Christian Counseling: Adult Women And Problemed Eating

It is estimated that 90% of those who have an eating disorder (anorexia nervosa) are women. Often accompanying the over and/or under eating are feelings of anxiety, fear, shame, guilt, and include a distorted self-image (fat) and low self-esteem. Most often people associate an eating disorder with young women, but older women can suffer for decades, never having recovered, or they can have a resurgence of eating problems for several reasons, which are highlighted below. The current trend indicates a substantial increase in older women reporting eating disorder problems.1

Anorexia nervosa has two subtypes: restricting (often accompanied by excessive exercising) and binge-eating/purging. There are those that that are seriously underweight by severely restricting food intake, compulsively exercising and/or purging (i.e., vomit, use of laxatives) after binge eating. There is another group of sufferers who are overweight or obese as a result of binge eating alone or medical problems due to purging. Some remember mega-star and singer, Karen Carpenter, who tragically died of eating disorder complications in 1983 at the age of 32. Not only are there serious health concerns associated with this disorder, but it can kill. Karen Carpenter was treated and achieved a normal weight, but died from heart failure, the result of years of problemed eating. Some medical consequences of a prolonged eating disorder include: heart damage, enlarged organs that may fail, dental problems and osteoporosis.

Middle age is a time when certain events may trigger an earlier eating disorder, perhaps even a first-time disorder. Some causes of a sudden onset of eating problems are responses to: grief (represses or increases appetite), separation and/or divorce, awareness of aging and medical problems. Joan Rivers suffered an eating disorder after losing her husband to suicide.

Since one's self-perception may be grossly impaired as a result of physiological and psychological issues, a eating problemed person needs to heed and trust the judgment of others, and not just his or her own beliefs. What have or are others saying to you? Do you keep your eating habits a secret, so that there is no other opinion then your own? If you are unsure if you have a problem, we can provide an evaluation. If there is a problem, help is available. Are you ready?

1. Miller, Michael Craig, M.D., Editor. Eating disorders in adult women. Harvard Mental Health Newsletter, March 2012: Vol. 28, No. 9, pp. 1-3. 

2 comments (Add your own)

1. faithful reader wrote:
Do you pray about what to write? Sometimes it feels like the Holy Spirit must be involved as the topics seem so on target.

08/23/2012 @ 3:10 PM

2. Frank wrote:
Thanks for the feedback. It's always good to know some of the writings are helping others, at least to think. Can't say I pray about every blog, but most. One of my prayers covers the bases--"Minister to others through all of my writing."

08/23/2012 @ 10:14 PM

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