Adult Eating Disorder Treatment Juneau AK
By Lynn Ginsburg
hen I was about 14 years old and just beginning my initiation into the mysterious rites of passage toward becoming a woman, one of the very first “secrets”
I learned was how to diet. Here was a way, or so I thought in my innocence, that I could eat whatever I wanted and make up for it later by dieting it all off. How clever were these older women who taught us youngsters how to have our cake and eat it too! As it turned out, not only did I enjoy dieting, with all its deprivations and strict rules, but I had a real talent for it. When I embarked upon a diet, my willpower was resolute and unshakable. But when the diet was over and I’d reached my preferred number on the scale, I couldn’t wait to run into the kitchen and start scarfing down all the foods I’d forbidden myself during the diet. That was how I discovered firsthand what so many women have known throughout the ages—forbidden fruits do taste sweeter.
By the time I’d gotten older, into my late 20s and early 30s, this routine, which had started out as an innocent game, had developed sinister overtones. Now I know the name for what I was doing: yo-yo dieting, which is the practice of losing pounds and regaining them over and over again, moving up and down in weight like a spinning toy on a string. I managed to keep my weight more or less stable into my 40s using this method—it just meant I was perpetually on a diet.
When I looked around at most of the women I knew, both older and younger, I saw a secret society whose members seemed to have the same unspoken agreement (which I personally didn’t recall signing) that looks counted above all else. And I realized that the wish I’d long been secretly harboring—that there would be some age limit on this crazy way of looking at food and my body, some point at which I would finally be old enough to opt out of the whole insanity—was not going to come true. I was going to either have to find my own way out or this could easily go on for the rest of my life.
I now know that I was hardly alone in continuing to face serious food and body issues well into midlife. Conventional wisdom in the medical community used to posit that eating disorders were something that happened only to younger girls, and that most women in their mid-30s would certainly have outgrown them. But now those who specialize in the treatment of eating disorders have come to understand that there is no age limit. Eating disorders can and frequently do occur in women that age and beyond. In fact, for the most part, as happened with me, these are eating disorders that women developed as adolescents or young women and never resolved.
This new definition of eating disorders as a condition that can affect any woman at any age may come as a huge relief to the leagues of older women who thought they were all alone, suffering from a disorder they should have outgrown. The good news? When it comes time for treatment, older women bring a mature perspective on life and...
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