting is also associated with feelings of failure, lowered self-esteem, and anxiety.
When it comes to food, we often get caught up in the ideas of good and bad, should and shouldn’t, and right and wrong. These thoughts lead to judging our actions, thus leading to demoralizing our self esteem and self confidence. These judgments are deep-rooted, society-driven concepts which drive decision making regarding food intake. Rather than using judgment in your eating experience, let’s shift the paradigm. Take out the judgment of good and bad, and categorize the experience as it relates to pleasure. In each experience, you may take a pause and consider how much enjoyment it is bringing you.
Becoming more mindful of the choices you make is a great way to learn about your inner cues that stimulate your eating patterns. In fact, there is a growing trend to replace dieting with mindful eating. One explanation of mindful eating is to eat with attention and acceptance. Eating with attention allows you to discover and pay attention to hunger and satiety. You can become aware of the present moment. Acceptance allows us to eat with a lack of judgment. You can eat based on your food preferences and allow yourself to eat foods that you enjoy.