Women & Eating Disorders

Women and Eating Disorders

Finding peace in your mind and body is difficult for women in a society that still widely perceives thinness and small dress sizes aspirational.

Even though there have been successful campaigns to challenge this stigma, we live in a world where messages flood our mind on a daily basis and slim is good, fat is bad. It is no wonder that eating disorders are more prevalent in women than ever.

Eating disorders can affect adult females of all age groups and result from various reasons that include child abuse, poor self-esteem, childhood obesity and societal pressure. Evidence shows that there is especially a rise in eating disorders among women in their 40s and 50s, who feel pressure to maintain a young look.

At WeightMatters we support you in challenging your internal world so you can feel more skilled and confident in being able to challenge your relationship with food and your body, which can help you feel more at ease in your external world.

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Women and Anorexia

Women usually develop anorexia in their early or late teen years. Anorexia can emerge as a coping mechanism to deal with stress and pressure associated with the transition from adolescence to adulthood. Certain life events and situations, such as feeling suffocated in interpersonal relationships, can generate feeling out of control. Anorexia becomes a safe place where women can feel contained and in control.

Women and Bulimia

Women may develop bulimia due to their desire to stay slim inspired by cultural messages that promote being thin. Purging becomes a way of coping with the distress and guilt associated with eating food.

After a while, purging can become an addictive habit due to the relief one can feel due to chemicals released in the body. Excessive exercise has also become an increasingly common way of relieving feelings of distress.

Women and Binge Eating

Women can develop binge eating habits as result of poor emotional management, low self-esteem and depression. Food is seen as a way of comforting negative feelings and escaping from aversive life situations.

Binge eating disorder is often associated with weight gain and obesity, which can further generate feelings of low self-worth, and thus perpetuating the binge eating behaviour.

Body Image and Eating Disorders in Women

Body image refers to how we perceive our body. Our body perception evolves throughout our lifespan and it is influenced by societal and cultural factors.

Today media falsely represents an ‘ideal’ body portrait which women try to adhere to, creating unrealistic expectations.

As a result, many women show distorted body image, or negative body image, as they incorrectly perceive themselves to be fatter, or uglier than they really are.

In many situations, these body image issues can lead to disordered eating behaviour or eating disorders.

Evidence suggests that there is a relationship between eating disorders and distorted body image. Body dissatisfaction can lead to restrictive dieting and over-exercising, in order for women to lose weight and thus feel better about their appearance and their body.

This extreme occupation with what they eat and how much they weigh can often lead to disordered eating patterns and even eating disorders such as anorexia, bulimia, binge eating or orthorexia. It is very important, therefore, for treatment interventions to focus on how women think about and perceive their body.

Treatment for Women with Eating Disorders

We invite you to explore our services for Women with Eating Disorders

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