Every fitness professional knows that a healthy mental approach is the key to physical results. This can be a tricky thing to navigate for those with eating disorders. Destructively Fit was created to provide fitness professionals a resource that demystifies the world of eating disorder behaviors and provides the understanding necessary to better serve this community for healthy exercise outcomes.
Exercise is defined as activity requiring physical effort, carried out especially to sustain or improve health and fitness.
Excessive Exercise as defined by the DSM-IV-TR, is exercise that “significantly interferes with important activities, occurs at inappropriate times or in inappropriate settings, or when the individual continues to exercise despite injury or other medical complications.”
Eating Disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness, even depression!
An estimated 90-95% of college students diagnosed with an eating disorder (both men AND women) are members of fitness centers.
A 2008 study of fitness professionals revealed that 100% of the participants believed they would benefit from further education and guidelines for identifying and addressing eating disorders. It is essential that fitness facilities and their professionals feel equipped and confident in their abilities to address concerns with their members and clients.
It is possible to address this issue sensitively and effectively!
Pioneered by Jodi Rubin, ACSW, LCSW, CEDS, the Destructively Fit® training makes this possible.
What is an eating disorder?
Eating disorders are a complex mental illness. They are serious and potentially life-threatening disorders that can have devastating effects on emotional health, physical health and relationships. Eating disorders are not a fad or a lifestyle and, contrary to popular belief, they are not about food, weight and shape. Eating disorders are a destructive coping skill used to temper distress, to numb out and to manage what one allows in and out, e.g.: people, emotions, experiences, and metaphorically, food.
Refusal to maintain a minimal body weight appropriate for age & height (less than 85% of IBW) Intense fear of gaining weight Severe body image distortion Self evaluation is strongly influenced by body weight, shape and size Amenorrhea (in women)
Recurrent episodes of binge eating followed by purging (e.g.: vomiting, laxatives, diuretics, enemas, excessive exercise, fasting) Self evaluation is strongly influenced by body weight, shape and size
Frequent consumption of an unusually large amount of food in a discrete period of time Eating when not physically hungry and until uncomfortably full Feeling of being out of control during binge episode followed by guilt and shame
Other Specified Feeding or Eating Disorder
Disordered eating behaviors and/or patterns that do not meet diagnostic criteria for the above mentioned eating disorder diagnoses This includes atypical or subclinical anorexia, bulimia + binge-eating disorder (e.g.: someone may meet all of the diagnostic criteria for anorexia except that their weight is in a healthier range)
Unspecified Feeding or Eating Disorder
Any other disordered feeding or eating patterns that cause significant impairment and/or distress.
Eating disorders have always been my passion. They have been my specialty since I began practicing nearly 20 years ago. Over the years I directed a program for eating disorders, currently teach a curriculum I created on eating disorders at NYU’s Graduate School of Social Work, and have done a few other things. Yet, I have not found a way to connect my love of healthy fitness and honoring one’s body with my passion for working with those struggling with eating disorders. The issue of eating disorders within fitness centers is a ubiquitous one that I have noticed ever since I can remember. I’ve seen people spending hours on the treadmill, heard countless patients recounting their obsessiveness with the gym, and others seeming as though their self-esteem became immediately deflated if they couldn’t work out hard enough, fast enough or long enough. The research I have done has revealed that the presence of eating disorders within fitness centers is “sticky” and “complicated” and gets very little attention. Through no fault of anyone in particular, if people aren’t given the education and tools, then how can anyone feel knowledgeable and confident enough to address this sensitive issue? I went directly to fitness professionals to see what they thought about eating disorders within the fitness industry. As I suspected, it was clear that there is not a lack of interest in this issue. Quite the contrary. Most, if not all, of those with whom I spoke were eager and excited to finally have a forum in which they could learn about eating disorders and how to approach the issue. That’s when Destructively Fit was created. I created this 3-hour training with the goal of educating those within the fitness industry about what eating disorders are and what to do if they notice that someone may be struggling. It has since been endorsed for continuing education by both the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) and the American Council on Exercise (ACE) and has sparked the interest of variety of fitness clubs.
I am grateful for your time and interest in this critical issue. If you are interested in learning more about the courses, both live and online, you can find more information here.
Copyright © 2018 Jodi Rubin, ACSW, LCSW, CEDS - All Rights Reserved.