Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Middle Aged Women Seeing Increased Pressure to Fit Thin Stereotypes

Today in the Science Times of the New York Times, Tara Parker-Pope wrote today that many women that are middle-aged or older are involved in extreme dieting and extreme exercising. I see anorexic or too-thin-looking women at the gym all the time. I have asked gym managers why they don't stop them from working out due to legal reasons. Cynthia Bulik, director of the Eating Disorders Program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill says that half the clients since 2003 have been adults, rather than adolescents: "Even in their 50s and 60s -- and, believe it or not, beyond -- women are engaging in extreme weight- and shape-control behaviors."

Tamar Pryor clinical director of the Eating Disorder Center of Denver, who studied 200 cases of midlife eating disorders, says there are more that are under the radar because people are so functional in other areas of life. Older women, she says, are more adept at concealing the problems, and people may attribute symptoms to aging.

I have a client in her 60's who diets to the extreme. Yet she does not overexercise, and is realistic in terms of certain thing she cannot do with exercise that have to do with skin characteristics. She is overall balanced, yet she restricts any sweets, milk and more because she is afraid this will lead to overeating. She has not mastered this in herself or found that balance. She cannot change this unless she want to change. Her overall goal, though, is health, energy and abilities, so I would not say she is at the extreme that these ladies are.

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