Eating Recovery Center Encourages Healthy Lifestyle Choices in Preparation for Summertime Fun, Food and Fashion
Eating Disorders Treatment Center Urges Individuals to Avoid Five Dangerous Springtime Weight Loss Behaviors
As a barrage of advertisements urging men and women to begin weight loss programs in preparation for summer activities hit the airwaves and span the pages of magazines, Eating Recovery Center (www.EatingRecoveryCenter.com), an international center for eating disorders recovery, urges springtime dieting caution. Because diets are one of the most common eating disorders triggers, Eating Recovery Center advises individuals to think twice before beginning “quick fix” weight loss regimens and to consult a physician before engaging in diet or exercise programs.
A 2010 Experian Simmons DataStream survey showed that dieting among American women peaked in late spring/early summer, a timeframe in which a reported 48.5 percent of women said they were currently dieting. Too often, efforts to prepare for summer turn to unhealthy – and sometimes even dangerous – weight loss behaviors with the goal of feeling more comfortable in swimsuits and form-fitting, revealing summer clothing and “looking good” for activities such as vacations and weddings.
“In general society tends to support, encourage and even applaud dieting that is perceived as preparatory for an event or time of year,” said Julie Holland, MHS, CEDS, chief marketing officer of Eating Recovery Center. “This ‘community-supported’ weight loss is dangerous because it could potentially send someone down the path of developing an eating disorder, while his or her friends and family unknowingly encourage unhealthy behaviors.”
In an effort to prevent dangerous summertime behaviors that could potentially trigger eating disorders, Eating Recovery Center urges individuals to avoid the five most common weight loss and dieting behaviors:
- Restrictive diets: Gluten-free, dairy-free and vegan diets and cleanses have been popularized by celebrities as seemingly successful methods for slimming down. Some people have food allergies or medical conditions for which these types of restrictive diets can be helpful. However, for the vast majority, removing entire food categories from a diet can rob the body of essential nutrients and kick-start a pattern of food restriction.
- “Thinspiration”: While social networking sites such as Tumblr, Pinterest and Instagram have restricted users from posting pro-eating disorders content, thinspiration still runs rampant online. What may start as casually posting photos of men and women at an individual’s “goal weight” or “ideal” body shape can quickly spiral out of control and drive unrealistic, obsessive thinking and behaviors.
- Crash or fad diets: Dieting is the most common behavior that triggers eating disorders. Furthermore, diets simply do not work; about 95 percent of people who lose weight by dieting will regain the weight in one to five years.
- Excessive exercise: Over-exercising can result in excessive wear and tear on muscles, bones and joints. Furthermore, if individuals do not rest and give their bodies time to recuperate, injuries can quickly follow.
- Diet pills or aids: Diet pills, diuretics and other over-the-counter weight loss aids promise users a quick fix. However, the long-term consequences of diet pill use can include irregular heartbeat, high blood pressure, gastrointestinal problems and – in serious cases – even death.
“Any weight loss regimen that seems too good to be true almost certainly is,” explains Holland. “Rather than looking for a ‘quick fix,’ make a choice to practice a healthier, sustainable lifestyle that emphasizes body acceptance and realistic goals and focuses on moderation.”
Eating Recovery Center recommends that anyone seeking to begin a weight loss program first consult a physician. Individuals with a family history of eating disorders who engage in weight loss behaviors are at a significantly higher risk of triggering an eating disorder.