eating disorders and body image- Pt.1 How one often the result of the other.
What is an eating disorder (E.d.)? The Public Health Agency of Canada defines eating disorders as “a serious disturbance in eating behaviour - either eating too much or too little - in addition to great concern over body size and shape. Eating disorders are not a function of will but are, rather, unhealthy eating patterns that "take on a life of their own." The voluntary eating of smaller or larger portions of food than usual is common, but for some people this develops into a compulsion and the eating behaviours become extreme.
Food and weight preoccupation Thoughts, feelings and behaviours related to managing food and weight can begin to interfere with our everyday activities. When we focus too much attention on our bodies and our eating, these preoccupations can quickly lead to missed opportunities in other parts of our lives. Our personal, school or professional lives, not to mention our overall well-being, can be drastically affected. Food and weight preoccupation can also lead to severe physical and emotional problems.
How E.D.s Develop There are many societal, familial and individual factors that can influence the development of an eating disorder. Individuals who are struggling with their identity and self-image can be at risk, as well as those who have experienced a traumatic event. Eating disorders can also be a product of how one has been raised and taught to behave. Usually, an eating disorder signals that the person has deep emotional difficulties that they are unable to face or resolve.
What it feels like People with eating disorders often describe a feeling of powerlessness. By manipulating their eating, they then blunt their emotions or get a false sense of control in their lives. In this way, an eating disorder develops out of a method of coping with the world. This coping, however, is merely a mask, as it does not solve the life problems that the person is experiencing.
e.d.s in ontario (2010) The Eating Disorder Program at Sick Children's Hospital, Toronto has children as young as 5 years old being admitted to their program. 27% of Ontario girls 12-18 years old were reported to be engaged in severely problematic food and weight behaviour. A significant amount of both male (25%) and female (30%) children, as young as 10-14 years, are dieting to lose weight, despite being within a healthy weight range.
The warning signs: low self-esteem social withdrawal claims of feeling fat when weight is normal or low preoccupation with food, weight, counting calories and with what people think denial that there is a problem wanting to be perfect intolerance of others inability to concentrate
Anorexia nervosa Individuals with anorexia nervosa refuse to maintain a minimally normal body weight, carry an intense fear of gaining weight and have a distorted perception of the shape or size of their bodies.
Bulimia nervosa Individuals with bulimia nervosa undertake binge eating and then use compensatory methods to prevent weight gain, such as induced vomiting, excessive exercise or laxative abuse. They also place excessive importance on body shape and weight. In order for a diagnosis of bulimia nervosa to be made, the binge eating and compensatory behaviours must occur, on average, at least twice a week for 3 months.2
Binge eating A diagnosis of binge eating disorder (BED) is made if the binge eating is not followed by some compensatory behaviour, such as vomiting, excessive exercise or laxative abuse. This disorder is often associated with obesity.”
Compulsive eating Compulsive overeating is characterized by uncontrollable eating and consequent weight gain. Compulsive overeaters use food as a way to cope with stress, emotional conflicts and daily problems. The food can block out feelings and emotions. Compulsive overeaters usually feel out of control and are aware their eating patterns are abnormal. Like bulimics, compulsive overeaters do recognize they have a problem.
Other dangerous methods Ipecac Syrup-to help induce vomiting. -Ipecac should only be used in cases of accidental poisoning. - use can cause the heart muscle to weaken; can cause irregular heartbeats, chest pains, breathing problems, rapid heart rate and cardiac arrest -people with eating disorders have died from repeated use
Other dangerous methods Laxatives -used to induce a bowel movement -have little or no effect on reducing weight because by the time they work, the calories have already been absorbed -the person usually feels like they have lost weight because of the amount of fluid that is lost; that feeling is only temporary because the body will start to retain water within a 48 to 72 hour period - this usually leaves the person feeling bloated and fearing they are gaining weight. -can cause bloody diarrhea, electrolyte imbalances and dehydration
Not just the girls… Read the article, Study Of Adolescent Eating Disorders. Summarize the findings of the study. Read the article, Disordered Eating Among Adolescent Boys. List the factors that contribute to eating disorders among boys. TOMORROW: PART 2 – Body Image and the Media