National Eating Disorder Awareness Week – Get in the know.

This year’s NEDAwareness Week is Feb 23 – March 1. The theme is “I Had No Idea” to raise awareness towards the significant impact eating disorders have on individuals, families, and communities across the nation.

Eating Disorder Awareness

Eating disorders are serious, life-threatening illnesses – not choices – and it’s important to recognize the pressures, attitudes and behaviors that shape the disorder.

We ask that you do just one thing to help raise awareness and help increase outreach efforts in the NE Tennessee area. Perhaps you could simply pass along these facts about eating disorders.

Did you know . . .

  • that you can be too thin
  • that over-exercising can lead to an eating disorder
  • that 35% of “normal” dieters progress to pathological dieting
  • that an eating disorder can kill you or lead to permanent physical damage

10 Signs of an Eating Disorder

  1. Drastic weight loss.
  2. Preoccupation with counting calories.
  3. The need to weigh yourself several times a day.
  4. Excessive exercise.
  5. Binge eating or purging.
  6. Food rituals, like taking tiny bites, skipping food groups or rearranging food on the plate.
  7. Avoiding meals or only wanting to eat alone.
  8. Taking laxatives or diuretics.
  9. Smoking to curb appetite.
  10. Persistent view of yourself as fat that worsens despite weight loss.

Here are 3 suggestions when talking to a friend whom you suspect has a problem with disordered eating provided by the National Eating Disorders Association:

  1. Use “I” statements.  I’m concerned about you because you refuse to eat breakfast or lunch.  It makes me afraid to hear you vomiting.
  2. Avoid accusational “You” statements.  You have to eat something! You’re out of control!
  3. Avoid giving simple solutions.  If you’d just stop the everything would be fine.

If your friend has become obsessed with eating, exercising or their weight, then professional help may be needed.  You cannot force someone to seek help, change their habits or adjust their attitudes.  You will help your friend by honestly sharing your concerns, providing support and knowing where to go for more information.  -NEDA brochure “How to help a friend with eating and body image issues” 2012

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