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Living Well In Yalobusha County

Eating Disorders: Problems, Signs And Help

By Pamela Redwine

March 1st – 7th is Eating Disorders Awareness Week.  So, take a few minutes to read this article and become educated on a disease that affects 8 million people.

 According to the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders (ANAD) between 5 and 20 percent will die from medical complications as a result of eating disorders.  Eating disorders – anorexia nervosa, bulimia, and binge eating disorder – are actually distorted eating habits often related to emotional problems.

Anorexia and Bulimia:  What Are They?

Anorexia nervosa is sometimes called the “starvation sickness.”  Obsessed with food, weight, and thinness, people suffering from anorexia deny their hunger and refuse to eat – even after extreme weight loss.  As they consume too few calories for their basic needs, their bodies slowly waste away.  By starving themselves, people with anorexia don’t get the nutrients they need for normal bodily functions.

Bulimia nervosa is marked by binge eating and purging (self-induced vomiting).  The person gorges, usually on high-calorie foods, and then intentionally vomits or uses laxatives or diuretics.  The consequences are serious:  dehydration, organ damage, internal bleeding from the stress of vomiting, tooth decay from acids in vomit, and in some cases, death.  Many people with these eating disorders alternate between anorexia and bulimia.

When does an eating

disorder start?  

Generally it begins with an ordinary weight-loss diet, begun just before or after a major life change or trauma.  However, there’s no clear understanding of the exact causes.

We do know, however, that eating disorders are more than food problems.  The person’s whole life – schoolwork or career, family life, overall health – gets wrapped up in the eating issues.

Binge Eating Disorder:

A More Common Problem

Binge eating disorder (BED), different from occasional overindulging, is the uncontrollable eating of large amounts of food in a short time.  Unlike bulimia, a person with BED usually doesn’t purge, fast, abuse diuretics or laxatives, or over exercise.  Estimates suggest that 2 percent of Americans have this disorder – many are obese or overweight.

Binge eating results in depression, embarrassment, and social isolation; those with the disorder are often upset by both the problem and their inability to control their eating.

What to Do

If you suspect a friend or a family member has anorexia, bulimia, or binge eating disorder, don’t wait until a severe weight problem or a serious medical problem proves you are right. The best treatment for disordered eating combines medical, psychological, and nutrition counseling.  Participation in self-help groups for the patient as well as group counseling for family members are important parts of treatment.

Article Source:  ADA:  Complete Food & Nutrition Guide, 3rd Edition


Recipe of the Week

Speedy Caesar Salad

Slice the romaine lettuce leaves crosswise to include the rib.  This adds crunch to the salad.

6 cups sliced romaine lettuce, 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese, 2 tablespoons water, 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar, 2 teaspoons olive oil, 2 teaspoons anchovy paste, 1 garlic clove and 1/3 cup seasoned croutons

 Place lettuce in a large bowl; set aside.  Place Parmesan cheese and next 5 ingredients in a blender or food processor; process until well blended.  Pour over lettuce, and toss well.  Top with seasoned croutons.  Yield:  5 servings (serving size: 1 cup).

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