Monday, February 27, 2006

Eating Disorder Awareness Week

According to the National Eating Disorder Association, eating disorders are illnesses with a biological basis modified and influenced by emotional and cultural factors. The stigma associated with eating disorders has long kept individuals suffering in silence, inhibited funding for crucial research and created barriers to treatment. Because of insufficient information, the public and professionals fail to recognize the dangerous consequences of eating disorders. While eating disorders are serious, potentially life threatening illnesses, there is help available and recovery is possible.

Eating disorders are not just exclusively experienced by girls and women. Research has shown us that boys and men experience the disorder as well. Look here for more information about the subtypes of eating disorders, cultural and sex differences, resources, statistics and ways to love yourself and your body.

February has been a National Awareness Month for Eating Disorders world-wide. More information reduces stigma. And when stigma is reduced, hope is possible.

Here's to hope and loving yourself no matter what!


The Eating Disorders Association(EDA) in the United Kingdom strives to improve the quality of life for people affected by eating disorders. @

The National Eating Disorder Information Centre (NEDIC) is a Toronto-based, non-profit organization, established to provide information and resources on eating disorders and weight preoccupation. @

The National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) is the largest not-for-profit organization in the United States working to prevent eating disorders and provide treatment referrals to those suffering from anorexia, bulimia and binge eating disorder and those concerned with body image and weight issues @


Josie said...

Bravo to you Dr. Deb for providing us with information that I didn't know existed. I knew a lot of classmates that suffered from eating disorders but never thought that boys and men suffered as well. I remember realizing the significane of eating disorders after Karen Carpenter died. With each death I hear about, it brings to life the need to educate our community about this disease.

Traci said...

I know a few people with eating disorders and it's not a good thing for sure. I love that you bring all this stuff to the 'fore. Good work Deb. Peace.

Nurse Practitioners Save Lives said...

My ex-husband's sisters are all bulemic and or aneorexic. It was a sad thing to watch over the years. It's under control now. My daughter was borderline when she was in elementary school but I nipped it in the bud! She's fine now and just as gorgeous as ever in her own body.. Thanks for the info!

Abrar said...


nice blog you have there!! its good to see this kind of important information which is hrd to get hold of!!

Dirk the Feeble said...

Is it considered eating too much if you have a diet consisting of nothing but donuts and alfredo sauce?

Leah said...

Perfect timing...Thanks for the links!

Dr. Deborah Serani said...

Dear Josie,
There are many boys and men who have eating disorders. In the wrestling world, many teens are depriving themselves of food to make the weight-class, as an example.

Dear Traci,
I definitley have food issues in that I love food. Yum. What makes it hard is that we need food to live, so having an addiction or a disorder doubles the difficulty.

Dear NPSL,
WE need to get the message out that beauty comes in all sizes, and to love yourself no matter what.

Dear Abrar,
I like to use my blog voice in this way. So glad you find it helpful. I'm going to visit you now.

Dear Armaedes,
Hmmmm....I think that a disorder in and of itself.

Dear Leah,

Id it is said...

Wnder how this could be made a nationwide focus!
Given that this country is close to an an all out obesity epidemic, eating disorder awareness should be on the minds of medical and pharmaceutical policy makers!

kath said...

You are amazing, Deb.. you are reaching out to so many.. and HELPING!

no judgement.. no crap.. just kindness and unfalgging encouragement..

Glad I found your blog.. grateful for it too!

jumpinginpuddles said...

Its hard to believe that people can like themselves when all around is a society founded by beauty. You just have to turn on tv to see that, even news presenters are pretty. Images of the world surround everyone yet at the same time, we strive for the perfect body even if it means we lose our life in the process. I was watching Americas next top model a while back and one of the girls on there was a size 16 plus, knocked out fairly quickly from the comp, she went on to say when asked if she thought a plus sized model would ever win that sort of competition she said no, it would be nice but no. Its a sad but typical statement from women who are bigger, because its what society tells them all the time.
Thanks for blogging about this issue deb :)

Aidan said...

Yes, certainly can affect boys/men in many ways, despite many cultural perceptions, even if the symptoms may seem to appear in different ways or mannerisms... Then again, there are so many different nuances of eating disorders, beyond the common perceptions that only the most stick-thin model-types are the ones fretting about odd relationships with eating or drinking or exercise or indulgence of any kind...
Very informative and enlightening links as ever, cheers... Hopefully the awareness month will reach and help at least a few people and help bring about some positive results, in whatever way...

Godwhacker said...

Every day we are bombarded by images that paint an unrealistic picture of what we should look like. Life does not give most people the option of having personal trainers, dietitians, and hours to spend in a gym. Happiness is best found by finding balance between self-acceptance and health. Feeling good about yourself is a big part of looking good.

Single Ma said...

Hi Dr. Deb

Wow, this is an eye opener! Thanks for posting such useful information.

T`Bou said...

Thank you Dr. Serani for this message. I suffered from an eating disorder as a young teen, always dieting to look thinner than I was but looking at myself in the mirror I thought I was big even at a size 3. It took me years to make a change before it was too late. Now seem as though I went in a different direction from thin to thick.

Dr. Deborah Serani said...

Dear Id It Is,
These National Awarenes Months are
often under the radar, you are right. Check out the link for more

Dear Kath,
I try and I thank you!

Dear JIP,
I find beauty in all sizes, colors, cultures. I am fascinated by "uniqueness" and that to me is beauty. I think there are many who feel this way...too bad the ad execs don't!

Dear AKR,
You are right that there are nuances to eating disorders. Happy Shrove Tuesday to you and all my friends across the pond.

Dear Godwhacker,
I agree. And to me, aspects that you can't see like loyalty, trust, honor and integrity are also signs of beauty.

Hey Singlemom,
So glad you found it helpful. I'm coming over for a visit now.

Dear T'bou,
I am so glad I found you...hope you are feeling well. I know how hard it is to battle things, and to have a love for one's body image. I hope that thick or thin a person can come to love who and what they are because they are unique and special.


Todd and in Charge said...

I read an interesting interview with the girl from Full House (not the Olsen twins) who has been battling a severe eating disorder. She refused to describe the types of things she would do to lose weight (self-induced vomiting etc.) because she said that there are dozens of websites that collect this information to help girls who are trying to lose weight find new and creative ways of doing so. And that they get much of this information from confessional celebrity stories where the celebrities explain the types of activities they would engage in.

Godwhacker said...

Agreed Deborah,

I was having a discussion about this with a friend. "Substance" and being "multidimensional" are important, and in my book, more important then just the outward physical appearance. There is a kind of beauty that radiates from the inside that no amount of plastic surgery or binge diets could ever produce.

jane said...

So many females, especially, suffer from this disease. When my daughter was younger, she was first bulemic, then anorexic. Fortunately, she was able to get counseling & some books helped her.
For so many, Karen Carpenter comes to mind, it's a deadly disease. The pressures our society puts on looking 'perfect' are so tremendous, it actually takes a strong person to ignore them.
Thanks for always offering educational posts.

CHris S. said...

Interesting tidbit- my Mother-in-law had bypass surgery in 1986. She was so shaken by the procedure that she carried the doctors advice to "watch" her diet to an unbelievable extreme. She would go out of her way to never eat anything that had fat in it. On one occasion we had had to miss lunch while out for the day and she refused to eat a pack of crackers from a vending machine. she was visably hungry but wouldn't budge. She died 10 years later and her family was stunned when the doctor told them that she had organ failure due from the most part anorexia. She was 72 years old. Her other daughter-in-law and I had tried for years and years to tell her to eat better but only fruits and veggies that didnt have fat and anything that came fat free was ok. So sad.

Wendy C. said...

It's so strange for me to read about anorexia...almost like seeing a ghost. I suffered with anorexia for more than 20 years...lots of therapy...lots of trips to the one understood that it was NOT an issue of being worried about getting fat. For me it was a combination of "If I let THIS issue slip then I will lose control of EVERYTHING" and simply being so stressed out that eating, or even thinking about eating was actually nauseating. Two things helped me the most: Finding a physical activity that I loved, but that I could not DO if I lacked strength from refusing food, *and* anti-anxiety meds taken before attempting to eat. That was the combination that worked for me. I have now weighed more than 100 lbs for almost six years!

Aidan said...

I think that's right, that the effort and the sense of control can tend to take over the rational - or indeed irrational - thoughts of purely aesthetic or weight-related aspects after a while... I went through a long phase of just eating oranges, really, but saving and savouring them at the end of the day, and still until now take about an hour merely unpeeling an orange before starting to eat it... Of course, the immediate hunger may wane after a while (went a week at a time without food, every so often, and somehow the feeling of bones aching and another hour ticked away sent the satisfaction higher, the real hunger gradually lower...) - but then the appetite catches up at other times, the body stores carbohydrates and fats more clingingly than it might otherwise, and you're trapped in a cycle of endless anxiety and self-scrutiny it's hard to scratch out of...
Still is, years on - and my hackles and anxieties rear up whenever my mum tells me I'm 'looking a bit more healthy', anyway... ;) Maybe foolishly, I know...
Anyway, to desperately attempt to drag in a little more light relief, folks... Which comedian was it who suggested, if only Mama Cass had shared her last ham sandwich with Karen Carpenter? That way they might both have survived...
(Sorry, sorry, I know, for any bad taste - and even more so for repeating the urban myth that Mama Cass was killed by a sandwich...)

Heidi said...

Do u know how guilty i feel right now stuffing down 3 bars of Cadbury toffee not fully...100cal x 3 not good..ugh

Yup ..emotions will do that to you..Something inside of us has to say STOP! before losing control.

Great info for all to see/read.

Thank you Deb.

Heidi said...

"ok not fully."

I'm meant " not fun".

"N" Search of Ecstasy said...

As usual you are bringing awareness to a VERY important topic.

I can’t recall the exact details, but I remember reading a study at work within the last week or so that highlighted the fact that many more men and boys are experiencing eating disorders than what was previously thought. I know I always thought that it was a disorder that affected women. That was my own misconception!

for_the_lonely said...

What an important topic to bring to light. That is wonderful that it is a week -long awareness as well. I think that many people believe that an eating disorder is associated with bulemia and anorexia. However, there are many people that overeat, causing many health problems, such as obesity ( which is what I am currently dealing with). Thanks, as always, for bring abuot such important awareness. Have a beautiful Wednesday!


Sim Yin said...

i am currently working with some girls that are anorexic/bulimic. they are so extremely concerned with their weight that i find it ridiculous at times. but i am trying to learn to understand and help them better! your info definitely help me in some ways!

Dr. Deborah Serani said...

Dear Todd,
So many girls and women on TV feel pressure to be rail thin. It sets an unrealistic standard of beauty not only for them, but for us all.

Dear Godwhacker,
You are right. I couldn't agree more.

Dear Jane,
It is such a sad trend that girls and boys grow up with feelings of inadequacy about their own bodies. Hopefully time and awareness can lessen this trend.

Dear Chris,
What a story! And so very tragic.

Dear Wendy,
You should be very proud that you have conquered that issue!!!

Dear AKR,
Many individuals with eating disorders report that a loved parent often sent messages about the condition of their physical appearance. I hope that one day you will not flinch when your mom says you look "healthy". Who was the comedian?

Dear Heidi,
Every day is a new day. If addiction takes hold, it is so importnat not to beat yourself up for the slip, or the binge. Try again the next day. Healing is a process and one that will often be interrupted by such digressions. Hope this helps. BTW, I had four Reeses cookies last night. Today is a new day though for me.

Dear N Search,
Yes, it is true. For many years the focus was on girls and women. But many males experience eating issues.

Dear Sarah,
Yes, there are many forms of eating disorders. I fall into the overeating. I love chocolate and ice cream

Dear Sim Yin,
The key to working with a person with an eating disorder is to get to the underlying issue. It really isn't about "the food". It may be about control, filling a sense of sadness, it may be about anger, etc.


Dawn said...

I had no clue there was an awareness week for this. Maybe thats why I've been seeing a lot of stuff on TV about eating disorders the past few days. We have this show called Degrassi here, and that was the topic for this week.

I love how you provide us with awesome links too, for the topics you write about.
Thanks dr.deb :)

Donna said...

Thanks, Deb, for writing about this.

Been there, done that, and at times, still wish for it. However, now I know it's not healthy to be anorexic; at the time, I couldn't see what I had become at all.

Cathy said...

This is such a sad but important topic. I recently heard that the daughter of someone I know is in the hospital with anorexia. It must be pretty bad if she is in the hospital.

Nancy said...

Thanks for sharing this Deb. Very important stuff!

Marj aka Thriver said...

I've only been doing blogs for a few months (added it to augment my CSA survivor website) and I'm rushing to add some new, important issues, including eating disorders. Another issue I've started writing about is SI. Did you know yesterday was Self-Injury Awareness Day? Hey, I think they need a whole week for that one, too! Good stuff here, thanks.

Stacy-Deanne said...

Hey Dr. D! Thanks for breaking it down for us. You always do. Head over to my blog if you can. I want your opinion on Brangelina. LOL!

Dr. Deborah Serani said...

Hey Dawn,
Yes, TV programming here in the us has followed the awareness week.

Dear Donna,
It's hard to see yourself when you are in the middle of things. It's good, though, that you have emerged!

Dear Cathy,
Oh, yes, it must be very serious is this person is in hospital.

Dear Nancy,
Thanks for your kind words

Dear Marj,
Yes, March 1st is SI awareness day in the US , UK and Australia.

Dear Stacy-Deanne,
Will be to you in a few minutes :)


Playground in my Mind said...

There are so many different types of eating disorders-emotional eating doesn't get much press. It is so dibilitating to eat yourself to death. Thank you for sharing. You provide what we need and give us resources to help ourselves. Thank you. Renee

survivor said...

Thanks for all the info on ED's. Very educational / helpful blog you have here, keep it up!

Take care

Dr. Deborah Serani said...

Dear Renee,
I am an emotioanl eater too. You are right, there are certain subtypes that get more press than others.

Dear Survivor,
I am so grateful for your kind words. I hope you come back and visit again.


Rose DesRochers said...

Thank you for sharing this imformative article. Are any of your articles available for reprint?

Dr. Deborah Serani said...

Dear Rose,
Feel free to link to any posts....the published articles I've written are verrrrrry dry and academic!