National Eating Disorders Association
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Understanding Eating Disorders

In the world of public health prevention, we have an idea called “strategic science.” Basically, the idea is that when we set out to design a new study, we ought to be thinking about how the study findings could be used by policymakers and communities to make change happen to benefit people – real people, like you or your children, your friends and neighbors, or the people in a neighborhood across town. It’s a simple idea, but it demands a pretty radical departure from the more typical way that study ideas get out of the gate.

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It’s not that it’s going to be easy, but it is going to be worth it. You can do it. Keep your head up. Keep pushing. Don’t give up. You’re worth it. Those are just some of the positive affirmations I would write all over my papers from treatment daily. 

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It is important to have awareness of disordered eating behaviors (including dieting) because they can be precursors to eating disorders. Disordered eating may include (and is not limited to) a rigid food and exercise regime; feelings of guilt or shame when unable to maintain said regime; a preoccupation with food, body, and exercise that has an impact on quality of life; compulsive eating; compensatory measures to ‘make up for’ food consumed (i.e.:  excessive exercise, food restriction, fasting, purging, and laxative or diuretic use); and weight loss supplement use.

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Most parents can attest to the difficulty of getting kids to try new foods. Picky eating is nothing new, but what happens when it involves many foods, never goes away, or gets worse?  

Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID) is an eating disorder involving an extreme avoidance or low intake of food. Dr. Julie Lesser, MD, child and adolescent psychiatrist at Rogers–Minneapolis, shares seven facts that you should know about ARFID.  

1. ARFID is different than picky eating.

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Binge Eating Disorder (BED) is more common than most people realize. In a culture obsessed with appearance, internalizing feelings of shame about body size and shape are all too common. The stereotypes and weight stigma associated with BED have a severe impact on both physical and mental health. To make matters worse, the multi-billion dollar weight loss industry works to further idealize the need to look a certain way and fosters patterns of disordered eating. The need for evidence-based treatments is key to effective, lasting BED recovery.

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This blog post was sponsored by Rogers Behavioral Health’s Eating Disorder Center.

They are the most deadly of all psychiatric illnesses, affecting nearly 30 million Americans today. And they are highly misunderstood. Learn lifesaving insights as Dr. Nicholas Farrell, psychologist and clinical supervisor of Rogers’ Eating Disorder services, helps dispel five dangerous stereotypes.

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National Minority Mental Health Month may be winding down, but the conversation about mental health in marginalized communities doesn’t — and shouldn’t — stop. Mental health issues don’t discriminate. Although eating disorders have historically been associated with young, cisgender, straight, white, upper-class females, they can affect anyone. They don’t choose any one race, ethnicity, class, gender identity, sexual orientation, ability, or any other classification. While anyone can have an eating disorder, minorities tend to face unique obstacles when dealing with mental health issues.

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If you ask my friends in NYC to describe me, you’ll be painted a picture of a boss lady taking on the city as a full-time professor, writer, and consultant, in addition to being a fitness influencer. They’ll also tell you I’m a people person, excitable, and will always make time to help you move apartments and celebrate your birthday.   

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The focus in the eating disorders field is usually on diagnoses, symptoms, and related impairment. There has been little research, or even discussion, about negative traits that were present during the illness, which can be positive during and after eating disorder recovery. This is particularly important because, for most people, these traits will persist throughout their lives. In addition, Walter Kaye, MD, has noted that these traits may confer advantages in professions.

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For so long, I existed in what I thought was a gray area. The entity I can now recognize as diet culture was guiding me for my whole life, or at least beginning from the moment I understood that hating my body was commonplace. As a child, I considered the images and perspectives from TV, movies, magazines, and real-life conversations and decided that diets were good. Being on a diet would make me good. Exercising would make me good, and it would all make me smaller.

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