Why are we afraid of…

Fat?

Carbs?

Sugar?

Eating intuitively?

Today is the last day of NEDAwarenss Week. As my final post in this years blog series, I decided to take a look at diets fads, why I used to fear certain food groups that are essential to my overall health, and how I overcame these irrational and unnecessary fears.

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First up: Fat. Everywhere you look there are low-fat and fat-free products, which I used to be a constant consumer of. Yes, I still purchase some items that are low-fat, (milk, yogurt and sour cream), but for the most part I purchase products in their natural-fat form.

Somewhere along the way we got the idea that all fat is bad. Unfortunately, limiting our consumption of healthy fats, (think avocado, salmon and peanut butter), can interfere in the storage of energy, absorption and transportation of some vitamins and insulation of vital organs. Roughly 30% of your daily caloric intake should come from fat. There is no reason to be afraid of it. I’m not saying pile up your plate with french fries and a marbled steak every day, but don’t immediately lunge for only fat-free products at the grocery store either. And please, please, please if you are going to buy cheese, never, ever buy low-fat or fat-free! Gross!

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Since introducing healthy fats back into my diet, and eating roughly 30% of my calories in fat form I’ve noticed I am much more satisfied with my food. Things just taste better when I don’t remove the fat. Crazy, I know.

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Next at bat: Carbs. Carbohydrates get an equal bad rap from the diet world. Between Atkins and South Beach you would think carbs are the root of all evil and they are coming to steal your baby in the middle of the night. Plus when celebrities drop pounds fast they always cite cutting out carbs to slim quickly. But wait, do those pounds stay gone? Ummm, no. Sure cutting carbs can be a quick fix, but if history has taught us nothing, quick fixes never actually stick long term.

So unless you are diabetic, there really isn’t a need to cut your carb consumption. Roughly 50% of your diet should come from carbohydrates. Yes, complex, (think bananas, barley, yogurt, yams), are better than simple, (think high fructose corn-syrup, packaged cereals, cake). Carbs serve as the preferred source of fuel for your body. Simple carbs might give you a quick energy boost, (which is why someone with anorexia-nervosa often reaches for candy when they eat), but complex carbohydrates offer sustaining power. Pure and simple your brain needs carbohydrates to function properly.

I used to think I could never lose weight if I had a diet composed of 50% carbs. Pasta for dinner? Pssh, no way! Bananas? Don’t you know they are the most calorie and carb dense fruit? I shied away from carbs like they were, well, the Devil and they were coming to steal my baby* in the middle of the night. But then I realized something, I was kind of an irritable B when I didn’t eat carbs. My apologies to anyone who spent any amount of time with me in college. I probably wasn’t the most enjoyable person to be around.

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Now I eat 50-60% of my calories via carbohydrates. And I think I am much more enjoyable to be around. Only you can tell me if that is true, but I know I feel better and I can focus on a task much longer. Amazing how fueling my brain really, ummm, works.

*in this case baby = Rilo the dog. Sorry, Rikka, I don’t think you eat enough carbs, you are kind of an irritable B most of the time.

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Third round: Sugar. Oh sugar, I’ve had a love/hate relationship with you for years. Popular diets always tell us to trick our body with a serving of fruit after dinner so we trick our sweet tooth. I don’t know about you, but if I am craving candy, an apple might fill me up, but it isn’t going to satisfy me. Why? I’m slightly addicted to sugar. But I also (used to) have an irrational fear of it. I downed splenda and other unnatural sweeteners to satisfy my urges, but all that really did was make me crave sugar more.

Remember how I said I’d had a love affair with Mr. Diet Dr. Pepper (DDP)? Funny thing, I am no longer desiring him as I once was. I kicked him to the curb in favor of water. The weening wasn’t fun, not gonna lie, but I feel so much better now that I’m not drinking a can with my lunch every day. Now when I pop a top to pair with my noontime meal my stomach reacts very poorly. Indigestion sets in and a cluster headache will quickly take over my brain. It isn’t fun, and it isn’t worth it!

I’ve also noticed I crave candy, (in the afternoon), a lot less than I did when I was relying on the DDP to get me through my afternoon slump. Don’t get me wrong, I still have a sweet treat every.single.day., but these days it comes in the form of home baked goodness, rather than high fructose corn-syrup treats.* I’ve learned that I can satisfy my sugar tooth without feeling guilty, if I approach it with a healthy mindset. Everything in moderation after all. Plus sweet treats make me happy, so why not give into my brain’s limbic system.

*aside from the occasional serving of Crazy Cores Skittles or Sparkle Jerry Laffy Taffy.

And finally, we come to the fear of eating intuitively. For years I did not trust myself to do this. When I say eating intuitively I mean: eating when I’m hungry, stopping when I’m full, and eating what I want. I had a complex and unhealthy relationship with food for years, and didn’t know how I could possibly eat when I was hungry and stop when I was full. I was always hungry, always. And full? Ha! I didn’t know what full meant because I would just keep eating until I was completely and utterly disgusted with myself. I could write a novel about my unhealthy relationship with food, but that isn’t what this post is about. It is about my acceptance of food and how I use it to fuel my body, while enjoying myself at the same time.

In October 2010 I finally had my “healthy tipping point,”* after 10 years of struggling to find the healthy balance I knew was hiding somewhere inside me. I started making small changes, starting with exercise. Initially I hit the gym after work, but I really hated doing that. By the time I got home it was 6:00 or later, which meant I didn’t get started with the prepping of dinner until at least 6:15. After any chores that needed to be done, cooking, eating and prepping for the next day, I had no time to relax at night. I decided to switch to morning workouts and haven’t looked back since.

After getting my gym routine down, I started slowly adding more things to my diet*, rather than taking away. I added chia seeds, quinoa, (more) greek yogurt, new fruits and vegetables.

Once I added these things I noticed how much better I felt about, well, everything. I had more energy, my hair had less split ends, my headaches weren’t as frequent…I just felt better. Better than I had in years. I also didn’t give up anything. If I wanted something I ate it. I still had my glass or two of wine, or beer, on Friday nights. I still hit The Flying Goat for pizza. I still purchased cupcakes and baked brownies. And I indulged in every food item you are supposed to avoid when on a diet.

*I do not consider myself on a “diet,” in the traditional sense. By diet I mean what I eat on a daily basis.

Since October I have lost 2 sizes and approximately 10 pounds. I set out to lose 21 pounds, because that is how much I gained since getting married. But by finally taking care of myself, and filling my body with all nutrients needed, (rather than pre-packaged chemicals), I feel like I’ve achieved my “weight-loss” goal, and so much more. For the most part, I lost the negative thoughts, guilt and anxiety surrounding food. (Yes, I log what I eat in myfitnesspal.com, but I do so more as a guidance to ensure I am eating enough nutrients, and it helps me pinpoint what may have caused my stomach ache/headache/lethargic feeling so I can attempt to not do that again.) Every so often a small twinge of guilt will sneak in there, but I quickly stomp on it and force myself to do something positive instead, (get some Vitamin D, listen to Katy Perry, read a fluffy chick-lit, catch up on healthy living blogs!). I’ve gained an understanding of how my body responds to food and exercise, and also how to be happy without stressing about what I am eating and when. The “rules” about food are gone, and it is so freeing.

There is much, much more to my food and body acceptance journey. It is a continuum, and I will never truly be finished learning how to treat my body with respect. I can’t even begin to describe what my day to day life was like prior to finding a healthy balance. But I can say that I am so much happier NOW than I was THEN.

And so I end this NEDAwareness Week on this note: if you are struggling with an eating disorder or disordered eating please get help now. Talk to your doctor, therapist, family, or friend(s). You don’t have to suffer silently anymore. You may feel like nobody could possibly understand how you feel, or wouldn’t understand your relationship with yourself and how you relate to food. But there are so many people who do. And so many others who may not understand it, but who will want to help you.

Love yourself, today, tomorrow, forever.

Fashion Friday: Inside-Out

Today was dubbed “Inside-Out” day at school, in honor of NEDAwareness Week of course. Who you are on the inside is more important than what you look like on the outside. To symbolize this fact students were encouraged to wear their clothes inside out. Unfortunately, yesterday’s snow day threw us off a tad and I was one of the only teachers who showed up today wearing her clothes inside out.

Yes, I am totes awesome. Tell your friends.

In case you weren’t aware, it is really difficult to wear jeans inside out. Luckily I wore a pair that are a tad too big, so zipping and buttoning them wasn’t as big of an issue as an issue as I thought it might be.

All day long I had students asking me if I knew my pants were inside out.

Umm, yes, I do. Apparently the snow day threw them off as well, since all week the same students had been looking forward to Inside-Out day.

They were also totes impressed with the design on my pockets. They are 80’s fab.

I can’t share a full weeks worth of work outfits for today’s Fashion Friday. Monday we didn’t have school, (President’s Day), and Thursday we didn’t have school, (snow day). So all I have are Tuesday and Wednesday to add to my Fashion Friday post. I could really get used to 3-day work weeks.

Tuesday w/jacket:

and without…

Wednesday (wear purple for NEDAwarenss!)

What else do I have to share with you re: NEDAwareness Week?

Ummm, lots! But I will try to be sort and sweet, as I’ve been o my soap box all week. Today I stumbled across Stop Hating Your Body.

Stop Hating Your Body is a user generated website. It’s mission is,

to love ourselves, every last inch! To support others, help build positive self esteem! This is The Beauty Revolution! This is a place of encouragement, a place to talk about body image, a place for feeling beautiful. No matter what you look like, what color, what gender, what size or however many “flaws”, healthy, not healthy, working on it, we are all human, we all deserve to be happy, we all deserve to love ourselves.
With this blog you will see all kinds of REAL bodies, REAL people, REAL stories.

Great mission, right? Users post their journey to love and accept their body. Sometimes they are already at that point. Sometimes they are still struggling to be okay with who they are. If a post may be triggering, it is noted. Although I only discovered this site today, I knew I had to pass it along. Stop beating yourself up! Treat your body with the respect it deserves, it is the only one you are going to get, the only life you are going to live. You have the power to change your perception. In the words of Nike, Just do it!

Love yourself, today, tomorrow, forever.

(s)no(w) way, snow day!?!

My district NEVER takes snow days. Ok, that isn’t really true. Since I’ve lived in Spokane, (9 years), there have been 3 winters where snow days were taken. Rumor has it they are the only 3 in the past 20 years, and during that time there hasn’t been a single 2-hour delay. I don’t know if there is any truth to this, but it does make sense. We are within city limits, which means major roads and bus routes should be plowed. Therefore there should be no reason we can’t make it into school.

Should.

This morning I rose at 5:04, ahem, with my alarm(!), and poured the freshly brewed joe into the carafe. I knew it was supposed to snow last night, so I quickly assessed the driveway and determined I was not going to attempt to shovel in the dark for a 30 minute date with the dreadmill. Back to bed I went, resetting my alarm for 6:00 a.m.

At 5:37 a.m. my phone started buzzing. No way is it 6 already, (check phone), some asshole is calling me at 5:37! Uggh! And back to bed I went. ZZZ’s did not come my way. 6 a.m. phone starts buzzing again, (check phone), weird, Kammi texted me, and I have a voicemail. (Check text from Kammi), Can you believe it, no school! (switch from text to phone log). Hmmm, better check my voicemail. (tap number) ring, ring….Hello? (oh crap, I am in call, not voicemail),

Oh, hi, ummm sorry.

Whose this?

Leila. Sorry.

Oh, hi, it’s (co-worker), I just left you a voicemail. School’s are closed today, you’re on my phone tree list. You need to call (another co-worker).

Oh, thanks. Sorry, I thought I was checking my voicemail. I’m still asleep.

Attempt to fall back asleep. Fail miserably. Get up, pour cuppa’ joe, settle in with my MACbook Pro on the couch watching KHQ. Hear that Spokane Federal Court is closed, alert the hubs. Bummer, although the court is closed his office is open.

He was not thrilled to be clearing off the 10 inches covering the Volvo.

The cat and dog, however, were very pleased to have company today.

I spent six hours transferring my blog from tumblr to wordpress…exhausting! Pumpkin Banana Bread + more coffee fueled me,

and before I knew it, it was 1 p.m.

Well hello boots, I thought we had broken up for the season.

Blizzard conditions turned into bright blue skys.

After shoveling away the better part of an hour I was determined to eat some leftover goodies. Mmmm bean burritos by daylight, so much prettier!

My afternoon + evening was spent catching up on blogs, watching Oscar nominated movies and cheering on my Zags. If you didn’t see it (shame!), the Zags won!!

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I decided to spread a little blog love for my NEDAwareness post today. I recently started following Laury at The Fitness Dish, and Nicole at Yuppie Yogini. This week, both of these ladies had fabulous posts to support NEDAwareness week.

Laury, a personal trainer, pointed out the myths vs. reality of eating disorders. The biggest misconception is that someone must be severely underweight to have an eating disorder. Not true! Clickity-click to read more.

Nicole, a therapist, brought up the fine line between dieting and disordered behaviors surrounding food, which often lead to full-blown eating disorders. It is a sad fact that our society has turned food into something we agonize over, make deals with and compromise happiness for. Yes, eating disorders are a real issue, and as Nicole points out, they are a big enough problem to warrant an AWARENESS WEEK! Clickity-click to read more!

If you’re a skeptic about eating disorders, and how dangerous they really are, I highly recommend reading both of these posts. And even if you aren’t a skeptic, I hope you will take the time to educate yourself regarding this issue. Remember, it is just as harmful not to do/say anything, as it is to do/say something negative regarding body-image. Treat yourself, and others, with respect. We all deserve it.

Weigh-in Wednesday 10: The Thin Ideal

In honor of NEDAwareness Week, I am not weighing in with a number. Instead I am weighing in with my thoughts on the scale: it’s power, the thin ideal and why you shouldn’t let a number determine a worth.

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You know the rules of the scale: first thing in the morning, after your first, ahem, bowel movement, no clothes, and tada! The lowest number should appear. But wait, why do we think we need to follow a certain pattern to weigh ourselves? And why does the scale at the doctor’s office always result in a higher number?

Simple. Our weight fluxuates daily. Sometimes two to four pounds, sometimes up to eight or ten. You know how I had food poisoning last week? I lost six pounds in six hours. Six measly hours. Of course it all came back after I guzzled enough gatorade, rehydrating my body. The old me would have jumped for joy, riding the quick weight loss happy train until I weighed in again, only to discover I had “gained the weight back,” and I would have spiraled downward into a depressed funk until the scale revealed that magic number again.

You would think I could be more logical. I’m a fairly intelligent person, I promise. But for some reason this small piece of equipment with batteries for a brain held control over me for many years. And I’m not alone. Americans, in particular, have a strange obsession with the scale. A simple google search of “fluxuate weight” results in 19,500,000 results. The majority of the first few pages were from diet and weight-loss chat boards, where women and men were freaking out because they’re weight changed from day to day, or even mere hours apart.

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So why is a number so important to us? It represents happiness, after all, thin is in, right? Advertising execs would sure like you to think so. My least favorite quote is one Oprah promotes, “nothing tastes as good as skinny feels.” As Oprah is pretty much the most influential person in American society, it is no wonder she parrots the same sentiment the rest of the media throws in our faces.

Some researchers believe that advertisers purposely normalize unrealistically thin bodies, in order to create an unattainable desire that can drive product consumption.(1998,Hamburg, P.) The media markets desire. And by reproducing ideals that are absurdly out of line with what real bodies really do look like…the media perpetuates a market for frustration and disappointment.

Body Image and Advertising

What you see is not what you get with the media. Not even the models are safe.

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Sorry Kelly.

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Apparently Faith is too big now?!

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And when a model, weighing 120, is airbrushed to freakishly tiny proportions and then gets fired for being too fat,

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what are we, the normal people, supposed to think about our weight? No wonder we obsess over an insignificant number that pops up after one to five seconds.

What we desperately need is more of this.

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And this.

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And this.

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Because real women don’t live in an airbrushed world. We have jobs, children, money issues, car issues, bad hair days, stress, etc. And what the media presents to us isn’t normal. It isn’t even close.

So the scale, which gets more prayer than a parish on Sunday, is taking our sanity. Sure it can be a good gauge for weight loss and weight management when used correctly, but the way your clothes fit can do the same thing.

Yes, I’ll admit, I weigh in once a week. But I have mentioned that I am thinking of taking a break from the scale, and focusing more on how my clothes fit instead. As a former slave to the scale, I know how difficult it can be to step away and see yourself as more than a number. It can so easily consume every thought of every day.

Only you can change the way you relate to yourself. And only you can determine your self worth. Why let the media, with all of its unrealistic representations of the female role in our society, tell you how you should think, feel and act?

A few years ago I was weighing myself, on average, eight times a day. Now I am down to once a week. As of today I am giving up the scale for one month.

I challenge you to step away from the scale for one week/month/year. You are MORE than just a number.

Want to read more? clickity-click below!

Women ‘suffer poor self-esteem due to airbrushing in advertising’

Airbrushed adverts of “thin ideal” models pose a “significant risk” to the health of young women.

On the CL: The Picture You Can’t Stop Talking About

Love your body campaign

About-Face

Positive words

Today was the first day back to school after a four-day weekend(!!). To kick off National Eating Disorder Awareness Week at school I posted a positive words wall. It was Mirrorless Monday meets Operation Beautiful.

*I wanted to play Bruno Mars Just the way you are on repeat in the hallway during passing periods, but I neglected to purchase “D” batteries for my CD player.

I don’t know if you had the same experience as me in middle school…but it surely wasn’t the best three years of my life. I remember being gawky, nerdy, wearing high-water denim with vests and a perm. While perms were all the rage in ‘94, I didn’t quite know how to style it, and always felt a tad out of place. I remember wondering is anyone going to like me? Why am I the only one not allowed to shave my legs? When will I actually need a bra? Ugggh, my nose is so big in comparison to the rest of my face!

I certainly could have used a little self-love. So why not give my students the chance to give themselves some self-love?

I posted these signs near the positive word wall:

Each passing period, during lunch and after school I stood in the hallway with a bucket of markers, encouraging the students (and teachers!) to write uplifting notes to one another, (or themselves). The response was overwhelming! I had to put a second blank positive word wall up during 4th period 🙂

Here are some of my favorites…

This one is my absolute favorite!

How can you not love that? Adorkable? Adorable!!

The rest of my day was so bland in comparison.

I decided to see how long it would take me to run 3 miles…38 minutes. Have I mentioned I am suuuuuper slow? But, I was impressed with myself for not giving up. However, I did NOT realize a news crew was behind me, filming my derriere, for the majority of my dreadmill experience. Erica was kind enough to inform me around the 30  minute mark. No wonder everyone cleared out of my little cardio corner.

After my run I dove into my pumpkin quinoa muffin.

I’m really glad I added the chia seeds – perfect crunch factor.

Lunch was a kiwi + Olive Garden leftovers.

I was at work until 6, and many snacks filled my afternoon.

Babybel + pink lady

Chobani + decaf chai tea

And then it was dinner, prepped by Libb. Bean burritos w/onions, bell peppers, tomatoes, avocado, sour cream and tapatio.

Rikka decided she needed to take control of my ear warmers.

And I decided I needed to take control of these cookies.

What would you go back and tell yourself in middle school?

For me it would be, don’t worry, life gets much better!

All about ME Monday

Today’s activity for NEDAwareness week was “Mirrorless Monday.” This activity is geared toward high school students, where the teachers/counselors cover the mirrors in the restrooms/locker rooms and encourage students to look beyond the mirror and write encouraging words to one another.

Considering the fact that it is President’s day, and therefore schools are closed, doing this wasn’t a possibility. I attempted to have my own mirrorless Monday, but nearly burnt myself with my curling iron and decided it wasn’t for me.

Instead, I decided today would be all about ME! And, really, all days should be about me…but for some reason they aren’t. And I don’t mean this in the world should revolve around me way. I do mean, I really need to attend to MY needs and wants a tad more.

So what does a day of me involve? Intuitive eating, without calorie counting. Ya know, eating when you’re hungry and stopping when you’re full. Novel concept, I know. Yet for some reason my brain always reverts back to calculator mode.

nanner + pb + coffee = perfect pre-gym fuel

Elliptical date with my friend Kyndra for an hour chick chit chat. Followed by a belated birthday lunch celebration for my mother-in-law, Gayle, at The Olive Garden. I was too wrapped up in conversation to pull out my camera, but I think you can imagine what shrimp primavera looks like.

Oh wait, it’s on their website. It looked an awful lot like this.

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Gayle tipped me off to Mel’s Nursery, and insisted the hubs take me there after lunch. I’ve driven by Mel’s for, oh 9 years, and never once stopped in. I assumed they were purely plants.

And while they do have their fair share…

they have so much more!

I think the hubs secretly wants this penguin cocktail shaker.

And I openly want a stash of these gift bags.

Filled with goodies, of course. See that bottle of red, Michele, on the right? I picked that up on an annual wine tasting weekend with my internet book club friends this fall. We had it with Christmas dinner and it was amaze-balls. So happy I can find it in Spokane! If you ever see anything by Nicholas Cole Cellars pick up a bottle, you will be very pleased.

Ooo, and a quick peek at their website revealed that all of their wines are at employee pricing right now – 50% off!

Back to Mel’s goodies…

I walked out with 3 caramels, (2 butter caramel and 1 cashew sea salt caramel – very excited about these), and some fabu perfume.

I think the pumpkin cookbook inspired me, because upon arriving home I was excited to attack little miss Libby and her orangey goodness.

I whipped up some non-oatmeal breakfasts for the work week. And they are breakfasts for ME because the boys hate pumpkin. My pumpkin needs came first today.

 Pumpkin-Quinoa muffins.

I used pecans instead of walnuts, added 2 TBS chia seeds, and threw a few pepitas on top for funsies.

I also used Halloween muffin liners…because they had pumpkins on them. When I go pumpkin I go big.

Then I whipped up some Pumpkin Banana Bread.

I only had two nanners, so I doubled the pumpkin. No nuts in my version either. I’ve made this both ways and prefer the non-nutty version.

I declared dinner to be my favorite easy meal: appetizer platter.

I roasted some chickpeas with cumin, sea salt, key lime juice, black pepper and olive oil.

I think I ate at least a serving while getting the rest of the goodies ready.

Rosemary olive oil bread brushed with garlic and olive oil, then broiled.

With Cabernet Sauvignon salami, buffalo mozz, colby jack, basil and tomato slices.

And in a little bit I’ll be dipping into either the caramels or these chewy chocolate chip cookies the hubs made me.

Hello lover(s).

So what can you take from this day of ME?

I require coffee, an endorphin rush and tasty treats to function properly with a smile on my face.This is done most effectively when I mute the calorie calculator in my head. I challenge you to do one of the following activities tomorrow:

  • Don’t count calories (if you are a counter).
  • Eat intuitively (if you live your life by a calorie clock).
  • Eat something “off limits” (if you have rules about what you eat).
  • Cook something/buy something decadent, and enjoy every bite.

Love yourself today, tomorrow, forever.

It’s National Eating Disorders Awareness Week (Feb 20-26)

I signed up to be a community advocate for this cause that is near and dear to my heart. This week I’ll be dedicating all posts to the education and awareness of eating disorders, with a side of self-love.

There are a lot of myths surrounding eating disorders, common ones being:

  • Only teenage girls suffer from eating disorder.
  • Eating disorders are a white, middle-class, female issue.
  • An eating disorder isn’t real, it is just someone trying to get attention.
  • Eating disorders are only a problem with food, if they just eat they’ll be fine.
  • You can always tell someone has an eating disorder by their appearance.

Not true:

  • In the United States as many as 10 MILLION females and 1 MILLION males are suffering from an eating disorder.
  • Eating disorders do not discriminate age, gender or income.
  • Without treatment up to 20% of individuals suffering from an eating disorder will die.
  • 4% of college-age women suffer from an eating disorder.
  • People who diet frequently are at a much higher risk of developing eating disorders than those who do not diet.
  • Americans spend over 40 BILLION dollars on diet-related products per year.

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Here is the cold hard truth: eating disorders aren’t a ploy for attention, they aren’t a choice, and they can result in death. Someone with an eating disorder has an illness, and it can be treated. But in our society we are taught to not speak about such things because it if you don’t talk about it, it can’t be real, right? Wrong.

Appropriately the National Eating Disorder Awareness Week 2011 theme is:

It’s Time To Talk About It.

And the goal? For everyone to do just do one thing. I chose to: Maximize the power of your social networking sites. And let’s be honest, I’ll probably buy and donate Healthy Body Image: Teaching Kids to Eat and Love Their Bodies Too! to my middle school.

Let’s define what is an eating disorder:

Anorexia-Nervosa is defined as someone who severely restricts her/his food consumption (typically 800 calories or less per day). This generally results in rapid weight loss and has many detrimental, often life-threatening, side-effects. These include (but are not limited to):

Fatigue and loss of energy, hypertension, dizziness, low blood presser, hair loss, pins and needles feeling, osteoporosis, loss of menstruation, thyroid issues, kidney issues, irritable stomach, and eventually the breaking down of organs leading to death.

Bulimia-Nervosa is defined as consuming food and purging the calories consumed via vomiting, laxatives or extreme exercise.  Side-effects from constant vomiting and laxative abuse include (but are not limited to):

Low potassium, kidney damage, heart irregularities, increase in cavities due to loss of tooth enamel, broken blood vessels in the face, bowel damage, intestinal damage, hair loss, yellow skin, premature wrinkles, cardiac arrest and death.

Binge Eating Disorder is defined as consuming large amounts of food in a short period of time. This disorder is very closely linked to bulimia-nervosa, but there is no purging of the calories afterward.

Other disorders not otherwise defined are the pre-occupation with food, or the creation of rules regarding food intake (only before 7 p.m., no white foods, only foods with less than 5% calories coming from fat, etc.) This is the hardest to spot, but is the most common eating disorder. It is often called disordered eating and side-effects are often more social/emotional than physical.

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Food (the restriction of, massive intake of, and preoccupation of) is a symptom of the eating disorder, not the cause. And the side-effects aren’t just physical. Someone suffering from any eating disorder, or a combination of eating disorders, can experience:

Low self-esteem, fear of losing control, mood swings, irritability, anxiety, depression, loneliness, worthlessness and a tendency to be withdrawn from others.

Often those with an eating disorder will see themselves as bigger than they actually are.

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And there is no one cause that triggers an eating disorder. Causes range from depression, bad relationships, dieting and a fear of being fat, loss of control in other areas of her/his life, etc. Just like there isn’t one cause, there isn’t just one cure. Scroll down to find treatment options.

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Want to learn more?

National Eating Disorder Association Facts & Information

Basic Facts about Eating Disorders, including prevention information, how to talk to your doctor and getting treatment. I’ve wanted to work for NEDA since I started researching my thesis, but they weren’t hiring at a time I could move to Seattle. Maybe one day. For now I’ll just continue to be a community advocate 🙂

Something-Fishy.org

Information and help for those suffering from an eating disorder and for their family and friends.

Think you might have an eating disorder, but you aren’t sure? Answer this questionnaire and bring it to your doctor or therapist.

Angel’s Wings

Eating Disorder Association of Australia.

Mirror-Mirror.org

Eating Disorder Association of Canada.

Radar Program

Well respected treatment facility.

Kids Health

Full of good info for parents.

Eating-Disorder.com Blog

Updated information about eating disorders in the news, treatment and prevention.

If you have an eating disorder or think you may be suffering from disordered thinking get help. There is no reason to silently suffer. Don’t want to say anything because you think it will just cause someone to worry about you? Chances are they are already worried but don’t know how to bring it up.

You know the quote,

“Be the change you want to see in the world,” (Mahatma Gandi).

Well, be your OWN CHANGE!

Need some inspiration? Pop over to Operation Beautiful to get your head in the self-love/self-acceptance game.

Stop the fat talk.

Stop the self-bashing.

Stop saying you want to throw a burger at that super-thin girl whose eating a salad.

Stop pretending nothing is wrong.

Just do one thing

Love yourself. Today. Tomorrow. Forever.

*If not cited otherwise all information in this post (and subsequent posts throughout the week) comes from years of researching eating disorders. My Senior Thesis in college was on how the media effects women, with a focus on eating disorders and the thin ideal. I have a vested interest in the subject matter, and my hope is that you will gleam a little insight regarding eating disorders, perhaps change your view, and maybe find some information on how to help a friend, family member, or yourself.