What’s What Wednesday – National Eating Disorder Awareness Week
This week is National Eating Disorder Awareness Week nationwide. The goal of National Eating Disorder Awareness week is to get the conversation going about eating disorders as they affect many people. 30 million Americans will struggle with an eating disorder and millions more will battle food and body image issues that have untold negative impacts on their lives. It is because of these stigmas and old stereotypes; many people do not get the support they deserve.
This year, during Eating Disorders Awareness Week, are asking the question ‘Why Wait?’
On average, 149 weeks pass before those experiencing eating disorder symptoms seek help. That is almost three years, 37 months or 1,043 days.
The sooner someone gets the treatment needed, the more likely there is a full and fast recovery. As well as campaigning to improve the services available, we recognize that we must raise awareness of the signs and symptoms of an eating disorder and encourage and empower people to take action now – no matter how long their symptoms have been present.
Sunshine State Counseling Center has researched signs and symptoms from the National Eating Disorder Association (NEDA). An individual with an eating disorder, generally, will not have all of these signs and symptoms at once, and warning signs and symptoms vary across eating disorders, so this is not intended as a checklist. Rather, it is intended as a general overview of the types of behaviors that may indicate an eating disorder.
- Dramatic weight loss
- Dresses in layers to hide weight loss or stay warm
- Is preoccupied with weight, food, calories, fat grams, and dieting
- Refuses to eat certain foods, progressing to restrictions against whole categories of food (e.g., no carbohydrates, etc.)
- Makes frequent comments about feeling “fat” or overweight despite weight loss
- Complains of constipation, abdominal pain, cold intolerance, lethargy, and/or excess energy
- Denies feeling hungry
- Develops food rituals (e.g., eating foods in certain orders, excessive chewing, rearranging food on a plate)
- Cooks meals for others without eating
- Consistently makes excuses to avoid mealtimes or situations involving food
- Expresses a need to “burn off” calories taken in
- Maintains an excessive, rigid exercise regimen – despite weather, fatigue, illness, or injury
- Withdraws from usual friends and activities and becomes more isolated, withdrawn, and secretive
- Seems concerned about eating in public
- Has limited social spontaneity
- Resists or is unable to maintain a body weight appropriate for their age, height, and build
- Has intense fear of weight gain or being “fat,” even though underweight
- Has disturbed experience of body weight or shape, undue influence of weight or shape on self-evaluation, or denial of the seriousness of low body weight
- Post puberty female loses menstrual period
- Feels ineffective
- Has strong need for control
- Shows inflexible thinking
- Has overly restrained initiative and emotional expression
If you have any concerns about yourself or a loved one, please seek additional medical help.