National Eating Disorder Awareness Begins February 21, 2016
By Anne Cavaliere, LPC
Do you often ask yourself, “Should I eat this? Is this portion too much? Why did I eat so much?” Do you obsess about your appearance and weight or force yourself to exercise to compensate for eating “bad” foods? These thoughts and behaviors may be signs of an eating disorder.
National Eating Disorder Awareness week begins February 21st. During this week we call attention to those who are struggling with the physical and emotional pain of eating disorders. When people think of eating disorders, anorexia and bulimia typically come to mind. More recently, however, binge eating disorder has been recognized by the psychological and medical community and has been added to the list of eating disorders. No matter what label is used, there is a common thread that connects those who suffer from these illnesses—a preoccupation with food, weight, and body image that interferes with living a balanced and happy life. Sometimes eating disorders may even have life-threatening medical consequences.
If you or someone close to you is preoccupied with weight and calories, is constantly dieting, overeats secretly, hides or hoards food, compensates for overeating by the use of extreme measures such as over-exercise, vomiting, or abuse of laxatives, or whose self-worth is determined by the numbers on the scale, you or your loved one may have an eating disorder. If you are unsure if your behaviors are a problem, you can go to www.nationaleatingdisorders.org and take a short screening quiz. You will receive immediate feedback.
There is no need to struggle on your own. You deserve to live your life free of shame and the cycle of self-destructive behaviors. It is possible to learn to appreciate and love yourself and live your life joyfully, while eating in a balanced, healthy way. Seeking help from an experienced, compassionate therapist can help you learn to value yourself for the unique individual that you are, rather than how you look or what you eat.
Anne M Cavaliere, Licensed Professional Counselor