You may remember this article I wrote a few years back on Eating Disorders in Midlife. In it, I discussed a wonderful book by Margo Maine, Ph.D, “The Body Myth: Adult Women and the Pressure to be Perfect”. Unfortunately, I am seeing more and more women ages 30+ in my practise who are struggling with disordered eating and the statistics for women in midlife suffering from eating disorders continues to rise. Luckily, there is help out there if you happen to be in this category.
One of my favourite eating disorder experts, Cynthia Bulik, Ph.D, a clinical psychologist and director of the University of North Carolina Center of Excellence for Eating Disorders, has just come out with a book designed to help midlife women recover from eating disorders. It’s called “Midlife Eating Disorders: Your Journey to Recovery”.
Here’s an overview of this promising new self-help guide from the book’s website for midlife women who suffer from disordered eating:
In most people’s minds, “eating disorder” conjures images of a thin, white, upper-middle-class teenage girl. The eating disorder landscape has changed. Countless men and women in midlife and beyond, from all ethnic backgrounds, also struggle with anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, purging disorder, and binge eating disorder. Some people have suffered since youth; others relapsed in midlife, often after a stressor such as infidelity, divorce, death of a loved one, menopause, or retirement. Still others experience eating disorder symptoms for the first time in midlife.
Primary care physicians, ob-gyns, and other practitioners may overlook these disorders in adults or, even worse, demean them for not having outgrown these adolescent problems. Treatments for adults must acknowledge and address the unique challenges faced by those middle-aged or older. Midlife Eating Disorders—a landmark book—guides adults in understanding “Why me?” and “Why now?” It shows a connection between the rise in midlife eating disorders and certain industries that foster discontent with the natural aging process. It also gives readers renewed hope by explaining how to overcome symptoms and access resources and support. Dr. Bulik also helps partners and family members develop compassion for those who suffer from eating disorders—and helps health professionals appreciate the nuances associated with detecting and treating midlife eating disorders.
Here is one reviewer’s take on the book:
“First, the bad news. The prevalence of some adult eating disorders is increasing, and these disorders can be deadly. But the good news, according to Bulik, is that remission and even recovery from eating disorders is “possible at any age.” She reviews the causes, features, and age-appropriate treatments of midlife eating disorders from anorexia nervosa to binge eating disorder, bulimia nervosa, and purging disorder. She explores some of the challenges facing adults with eating problems, including parenting, intimacy, pregnancy, and breast-feeding. Low self-esteem often accompanies this set of illnesses, and personal relationships are impacted. Psychotherapy and medication are treatment options. Bulik lays lots of blame on such billion-dollar industries as Big Food, Big Beverage, Big Diet, Big Fashion, and Big Pharma for creating a culture where people feel bad about themselves no matter their age. Her sensitive and steady approach to eating disorders comes with prudent advice: be patient and compassionate. Eat regularly and in moderation. Practice honesty. Seek support.”