The Trigger of an Aging Body in Older Women Susceptible to Eating Disorders

Older Woman on a bench

There is no question about how the standard of beauty has changed and dramatically evolved over the years. Presently, we live in a culture that is saturated with images that dictate how we should look in order to be “beautiful”, or more so, accepted, wanted, desirable, and successful. So, how do we avoid triggers that may affect older women susceptible to eating disorders?

One of the most significant campaigns in our culture is the idea that aging is a “bad” thing, something that should be fought as long as humanly possible.

According to Euromonitor International, a leading provider for market analysis, the North American anti-aging skin care landscape involves a $400 billion industry, with skin care alone making up 28% of the beauty and personal care market [1].

Pressure Against Aging

These statistics are startling and reveal the aggressive nature in our culture and market against aging. Women in particular face the pressure to alter or “fix” their bodies, particularly as they age and after experiencing the changing effects from motherhood. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgery, of the 1.7 million cosmetic surgical procedures performed in 2015, the top 5 included [2]:

  • Breast Augmentation
  • Liposuction
  • Nose Reshaping
  • Eyelid Surgery
  • Tummy Tuck

Many women too often hear the message that aging is something that should be “fixed” or challenged, not embraced, and there is seemingly some form of surgery or product for every sign of aging, including wrinkles, changing skin, and body alterations. For older women susceptible to eating disorders, these pressures and even an aging body in itself can be triggering and overwhelming to face.

Going Against Society’s Standard

Aging couple on a benchWhile aging is indeed a “normal” process, our society has changed the definition of what aging is and means. For countless women, time, effort, and money is invested to fight the entire aging process.

Some women may find themselves engaging in abnormal eating behaviors as a means of fighting against something for which they feel they have no control.

If you are an older woman who has found the aging process to be something that has triggered eating disorder behaviors, it is critical to seek out appropriate help and support.

Working through what aging means to you and the process of getting older is important for learning to feel more comfortable in your own body. Fighting against society’s standard of beauty is possible for you at any age or stage of life.


About the Author:

Crystal Headshot 2

Crystal is a Masters-level Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) with a specialty focus in eating disorders, maternal/child health and wellness, and intuitive eating. Combining clinical experience with a love of social media and writing, Crystal serves where her passion to help others find recovery and healing is integrated into each part of her work.

As a Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor, Crystal has dedicated her career to helping others establish a healthy relationship with food and body through her work and nutrition private practice.


References:

[1]: Euromonitor International Market Research Reports, http://www.marketresearch.com/Euromonitor-International-v746/ Accessed 13 January 2017
[2]: American Society of Plastic Surgeons, “New Statistics Reflect the Changing Face of Plastic Surgery”, https://www.plasticsurgery.org/news/press-releases/new-statistics-reflect-the-changing-face-of-plastic-surgery Accessed 13 January 2017


The opinions and views of our guest contributors are shared to provide a broad perspective of eating disorders. These are not necessarily the views of Eating Disorder Hope, but an effort to offer discussion of various issues by different concerned individuals.

We at Eating Disorder Hope understand that eating disorders result from a combination of environmental and genetic factors. If you or a loved one are suffering from an eating disorder, please know that there is hope for you, and seek immediate professional help.

Last Updated & Reviewed By: Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC on January 14, 2017
Published on EatingDisorderHope.com