Happy National Eating Disorder Awareness Week

Hello, how are you?

I’m good, so let’s get down to business.

First order of business: Don’t forget to do this month’s Strawberry Eat Me Quiz for a chance to win fancy prizes.

Second order of business: It is National Eating Disorder Awareness Week so we have a special guest post from Adrien Paczosa, a Registered and Licensed Dietitian practicing in Austin, Texas. Adrien owns I Live Well Nutritional Therapy and specializes in general nutritional therapy and eating disorders. She believes that whole-body wellness is a goal that everyone can achieve, especially with the right plan and the right attitude. Adrien recently became a Certified Eating Disorders Registered Dietitian (CEDRD) and has successfully helped many clients reach a healthier level of wellness. Adrien encourages anyone to make an effort to live well.

Without further ado, please welcome Adrien:

2013 National Eating Disorder Awareness Week

This year the theme for National Eating Disorder Awareness Week is “Everybody Knows Somebody”…who has been affected. Working in the area of behavioral nutrition with a focus on eating disorders, I know many people – patients, their families, friends, and loved ones that have been affected by an eating disorder.

Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness, one of the many reasons that it is important to increase awareness about the warning signs for eating disorders. The prevalence of eating disorders is climbing; it is currently estimated that 8 million Americans have an eating disorder – 7 million women and 1 million men. Eating disorders know no age limits or ethnic boundaries. Anorexia is the 3rd most common chronic illness among adolescents, and in 1994 Essence, a magazine with primarily African-American readers, reported that 53.5% of respondents were at risk of an eating disorder.

There are a few warning signs for parents and loved ones to watch for. Keep in mind that no sign is a definite indication of an eating disorder, but more so an indication to take note and proceed with caution.

Behavioral signs

  • Purchasing diet books and extreme calorie counting or portion control (weighing and measuring food)
  • Evidence of visiting pro-anorexia or eating disorder web-sites
  • Sudden decision to become a vegetarian
  • Increased picky eating, especially eating only “healthy foods”
  • Always going to the bathroom immediately after eating
  • Multiple showers in a day (in order to purge in the shower), especially directly following eating
  • Unusual number of stomach flu episodes
    Caution Signs
  • Large amounts of missing food
  • Fasting and skipping meals regularly
  • Refusing to eat with family or friends
  • Discovery of diet pills or laxatives
  • Excessive exercise (more than an hour a day) 
  • Persistent and unremitting refusal to eat non-diet foods
  • Refusing to allow others to prepare foods

Physical warning signs

  • Sudden change in weight
  • Feeling cold compared to peers
  • Hair loss/thinning scalp hair
  • Development of lanugo hair (fair, downy hair on face and back)
  • Decreased blood pressure/dizziness
  • Decreased or irregular heart rate
  • Dry skin or brittle nails
  • Missing periods or irregular menstruation (females)
  • Decreased levels of testosterone (males)
  • Preoccupation with food, weight and body
  • Dehydration/electrolyte disturbances#NEDAwareness
  • Constipation
  • Broken blood vessels in eyes
  • Sore, irritated throat
  • Low energy/fatigue
  • Stomach ulcers, bloating, or heartburn
  • Abrasions of knuckles
  • Worn tooth enamel
  • Swollen salivary glands in the cheeks

Speak up and reach out for support if you suspect an eating disorder in yourself or those close to you. There are many avenues to choose from, but please reach for help because recovery does matter.

Helpful links and hash tags for the 2013 Eating Disorder Awareness Week

http://nedawareness.org
#NEDAwareness
#EverybodyKnowsSomebody

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