Translated into real life, Barbie would be 5-foot-9, have a 39-inch bust, an 18-inch waist, 33-inch hips and wear a size 3 shoe. This common, unrealistic beauty ideal can contribute to body dissatisfaction and contribute to risk factors for eating disorders. Nearly one-in-11 women and men will suffer from an eating disorder in their lifetime. St. Cloud Hospital Eating Disorders Program, located at CentraCare Health Plaza, includes an experienced team — a dietitian and psychologist — who specialize in treating patients with disordered eating.
In honor of Eating Disorder Awareness Week Feb. 22-28, St. Cloud Hospital Eating Disorders Program encourages you to watch for the following early warning signs of eating disorders in those you love: dramatic weight change; preoccupation with weight, food, calories, fat grams and dieting; refusal to eat certain foods, progressing to restrictions against whole categories of food (e.g. no carbohydrates, etc.); frequent comments about feeling “fat” or overweight despite weight loss; anxiety about gaining weight or being “fat”; denial of hunger; dressing in layers to hide weight loss; development of food rituals (e.g. eating foods in certain orders, excessive chewing, rearranging food on a plate); consistent excuses to avoid mealtimes or situations involving food; excessive, rigid exercise regimen with the need to “burn off” calories taken in; continued exercise despite injury, illness, fatigue, and weather or overuse injuries; withdrawal from usual friends and activities; and, in general, behaviors and attitudes indicating that weight loss, dieting and control of food are becoming primary concerns.
If someone is exhibiting signs of struggling with an eating disorder, intervening in the early stages may help prevent the onset of a full-blown eating disorder. It also leads to greater chances of a full recovery. It can prevent years of struggle and can even save lives.
For more ways to encourage healthy body image or for additional questions, call St. Cloud Hospital Eating Disorders Program at 320-229-4918 or visit centracare.com.