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Sedona Lifestyles with Heather Kay Discusses Anorexia

Welcome to Heather Kay’s monthly column “The Nucleus of You”, an exclusive SedonaEye.com Lifestyles series. The Lifestyles column debuted with a look at the debilitating disease, Dementia. In this month’s Eye on Lifestyles “The Nucleus of You” column, Heather will address a disease that knows of no age boundary, is prevalent among our young, and is increasingly crossing gender lines, Anorexia. 



How we eat,  How we function, and how we live.  

Anorexia, an eating disorder plaguing our youth, and the people we know.


Eating disorders, including but not limited to anorexia, can begin as a simple dieting plan, or skipping a few meals when you’re not hungry.  Anyone may start dieting and exercising to address body image, stress, or for overall well being.

A  destructive pattern usually occurs when the person dieting falls prey to the desire to lose weight for social acceptance, or  to keep the compliments coming, This can be an overwhelming experience when there is a lack in self confidence and no other positive form of expression.

Restricting food is a way to cope with certain feelings such as anger, shame, or dealing with stressful occurrences in life. Not eating when hungry can feel like winning a battle, giving one control over the number on the scale and clothing size with the experience of clothes shopping, because you have dropped another pants size feels like a real boost or accomplishment for self image.

Anorexia is not a fad; it does not just go away when one feels like they are the right size. It’s a life style, and a deadly one at that. There are no winners in the dieting game, only losers of health, nutritional needs, the mental clarity needed to accomplish our goals, live better, and help ourselves and others.


How can we compare dieting to anorexia, or other eating disorders?



  • *Losing weight to improve a health concern, or diet plan recommended by a healthcare professional.
  • *Weight loss to improve overall health and appearance.
  • *Inquiring, or getting the right information on the different healthy diet plans to lose weight,  or gain flexibility and strength.
  • *Asking for the right help when needed.



Anorexia, and or an eating disorder;

  • *Losing weight as a way to achieve happiness, and control of emotions.
  • *Lacking concern for loss of essential vitamins and minerals as the result of reducing caloric intake or dieting.
  • *Self esteem is based almost entirely on how you look and what others may think about your weight.
  • *Ignoring warning signs that there might be a problem with the way you are dieting, such as:  tiredness, sluggishness, loss of balance and depth perception resulting from starvation.

Those with anorexia often hide their condition, or will not acknowledge their struggle, avoiding the concerns of others and the dreaded explanations. Symptoms of prolonged anorexia cannot go on unnoticed as the features of the disorder become apparent to those around you.

The key features of anorexia include;

  • *Distorted view of one’s body weight, wearing baggy clothes to hide the fact that one thinks that they are fat.
  • *Unreasonable fear of being fat.
  • *The refusal to maintain a healthy body weight.

The two types of eating disorders associated with anorexia are; Weight loss achieved by restricting calories, following drastic diets, prolonged fasts, and excessive exercise programs.  The other is, getting rid of calories eaten by intense purging such as , vomiting, strong laxatives, and diuretics used to decrease or control appetite.

Anorexia left untreated for long periods of time can lead to bone-thinning such as Osteoporosis, kidney damage, and heart problems.

Some other references to the causes of eating disorders are;

*Others in your family may have an eating disorder, a profession or sport that has size or weight requirements, such as modeling, gymnastics, or dance.

*You are a person who tries to be perfect all of the time, never feeling good enough as you are. Dealing with high stress levels that can make you feel as if you aren’t hungry.

*When you neglect your body you can cause damage to the muscle tissues including the major organs such as the heart.  The body needs nutrients to build and maintain muscle mass. When the heart loses muscle it gets smaller and weaker. This can increase circulation raising blood pressure and leading to the possibility of cardiac arrest.

Anorexia is usually treated with a combination of individual, and family therapy, behavior modifications, and nutritional rehabilitation.  


The experience that I had with anorexia started when I was fourteen years of age. I changed my eating habits akin to the amount of stress that I was under at the time. I wasn’t sure about how to deal with challenges at home, my parents divorced and I moved from Washington DC to live with my grandparents. Of course they didn’t understand what I was going through and I went unnoticed.

That’s the key phrase here, unnoticed. Unimportant to the family, unimportant to the world. That is a big “untruth”. The longer that feeling goes on the more we are unimportant to ourselves. We have to want to heal.   

If I am feeling uneasy, or uncomfortable about something I am not likely to have an appetite.  I have had the tendency to become stressed very easily creating discomfort in the intestinal tract. After being that way for an extended period of time I skipped many meals and lost a lot of weight. The lowest weight achieved? Ninety pounds, and below a size zero.

The interest that I have taken in nutritional therapy was mainly geared toward healing me, and recreating new ways of dealing with the stresses of life. I have learned a lot along the way.

After a long road to recovery I feel very blessed to have been able to understand so much about the body. I think that the biggest lesson that I have learned so far is that nothing is working against me; I always have the opportunity to enjoy life and learn about challenges. Challenges are here to teach me and motivate me to do more. 

When we develop eating disorders it can be because we aren’t feeling important enough to the ones we love and the world for who we are. I have dealt with being important to myself. Life is a vacation that doesn’t last very long and at the end of it we always wish we could have done or seen more. Enjoy it; feed your body so that you have all the tools you need to succeed.

You create Your reality.

Heather Kay, BS.  Holistic Nutritional Educator and Counselor, welcomes your comments and shared experiences. 

Thank you for reading the Eye on Lifestyles column “The Nucleus of You: Anorexia” written by Heather Kay, Bachelors in Science and Biology. The ”Nucleus of You” column will focus on nutrition, daily life habits and lifestyles. Comments and suggestions are welcome. Social networking is encouraged. 


All material written is an opinion of the author, and does not replace professional medical advice. Always check with your physician before making any changes to your diet and exercise, and or before taking any dietary supplements.


  1. Dub of Leichester says:

    appreciate the honesty here from this writer–saw this on facebook and wanted to say so

  2. Bindi San Diego CALI GIRL says:

    saw on chris fb sooooooo saddddddddd my once bf has this ways 101 & just MIGHT die looks AWFUL shes not pretty anymore and super stupid to do this so NO to her being around with her NEGATIVE & she started dating LOWLIFES!!!!!HER MOM LET HER how gross!!!!!! btw LUV YA KERRY MIKI GENIE DEAN MONICA RANDY BFFEVERS at SWIM CAMP!!!!!

  3. Lesley-Kaydene Abilene TX says:

    thumbs up to ya heather

  4. Shauna says:

    as if! to be fat is just wrong

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