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Myths debunked during Siegfried lecture: Eating disorders are topic of discussion to promote treatment

Staff February 15, 2012 News No Comments

Nicole Siegfried, an eating disorder lecturer, urged students to not fall prey to myths concerning eating disorders during her Feb. 9 lecture. Siegfried’s lecture was part of the Food Course Connection.
Assistant professors of Psychology, Vicki DiLillo and Jennifer Yates, hosted the lecture.
“[The] food course connection is one of those interdisciplinary course connections that is trying to look at a specific theme or topic from a variety of different disciplinary perspectives,” DiLillo said. “We thought that having someone who could come in and talk about eating disorders would be of interest to students and would be potentially helpful to them.”
Siegfried’s lecture dealt with myths behind eating disorders, such as eating disorders are effective weight management.
“The truth is, disordered eating such as restricting, vomiting, (or) laxative use are not only dangerous, but are not effective measures for weight loss,” Siegfried said during her lecture.
“In fact, a majority of individuals… who go on diets or severe diets gain their weight back and then some.”
Other myths included the modern adage that says most college freshmen gain 15 pounds.
“This is actually a myth,” Siegfried said. “It makes it more likely that [college freshmen] might set the stage for restrictive eating.”
Siegfried said half of freshmen will gain weight and another half will lose. However, the difference between them is only five pounds.
Siegfried, who works at a treatment facility for those who suffer from eating disorders, speaks at many events, both in her area and at national conferences.
“I really want to help educate especially college students on what eating disorders are, understanding how to identify them either in themselves or their friends and how best be able to approach someone who has an eating disorder to help get them the help they need,” Siegfried said before the lecture.
Senior Ane Shoemaker was one of many students to attend the lecture.
“I have had an eating disorder in the past, and so I’m interested in seeing more modern information on it and just being updated on that information,” Shoemaker said. “Some of the myths were surprising to me.”
Siegfried mentioned many ways to help loved ones who may have/have an eating disorder. Siegfried also mentioned that using phrases like, “You look too thin,” should be avoided, since that may send the message whatever disordered eating is being practiced is working
Shoemaker had advice to those who may be approached about having an eating disorder.
“Be open,” Shoemaker said. “If someone approaches you; they’re really trying to help you. They care about you, they’re not trying to bring you down. They’re worried about your survival. They don’t want you to get hurt or fall prey to this more than you already are.”

Tips to help those with eating disorders:
- Set a time to talk.
- Communicate your concerns
- Ask your friend to explore these concerns
- Avoid conflicts or a battle of the wills
- Avoid placing shame, blame or guilt
- Avoid giving simple solutions
- Express your continued support

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