12/14/2008 05:12 am ET Updated Nov 17, 2011

A New Eating Disorder

I am seeing an interesting trend lately. I am a psychotherapist, specializing in eating disorders. I have been in practice for over twenty years. Recently, I have seen a new eating disorder that isn't in the books.

It seems to be primarily affecting women in their 30's. These women are coming to me in desperation because they don't know how to maintain a healthy weight. They say, "Whenever I needed to lose weight in the past, I would just..." The list that follows ranges from: doing the master cleanse, starving themselves, running 10 miles a day, cutting all carbs, etc... It is usually some drastic diet and/or exercise regimen that would work to bring their weight down in the short term. Once their weight got to where they wanted it to be, they would just go back to what they had been doing before and would gain the weight back.

By the time these women come to me, they realize that they can no longer do the master cleanse, run 10 miles a day, or cut all carbs. Their lives are too busy, they don't have the time or the energy, and they can no longer tolerate that kind of deprivation. They know how to gain weight, they know how to lose weight (in the short term), but they never learned how to maintain. This is like knowing how to swim but not knowing how to float. If you stop swimming, in this analogy, you sink.

The key to losing weight isn't dieting; it is learning how to be the weight you want to be permanently. More on that in my next blog. Meanwhile, does this new eating disorder describe you or someone you know?

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