Smarter Living: National Eating Disorders week - Alabamas13.com WVTM-TV Birmingham, AL

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Smarter Living: National Eating Disorders week

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The three most common types of eating disorders include anorexia, bulimia and binge eating. This week is National Eating Disorders week and in this week's "Smarter Living," we'll look at one woman's personal story.

According to the Academy of Eating Disorders, at any given time, 10 percent or more of late adolescent and adult women report symptoms of eating disorders.   

Millicent Lambert suffered from anorexia. It started in high school but it took her eight years to realize it.

Lambert said societal pressures played a role in her anorexia.

"My eating disorder started to worsen. I wasn't good enough," she said. "The pressure to be better or the best. To excel."

Today, Milli is a 32-year-old who, with the help of a therapist is doing well. She has support form family and friends as well.

"I didn't choose an eating disorder," Lambert said. "For me it's not like I woke up one morning and said, 'Hey I'm going to have an eating disorder.'"

She said it started with her thinking about food and thinking about her body and she felt about herself and then how much she was eating.

We met with associate medical director of pediatrics Stu Kaplan, who stresses some of the health risks.

"Eating disorders can affect any organ in your body," he said. "It causes heart problems, cardiac failure, cardiac arithmias, it causes problems with your bones, it causes problems with your reproductive system, really any part of your body can be affected."

Kaplan explained some signs of an eating disorder as:

Dramatic weight loss, layering of clothes to hide the weight loss, isolation and avoidance of activities and friends, avoidance of meal times and finding reason and excuses not to eat as well as cutting food into small pieces or only eating certain types of foods.

It's not just females who suffer from eating disorders, an estimated 10-15 percent of people with anorexia or bulimia are male.

Today Lambert is a motivational speaker helping others who struggle with eating disorders.

If you're concerned about your child, Lambert suggests speaking with them about your concern and then meet with your pediatrician.

Copyright WNCN News 2014. All rights reserved.

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