By Ciarán Mather
Positive body image organisation Bodywhys will be hosting a series of helpful webinars this week that tackle the issue of eating disorders.
The group, also known as the Eating Disorders Association of Ireland, is hosting the events just in time for Eating Disorders Week 2021, which will run from the 1st to the 7th of March.
In particular, the theme for this year will be Binge Eating.
For binge-eating, symptoms may include:
Eating much more rapidly than normal
Eating until feeling uncomfortably full
Eating large amounts of food when not feeling physically hungry
Eating alone because of being embarrassed by how much one is eating
Feeling disgusted with oneself, depressed, or very guilty after overeating
📢 Friday March 5th, we're launching a new detailed report about people's experiences of eating disorders in Ireland. With thanks to @NOSPIreland & researcher @DrNiamhMcNamara. All welcome. ➡️ Book your place https://t.co/S9AvR5DihJ #EDAW2021 pic.twitter.com/QfgQutY4SL— Bodywhys (@bodywhys) February 26, 2021
Other topics that will be discussed in the webinars relating to eating disorders will include Autism and the COVID-19 pandemic.
Founded in 1995, Bodywhys says that its mission is 'to ensure support, awareness and understanding of eating disorders amongst the wider community as well as advocating for the rights and healthcare needs of people affected by eating disorders.'
The causes of eating disorders range from biological (genetics, starvation), to psychological and social factors.
Conditions that Bodywhys helps people with include: bulimia, anorexia nervosa and binge-eating.
Some notable symptoms of bulimia include:
Making yourself vomit after eating
Using laxatives to make yourself use the toilet after eating
Exercising too much
Fasting or starving yourself after binge eating
Worrying about putting on weight all the time
In the case of anorexia nervosa, symptoms can include:
Missing meals, eating very little or avoiding eating any foods you see as fattening
Lying about what and when you've eaten, and how much you weigh
Taking medication to reduce your hunger (appetite suppressants)
Making yourself sick
An overwhelming fear of gaining weight
It is estimated that around 188,895 people in Ireland will experience an eating disorder at some point in their lives, while approximately 1,757 new cases occur in Ireland each year in the 10-49 age group.
Bodywhys notably offers individuals three key elements to remember about eating disorders.
Firstly, an eating disorder is not primarily about food – this is one part and it is how the emotional distress and turmoil manifests itself.
Secondly, an eating disorder is a destructive coping mechanism, so stopping/letting it go/trying to recover is frightening, difficult and will trigger resistance.
Lastly, people can and do recover from eating disorders.
The full list of webinars and emails to secure places can be found by clicking here.
If you have been affected by the issues raised in this article, you can call Bodywhys' helpline at 01 210 7906 or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Further information about the group's support can be found here.
Younger people may wish to avail of the ISPCC Support Line, which is available at 01 676 7690.