Eating disorders are complex medical and psychiatric illnesses that can have severe consequences for our health and relationships. Disorders like anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge eating disorder, and other specified feeding or eating disorders are not fads, phases, or lifestyle choices. These eating disorders include intense emotional journeys and problematic attitudes and behaviors surrounding weight and food issues.
Eating disorders are severe emotional and physical problems that can have life-threatening consequences that are further fueled by the media and society’s perception of what beauty is.
In the United States, 20 million women and 10 million men suffer from an eating disorder at some time in their life. People battling eating disorders often become obsessed with food, body image, or weight. These obsessions may lead to other addictions to cope with the sheer stress and anxiety of it all.
In 2003 the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse stated that approximately 50 percent of people with eating disorders abused alcohol or other illicit substances compared to only 9 percent of the general public.
Drug addiction is not the answer to a disorder and just further exacerbates its severity.
My own story
I was not always the nutritionist cum ardent advocate for Women’s Health & Wellness you have come to know through my blogs and social media platforms.
My drive to live the healthy lifestyle I lead today stems from a very unhealthy and dangerous past of mine. I continuously struggled to fill out the perfect, supermodel body image, and instead of accepting my body, I shamed it and willed it into a size zero.
Due to this unhealthy image on body positivity and horrible self-esteem, I developed eating disorders, anxiety, depression, and substance abuse. The time in my life when I was supposed to be having fun with my friends and learning, I spent bending over in front of the mirror obsessing over the tummy rolls, cellulite or slight imperfections that tarnished my body and made me unworthy of love (or so I led myself to believe).
By the middle of my sophomore year in college, I was burned out, had two DUIs, and was on the verge of crashing and dropping out of college. It was at this point that I decided to change majors from nursing to nutrition and dietetics and, at the same time, reached out for professional help and counseling.
This rant is not a ploy to secretly highlight my journey but rather to share the pain, story, and knowledge, so that we can all heal and grow together, banning toxic mindsets and behaviors so that we can be our best selves.
I developed healthy eating habits, which lead me to become a vegan. I quit drinking, and I now meditate, which helps with my anxiety. Many others aspire to find a lifestyle of wellness, which enables them to feel good mentally and physically. I am here to tell them that it’s possible and share the knowledge that helped me transform my life.
Eating disorders can be life-threatening if not recognized and treated appropriately. The earlier a person receives treatment, the higher the likelihood of full recovery. Anyone can develop an eating disorder irrespective of their gender, age, ethnicity, culture, size, socioeconomic status, or sexual orientation. As a society, we need to stop obsessing about being a specific size or weight; we need to not listen to the media and other outlets that continuously barrage us about our weight and how we can lose it and become beautiful. WE ARE ALREADY BEAUTIFUL (emphasis added).