Disordered Eating is Often Overlooked as Potentially Harmful Behavior

There are eating disorders and then there is disordered eating. They sound so similar yet they are very different.

Eating disorders are dangerous for sufferers yet they are diagnosed only in about 3% of the general population. We recognize the names of these disorders: Anorexia Nervosa (AN), Bulimia Nervosa (BN), Binge Eating Disorder (BED) and Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (EDNOS). These clinical disorders have very specific diagnostic criteria that must be met. Unfortunately, some take no diagnosis to mean that they have a healthy relationship with food and wright – but they may not.

What is more common is disordered eating which research shows to be identifiable in 50% of the population. And because the clinical disorder diagnosis isn’t attached to disordered eating (because the symptoms are not as severe) many don’t understand that they are at risk because of their relationship with food and weight.  Disordered eating can develop into an eating disorder if ignored. And even if disordered eating doesn’t reach the diagnosable levels, it can still have adverse health consequences.

Disordered eating isn’t quite as defined as eating disorders are.  Disordered eating is any irregular or unhealthy eating behavior and/or attitude which can (but doesn’t always) stem from a temporary stressor (athletic events, illness, emotional trauma, etc.) In fact, athletes are especially at risk for disordered eating because many are apt to mismanaged fueling which can result in increased risk of injury and/or decreased performance or recovery.

One classification of disordered eating that has been on the rise is the athletic community is Orthorexia Nervosa (ON). These individuals become fixated on eating healthy or consuming the right or clean foods. ON often begins with the desire to improve performance (by enhancing nutrition) – developing into a “good vs. bad” food approach to eating and resulting in missing too many foods or food groups that provides key nutrients. ON individuals’ motivation is often being obsessed with how foods affect their bodies not the fear of weight gain or body fat/body image. One way that you can differentiate ON from healthy eating is the impact that ON has on social life. ON individuals often isolate themselves and avoid situations where food options are not under their control. They spend lots of energy and time thinking about food, planning meals and finding “acceptable” foods.

Of course, red flags of both eating disorders and disordered eating are restrictive dieting and skipping meals, binging and purging and use/abuse of laxatives and/or diet pills.

Signals of Potential Problems

Telltale signs of disordered eating can help to alert to potential health risks. Notice that these signs exhibit extremes in behavior.

  • Chronic yo-yo dieting
  • Anxiety about certain foods or food groups
  • Frequent weight fluctuations
  • Extremely rigid and unhealthy food and exercise regime
  • Obsessive calorie counting
  • Feelings of guilt and shame when unable to maintain food and exercise habits
  • Pre-occupation with food, body and exercise that causes distress and has a negative impact on quality of life
  • Compulsive or emotionally-driven eating
  • Use of compensatory measures, such as exercise, food restriction, fasting and even purging or laxative use to “make up for” food consumed
  • Self-worth or self-esteem based highly or even exclusively on body shape and weight
  • A disturbance in the way one experiences their body (i.e. a person who falls in a healthy weight range but continues to feel that they are overweight)

Harm Caused by Disordered Eating

Many people who suffer with disordered eating patterns either minimize or do not fully realize the impact it has on their mental and physical health. Detrimental consequences can include a greater risk of obesity and eating disorders, bone loss, gastrointestinal disturbances, electrolyte and fluid imbalances, low heart rate and blood pressure, increased anxiety and depression, and social isolation.

Disordered eating is a serious health concern that may be difficult to detect since a person with disordered eating patterns may not display all of the classic symptoms typically identified with eating disorders. It’s important to remember that even a person exhibiting disordered eating habits and behaviors may also be experiencing significant physical, emotional and mental stress.

It’s something that warrants attention and warrants treatment from a registered dietitian nutritionist. Patients referred to dietitians for nutrition counseling are often unaware that they are exhibiting unhealthy signals or that they’re at risk.

Prevention Plan for Disordered Eating

  1. Avoid fad or crash diet – many diets are both too restrictive in terms of quantity and variety and cause a feeling of deprivation and lead to binge eating. It’s healthier to include all foods/food groups in moderation in meal plans.
  2. Set healthy limits on exercise and focus on physical activities that are enjoyable. Perhaps take yoga instead of always burning calories on an elliptical machine.
  3. Stop negative body talk and be mindful of overly critical talk about yourself or your body.
  4. Throw away the scale since one sign of disordered eating is weighing multiple times a day.

More information on eating disorders and disordered eating is available on The National Eating Disorder Association website.

Sources:, Psychology Today, Technique

Make Your Plans for Heart Month

February is closer than you think. And what better month to be heart month than February?

These events are so close that you should be thinking about how you’re going to recognize Heart Month. Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of all Americans, killing more than all forms of cancer combined so participating in any of the events that the Heart Association offers helps to raise awareness of the importance of maintaining our heart health.


The American Heart Association does a great job of providing a variety of options and levels for people and companies to participate – noted here are just a few.

Investigate these events quickly as some of them take place soon.

Heart Ball

The Greater Charlotte Heart Ball is Saturday, February 8th at the NASCAR Hall of Fame. Tickets are $250 per person and include an elegant black-tie evening complete with a cocktail reception, sit-down dinner, live music, and unique silent and live auctions. For more information, please call 704.417.5769 or visit

National Wear Red Day

This one is really simple and something almost everyone can do. Wear red to support the fight against heart disease in women on National Wear Red Day which is Friday, February 7th, 2014. Learn more at

Learn Ten Ways to Go Red here.

Slam Dunk

You can enjoy a Charlotte Bobcats game and support Go Red For Women at the same time!  This takes place on February 22nd when the Charlotte Bobcats play the Memphis Grizzlies at Time Warner Cable Arena. When you purchase your tickets (that start at $21 per person) a percentage of each ticket sale will go to support the mission of the American Heart Association.

Go Red Total Makeover

In addition to these events, you can also help a woman who has taken action to improve her heart health or maintain a heart healthy lifestyle by nominating her here for the Go Red Total Makeover. The winner of the Makeover receives a $500 Macy’s gift card.

The criteria and considerations for the Go Red Total Makeover winner selection:

•      She lives in the community or surrounding area

•      She has taken action to improve her heart health or maintain a heart healthy lifestyle

•      She’s an advocate for heart health in her home and community

•      Encourages women in her life to take care of their hearts and overall health

•      Will be available to attend the Go Red Total Makeover at Macy’s on February 8thand willing to speak during program.

•      Willing to participate in media interviews — local and possibly national

•      Available for in-studio interviews during requested time during local morning show; may need to be available for taped interviews (in studio) as well.

Everyone can participate in an interactive heart health journey that will be provided February 8, 2014 from 1-3pm at Macy’s SouthPark. There will be fun and interactive stations throughout the store that will educate you on heart health. There will be lots of giveaways – including a chance to win a $250 Macy’s gift card.

Ten Ways to Go Red

National Wear Red Day is all about showing support. The American Heart Association is asking everyone to wear red to fight heart disease on Friday, February 7th, 2014. There is more information here.


If you want some ideas on how you can go red, keep reading and then go to. We’ve resposted some ideas from the Go Red For Women (part of the American Heart Association) website. You can read the original information on the Go Red For Women website.

Well, what does it mean to Go Red? It means supporting women in the fight against heart disease. Why women? Because heart disease is the #1 killer of women. So show your support for women with heart disease to increase funding, education and awareness. We’re sharing some ideas but get creative and come up with ideas of your own. You’re welcome to share your creative ways to Go Red here by signing up on the Go Red for Women website.

So here are the Ten Ways to Go Red from the American Heart Association:

1. Know Your Heart Score

Learn why it’s important to know your heart score on Go Red. Think you are eating right and getting enough exercise? It takes five minutes to make sure. Take the My Life Check and find out where you stand. You can also take the Go Red Heart CheckUp to get more tailored advice and information to improve your heart health.

2. Live Healthy

Learn new ways to prevent heart disease with heart-healthy recipes, exercises and more on Go Red For Women. Our team of cardiologists, medical and fitness experts and nutritionists offer their advice to women like you for living a healthy lifestyle.

3. Know the Signs of a Heart Attack

Watch Go Red For Women’s “Just a Little Heart Attack” video, starring and directed by Elizabeth Banks, to learn how to identify a heart attack. Learn more about the symptoms of a heart attack and stroke on Go Red.

4. Start Walking

Get moving and start walking by starting or joining a walking club with friends or coworkers with the help of the American Heart Association. Sign up, get resources and even coordinate your group online!

5. Wear Red

Brighten your wardrobe and support women fighting heart disease by wearing red and explaining what Going Red means. You can also get a free Go Red For Women Red Dress Pin on the Go Red website.

6. Host a Wear Red Day Event

Whether at work, school or your club, you can host a Wear Red Day event! Our planning guide, posters and flyers will help you put together a great event.

7. Help Your Community Go Red

Help your community Go Red by becoming a Go Red For Women volunteer and encourage local businesses to support Go Red For Women.

8. Go Red Online

Turn your Twitter or Facebook profile picture red using our Red Dress image. (available on the Go Red for Women Facebook page or website.)

9. Shop for the Cause

There’s never been a better reason to shop online! Go to ShopHeart to purchase products, apparel and more that features the Go Red or American Heart Association logo. One hundred percent of our net proceeds goes toward education about heart disease and stroke.

10. Support Go Red

Create a fundraising page as an individual or for a group. Improve your health, set an example and get friends, colleagues and family involved by attaching your fundraiser to an activity, like an upcoming run or walk in your community. You can also donate to directly contribute to Go Red. Learn the way that you can get involved here.

There are lots of resources available from the Ten Ways to Go Red page on the Go Red for Women website.

How You Eat is Important

Learn something about eating from Joanne Malar, a commentator for Canadian TV at the London 2012 Olympics. Joanne was doing lots of research on the swimmers participating in the games – especially what swimmers do to improve their fitness levels and health. Ryan Lochte, for example, recently switched away from McDonalds – eliminating junk food – and added more wholesome foods to compliment his training program and strong man weight program. But all athletes aren’t like this. Some actually brag about how they can eat as terribly as they want because they train so much. They may never get “fat” but they are not performing at their absolute best if they are not fueling their bodies in healthy ways.

What are the 5 top health tips for swimmers revealed in a recent article by Joanne on the site?

1. Stay hydrated

2. Eat ENOUGH calories

3. Get rest, rest and more rest!

4. Be Body Aware (symptoms and action)

5. Take the time to train your brain: visualize

Joanne also answers questions like “Are you drinking enough?” “Are you eating enough?”  and  helps you understand the importance of rest and the connection between your mind and body. Read Joanne’s article.

See a diet for teenage swimmers from the Food Network.

Cleaning Tips to Address Your Customer’s Top Priorities

Some parts of owning your own business are fun, some are not. Cleaning may be one of those things that fall into the ‘no fun’ category but they are vital to your business. Germs are everywhere – and not just the cooties that your students may claim their peers have. We’re talking about serious germs here that can be dangerous for the health of your students.

At the Wings Center, Amber Uriarte (Marketing Manager) put together a strict set of guidelines for cleaning. Putting a list of procedures together has really helped keep all of our employees on the same page. Everybody can reference this list and know how to clean and disinfect.

There are a lot of resources out there for information about cleaning. I have gone to several including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to put together the Wings Center Facility Cleaning Standards and Procedures.

For starters, knowing the difference between sanitizing and disinfecting is huge. Sometimes these terms are used as if they mean the same thing, but they are not the same.

Sanitizer is a product that reduces germs on inanimate surfaces to levels considered safe by public health codes or regulations. A sanitizer may be appropriate to use on food contact surfaces (dishes, utensils, cutting boards, high chair trays), toys that children may place in their mouths, and pacifiers.Disinfectant is a product that destroys or inactivates germs on an inanimate object. A disinfectant may be appropriate to use on non-porous surfaces such as diaper change tables, counter tops, door and cabinet handles, and toilets and other bathroom surfaces.

Now, when you’re disinfecting you must provide the proper tools for your employees.
The key is to clean effectively, disinfectant where required and sanitize where required. You can’t do all
effectively for every square inch of a facility so you need to clean as per traffic and contact patterns.
Use color-coded (see code references above) microfiber cloths in restrooms, counters, windows and a
variety of other places.
If you use microfiber on a surface, it gets about 98 percent of the bacteria. Knowing the proper way to
use microfiber, you will be able to cut down on chemical usage

This next part about caring for our children is very important. At the end of the day, cleaning and disinfecting may be a pain but in the big picture it is protecting the children.

Caring for Our Children: National Health and Safety Performance Standards 444
Treat urine, stool, vomit, blood, and body fluids, except for human milk, as potentially infectious.
Spills of body fluid should be cleaned up and surfaces disinfected immediately.
For small amounts of urine and stool on smooth surfaces,
● wipe off and clean away visible soil with a little detergent solution. Then rinse the surface with
clean water.
● Apply a disinfectant following the manufacturer’s instructions.
For larger spills on floors, or any spills on rugs or carpets:
● Wear disposable gloves while cleaning. Disposable gloves should be used when blood may be
present in the spill;
● Take care to avoid splashing any contaminated material onto the mucous membranes of your
eyes, nose or mouth, or into any open sores you may have;
● Wipe up as much of the visible material as possible with disposable paper towels and carefully
place the soiled paper towels and other soiled disposable material in a leak-proof, plastic bag that
has been securely tied or sealed. Use a wet/dry vacuum on carpets, if such equipment is
● Immediately use a detergent, or a combination detergent/disinfectant to clean the spill area. Then
rinse the area with clean water. Additional cleaning by shampooing or steam cleaning the
contaminated surface may be necessary;
For blood and body fluid spills on carpeting
● Blot to remove body fluids from the fabric as quickly as possible.
● Then disinfect by spot-cleaning with a combination detergent/disinfectant, and shampooing, or
steam-cleaning the contaminated surface.
● If directed by the manufacturer’s instructions, dry the surface.
● Discard disposable gloves.
Mops and other equipment used to clean up body fluids should be:
● Color coded
● Cleaned with detergent and rinsed with water.● Rinsed with a fresh disinfectant solution.
● Wrung as dry as possible.
● Air-dried.
● Wash your hands afterward, even though you wore gloves.
● Remove and bag clothing (yours and those worn by children) soiled by body fluids.
● Put on fresh clothes after washing the soiled skin and hands of everyone involved.

Selecting an Appropriate Sanitizer or Disinfectant
One of the most important steps in reducing the spread of infectious diseases in child care settings is
cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting surfaces that could possibly pose a risk to children or staff. Routine
cleaning with detergent and water is the most useful method for removing germs from surfaces in the
childcare setting. However, some items and surfaces require an additional step after cleaning to further
reduce the number of germs on a surface to a level that is unlikely to transmit disease.

Do you have a similar cleaning procedure in place for your gym? Share your comments and experiences below. I’d love to chat with you more.

The Challenge Is On!!

Jackrabbit Technologies is kicking off its Employees’ Fitness Challenge! The “competition” has either fitness or weight “challenges” and gives each employee opportunities to win prizes for reaching goals. The team is using to organize its challenges and will announce the winners (or in the case of the weight loss challenge – losers) at the company’s Summer Event in June. This is great timing to tie into March as National Nutrition Month. If you aren’t already celebrating this nutrition heightened state of awareness – never fear – it is not too late because good nutrition is important every month and the resources that the National Nutrition Month website provides can be used anytime/all the time.

Jackrabbit is a pretty health-conscious bunch, participating in many annual charity walks and events…. One of Jackrabbit’s cofounders (Mark Mahoney) is an Ironman competitor – having participated in at least three Ironmans. As a former college gymnast,  Mark is very aware of the advantages and the importance of being fit and healthy and encourages his team to do so. In fact, the Fitness Challenge is a Jackrabbit sanctioned event where the company will provide the prizes.

So – really – the challenge IS on!