Disordered Eating: The “New” Epidemic


Several years ago I was on a media tour in New York, visiting various women’s magazine editors in an attempt to get them to think about publishing different kinds of stories on eating and weight loss and weight loss programs. My focus: That women (and increasingly men) were suffering from disordered eating — too much focus on calories, fat grams, weight loss, even ‘healthy’ choices. The response I remember from one prominent magazine in particular was that the term ‘disordered eating’ was too ‘scary,’ that it was even too sensational for magazines (imagine that!).

So imagine my relief that they have finally jumped on board (although I do admit a bit of exasperation that they didn’t even talk to me in putting together their story on the issue!). Self magazine recently published the results of survey that showed ’65 percent of American women are disordered eaters.” MSNBC published this story on the survey:

The disorder next door: Alarming eating habits

SELF poll reveals 65 percent of American women are disordered eaters

By Tula Karras, SELF

SELF’s groundbreaking survey reveals that more than six in 10 women are disordered eaters. Another one in 10 has an eating disorder. Find out if you’re at risk and how to get healthier, starting today:

Michelle Marsh, 32, of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, seems like the perfect dieter. If you ran into the 5-foot-1-inch, 103-pound marketing specialist checking food labels for calories in the supermarket or powering through one of her seven weekly workouts, you’d envy her ability to control her intake and burn off any excess, too. But Marsh, who had her first baby nine months ago and is now below her pre-pregnancy weight (“I’m the tiniest I’ve ever been!” she says), could be the poster girl for an unrecognized epidemic among women: disordered eating.

No, she doesn’t starve herself to an unnatural weight (like anorexics) or throw up daily (like some bulimics), but she doesn’t seem to have a healthy relationship with food or her body, either. “I spend about half my time thinking about food and meal planning,” she says, although her meals don’t require much planning — she usually restricts herself to the same foods every day (oatmeal, brown rice and two small corn tortillas with chicken and a sweet potato). “I weigh myself every morning, and if the scale goes up a pound, I exercise more. If I gained 5 pounds, I’d be very upset.”

To read the rest of the story, go to http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/24295957/. They even have tips at the end of the story for moving away from disordered eating and achieving healthy weight loss, if it’s in your cards. The tips echo what we’ve been saying at Green Mountain at Fox Run for years. It’s nice to know they’ve gone mainstream.

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About the Author

Marsha Hudnall, MS, RDN, CD

If you’re looking for an embodiment of dedication disguised as obsession, look no further. Marsha is a registered dietitian who has spent the last four decades working to help women give up dieting rules and understand how to truly take care of themselves. Her mission in life is to help women learn to enjoy eating and living well, without worries about their weight. She encourages women to embrace their love of food, which you might call being a foodie. If so, it’s appropriate because being a foodie means you pay attention when you eat. That’s a recipe made in heaven for eating well. Marsha is the President and Co-Owner of Green Mountain at Fox Run.

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