We here at Charlie enjoy a snarky blog here and there, and we like to poke fun at the South Florida dining scene. Joking aside, there is a growing epidemic resulting from unhealthy relationships with food. 2011 has just begun, and many of us are making resolutions to lose weight. But what happens when well meaning self-improvement goals turn into obsessive, disordered behaviors?
many women and men become preoccupied with the pressure to
achieve society's narrow
definitions of "ideal beauty." We can't turn on the TV or walk down
the check-out aisle at Publix without seeing an advertisement for the
latest diet fad or images glorifying the model/actor du jour (many of
those images are digitally altered, by the way).
The binge-purge cycle of bulimia causes serious electrolyte imbalances that can ultimately lead to a fatal cardiac arrest. Binge eating disorder can result in obesity (affecting more than 26 percent of Americans, according to CBS News) leading to diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and heart disease.
Some signs that someone might be struggling with disordered eating:
- Talks excessively about dieting, exercise, and weight loss
- Complains about being too fat despite being of normal weight
- Preoccupied with food
- Counts calories
- Feels guilty about eating
- Exercises obsessively (e.g., turns down social engagements to exercise)
- Eats in secrecy; lies about the amount they eat
- Ignores hunger cues (eating past the point of satiety or skips meals)
- Terrified about weight gain
- Disappears after meals
If you suspect that someone you care about is struggling with an eating disorder, they may need professional help from a therapist, psychiatrist, and/or nutritionist. Two great resources to help you find a treatment provider in your area are: edreferral.com and/or psychologytoday.com. Fortunately, South Florida has several treatment facilities specializing in eating disorders, such as Hollywood Pavilion, the Renfrew Center Coconut Creek, and Oliver-Pyatt Centers. Columbia University Medical Center created a helpful ten-step guide with tips on how to help a loved one.
Positive New Year's resolutions are about healthy, realistic, and moderate self-improvement goals. Instead of vowing to never eat sugar again and to exercise two hours every day, how about a goal to love yourself just a tad more, imperfections and all.