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Eating Disorders

Attain a Balanced Life

According to the National Eating Disorder Association (NEDA), nearly 10 million women and 1 million men struggle with eating disorders. Many struggle silently. The cause of eating disorders is complex, and the effects are dangerous. Within your family or circle of friends, someone is probably struggling with an eating disorder right now.

The Eating Disorder Coalition of Tennessee reports that eating disorders are the leading cause of mental illness-related death.

Eating disorders lead to suicide, heart attack, esophageal erosion and heart attacks. The life-threatening and physical consequences are great and can be long-lasting.

We know how difficult it can be to admit the struggle with an eating disorder and the conflict in wanting to seek help. We also know the effects eating disorders have on an individual’s health, relationships, families and fellowship with God. Shame is one of the feelings most often experienced by those with eating disorders. They experience shame related to their bodies, their past, their behavior and their secrets. Shame is something each individual on a path to healing must overcome in order to experience God’s grace and love.

The journey to healing is a comprehensive process that must incorporate the entire person spirit, mind, and body.

Common Eating Disorders

Those struggling with eating disorders often feel like prisoners, wanting desperately to be free. Common eating disorders include anorexia, bulimia and compulsive overeating; but, there are other eating disorders, as well. Common associations with eating disorders include an obsession with food, dieting and negative body image.

It is hard to say why a person develops an eating disorder. Some of the common factors include dieting at an early age, perfectionism and the desire for control, negative body image, poor self-esteem, and a history of being teased, trauma and abuse. Eating disorders often exist with other mental health issues. Professionals at HeartLife work as a team, and we are here to help.

Anorexia

Anorexia is characterized by extreme weight loss, body image disturbance and an intense fear of gaining weight or becoming fat.

Those with anorexia are at great risk for health problems due to malnutrition, which affects the heart, bones, skin, menstrual cycles and mental alertness.

Bulimia

Bulimia is characterized by “bingeing” through secretive binge eating episodes, followed by “purging” through self-induced vomiting, fasting, excessive exercise, or the use of laxatives or diuretics to rid one’s self of extra calories.

This behavior can damage teeth and gums, lead to dehydration, cause irregular heartbeat, swollen salivary glands and other issues.

 

Emotional Overeating

Many people deal with stress, emotional upset, loneliness, and relational problems by compulsively overeating. This can lead to obesity and subsequent medical conditions like diabetes and high blood pressure.

HeartLife works with patients to help them attain a balanced life through healthy eating, daily exercise, weight management and spiritual growth.

Dieting

Eating disorders typically start with some form of dieting. Our culture promotes extreme, often unhealthy, forms of thinness through the media. According to the Eating Disorder Coalition of Tennessee, in the last two decades the incidence of anorexia has doubled, and the dieting industry has tripled to become a multi-billion dollar industry. Extreme forms of dieting have proven to be ineffective and dangerous.

Contact our office manager or any of our counselors for more information.

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