Tricia Parido, Founder and Director of Turning Leaves Recovery, is also a student of The Addictions Academy and she has completed our International Master Addictions Coach program. Food Addictions are just as serious as a drug or alcohol addiction, and can often start early in life. Tricia’s article below discusses many facets of compulsive overeating.
Visit us at www.theaddictionsacademy.com or call 1.800.706.0318 to learn more or register for our Nationally Certified Food Addictions Coach training course or our International Master Addictions Coach program.
Compulsive Overeating in Adolescents
Tricia Parido, Master Coach, Director. www.turningleavesrecovery.com (March 28, 2016)
Compulsive overeating typically will begin during childhood while eating patterns are developed. During adolescence, this eating practice will increase as a coping mechanism when faced with stressful situations as a way to block out uncomfortable or painful emotions they do not have the proper tools to handle. Overeaters, particularly in an immature state, will consider the excess body fat as a protective layer. This thought process is commonly found in individuals that have been the victims of sexual abuse and emotional abuse to become less attractive, and less noticeable, therefore, less likely to be abused again. (Estes www.theaddictionsacademy.com )
Unless the adolescent is taught to process the emotional reasoning around their binging, they will most likely become locked into this vicious cycle of dieting and binging that is followed by guilt, shame, self-hatred and depression. This symptomology at an impressionable age where drugs and alcohol are often introduced will only provide an even greater level of susceptibility to forming other addictive behaviors.
With body image and weight concerns consuming the hormonal teens, it is important for the adults in their lives to understand the warning signs and symptoms that surround disordered eating and diagnosable eating disorders. (Thompson ch 11, p 357) It is also imperative that they lead by example, consuming healthy diets, having the ability to explain the different nutritional needs of the ever-changing being, and maintaining appropriate dialog about their own bodies as well as others.
The typical adolescent should have a total fat intake of 25%-35%, of which no more than 10% of that number being from saturated fats. Carbohydrate energy foods should be fiber-rich and total anywhere from 45%-65% of their daily routine. Thompson page 355 states; “The RDA for protein for adolescents is similar to that of an adult, at 0.85 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day.” Micronutrients such as calcium, iron, and vitamin A have high RDA as they are critical for the achievement of proper bone density, to maintain the ability to replace blood loss, and continue to support the adolescent’s development and rapid growth. Fluid intake recommendations are 11 cups for boys and 8 cups for girls. Beverages should include water and those low in sugar with an increase in hydration practices during times of exercise and high temperatures.
An active lifestyle is recommended for all ages. For a teen, their days should not have periods longer than 2 hours that are sedentary. They should be engaged in a regular exercise regimen that is at least performed 4 times per week, and they should be encouraged to spend less time using electronic devices.
Thompson, Janice, Melinda Manore. Nutrition for Life, 3/e VitalSource for Laureate Education. Pearson Learning Solutions, 07/2012. VitalBook file.
Chapter 11, “Nutrition Throughout the Life Cycle”
Nationally Certified Food Addiction Coaching Text/ Manual. The Addictions Academy. Published by Dr. Cali Estes; Rev. Kevin Coughlin. 2015 addition. www.theaddictionsacademy.com