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Eating Disorder Awareness Week underway


            What do you think about yourself? Take a look at those things. Are they positive or negative? Why? How you think about yourself has everything to do with how you live. The power of positive thinking can take you to positive places. Let’s take a look.

            First, eating disorders are psychological conditions that negatively affect eating habits. The common eating disorders are anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and binge-eating disorder.

            Anorexia is when a person (male or female, but more female than male) is dangerously thin. The mortality rate is highest of the eating disorders. Those who wage this battle are more likely to die from related conditions like starvation or suicide.

            Bulimia is binge eating followed by purging, excessive exercise, using laxatives, to name a few. This person may maintain the appearance of a healthy body, but have effects inside the body, like gastrointestinal problems, decaying teeth because of stomach acid exposure when vomiting and severe dehydration, among other issues.

            Binge-eating is when you lose control over eating. You don’t purge or fast, or partake of extreme exercise. This person eats unusually large amounts of food whether they are full or not hungry. Eating until uncomfortably full, eating alone or in secret to not be embarrassed.

            Risk factors for eating disorders can happen at any age. It appears that the problem runs in families and is caused by behavioral, biological, genetic, psychological or social issues, advises the National Institute of Mental Health. Proper nutrition, stopping purging and healthy, not excessive, exercise are a step in the right direction.

            Today kicks off National Eating Disorders Awareness Week. The National Eating Disorders Association offers 10 Steps to Positive Body Image.

  • Think about what your body does for you every day, what your potential is. Don’t waste it. Get on your feet, walk, dance, jog, play with your children or pets. Do the things you enjoy and be kind to your body.
  • What are the 10 things you most like about yourself, things that have nothing to do with weight or how you think you look. Write them down and look at that list every single day. Add to it as you discover new things about yourself that you like.
  • Self-confidence goes up when you feel good, feel positive about yourself. Don’t judge a book by its cover (or the person by the outward appearance). Look inside, to your profound depths and those of the people in your life.
  • Consider your wholeness, not just the parts that you think others may or may not like. Be true to you, be the person you want others to see.
  • Avoid negative people who make you feel bad about yourself. And turn the negatives into positives.
  • When you start to beat yourself up, start looking at those good things on your list and know that it’s time to switch to positive thinking.
  • Wear clothes that you feel comfortable wearing and that make you feel good about you.
  • When you read something on social media that feels like a put-down, don’t be afraid to talk back or to let the advertisers know they have crossed the line.
  • Do something nice for you. Put your feet up and listen to your favorite music. Read that book you’ve been dying to get your hands on. Take a bubble bath. Go for a walk. Do something you enjoy.
  • Helping others (volunteering) takes your mind off of your own problems for a while and when you get back to your own troubles, you may find a way to fix things or perhaps that it wasn’t such a huge problem after all.

There is a help hotline for eating disorders, 1-800-931-2237, which is available from 9 a.m. to 9 pm., Monday through Thursday; 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Fridays and closed on holidays.

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