Posted by: cindy | July 4, 2008

Troubling Eating Habits – Disorders?

A new study says that 6 out of 10 American women are “disordered eaters.” They have unhealthy obsessions with food, their body and eating behaviors. This isn’t just the teens and twenties population this includes women in their 30’s and 40’s of all ethnic backgrounds.

Many women including myself at times do not have a healthy relationship with food or their body. Many women spend half their time thinking about food and meal planning. Some restrict themselves to the same foods everyday. Then there are some that weigh themselves every morning and their mood is determined by what the scale says. I know when the scale goes up I automatically think I need to get some additional exercise in today.

Sound familiar? It should: According to a survey sixty-five percent of American women who responded are disordered eaters. Eating habits that women think are normal such as eliminating carbs, skipping meals and, in some cases, even dieting itself may actually be symptoms of the syndrome. Although disordered eating doesn’t have the lethal potential of anorexia or bulimia, it can really cause havoc in your emotional and physical health

According to the survey which gathered responses from 4,000 women ages 25 to 45 to a detailed questionnaire about their eating habits and found that most disordered eaters fall into one or more of six categories. Calorie prisoners are terrified of gaining weight, tend to see food as good or bad and feel extremely guilty if they indulge in something that’s off-limits. Secret eaters binge on food at home or wherever they won’t be found out. Career dieters may not know what to eat without a plan to follow; despite their efforts, they’re more likely than other types to be overweight or obese. Purgers are obsessed with ridding their body of unwanted calories by using laxatives, diuretics or occasional vomiting. Food addicts eat to make themselves feel better – soothe stress, deal with anger, even celebrate a happy event; they constantly think about food. Extreme exercisers work out despite injury or exhaustion and solely for weight loss; they are overwhelmed if they miss a time to workout. Many disordered eaters piece together a mix of destructive habits such as a calorie prisoner and an exercise addict. Others may shift between categories over the years, going from restricting to bingeing to purging, for instance.

This survey was a real eye opener to me. As a society, we don’t see the problem of disordered eaters. A few eat nutritiously and exercise moderately. The rest turn to unsafe tricks. The result is failure; severe measures don’t work. So how can we get healthier? We need to go about change. First stop restricting your diet and embrace a healthy lifestyle. Bring in more healthy foods. Try to eat more often by including snacks in your day. Always start your day with a healthy well balanced breakfast. Studies show the people who eat breakfast maintain a healthier body than those who choose to skip it. Make steps to separate mood from food which is probably the most challenging. Listen to your stomach – eat when you’re hungry. Lastly do it for the girls in your life so we can have a healthier future for them.

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