Posts Tagged “Bulimia”
Understanding Eating Disorders in the Hispanic & Latinx Community
Our society continues to perpetuate the myth that eating disorders are an issue primarily affecting young, thin white women. While research on eating disorders in marginalized groups has improved, our society has a long way to go to truly understand the scope of eating disorders within underserved populations. For example, though rates of binge eating disorder and bulimia nervosa in the Hispanic community are often the same or greater than in non-Hispanic white communities, they often go undetected due to stereotypes about eating disorders (Alegria et al., 2007).
Racism is embedded in the world at large and trickles down to national and state levels, institutions, policies, procedures, and systems of care. Its presence also heavily predicts both mental and physical health outcomes. By educating ourselves on the lived experiences of Hispanic and Latinx Americans and learning how racism operates within the systems that provide services, we can build our collective cultural humility and ultimately improve access to care and health outcomes for this community.
Read on to learn the prevalence of eating disorders in the Hispanic and Latinx population, the factors that influence the development of these illnesses, and the barriers to treatment for this community.
How Healthcare Providers Can Identify Eating Disorders in People of Color
Eating disorders have stereotypically been associated with slim, white, young, heterosexual, cisgender women. In reality, eating disorders can affect anyone, regardless of how they look or identify. Eating disorders are brain-based biological illnesses that have complex causes and require specialized care. However, the stereotypical idea of someone with an eating disorder has serious ramifications on who is diagnosed and who then receives proper treatment.
Consequences of the Thin, White Woman Stereotype
Historically, there has been a misconception that eating disorders affect only thin, young, white females. Early research was conducted on only white women, which led people to believe eating disorders were only a white woman’s disease. Despite most providers now knowing that this is false, the initial belief had serious implications for eating disorder treatment today.
This initial stereotype became ingrained in the larger society, with both patients and healthcare providers working under the assumption that eating disorders only happened in certain individuals. Not only did this lead to providers missing eating disorder diagnoses in people of color, but it also caused people of color to question if they really had disordered eating that was worthy of treatment.
What is Purging?
**Content warning: This post includes discussion of purging behaviors. Please use your discretion when reading and speak with your support system as needed.
A characteristic of certain kinds of eating disorders is a behavior called purging. The act of purging is often used as a way of compensating for food intake in order to influence body weight or shape. Purging is not specific to one kind of eating disorder and can occur in those experiencing bulimia, anorexia, and OSFED (Other Specified Feeding or Eating Disorder). This behavior is very serious and requires professional help.
In this blog, we will discuss different types of purging, warning signs, physical effects, and treatment options.
Episode 69: Mindful Self-Compassion with Erin Werner
Erin Werner is a mental health administrator, student, makeup artist, and ordained minister who enjoys being present with her family, cooking, and baking. In this episode of Peace Meal, she shares her eating disorder experience, including the factors that contributed to her illness, her process of seeking help, and the power of mindful self-compassion in her recovery.
Erin recounts her struggle with multiple eating disorders, illnesses that were characterized by bingeing, restricting, and purging throughout her adolescence and into her 20s. She then explains how, with the help of her parents, she started therapy and learned to identify the factors and co-occurring issues that were masking and influencing these conditions. Over time and with professional help, she learned the skill of mindful self-compassion, which was critical to her recovery. She shares how she has developed better coping mechanisms through the practice of self-compassion and overall feels more at peace with herself, her body, and food. In addition to finding a passion for cooking, she can now see food for what it is, fuel for the body.
Strategies for Grocery Shopping in Eating Disorder Recovery
The average number of products in a grocery store tops 28,000, according to the Food Marketing Institute. It’s enough to overwhelm any shopper. For those with eating disorders, the tremendous selection can further heighten difficulties with food and make grocery shopping an errand that is anything but enjoyable.
Food is a common preoccupation and trigger in eating disorders of all types, including anorexia, bulimia, binge eating disorder, and OSFED. Thoughts of food often consume the day, as do rules of what, when, and how much should be eaten. The abundance of food at the grocery store can exacerbate these thoughts, sparking significant anxiety, fear, and distress upon entry. Factor in the store aisles awash with food labels and fellow shoppers commenting on food, and it’s no surprise that the grocery store is a highly stressful environment for those with eating disorders.
In this article, we provide several strategies for grocery shopping in eating disorder recovery. Learn how to navigate the shelves in person or virtually, and ensure you check out with items that serve your recovery.
Food Fight Club: A Q&A with Rosalyn Sheehy
**Content warning: This is one person’s story; everyone will have unique experiences in recovery and beyond. Some stories may mention eating disorder thoughts, behaviors, or symptom use. Please use your own discretion when reading and speak with your support system as needed.
In this Q&A, author Rosalyn Sheehy tells us about her latest book, Food Fight Club: Rules to Beat Bulimia. Learn the personal story behind the book and what she hopes readers will take away from it.
Tell us about Food Fight Club!
Food Fight Club is the essential handbook on beating bulimia—I simply had to write and share my tips. I suffered with bulimia for too many years, as a teen and into my 20s. I remember buying a book on bulimia years ago and tearing off the front cover; the B-word offended me, and I didn’t want anyone to know about my struggles. I felt the need to address this shame and secrecy. Back then I was absolutely terrified someone would find out and “report” my behavior. Bulimia is terribly isolating and dangerous. I have to warn people of the dangers too.