Americans’ top 2013 New Year’s resolution is to become more physically fit and the fourth most popular resolution is to lose weight, according to a recent survey published by Franklin Covey. Because dieting and over-exercise are two activities that commonly contribute to the development of eating disorders, Eating Recovery Center, an international center providing comprehensive treatment for eating disorders, cautions against diving headfirst into a resolution focused on reducing body size, particularly for individuals with a family history of eating disorders.
“Eating disorders have a strong genetic component, and seemingly harmless – even seemingly healthy – New Year’s diet, exercise and weight loss regimens can quickly spiral out of control, especially for someone who has a family history of disordered eating thoughts and behaviors,” said Bonnie Brennan, MA, LPC, clinical director of the adult partial hospitalization program at Eating Recovery Center.
To reduce risks for eating disorders development related to 2013 weight loss goals, Eating Recovery Center recommends turning the focus away from changing perceived shortcomings in appearance and instead focusing on prioritizing the things in life that you value. More often than not, these resolutions emphasize how you feel rather than how you look, and can include:
- Be more kind and compassionate to yourself. Practice at least one method of self-care daily, even if you have to schedule it into your day. Pamper yourself with a hot bath, a yoga class or a manicure, or simply spend some time journaling or practicing a hobby that brings joy or special value to your life.
- Treat yourself as you treat others. Make a point to practice the “golden rule” on yourself. Try to not be as hard on yourself this year, and remember that you deserve happiness, just like everyone else.
- Try one new activity or take one small risk each month. Gradually approach your fears and try new experiences in life to broaden opportunities for enjoyment and engagement with others.
- Ask for help more often. Do not be afraid to let someone know when you need a shoulder to lean on, a supportive ear to talk to or even just a friendly hug. Although others may not be able to “fix” your struggles, you do not have to be alone as you explore your feelings and frustrations.
- Take time to appreciate the beauty around you. Practice mindfulness and commit to being present in the moment. Celebrate the wonders of the world around you by spending time in nature or with supportive family and friends, both of which can be grounding and peaceful when you feel stressed and chaotic.
While New Year’s resolutions that emphasize feeling good over looking good can support a life of balance, not all appearance-focused resolutions are harmful or dangerous. However, severely restricting calories to an unhealthy level, engaging in an excessive and rigid exercise regimen, withdrawing from family and friends, displaying extreme anxiety about gaining weight or “being fat,” or bingeing and purging behaviors in the pursuit of a weight loss-centric resolution can indicate the development of an eating disorder.
“If a friend or loved one begins exhibiting troubling weight loss behaviors in the execution of his or her New Year’s resolutions, it is important to seek help as quickly as possible,” said Brennan. “Early intervention significantly increases the chances of lasting eating disorders recovery.”
About Eating Recovery Center
Eating Recovery Center is an international center providing comprehensive treatment for anorexia, bulimia, EDNOS and binge eating disorder. Under the personal guidance and care of Drs. Kenneth Weiner, Craig Johnson, Emmett Bishop and Ovidio Bermudez, programs provide a full spectrum of services for children, adolescents and adults that includes Inpatient, Residential, Partial Hospitalization, Intensive Outpatient and Outpatient Services. Our compassionate team of professionals collaborates with treating professionals and loved ones to cultivate lasting behavioral change. Denver-based facilities include the Behavioral Hospital for Adults, the Behavioral Hospital for Children and Adolescents, the Partial Hospitalization Program and Outpatient Services for Adults, and the Partial Hospitalization Program for Children and Adolescents. In an effort to increase patient access to care throughout the United States, Eating Recovery Center partners with Summit Eating Disorders and Outreach Program in Sacramento, Calif., and The Moore Center for Eating Disorders in Bellevue, Wash. Summit offers Partial Hospitalization and Outpatient Services as well as Intensive Outpatient and Outpatient Services in Fresno and Roseville. The Moore Center offers Partial Hospitalization, Intensive Outpatient and Outpatient Services. For more information, please contact us at 877-218-1344 or info@EatingRecoveryCenter.com or confidentially chat live on our website at www.EatingRecoveryCenter.com.