Did you know that adolescents who were once obese are at increased risk of eating disorders? (See recent Mayo Clinic Study). On the positive side, they are at a better weight, but crazy methods of losing it set them up for a struggle.
This is no surprise to me. It gets back to what we already know: if dieting means extreme measures to create quick weight loss – not a comfortable change of lifestyle – it will be difficult to keep the weight off. Panic and fear of regaining can hold the disordered patterns in place, leading to often undiagnosed issues in previously obese teens.
Of course, if there is treatment early enough, the outcome can be different. The trick is to identify an eating disorder in an overweight adolescent – it is not always obvious.
The CDC previously reported that 55% of high school girls and 30% of boys report “disordered eating symptoms” to lose weight, such as diet pills, vomiting, laxatives, fasting and binge-eating. Wow! That’s a lot of unhappiness . . . and unhealthiness too.
I’ve never seen an eating disorder that didn’t begin with a conscientious effort to diet. – Leslie Sim of the eating disorders program at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota and lead author of the study.
I could not have said it better. At any age, crazy dieting with no long-term lifestyle focus makes people unhappy and unhealthy. I am not against people losing weight to improve their health. It is the approach that determines whether it is healthy or not. Subtle difference? Not really! It makes a world of difference.