Eating disorders and Unhealthy relationships with FOOD
Food...Whether you love it, have a love/hate relationship with it, or believe it is your enemy, the truth of the matter is that FOOD drives much of our life.
Food is obviously necessary for sustaining life, but beyond that, food, at its best, brings people together. Celebrations and social gatherings are often planned around food. Food can be a delicious, nutritious, fun part of life.
However, I've seen far too many times when food is turned into a weapon of self-destruction.
Eating Disorders affect over 24 million Americans and 90% of those are women between the ages of 12 and 25.
An eating disorder can take on many faces, but it whether it's someone addicted to food or someone trying to avoid it, all eating disorders center around an unhealthy obsession with food.
In the case of a binge-eater or food addict, they are often seeking emotional comfort in food. A person with compulsive overeating disorder will tend to be overweight, and is usually aware that their eating habits are abnormal. Their over-consumption of food is a way of coping with emotional stresses or covering up pain.
A person with bulimia will binge-eat but then feel guilty and try to compensate for their over-eating by purging or vomiting.
For someone with anorexia they will micro-manage every calorie ingested in an attempt to feel in control of something in their life, and, in an effort to stay thin. They usually have such a skewed perception of their body, thinking they are fat when they are anything but fat. Our culture does not help any either.
- According to a recent study, over 1/2 the females between the ages of 18-25 would prefer to be run over by a truck then be fat, and 2/3 surveyed would rather be mean or stupid.
- 51% of 9 and 10 year-old girls feel better about themselves if they are on a diet
- 42% of 1st-3rd grade girls want to be thinner.
Seriously??? Fifty percent of girls would rather be stupid or dead??? And a 7 year old is worried about her weight? These studies frighten me. But I know it's true. The pressure to be perfect can be intense and insecurities can mount. It's like Erin said in a note she sent to TheHopeLine about the need to be perfect, "In 8th grade, I noticed how all of my friends had boyfriends and nice clothes and nice houses. And then I began to feel I wasn't good enough because no guys liked me and they liked my friends. So I decided since I wasn't perfect like my friends seemed to be, I would try everything to be perfect. I began to plan out a diet which soon turned into a dangerous eating disorder."
What was the one thing Erin could control? Her diet. So that's what she did to the point of danger. 20% of people suffering from anorexia will prematurely die from complications related to their eating disorder, including suicide and heart problems.
If you or someone you know is struggling to find freedom from an eating disorder and looking for a restored, healthy relationship with food, please seek counseling. It is not something you can just get over. Yet so many people don't get the help they need. Of the 24 million Americans that struggle with an eating disorder, only 1 in 10 of them actually receive treatment.
I know that going to counseling can be a hard step to take. I also know that so many people who get counseling are tempted to not open up and tell the whole truth. I hear it all the time...
Steph called into my radio show scared because she had just gone through a very bad break-up with her boyfriend. She knew that her coping mechanism was to starve herself and she was worried about where she was headed. She confessed that when she had been to counseling in the past she lied in order to get out of it. I had to get pretty blunt with her, telling her that no one could force feed her to keep her from dying. She had to decide if she was ready to get the help she needed.
Then I got a call from Mackenzie who also said she wasn't being open with her counselor. I would tell you the same thing I told her: You can't expect to get well if you are not telling the whole truth.
I can't stress this enough. HELP is available. You CAN get your relationship with food back on track. I believe you are strong enough to seek the counseling you need, especially with God's help! Please get help before it is too late.
We will get you started right here:
- Download our free eBook on Understanding Eating Disorders.
- Check out our Eating Disorders Resource page which includes, blogs, videos, podcasts, and more.
- Wondering if you or a friend have a problem? Take this quick test to find out.
- Check out our partner organization FINDING BALANCE
- Chat with a HopeCoach
- Request Prayer on ThePrayerZone.