Societal Pressure

Social approval is huge in America. The pressures to be thin, to have the “perfect body,” to be sexy, and to look young can lead one to behave in unhealthy ways with food. Some individuals, primarily women, may become addicted to withholding food (anorexia) to gain social approval.

If that doesn't work and a person just can't get the perceived “cover girl image” she wants, she may binge-eat to soothe her wounded feelings. (Binge eating is defined as eating considerably more food than most other people would eat under similar circumstances.) Make no mistake about it, social pressure is very hard to resist for many people.

Essential

Social factors that contribute to the rise of eating disorders include placing high value on the “perfect body,” a very narrow definition of beauty, and the tendency to assess people based on their physical appearance rather than their inner strengths. Courage is required to resist this kind of pressure.

Someone with a food addiction is not necessarily overweight. As with other substances of abuse and addiction, a person may use according to different patterns. Some may eat addictive foods daily, on weekends, only on special occasions, specifically during periods of emotional distress, and so forth.

A person may save calories to maintain a certain weight by eating only the food he finds addictive, ignoring foods that don't satisfy the cravings. Thus, a food addict may fall anywhere on the weight continuum, although it is more likely that he finds himself overweight.

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