Thursday, July 7, 2011

Adolescents and Eating Problems

A recent study, supported by The National Institute of Mental Health, reported in Med Page Today, highlights the seriousness of eating problems in adolescents in our country, finding that they have a rate of eating disorders only slightly less than that reported in adults. It is not surprising that young people are as affected as the pressures on them to look, act and be certain ways mount and food control is one way they may attempt to control themselves and their environment. Sugars and simple carbohydrates abound in the youth culture, are extremely addictive for most and often just as effective as drugs or alcohol at numbing feelings and helping one to escape from the realities and pressures of life.

In over twenty-five years of private practice I have been helping people, young and old, to overcome eating problems and the work is often discouraging and frustrating for all of them. I do understand this, having suffered with anorexia for a long while, bulimia for about seven years, binge eating disorder and extreme obesity – finally feeling at peace today about my body and food.

I have discovered that it is not about being thin. It is about feeling balanced and happy and enjoying life. It saddens me to see so many people spending their days thinking of how they can be smaller, fooling themselves into thinking that they will be happy “then.” The time to be happy is now but as long as your energy is directed at what you perceive as “wrong” about you, you can never appreciate all the wonderful things there are about yourself.

Understanding and overcoming over- (or under-) eating is complex but can be done. It requires that you question those messages that you are constantly bombarded with to be different. You may think you will garner approval if you do your best to please everyone else, but that will never work. You are the only one you need to listen to. You have the wisdom to decide what’s best for yourself. Several times a day, close your eyes, breathe and focus within yourself. Think about what you want, what you need at that moment and notice how you feel. Then ask yourself what you truly need at the moment. It may actually be to eat but chances are it is not.

Don’t beat yourself up for craving. That will never help! Sugars, fats and salt are highly addictive so be aware when you choose them that you are likely to want more. Make the best choices you can in all areas of your life. When you’re tired, rest. If you’re sad, cry. If you’re lonely, call a friend. Do not expect to behave perfectly. That is not the human way and if you set that impossible goal, you are guaranteed to fail. Above all else, nurture yourself with all the love and care you need and certainly deserve! As you do, your body will come to its perfect weight.

Many new and exciting things are coming soon. Stay in the loop and add yourself to my mailing list, please use the following link. I hope so much you will join me!

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Meanwhile…enjoy your day! Looking forward to connecting more often!

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