This year, National Eating Disorders Awareness Week was held February 22 to February 28, 2015. But let us not forget the goal of groups like the National Eating Disorders Association — that this awareness can be spread every day.
The theme for NEDAwareness Week this year is “I Had No Idea,” which focuses on the “importance of early intervention and recognizing the diverse experiences of people personally affected by disordered eating,” according to NEDA’s website.
This awareness for eating disorders, such as anorexia and even the unofficial pregorexia, includes understanding the beginning warning signs and symptoms of eating disorders that are often overlooked as insignificant behaviors, according to NEDA.
Pregorexia is an unofficial eating disorder that closely resembles anorexia nervosa.
According to Dr. Kimberly Dennis, the CEO and medical director of Timberline Knolls Residential Treatment Center, pregorexia is “the emergence, re-emergence or continuation of symptoms of anorexia during the time when a woman is pregnant (and also postpartum).”
Jessica Setnick is a registered dietitian, author of “The ADA Pocket Guide to Eating Disorders,” and senior fellow at Remuda Ranch at The Meadows (an eating disorder treatment center). She wants women to know that it’s important to talk to a health professional if they begin to have thoughts related to their weight that are frightening, intrusive, obsessive and start to affect their behaviors.
A good starting point is a dietitian who specializes in eating disorders, even if you don’t have a diagnosed eating disorder currently.
“That is the person who can help you separate what is real from what is fear and point you in the right direction,” Setnick said.
“Dietitians are very good at asking the right questions to determine if an issue is food-related or something better suited to a counselor or doctor.”
Dennis wants all women to know during this awareness week that recovery from any eating disorder is possible, even during pregnancy. Recovery means the eating disorder won’t influence your thoughts, life and actions anymore.
She added that women can live an abundant and full life, and continue on their path to supreme physical health, including emotional and spiritual growth.
“You don't have to miss out on the joys and awe of being pregnant due to slipping back into an eating disorder,” Dennis said.
“Extra support may be necessary due to the over-focus most medical professionals have on making sure women don't gain too much weight or eat too much during pregnancy as well as the focus they have on encouraging people to continue exercising.”
Dennis, Kim. Email interview. February 6, 2015.
Setnick, Jessica. Email interview. February 6, 2015.
National Eating Disorders Association. National Eating Disorders Awareness Week. About #NEDAwareness Week. Web. February 25, 2015.
Reviewed February 27, 2015
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith