Though eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia are typically associated with teenagers and young adults, researchers caution parents that children between 8 and 12 years old who are difficult eaters could have lurking psychological issues.
Saya Holden suffered from an eating disorder when she was only 12 years old, due to self image and wanting to look like others.
The 21 year old McMaster University student says “I didn’t even know I had an eating disorder, I sub-cautiously picked up on my best friends eating habits because she was so skinny and I wanted to look like her. Little did I know she had an eating disorder.”
After four years of battling this mental illness, with countless visits to SickKids, Saya decided to fight and realized that she had a choice to live.
“I was in a hospital bed dying, I was so skinny that I couldn’t stand or walk, and then I realized that this was not the lifestyle I wanted to live anymore. I also saw lots of kids with cancer and tumours who didn’t have a choice to live, but I did.”
Since Saya has recovered she is an advocate for #BellLetsTalk and believes that speaking up and getting help as soon as possible is the best decision.
“Recovery is a beautiful thing, and you don’t have to let your eating disorder be the life that you live, don’t let it dictate your life.” -Saya Holden
Registered Dietitian at Health Zone in London Ontario, Tatiana Piper sees numerous patients who have eating disorders, she says that an eating disorder is a mental illness that is in most cases triggered by a past event.
She also mentions that those with an eating disorder need to seek help but do not need to be forced or pressured as this will make them turn around and not want to go.
An individual suffering from anorexia nervosa may reveal one or several signs and symptoms such as:
- Chronic restrictive eating or dieting, beyond the norm
- Rapidly losing weight or being significantly underweight and emaciated
- Obsession with calories and fat contents of food
- Engaging in ritualistic eating patterns, such as cutting food into tiny pieces, eating alone, and/or hiding food
As 2018 continues on, social media is becoming more and more popular and is the most influential it has ever been.
“A lot of people become obsessed with looking a certain way; like Instagram models and social media in general”
Health Zone sees many success stories, and patients overcome their eating disorder. Tatiana says “It is really nice to see people come over their eating disorder and get better.”