Friday, June 05, 2009

Body and Weight Checking May Signify an Eating Disorder

Remuda Ranch ( Reports Many Patients with Eating
Disorders Exhibit Weight and Body Checking Behaviors

PHOENIX (June 4, 2009) ­ Everyone checks their body to some extent, but many
people with eating disorders repeatedly check their body and often in a way
that's unusual.

Sometimes body and weight checking becomes second nature and many
individuals with eating disorders don't even realize they¹re doing it, said
Dena Cabrera, PsyD, psychologist at Remuda Programs for Eating and Anxiety
Disorders. Commonly, they check to feel for fatness, bones and any physical
change in their body to subconsciously or consciously motivate their eating
disorder behavior.

Many individuals with eating disorders weigh themselves at frequent
intervals, sometimes many times a day. As a result they become obsessed
with the daily weight fluctuations that are a normal part of the body and
would otherwise pass unnoticed. The movements on the scale then determine
their mood and eating patterns.

Body checking is influential in maintaining dissatisfaction with shape and
appearance. Other common behaviors associated with body checking include:
looking in the mirror (or at reflective surfaces); measuring body parts with
tape measures or hands; pinching or touching body parts; assessing the
tightness of particular items of clothing or accessories; looking down at
one's body and touching collar bones to check for boniness.

Body checking perpetuates the eating disorder cycle and increases self
loathing and low self esteem, adds Cabrera. Patients look in the mirror
and they see fatness, then they restrict or binge, then they check
themselves again, which has the same result.

Remuda Ranch tries to progressively address the following questions with

· What are you trying to find out when you check your body?

· Why are you checking yourself so frequently?

· Do you ever look at parts of your body that you like?

· Do you feel better after checking your body?

· Do you think your body checking has any adverse effects?

· Do you trust the mirror?

· How do we know what we look like?

· Do we believe what we see?

Remuda Ranch believes there's a need to assess the time spent on body/weight
checking behavior as well as the consequences to determine if there needs to
be a change in behavior. Most of the time body/weight checking needs to be
stopped in an effort to uncover other influential factors that may trigger
eating disorder behaviors, such as emotional regulation issues, trauma and
maturity fears.

If we address body and weight checking behaviors and the thought processes
behind them, much of the eating disorder behavior will be reduced, said

About Remuda Ranch Programs for Eating and Anxiety Disorders
Remuda Ranch offers Christian inpatient and residential programs for
individuals of all faiths suffering from eating or anxiety disorders. Each
patient is treated by a multi-disciplinary team including a Psychiatric and
a Primary Care Provider, Registered Dietitian, Masters Level therapist,
Psychologist and Registered Nurse. The professional staff equips each
patient with the right tools to live a healthy, productive life. For more
information, call 1-800-445-1900 or visit

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