Facts on Eating Disorder-Navigating Weight Loss

November 15, 2014 by  
Filed under Lose Weight

Facts on Eating Disorder-Navigating Weight Loss


The facts on eating disorder are as such.

Caroline Adams Miller, 53, hasn’t stepped on a scale in 30 years. Technically, she has – during her visits to the OB-GYN for her three pregnancies – but she never looked at the number. The facts on eating disorder are as such.

“I would go in and I would say, ‘You’re not going to weigh me unless I stand on the scale backwards, plug my ears and you do not tell me what my weight is,’” says Miller, a positive psychology coach in Bethesda, Maryland, and author of “My Name is Caroline,” the first major autobiography by a bulimia survivor. Her latest book, “Positively Caroline: How I Beat Bulimia For Good and Found Real Happiness,” describes her long-term recovery.

Weight gain from pregnancy, medications or just life happens to most of us. But when it happens to people who have had eating disorders, weight loss often has to be approached with more care.

“You have to accommodate your vulnerabilities in life and when you have this one, restricting food and so on and so forth poses certain risks,” says Marsha Marcus, a professor of psychiatry and psychology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. “It doesn’t mean you can’t do it, and certainly for some people, maybe they should, but there’s no one answer.”

Redefining Success

According to the National Eating Disorders Association, eating disorders affect about 20 million women and 10 million men in the United States. Many more have likely experienced disordered eating patterns. That means plenty of people who have struggled with the conditions are among us at the gym, the grocery store – and the doctor’s office, where their histories may go undisclosed.

“They might go to see their primary care physician and [he or she] says, ‘Hey, you really need to lose some weight,’ but the physician may not even have a clue that the patient has a history of an eating disorder,” says Cynthia Bulik, director of the University of North Carolina’s Center of Excellence for Eating Disorders.

That’s important because, while people with eating disorders can and do recover, certain things like the number on a scale can remain vulnerabilities, experts say. Cutting calories and amping up exercise – touted as the hallmark of healthy weight loss – in and of themselves can be risky for people who’ve had eating disorders, since being in a state of “negative energy balance,” or expending more energy than you’re consuming, might trigger those unhealthy patterns again, Bulik says.

“For most of us, that’s a really uncomfortable physical experience: When we’re hungry, we get irritable, we get headaches and it’s not a good feeling,” she says. “For people with anorexia nervosa, it’s probably their favorite physical state – it feels good to them. They feel worse when they’re full.” Bulik says this trait is likely due to a biological mechanism that made them more vulnerable to an eating disorder in the first place.

These facts on eating disorder navigate your weight loss which cannot achieve your goals.


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