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Summer Weather Aggravates Negative Body Perceptions

Wednesday, May 19, 2010 General News J E 4
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CHICAGO, May 19 /PRNewswire/ -- During the warm weather season, negative body perceptions are aggravated for many people. Clothing is thinner and less substantial, increasing feelings of inadequacy which manifest as poor body image. It is during this time that men and women sometimes take drastic measures to try and get their bodies to an "ideal" size they feel comfortable showing off in the summer – and these drastic measures can lead to serious eating disorders.  

"Many people begin the warm-weather season thinking they need to lose a few pounds to look good. They may go on a crash diet or begin a cycle of binging and purging," said Kimberly Dennis, M.D., medical director at Timberline Knolls Residential Treatment Center, a 43-acre residential treatment center for women and adolescent girls suffering from eating disorders, substance abuse and other co-occurring disorders. "Positive reinforcement of this sudden weight loss by peers could cause a person to feel like he or she must maintain that type of body to feel good about him or herself, and this can trigger or reinforce eating disorder behaviors."

Even when someone does lose weight to fit into that swimsuit, if he or she is not comfortable from the inside out they will never feel good in anything they wear. As people continue to lose weight and receive praise, they feel they need to keep going and keep losing weight – which quickly turns into a full-blown eating disorder. Watching for warning signs of an eating disorder during these months leading up to the summer is crucial for loved ones and friends – and not being afraid to talk to someone if you suspect they have a problem. Anorexia nervosa has the highest premature mortality rate of any psychiatric disorder, so the earlier it is addressed, the more likely the individual is to find recovery and begin to work on their own self esteem and body image issues.

Many people who suffer from eating disorders are not clinically overweight – they simply see themselves in a distorted fashion – so it is best to consult with a doctor if you want advice about losing weight. "Eating healthfully one day at a time is the only way to maintain consistent and healthy weight loss if a doctor determines you have a weight issue," said Dr. Dennis. "Crash dieting because you have to fit into a swimsuit this summer is not healthy, nor is it safe."

Most people have difficulty seeing the impact of an unhealthy relationship with food, eating, exercise, or their body fully on their own. If not identified or treated during the early stages, eating disorders can become chronic, debilitating and even life-threatening. Professional help can lead to a greater sense of peace and manageability. Just remember, it's not about what you eat, but rather, what is eating you.

About Timberline Knolls Residential Treatment Center

Timberline Knolls Residential Treatment Center is a residential treatment center located on 43 beautiful acres just outside Chicago, offering a nurturing environment of recovery for women ages 12 and older struggling to overcome eating disorders, substance abuse, mood disorders and co-occurring disorders. By serving with uncompromising care, relentless compassion and an unconditional joyful spirit, we help our residents help themselves in their recovery. For more information visit www.timberlineknolls.com or call 877.257.9611.

SOURCE Timberline Knolls Residential Treatment Center

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