We're bombarded daily by the statistic that too many Americans — nearly two-thirds — are overweight or obese. And while excess weight is a risk factor for everything from cancer to cardiovascular disease to infertility, we may be shooting ourselves in the foot when it comes to fighting our obsession with food.
In a time of aging baby boomers, staying healthy — and attractive — is literally a booming industry. More than ever before, women and men are trying to fight the signs of aging and keep the body they had when they were in their twenties. The result? Adult-onset eating disorders may be on the rise.
Statistics generally indicate that 86 percent of eating disorders develop by the age of 20, but today those numbers demand a second look. A survey by Cornell University found that the number of women in their forties who were hospitalized for an eating disorder is also on the rise. As women see their bodies changing with age, many start severely limiting their diets to hang onto youth.
Furthermore, when it comes to poor self-image and eating disorders, your relationship with your partner isn’t the only one you need to worry about, as it turns out that your kids may inherit more than just your genes. Teens who see their mothers on an unending quest to be thin may be more likely to obsess about their own weight and diet. If a mom's attitude about being in shape is unhealthy, it can lead to damaging food behaviors in her kids. Make sure you are sending the right message to your children — put the focus on their health, not their weight!
Fortunately, you don’t have to look like Natalie Portman in order to enjoy a healthy sex life. Instead of stressing over reaching the perfect weight, make it your goal to simply take good care of your body and your mind. Discover activities that make you feel good and look good at the same time, like rock-climbing, skiing, or dance classes. Ditch your inhibitions in the bedroom by trying something new, like having sex in a new position or wearing a daring new piece of lingerie. There are so many flattering and comfortable brands of lingerie out there, and with such a wide variety of colors and styles, there really is something for everyone.
It's important to find a way to stay fit without going to an unhealthy extreme. Anorexia, bulimia, and excessive exercise all, ironically, accelerate the aging process. If you or someone close to you seems to be engaging in unhealthy food or exercise behaviors, know that eating disorders may not be just a young woman's struggle anymore — and that you should seek help from a doctor or therapist to ensure good health for years to come.