Warmer weather is on the way but swimsuit season means mental torment for many Iowans, even though their bodies may look like what the rest of us would consider “normal.” Davenport psychologist Doctor Joe Maciejko started treating eastern Iowans for eating disorders in 1980 and has seen hundreds of patients since. Dr. Maciejko says he’s seen 80-pound adults “just terrified because they will look at loose skin and call that fat and then have to go out a diet some more to get rid of it.” He says in the past near quarter-century of seeing patients for eating disorders, the overwhelming majority have been female. Maciejko blames the media, in part, for its persistent portrayal of successful women being based upon size, shape and appearance. He says treatment of people who have anorexia, bulimia or binge eating disorders involves counteracting the media messages and dealing with cultural, social and self esteem issues. Dr. Maciejko says one of the most common eating disorders is binge eating. He says it’s something from which many dedicated dieters suffer. He says if you try to hold your breath, pretty soon your body will make you breathe and breathe hard. It’s the same with dieting, as pretty soon, your body will backlash and push you to eat and you may overdo it. It’s estimated eating disorders affect up to ten-million Americans, costing more than five-billion dollars in treatment each year. Maciejko and other experts will host a free community forum on the topic May 7 at 7 PM at the Genesis Heart Institute in Davenport.
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