According to the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA), at least 20 million women and at least 10 million men suffer from eating disorders in the United States. Unfortunately, the rate of eating disorders is probably much higher, given that many eating disorders go unnoticed and untreated.
Understanding Eating Disorders
When we think of eating disorders, our brain automatically jumps to the two most discussed types of disorders, Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimia Nervosa; and then there is Binge Eating Disorder, which has also been more recently recognized as an eating disorder. What we do not realize is that, like people, eating disorders come in all different shapes and sizes. In fact, since I have opened my private practice in Blackwood, NJ, I have yet to meet two people whose eating disorders are exactly the same. It is not always about starvation, purging, or binge eating. Eating disorders are also about body dysmorphia, a constant obsession over one’s weight, guilt over eating, feeling ashamed of one’s body, cycling through diet after diet, and staring in the mirror and wishing and praying our bodies were different.
At the core, eating disorders are centered around this voice inside our heads that repeatedly says “You’re just not good enough.”
Connecting with Yourself
Wouldn’t it be nice to let go of the guilt and shame we feel around our bodies and the food we consume? Wouldn’t it be great to learn that we don’t have to spend the rest of our lives on a diet, deep in the throes of self-hatred? Wouldn’t it be relieving to not have to feel the anxiety in the pit of your stomach as you step on the scale, thinking to yourself “Let’s see how much damage I did this week.”?
All of these things are possible for you. It is so important to realize that eating disorders are about much more than weight and food. Often we developed disordered eating habits as a way to mask trauma and grief. Other times they develop simply because the noise of diet culture that we see all around us is so loud that we cannot even begin to listen to our own body’s wants and needs.
When working with patients with eating disorders, I help them to look inward to find what purpose the eating disorder is serving in their lives. Without treatment, eating disorders can be fatal. However, getting help can free you from the guilt and the shame and allow you to connect with your body in much healthier and more fulfilling ways.
To Learn More
For more information on the symptoms and signs of eating disorders as well as the long-term health consequences, please visit the following site:
National Eating Disorders Association
To learn more about the treatment services I provide, check out my treatment specialties.
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