Well maybe you don’t have to change your relationship with food but a lot of people are looking endlessly for the quick fix to change their affinity for food. Why else would the “diet” industry have Americans spending 40 billion a year on weight loss products and programs? 40 billion dollars. The Diet Industry: A Big Fat Lie

Having spent over 12 years in my own health food stores listening to the general public’s needs and desires I can tell you this; they are sick and tired of being whatever weight they are (not everyone looking to lose weight is overweight) and they want it to change right now.

I call it the silver bullet mentality- actually the natural silver bullet mentality. Many of the customers looking for a fix in the health food store would never dream of taking a pharmaceutical even over the counter silver bullet, they want the natural one right now!

My point is the public still after all these years wants a quick fix to be in swimsuit shape . Obviously, they are spending those hard earned 40 billion dollars a year chasing after the same thing they chased and never caught the year before.

What is this, dare I call it an addiction to the quick fix, perfect, hard, non aging body? How did we get here? Where are we going?

Gina Ryan, CN

For many people food has become a science, something to calculate and keep track of rather than a natural and joyful process. There is of course a place for wise and healthful choices in our meals and the planning of them. Yet when thoughs of food rule the day it is time to take a good hard look at what is going on.

For whatever your reason may be if thinking about food and your next meal or meals has become a dread you may be on your way to an abnormal relationship with food. At the extreme this can become a disorder an Eating Disorder also known as ED. Has food has finally gotten you down and you no longer look forward or even crave your favorite foods any more because you have fears or doubts about the content of everything you eat? Perhaps you have the flip side of the same coin and cannot control your eating and once you start you simply find it impossible to stop.

Eating Disorders affect approximately 5- 10 million girls and women, and 1 million boys and men in the US and are very serious left untreated. With the increase of focus on body image in men and boys now they are unfortunately are increasing in numbers very rapidly. As with most disorders the earlier the problem is detected the better.

Here is a look at some symptoms that may be cause for concern:

*Negative Self Esteem-You feel bad about yourself and feel you are not a good person.

*Negative Body Image- You think your body is disgusting and feel uncomfortable to think of people looking at you. You generally try to hide your body (wearing baggy clothing, won’t wear a bathing suit etc). You have a distorted view of how your body looks (you think it is much bigger than it really is).

*Feeling Out of Control- You feel no control over your life and actually feel food controls you. Most of your thoughts revolve around food and losing weight.

*Feeling Depressed- Sad and hopeless about your life and the future. You feel like you want to hurt yourself or die.

*Isolation- You no longer involve yourself with friends and family or activities you once enjoyed.

*Restricting Food- You eat smaller and smaller portions and you easily skip meals.

*Binging- You eat large quantities of food in a short amount of time and feel out of control of your behavior.

*Purging- You do things to get rid of the food you did eat. Examples; vomiting, laxatives, over exercising.

Another difficulty with food is Emotional Eating and again this can be a risk factor in developing an eating disorder.

The above symptoms do not necessarily mean you have an eating disorder, it may mean you are at risk for developing an eating disorder and getting help early may make the difference.

Ate-ate-oh ate!

This is what I hear over and over and it is usually with fear, anger and or remorse. My clients comment on what they ate , what they are afraid they ate, how much they ate. There is a huge body of fear around food and what it does to us, or even more painful what our minds tell us it does to us.

I wanted to take this very first post to throw out the question How do you feel about what you ate today?

Let me have the details if you are willing. What you ate and how you felt about it. Was it enjoyable or leaving you filled with fear and the remorse of a binge?

With so much riding on how we look in this society it is no wonder so many have an obsession to either eat and purge or eat only enough to “keep body and soul together” as my mother used to say. Others are so filled with disgust over the possibility of gaining fat or dare I say cellulite they simply must somehow purge the offensive food. If this sounds like I stretch I ask you to keep an open mind as it may be someone close to you living in this nightmare and the more you know the sooner those with full blown Eating Disorders and those simply on their way to one can be seen and heard. The cry is silent as a big part of them does not want to be heard, to be found out and have the life coping skill they have so neatly honed taken away.

Do you have someone in your life you have had concerns about around their food ? The combinations of symptoms and disguises are many and easy to dismiss yet if you have ever had a concern about another or perhaps yourself I am here to tell you that putting the concern out in the open where you can take a good look at it is the beginning to the road to recovery.

Aloha!