By: Ashley Hemrich, M.A., Regional Director of Clinical Partnerships
Congratulations! We made it through another year! With the endless possibilities of the new year, we are often bombarded with “New Year, New You” resolutions.
According to PBS News, about 44% of Americans will make resolutions this year, with a vast majority of them involving weight, mostly to lose it through extreme diet fads and unrealistic fitness regimens. The diet culture has become quite normalized in our society. Just turn on your television or scroll through your social media feeds; these messages are everywhere shaming us into thinking we need to change our exterior to love our interior. This practice is even reaching adolescents as young as nine years old. According to the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 46% of nine to eleven-year-olds report going on diets, while 82% of their families are “sometimes” or “very often” on diets. With the growing diet fads, it is also not surprising we spend more money on diet culture each year. According to the U.S. Weight Loss & Diet Control Market, commercial weight loss programs were worth $2.77 billion in 2016 and grew 9.4% in 2017 to reach $3.03 billion. However, on the bright side, the number of active dieters has decreased by 10% since 2015 due to body positivity and body acceptance movements.
When Diets Lead to Eating Disorders
While dieting may not cause eating disorders, it is often a precursor. According to the National Eating Disorders Association, 20-25% of dieters develop eating disorders. Dieting often appears as a way to exercise control over our bodies by limiting our caloric intake, restricting food groups, increasing our fitness routines, and inevitably losing the weight. But what happens when it goes too far, when we lose control? When the projected weight loss number continues to increase, and we become all-consumed in watching the number on the scale decrease? What happens when we use dieting as a distraction or escape from our current reality, in which we lose sight of our true emotions and present issues?
Do you see where I am going with this? All too often, dieting is used to escape from our own insecurities. How many times have you asked yourself or someone else, “If just lost weight, would I feel better about myself”? Sure, this may work for some and I am not saying that losing a few pounds here and there could be helpful in some ways. What I am saying is that sometimes we become consumed in this “drive for thinness,” which can be quite detrimental to our bodies and our lives. Let’s face it, Anorexia Nervosa has the highest mortality rate of any psychological disorder, claiming a death rate of 12 times higher than ALL causes of death in females 15-24 years of age.
At Selah House, we treat women and adolescents (age 12+) who are struggling with an eating disorder. Our comprehensive, evidence-based approach contributes to meeting the medical, nutritional, psychological, spiritual, social, and emotional needs of each client. We meet each client where they are in their journey and provide necessary individual and group therapeutic techniques that contribute to the overall healing and transformation of each client.
Let’s Change Things Up!
What if we decided that this year would be a little different? What if we decided that this year, we would shake up our resolutions to embark on journeys of self-discovery, self-compassion, or at the very least, take back control of our lives. Yes, you guessed it: Resolutions that do not revolve around weight and size.
Let’s check out a few favorites and attainable ideas from our Selah House Family:
- Make yourself a priority
- Give the present of presence
- Prioritize face-to-face friendships
- Make time for creativity
- Love what you see in the mirror
- Learn from others
- Add memories, not things
- Give unto others without expectation for reward
- Find beauty in simplicity
- Choose one (1) word or mantra to guide your year
At Selah House, we encourage our clients to express and explore thoughts and behaviors that have contributed to their eating disorder. Our goal is to help each client develop skills and techniques that will help them to manage their emotions in a healthy way as they recover. We work with our clients to develop an individualized program that meets their individual needs, setting them on a path for a successful, long-term recovery.
We wish you and your family a safe and blessed new year. If you or a loved one is struggling with an eating disorder, Selah House can help. Please contact us today at 866-324-8081 or complete our contact form for more information.