Secrets Young Women Keep: Eating Disorders
- Tuesday, October 04, 2011
A person’s struggle with eating has little to do with food. It is, however, about a hunger, a longing, an emptiness. Some refer to it as “love hunger” that gets all mixed up with feelings about growing up, feeling little, separating from parents (especially Mom), and control or lack of control with family or in life.
How a young woman feels about herself affects her core feelings of purpose, image, and worth. Genesis 1:27 talks about being created in God’s image, and that means you are perfect in his eyes. He created you uniquely and with a purpose. But in this present-day world, we will not realize that perfection. Someday we will have perfect bodies but not now, and our task is to learn to accept and love ourselves in our imperfection.
In 1 Corinthians 6:12–13, the Bible says, “‘I am allowed to do all things,’ but not all things are good for me to do. ‘I am allowed to do all things,’ but I will not let anything make me its slave. ‘Food is for the stomach, and the stomach for food,’ but God will destroy them both.” I like the food analogy used here. It goes on to talk about sexual sin, but the emphasis is in using your body, the body God gave you for his glory. “You should know that your body is a temple for the Holy Spirit who is in you. You have received the Holy Spirit from God. So you do not belong to yourselves, because you were bought by God for a price. So honor God with your bodies” (1 Corinthians 6: 19 – 20).
If your secret is with food, ask God to show you what is real and ask for help before you get too far down the road. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Seek God. Tell someone you trust. And seek professional help.
There are three main types of eating disorders studied by the experts and listed in the DSM – IV—TR (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th edition/training edition):
A refusal to maintain minimally normal body weight for your age and height. Intense fear of becoming fat regardless of size. Denial of seriousness of low body weight and distortion of body shape and weight influencing a negative evaluation of self. Amenorrhea can occur, which is the loss of three consecutive menstrual cycles.
Characterized by repeated episodes of binge eating, followed by self-induced vomiting, misuse of laxatives or diuretics or other medications, fasting, or excessive exercise. Feeling out of control while eating in this diet-binge-purge cycle that occurs at least twice a week for a three-month period. Distortion of body shape and weight influencing a negative evaluation of self.
Now referred to as binge eating disorder it is characterized by larger-than-normal amounts eaten in short periods of time (within a 2-hour time frame), followed by physical discomfort and emotional distress, but no purging.
No one factor causes an eating disorder. Following is a list of factors that are sometimes attributed to each disorder.
• Fear of growing up
• High family expectations
• Inability to separate from the family
• Parental dieting
• Family discord
• Need to please or be liked
• Temperament—often described as the “perfect child”
• Need to control
• Teasing about weight and body shape
• Need for attention
• Lack of self-esteem
• Difficulty regulating mood
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