The Holiday Season Brings Food Anxieties To The Fore
December first, the start of the rounds of Christmas parties and visiting which is usually accompanied with high calorie food and drink. For many of us, we try and usually fail to follow the healthy eating guidelines to avoid gaining excess poundage. For those with eating disorders -- anorexia nervosa and bulemia this time of the year is fraught with difficult situations.
Anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder in which a person has an aversion to food that results in starvation and an inability to stay at the minimum body weight considered healthy for their age and height.
Persons with this disorder may have an intense fear of weight gain, even when they are underweight. Not eating enough food or exercising too much results in severe weight loss.
Risk factors include:
- Being female
- Eating and gastrointestinal problems during early childhood
- Childhood anxiety
- Increased concern or attention to weight and shape
- Negative self-image
- Accepting societal attitudes towards thinness
- Perfectionism and other personality traits
Anorexia nervosa usually occurs in adolescence or young adulthood. It is more common in females. The eating disorder is seen mainly in Caucasian women who are high academic achievers and have a goal-oriented family or personality.
KENNESAW, Georgia (CNN) -- The sweet smell of sugar cookies baking filled the air in Kris Shock's kitchen.
Kris Shock, who once struggled with bulimia, enjoys cookies with her son, Drew.
She pulled a tray from the oven and sat down with her 9-year-old son, Drew, to frost the treats.
Then, Shock did something that might have been unthinkable for her a few years ago. She took a bite of a cookie.
Shock, 36, of Kennesaw, Georgia, spent most of her adolescence and early adulthood struggling with bulimia and an addiction to diet pills.
Long holiday seasons were always the worst, Shock said, as she dealt with the stress of trying to create a picture-perfect Thanksgiving and Christmas for her family.
Bulimia is an illness defined by food binges or recurrent episodes of significant overeating accompanied by a sense of loss of control. The affected person then uses various methods -- such as vomiting or laxative abuse -- to prevent weight gain.
Many, but not all, people with bulimia may also have anorexia nervosa, another eating disorder.
Binge eating Self-induced vomiting Inappropriate use of diuretics or laxatives Overachieving behavior
Help for these life threatening disorders is often hard to get. On the other hand there are web sites that promote and reinforce this destructive behavior. If someone in your circle of friends or family is exibiting signs of anorexia or bulemia, find a quiet time to speak with them about it. You may end up saving their life.