At Diets In Review, we take healthy weight loss seriously. The goal is a healthier life, not to be the skinniest person on the block. We want to be an inspiration of health, not thinspiration. When undertaken improperly weight loss can be as damaging to your body, or more so, than being overweight. Sadly, disordered eating patterns, obsessive exercising, and distorted body image affect many – more than 11 million people in the United States. Eating disorders are dangerous and life threatening. In fact, anorexia has a higher mortality rate than any other mental illness.
Those suffering from an eating disorder may or may not be underweight. Here are nine hints that a someone you know may be struggling with disordered eating or other unhealthy weight loss techniques:
1. Avoiding social situations that include food or avoiding eating in front of others
2. Making excuses not to eat
3. Restricting certain foods from his or her diet
4. Withdrawing from friends
5. Mood swings
6. Apathy – no longer participating in or enjoying previously enjoyed activities
7. Use of diet pills, stimulants, or laxatives
9. Obsessively exercising
If you suspect that a loved one may be suffering from disordered eating patterns or a distorted body image, broach the subject gently and with care, rather than judgment. It is important to provide a safe space in which your friend or family member can seek support. Eating disorders generally require specialized treatment. Remember that you cannot change your loved one or force him or her to change. Your role is simply to support and help him or her to find help as they are ready. This does not mean that you should allow your friend to endanger themselves. Involve adults, medical professionals, or police if necessary to save your friend’s life.
If you know someone with an eating disorder, please contact the National Eating Disorders Association’s Informational and Referral Helpline at 1-800-931-2237 or visit www.nationaleatingdisorders.org for ways that you can help.