Why Do So Many Men Have Eating Disorders?

Linda Caley operates Caley Nutrition in Colchester. Though she’s a bit of a distance from our shoreline, she has worked with countless clients from our area, and offers an interesting view of eating disorders.

Caley is passionate about helping her clients find their way. According to Caley, not a lot of physicians are experienced in eating disorders, as there are many types.

She assesses each client individually, including what they are eating, if they are eating and what some of the concerns might be.

“It’s a serious medical and mental illness,” Caley said. “They can have labs that are off, their gut integrity can be compromised, their brain, their thinking... I mean, somebody that is very restrictive (with what they eat), you can shrink your brain cells – not all, but most of that can come back from re-feeding.”

Caley is a registered dietitian and has 25 years of experience in both nutrition therapy and healthcare management. She is also a certified intuitive eating specialist and an eating disorder registered dietitian via the International Association of Eating Disorders Professionals.

She has seen it all, and when it comes to a client who is super sick and emaciated (and close to death, even), the first step is to get them into an acute care facility, pronto.

“They go to get stabilized and (then) at a treatment center, somebody who has been starving themselves learns to live and eat better,” she said. “If they’re not eating, I don’t care what they eat, as long as they start.”

And that goes back to brain chemistry. Caley says that when someone who isn’t used to eating and is going through the re-feeding process, they will feel full after just a couple of bites.

“The body forgets to feel what it’s like to be hungry,” she said. “So, that’s kind of how I would start – have some loose structure (in regards to eating). The same thing with somebody who binges... they’re used to not eating breakfast or lunch and overeat at dinner, so (they start eating) something in the morning and during the day.”

In clients who have severe anorexia, Caley says that this re-feeding process can be a big challenge, so she requests labs to be monitored to see whether certain electrolytes are thrown off. She also measures gut integrity, which refers to gut bacteria.

“Bacteria make up most of our bodies, and the gut is one of our most concentrated sources of bacteria – you have healthy bacteria and those that are not as healthy,” Caley said. “For example, when clients restrict their food or overeat, they will throw all that bacteria off.”

“Ninety-five percent of serotonin is made in the gut, so if you are not taking care of your body or are taking antibiotics or you’re not getting enough sleep or you’re stressed – all will affect your gut bacteria,” she said. “To properly digest is a huge part of your immune system. When your gut flora is off, it affects your immune system.”

With those not eating, Caley said, her goal is to get them to eat.

“I’m not going to do rigid diet plans and tell somebody what to eat and to eat this much,” she said. “It will eventually backfire. Diets eventually don’t work. That’s why there are so many of them.

“For someone who binges, they were strict and they end up overeating and binging and restrict again and the cycle perpetuates itself,” Caley said. “I recommend certain labs to get checked, and then the downside with labs is someone with anorexia that is close to death and their labs are perfect, you can’t always rely on labs. You have to have the physical story, kind of have to know inside their head to find out the best way you can help them.”

Aside from anorexia, bulimia and overeating disorders, Caley says there is also a disorder that has gotten a lot of attention lately – orthorexia, or “clean eating that has gone to the extreme.”

This happens when someone eats healthy to the point of obsession. For example, someone might stay completely away from sugar or eat a specific amount of sodium per day or so many grams of fat.

It could be an obsession with organic food or the Paleo diet, for instance.

“But, really, mentally, they’re sick,” she said. “They cannot eat this way and it’s really hard to see that and people that come in and say ‘I’m dreaming about Taco Bell... I’ve never had Taco Bell. I want it, but I can’t have it.’ These people are really rigid to the point where it comes to be a real problem.”

For anyone experiencing any kind of eating disorder, Caley offers this piece of advice to her clients: “If you do nothing else when you leave this office, be kind to yourself.”

And, with that note, I open it up to you, readers. What kinds of weight loss methods have you tried? Have you been successful? I’d love to hear your story!

Erika Y. Gradecki operates Food For Your Soul, LLC. She can be reached at foodfys@gmail.com.

Source : https://www.theday.com/article/20180813/NWS01/180819806