Preventing Eating Disorders in Women with PCOS
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Did you know just having PCOS puts a woman at risk for an eating disorder?
Binge eating, purging, engaging in excessive exercise and avoidance of eating
are common distorted eating methods women with PCOS may use to control
their weight and feelings. The main reason so many women with PCOS develop
eating disorders is because the syndrome itself has a direct impact on body
image and overall quality of life. Excessive and out of control weight gain;
problems with acne, hair growth and balding can all have a serious impact on a
woman's self-esteem. It's important to get help if an eating disorder is suspected
as eating disorders are life-threatening.
The following are some ways parents and loved ones can help prevent eating
disorders in women with PCOS:
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- Educate yourself and other family members and friends about PCOS.
- Recognize that insulin is a growth hormone that promotes weight gain and makes it difficult to lose weight.
- Recognize that genetics determines body size and learn to be a critical viewer of the media and messages that promote thinness.
- Accept your own body size and shape. Avoid making negative comments about your own body, or at least keep them to yourself.
- Abandon the idea that losing weight will lead to happiness and fulfillment.
- Don't tease them about their weight, body shape or looks. Even seemingly friendly nicknames can be hurtful if they focus on some aspect of her appearance.
- Avoid classifying foods as 'good' or 'bad'.
- Do not become the food police. Avoid making comments on someone's food choices.
- Never lock up food.
- Have a variety of healthy food options available on a daily basis.
- Limit the amount of processed and packaged foods brought into the home.
- Compliment your loved one for her accomplishments, skills, efforts, talents, and personal values.
- Listen to their concerns about body shape and appearance. Focus on positive efforts she is making to be healthy.
- Be a role model: support your loved one by getting regular physical activity and eating a variety of healthy foods yourself. Parents are the most influential source over their child's eating habits.
- If you think someone you love has an eating disorder, approach her gently but firmly encourage her to get professional help from a therapist and dietitian who specialize in eating disorders.