What is an eating Disorder?
The National Eating Disorder Org, describes an eating Disorder as this: such as anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating disorder -- includes extreme emotions, attitudes, and behaviors surrounding weight and food issues. Eating disorders are serious emotional and physical problems that can have life-threatening consequences for females and Men. (for more on the signs, symptoms of various E.D. Click HERE)
See many people, maybe even you reading this blog, think that a person who causes themselves to vomit their food or refuses to eat anything but bite sized amounts all day, has to be be doing this willingly. But WHO in their right mind, knowing the damage it can cause, (and some know what they can do to themselves) would do it anyway if it was just that easy to stop and NOT do it?
The sad part is that in our society, if you do not have a PHYSICAL aliment, one that someone can SEE, your actions are easily dismissed as personal choice. Something that can be gotten over with a lil will power and determination. Though at the same time, it is said that someone would have to be crazy or in a bad place to do such things to themselves. Kind of a contradictory statement, if you ask me!
Eating Disorders ARE a physical AND an emotional issue! This is just proven fact! True they can begin simply with someones desire to lose weight by dieting. BUT Eating Disorders are far more than mere Dieting. They can kill you! Someone who consumes 700 calorie a day on a quick diet, will likely return to normal eating after the allowed time has passed. These diets always come with warnings labels, that it is NOT safe on a normal basis.They advise what a normal body needs to maintain itself and that the extremeness of the limited caloric intake is NOT recommended for an extensive time frame. In most cases people doing them, are usually looking to jump start their weight loss, get rid of a few extra pounds for a wedding, class reunion etc. Those products are often advertised in such a manner. Most people do not say i'm going to consume 700 calories for the rest of my life. (700 is not a caloric intake for those with an eating disorder it is just a low number used to show extremeness)
Someone who falls into a pattern maybe begin the stages of an eating disorder,and not even realize it. They may suddenly find themselves feeling great, beautiful, handsome at all the remarks they begin to receive as the weight begins to fall off. They may enjoy the way their clothes begin to fit, the added attention from the opposite sex. (and NO E.D. are NOT limited to the Female gender) Before they know it they are eating less and less, for fear to gain one pound of what they have lost back. They begin to exercise more than normal, but to them "IT IS NORMAL." Food becomes their life, and not eating it, becomes an obsession.
When you look in the mirror you see your size 10, or 6 maybe even 16. A person with an eating disorder could very well be a size 6 but look in the mirror and see a size 16 looking back at them. No amount of diet, exercise or lack of eating will change that view point of themselves. They can't shake it. No matter what they do they see and Huge person in the mirror.
Think of the images that are shown to us daily. Think of any given moment on TV, a music Video, a movie, a commercial, a book cover? Who are the butt of jokes, who gets the good roles, who has the biggest, sexiest, colorful, selection in the clothing store? What do all the songs say a sexy beautiful woman looks like. What do the ads, TV etc say a handsome, sexy man looks like. Though more women, young girls, teens, fall victim to society's views doesn't mean that boys don't as well. They do!
Think about your own concept of beautiful and how you speak it when are your children or family. we often say things and don't even realize it. Do you know that diet commercials often show women going from a normal healthy size 10 to a small 2? NOW even a size 10 is fat! Men they usually show obese, large, going thin, in shape muscular.
It's a shame. We tell out children "you don't want to be fat, don't eat that." those lil words stick to them. not saying you want them to be fat, but why not teach and emulate healthy eating, rather than threaten the extra plate of food, will lead to a life of solitude? Why not get your child up and away from the Video game and TV and get out and play with them? there are so many things TODAY, we don't do with our children that our parents used to do with us.
I can speak from PERSONAL experience and say that some Eating Disorders do not even begin about losing weight at all. Mine began as a way to keep my mother home, around me and my abuser away from me, when she wasn't home. I made myself sick, not to be thin, not to lose weight, i was thin already, but it was a cry for help. Before i knew it though, i had no choice in it. ANYTHING I ate hurt, my stomach was in knots, twisted and the only way to relive it was to rid myself of what was there. IT WAS NOT a Choice, not something that i chose or enjoyed doing. I had not idea of what i was doing to my insides. I didn't know it was 1. harmful, 2. not safe 3. deadly.
When i began to vomit, I was a teenager being abused and it was my way of keeping my mother around. When ever I ate i had to let it out. Seeing as i was taught to eat all my food, that became a problem as well. I would expel my insides to make room for the rest of my plate. I began to have stomach issues and then needed surgery. All the while NOT realizing it was the vomiting that was making me sick. It took me many years to get it under control. The funny thing was that even when i began to open up and tell my doctors, therapist, dentist, no one seemed to concerned about it. Even when i lost 20 pounds in just under two week due to it.
It is still difficult to this day to fight the urge at times. When i'm upset, stressed or overeat. My fiancee, like many people doesn't understand why i do it. I hate when I fail and succumb to the urge, because i know i am letting him down and that the acid that i am forcing back up my throat could rupture and destroy my esophagus. I'm proud of myself, though. I've gone from getting rid of EVERYTHING i eat, right after i eat it, to maybe 1 or two times a month. Now how about that for progress! It doesn't mean though that the other 29 days I'm not tempted. This is like any other emotional, or physical disorder like an alcoholic, you have to live your life resisting temptation. I had to learn my stressers and to find other ways to unwind. My battle is far from over, but I'm so glad I'm not in the midst of the storm as i used to be.
HOW CAN YOU HELP?
Listen, Support, Love, Communicate.
I know those sound like easy things to do. But over all you CAN'T make someone stop doing something if they don't want to stop. Think of a drinker, all the yelling and screaming in the world won't make them stop until they are ready. But I'm not saying to sit back and watch your loved ones die either. But know that no amount of bullying, nit picking, arguing, ultimatums, will make a difference, if the person doesn't see that they have a problem and are ready to address it.
You can tell them you love them, you want the best for them. You can let them know that the way they are living is going to hurt their body, whether they realize it or not. You can suggest counseling maybe for YOUR sake not theirs. "will you go with me so that that i can deal with how I feel?" Putting the emphasis on you and off of them.
Interventions can help. It can help to get your loved ones together, to write a letter, to tell the one with the disorder how what they do makes you feel. How scared you are for them, how you miss the person they used to be, the things they used to do and desire to do.(often times a person will become so obsessed with their food intake, output that it takes over their life, they can't function in "normal" society. Afraid and tired of the looks, stares, comments, questions, they retreat to the comfort of home. recluse)
Know and understand though that, Intervention, love, kind words, as well as yelling screaming, ultimatums, may not work on any level! They may instead no matter how you come, feel attacked, that you don't understand what they are going through, that you are making something out of nothing and judging them.
Which you may know to be false. But they don't!
In the end, unfortunately there is no 100% way, not quick fix, not book with all the correct answers. Even this note is more uniformed information. I can't give you a cure all, to get through to someone who is hurting themselves. But i will say to continue to try and make them aware to see what they are doing to their body and how it is detrimental to their health. It is NOT healthy living or eating.
That in its self is a task.
Over all, they need your LOVE, they need to know that you are there for them. But you need to know and relay to them that you want the best for them and that is, for them to be healthy and alive for a long time. Finding that balance can be hard, and depending on the level and severity of the disorder please please try to get intervention from a professional involved. Eating Disorders like any other disability can unfortunately tear a family apart. I pray that if you are suffering that you won't continue to suffer in silence. Please seek help, please reach out. if you are the loved one or family member, please know i feel for you and your pain and apparent helplessness. Hand in there.
*The above are purely MY Point of View, and is by no means Medical FACT* If you or someone you love has an eating disorder PLEASE talk to your health care professional IMMEDIATELY. help is avail, you are NOT ALONE!
If my story can help, I have no problem sharing. We all have a testimony!
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