As we fully enter into the 2012 year, I am overwhelmed with all of the adds for weight loss and body sculpting programs, the new diet gimmicks and pills and low gym membership offers. Everyone seems to focus on changing the size and shape of their bodies at the new year. I certainly like the idea of change, but why does it have to be external? I have been challenging my clients to focus on what to change on their inside as a goal for the new year. Maybe this is the year to alter your obsession with food and dieting, or the year to set healthy boundaries with your friends and family members. Setting and sticking to regular visits with your therapist or dietitian can be a resolution, or perhaps exercising for pleasure rather than weight loss or body sculpting would be a change worthwhile. When the focus shifts to an internal place, the outcome can be more rewarding. Think of how much anxiety ensues when you spend your energy trying to change your outside appearance. Wouldn’t it be nice to decrease the amount of time you spend thinking about food and body image? What on earth would you fill all that time and space with… spending more time with your loved ones, creating good memories? I propose you do just that! Make a resolution this year that will create an internal change within. I heard this saying somwhere, and it always sticks with me, especially in this moment….”a waist is a terrible thing to mind.”
A globally significant study, which began in 1985, concerning the behavior of teenagers suffering from anorexia nervosa has been published in both the British Journal of Psychiatry and the International Journal of Eating Disorders. This is the only study of its kind and has provided valuable information to compare against widely accepted statistics about anorexia nervosa.
Elizabeth Wentz, Associate Professor in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at the Sahlgrenska Academy, comments, “This study is unique in an international perspective. It is the only study in the world that reflects the natural course of anorexia nervosa in the population.”The results show that 39 percent of the study group “have at least one other psychiatric disorder, in addition to the eating disorder. The most common of these is obsessive compulsive disorder.” This study contrasts with the accepted fatality rate of 1 in 5 for anorexics, as not a single test subject in this study has died.One encouraging finding that emerged from the study related to pregnancy of the test subjects. Because infertility is a commonly accepted side effect of anorexia nervosa, it is surprising that there was no difference in the number of births between the test group and the control group. Childbirth also appeared to have a routinely positive influence on anorexics.(Source: www.eurekalert.org)
A new novel call Purge has been published by a Connecticut-based writer name Sarah Durer Littman. The novel, told in the first person in the format of a journal, is the story of Janie Ryan. Janie is a 16-year-old bulimic and the novel relates her experiences while receiving treatment at a fictional residential treatment facility called Golden Slopes. Janie’s journal reveals the traumatic events that led to her development of an eating disorder, and how she developed bulimia as a sort of coping mechanism.
According to a new study, bullying may be a significant factor in eating disorders. Beat, a charity that works with eating disorder sufferers in the United Kingdom, conducted the study.
Of the 600 young people with eating disorders who were surveyed, 91 percent reported being the victim of bullying, and 46 percent felt that it contributed to their development of an eating disorder. About half of the respondents reported being bullied for a period of two to five years, while 11 percent reported being bullied for six years or more.
Spring has definitely sprung which means summer is just around the corner. Summer is a season of many perks…beach vacations, picnics, holiday weekends, longer days, blooming gardens, swimming pools, lightning bugs and flip flops, just to name a few. But for males and females who struggle with their body image, this otherwise pleasant season can be overshadowed by anxiety and dread. Like clockwork, every spring we are bombarded by messages telling us to “Shape Up for Summer” or “Shed those Extra Winter Pounds”. As weather gets warmer and clothes get skimpier, even people who coasted through winter without worry, suddenly become more aware of their body weight and shape. And for those who struggle on a daily basis with negative body image or eating disorders, summer offers added challenges along the journey towards finding body confidence. Pressure to conform can be overwhelming when surrounded by friends or family on that illusive search for the “perfect” beach body – a fruitless and unrealistic ideal sold to us by advertisers, often with complete disregard for health. For some, just the thought of purchasing a bathing suit can trigger enough worry and self doubt to allow these harmful media messages to seep in. From crash diets to tanning beds, summer can quickly become a minefield of dangerous behaviors and deteriorating health.
So what can you do if summertime stress has you low on body confidence? Can you make it through the barrage of destructive messages this summer and still come out okay? Better yet, can you use it as an opportunity to gain confidence, positivity and strength? We say yes, you can! Here are some suggestions: