Eating Disorder

The Secret Problem

I have to admit it—I love going out to a good restaurant! For date night with my wife, to celebrate family events, to try new places while traveling, whatever the reason, going out to eat is fun for me.

And judging by the popularity of shows on the Food Network, the number of “Foodie” folks and blogs, it is clear I am not alone in my fondness for food.

But what serves as a source of both sustenance and joy for most folks is also a source of anguish and torment for many others.

For those with Eating Disorders, the mere thought of food, eating, or going to a restaurant can trigger stress, anxiety, and painful emotions.

At a recent conference on Eating Disorders (ED’s) it was stated that at least 8 million people currently suffer from ED’s. Ten percent of these are males. Ninety five percent are between the ages of 12-25 years old. And certainly the number could actually be significantly higher as many do not disclose their disorder and struggle daily in secret.

In fact, this is such a “secret problem” that experts estimate only one in ten of those suffering with ED’s receives the treatment they need.

So what is an Eating Disorder? Good question! Let’s start with what they are not:

  • ED’s are not a disease
  • ED’s are not a choice
  • ED’s are not a moral lapse
  • ED’s are not a life sentence

Eating Disorders are a mental and physical affliction characterized by abnormal and harmful food related behaviors. Those suffering from ED’s have unhealthy beliefs and obsessions about food, body weight, and/or body shape.

Those suffering from ED’s really feel as if they have no choice and their behavior is a compulsion. In stressful situations they cope through food—binging, purging, restricting, or over-exercising. This pulls them into a cycle that they cannot get out of on their own.

One way to tell if you or someone you care about is suffering from an ED is the three strikes rule. If there are three strikes in one week, then that is a strong indicator for an ED. (A strike being an episode of binging, purging, restricting, or over-exercising.)

The good news is that there is hope! Overcoming an ED is not about willpower. Healing comes through professional help and support. Many treatment centers offer programs specifically for ED’s. Therapists, counselors, and Registered Dieticians are also a great source of support.

Additionally, there are numerous ED support groups in most communities that one can locate through a quick Google search.

The truth is, you and I both know someone who struggles with an ED. Let’s do our best to shed some light on this issue and get those we love the support they need and deserve.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this or any other issue in your life. You can email me at
Website:, www.carepossible.

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