Although many people may be concerned about their health, weight, or appearance from time to time, some people become fixated or obsessed with weight loss, body weight or shape, and controlling their food intake. These may be signs of an eating disorder.
Eating disorders are not a choice. These disorders can affect a person’s physical and mental health. In some cases, they can be life-threatening. With treatment, however, people can recover completely from eating disorders.
Ai Jerome (APD) is an experienced dietitian and nutrition counsellor working in the area of eating disorder.
She has helped clients with Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia, Binge Eating Disorder and Avoidant Restrictive Eating Disorder in private consultations and conducts eating disorder sessions in schools.
The primary focus for the nutrition professional working with eating disorders is to help restore a healthy relationship with food.
Remember that getting back to a normal, healthy eating behaviour will take time. It will not be easy, but once you have taken the first step, a nutrition professional can work with you to devise a future plan. Once the body receives optimal nutrition, it is able to perform and is better equipped to deal with the challenges that life can throw our way.
A nutrition professional can be on hand to offer the support you might need during and after recovery. They will work with you, listen to you and be the supportive hand you may need when facing these new challenges.
Who is at risk for eating disorders?
Eating disorders can affect people of all ages, racial/ethnic backgrounds, body weights, and genders. Although eating disorders often appear during the teen years or young adulthood, they may also develop during childhood or later in life (40 years and older).
Remember: People with eating disorders may appear healthy, normal weight or overweight, yet be extremely ill.
The exact cause of eating disorders is not fully understood, but research suggests a combination of genetic, biological, behavioral, psychological, and social factors can raise a person’s risk.
What are the common types of eating disorders?
Common eating disorders include anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge-eating disorder, and avoidant restrictive food intake disorder.
Each of these disorders is associated with different but sometimes overlapping symptoms.
People exhibiting any combination of these symptoms may have an eating disorder and should be evaluated by a health care provider.