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Dangerous Resolutions

January 11, 2018
by Anna Veltri , Emmetsburg News

It's the time of year for resolutions. Time to start that new diet or increase your hours at the gym. Unfortunately, this time of the year is often very dangerous for some individuals. Weight loss resolutions can lead to obsession, which can lead to eating disorders.

Anorexia nervosa and Bulimia nervosa are illnesses that affect nearly eight million Americans. Anorexia nervosa is characterized by weight loss and difficulty maintaining weight due to intentionally low calorie consumption. Bulimia nervosa is described as a person that may binge on food and then take measures to rid their body of the contents of their stomach whether through vomiting or laxative abuse.

Anorexia and bulimia are cited as having the highest mortality rate of any other mental illness.

According to, an eating disorder treatment facility, nearly 10% of college students are plagued with these eating disorders. The desperation to be perfect and thin can be all consuming. Many college students that live on campus are living away from home for the first time. This newfound freedom allows them to select when to eat, what to eat, and who to eat with, but as you can imagine, without parents observing eating patterns, a person may easily be able to skip meals without anyone noticing.

Those that suffer from the disorder often hide it by wearing especially baggy clothes. A person with anorexia or bulimia may talk often and frequently of food or avoid the conversation all together. A person with an eating disorder may also begin to spend dangerous amounts of time exercising as a way to burn off calories.

As a girl that has struggled with both anorexia and bulimia at different times in my life, I can personally attest to how difficult this time of year can be for anyone weight obsessed. Everything becomes about the number on the scale. Even when the number you've worked towards appears, it is still not good enough.

In college, I began a slow fall into the world of disordered eating. As many of you know, I'm a tall girl, so I obviously weigh more than someone six inches shorter than me. Still hearing these girls share their weights became detrimental to my health. At swim practice, my coach would periodically weigh us. These weigh-ins may have been the worst for my self-esteem. I had a normal BMI, I was swimming 20+ hours a week competitively, but my coach was on me about losing weight. I began eating merely one meal a day. At first that meal was a regular sized supper from the school dining hall. Quickly, though, this wasn't enough to drop the weight. I restricted myself to a 500 calorie a day diet. I tracked my calorie intake in my planner with my homework assignments. I felt horrible, I was hungry and tired, but that wasn't enough to stop me. I weighed myself upwards of five times a day to make sure I hadn't gained any weight. I continued this behavior for months. Eventually, this took a toll on my body. My competition times slowed down as I wasn't fueling my body properly. One evening while working on homework, I started shaking and sweating uncontrollably; my vision became completely black. I had to yell to my roommate to help me. I got a small amount of food in me and immediately began to feel better. I convinced my roommate that I was fine, but at that point I knew I was truly hurting myself.

I sought help for my eating disorder as well as anxiety and depression. I have continued to struggle on and off my entire adult life with eating and scale obsession. As someone that made many resolutions to lose weight, I ask everyone to evaluate whether it is the right resolution for you. It's important to properly research diet and exercise methods that are healthy. It's all too easy to become consumed with the numbers on that scale.



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