Experts weigh in on the dark side of dieting

SYLVANIA, Ohio (WTVG) - It's a common New Year's resolution: to lose weight, but what happens when that innocent diet becomes an obsession? Eating disorder experts say it's something they see all of the time.

"It really a lot of times just starts out as a really mild behavior, maybe weighing yourself at the gym, but it becomes this nagging thought people have that they can't get rid of, so it encourages them to keep going further and further and acting more extreme on these behaviors," Registered Dietitian Amy Good said.

According to the National Eating Disorders Association, 35 percent of dieters progress to pathological dieting, and 20-25 percent of those go on to develop an eating disorder. If you're worried about yourself or a loved one, here are some things to look out for:

- being preoccupied with food or weight
- making negative comments about the body or food
- isolating from family and friends
- spending hours at the gym every day
- reducing food intake and/or food variety

"If your lifestyle doesn't necessarily feel balanced anymore, you're tied to the gym and always have to go or you're tied to your meal prepping or meal planning, that might be a sign that things have gone a little far," Good added.

The good news is there is help and recovery is possible.

"If you notice in a friend or family member, it's really important to try to help them find a balance, incorporating foods that are not only nutritious but foods that taste good that they enjoy eating, so that there is variety and to ensure they're eating enough to sustain themselves," Good said.

If you're in need of professional help for an eating disorder, the River Centre Clinic is the only specialized treatment facility in our area for eating disorders. It offers residential, partial hospitalization and outpatient services for both adolescents and adults, males and females. The next nearest facility is in Ann Arbor. We've included links to these facilities in the sidebar.