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It’s About More Than Just Food

By MaKayla Kellor, Case Manager

When you hear the phrase “eating disorders,” your mind immediately thinks about food, but what most people do not know is that eating disorders are so much more than just food. This year, during National Eating Disorder Awareness week, we hope to shed light on the deadliest mental illness, because though eating disorders are characterized by obsession with food, body weight and size, the root of an eating disorder is so much deeper.

What is an eating disorder?

  • A way to feel in control when everything else in your life feels out of control.
  • Numbing your undesirable feelings with lack of nutrition.
  • An attempt to achieve higher self-esteem and perfectionism through body image.

The most common eating disorders are anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge-eating disorder. Though they all have their own signs and symptoms, they all have an equally negative impact on someone’s health, emotions, and ability to function in day-to-day life.

People with eating disorders usually do not think they have a problem. Here are some signs and symptoms to look for if you think someone in your life may have an eating disorder:

  • Skipping meals
  • Making excuses for not eating
  • Intense dieting
  • Excessively working out
  • Avoiding social activities involving food
  • Eating alone rather than with others
  • Lots of talk about body image or weight
  • Using dietary supplements or laxatives
  • Using the restroom immediately after mealtime
  • Eating much more food than a normal portion
  • Shame or guilt around eating

If you are worried that you, or someone you love, has an eating disorder, the best thing you can do to support them is show them love. Eating disorders, like any addiction, are not easy to let go of. You may feel frustration in the process with your loved one and notice that they are not always honest about their progress in recovering from their eating disorder.

Individuals recovering from an eating disorder need compassion and accountability. It may seem as simple as “just eating,” but the depth of an eating disorder and the control, safety, and comfort it provides individuals is much deeper. The unhealthy coping mechanism is still a coping mechanism that has gotten them through their pain, and it will require a lot of inner work. The goal is to get to the root issue that is being masked with disordered eating patterns. People suffering with an eating disorder can’t get better for someone else, so the best thing you can do is show patience and continuous support.

If you have questions about getting help for you or a loved one through an eating disorder, NOAH’s team can help. Call to schedule an appointment with one of our experienced providers.

Help and Support for Eating Disorders – Brandon Bolton, RDN

The earlier an eating disorder is detected, the better the chance for recovery. It’s important to be familiar with the signs and symptoms of disordered eating. The first step towards positive changes is to recognize disordered eating behaviors. The second step is to reach out and tell someone that you trust. You can tell a close friend, family member, or a healthcare professional. Starting this conversation can be challenging, but you’re doing the right thing by asking for help and support and you should be proud of yourself.

The National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) website has a screening tool that can help determine if it’s time to seek professional help for an eating disorder. The screening tool can be found here:  https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/screening-tool

Contact the Helpline for support, resources, and treatment options at (800) 931-2237. NEDA has online forums that are available 24/7 for individuals and loved ones looking to connect and communicate about the eating disorder recovery process. They also have a support group finder that can help locate in-person and online support groups.

These support options can be found online here:  https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/free-low-cost-support

The management of an eating disorder requires a multidisciplinary approach that includes a medical doctor, therapist, family members, and a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN). How can a Registered Dietitian help? Nutrition counseling is a necessity, and an RDN can help an individual challenge distorted thoughts about:

  • body image and weight.
  • exploring emotions and fears surrounding food and hunger.
  • accomplishing goals without any fear of being judged.

Moving forward, embracing others, and providing strong support are all keys to recovery from an eating disorder. Our Care Team at NOAH are here to help you create & manage your healthy lifestyle habits. Call 480-882-4545 today!

Signs of an Eating Disorder by Mina Goodman, RDN

“There are some signs and symptoms of disordered eating that can be a bigger problem such as an Eating Disorder.”

National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA)

Eating disorders are a serious mental and physical illness that can affect anyone. It’s important to know what to look for when it comes to signs and symptoms of an eating disorder so that you are able to get help as early as possible and begin the recovery process. Not everyone will display the same signs and symptoms at once. It’s also important to note that there are both emotional, behavioral and physical symptoms to be on the watch for.

Common symptoms include:

  • Refusing to or discomfort with eating certain foods. This may lead to restrictions or food rules against whole categories of food (e.g., no carbohydrates).
  • Preoccupation with tracking weight, food, calories, carbohydrates, fat, and other nutrients.
  • Impaired immune functioning causing more frequent colds or illnesses.
  • Maintaining an excessive or rigid exercise regime – despite weather, fatigue, illness, or injury.
  • Signs of stealing, hoarding food, disappearance of large amounts of food in a short time period or a lot of empty wrappers and containers indicating consumption of large amounts of food.
  • Spending hours thinking about what food might be served at upcoming events.
  •  Intense anxiety, depression and/or distress if unable to exercise.

To learn more about eating disorders we recommend going to https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/warning-signs-and-symptoms. If you, or someone you know displays any of these symptoms, give us a call. At NOAH, we offer behavioral health consulting and traditional outpatient counseling programs where highly skilled and trained behavioral health staff work alongside our medical, nutrition and dental teams to assess, diagnose and effectively treat the core-symptoms of our patients.

What is an Eating Disorder? by Rhyan Geiger, RDN

An eating disorder is a mental and physical illness that can affect people of all genders, ages, and weight. An eating disorder is a psychological condition that causes unhealthy eating habits to develop. At times it may present as an obsession with food, body weight or body shape. 

“20 million women and 10 million men in America will have an eating disorder at some point in their lives.”

National Surveys

The symptoms of an eating disorder can vary but the most common include:

  • A severe restriction of food.
  • Food binges.
  • Purging behaviors like vomiting or over-exercising.

In severe cases, eating disorders can cause serious health consequences and may even result in death if left untreated. At NOAH, we offer behavioral health consulting and traditional outpatient counseling programs and services where highly skilled and trained behavioral health staff work alongside our medical, nutrition and dental teams to assess, diagnose and effectively treat the core-symptoms of our patients.

Come as You Are by Stephanie Olzinski, MS, RDN

National Eating Disorders Awareness Week is a movement by the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) aimed at bringing awareness to those affected by an eating disorder and allowing them to safely share their story and be accepted by a community with unconditional support. This year’s theme is Come As You Are, encouraging the embracement of all people, regardless of their stage of body acceptance or recovery.

When discussing eating disorders, having compassion and understanding is essential for showing true care for those affected by eating disorders. This week is aimed at providing information on eating disorders, who can be affected, and ways to support both those with an eating disorder as well as their family and friends.

“When discussing eating disorders, having compassion and understanding is essential for showing true care for those affected by eating disorders.”

Stephanie Olzinski, RDN

This week we celebrate National Eating Disorder Awareness by reflecting on positive steps you’ve taken towards accepting yourself and others. Call 480-882-4545 today. #Nutrition #NEDAwareness #ComeAsYouAre

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