Five to 10 million people battle eating disorders in the United States. They're serious problems that can have life-threatening consequences.
To help with these issues, St. Joseph Regional Health Center is sponsoring a new, free Eating Disorders Support Group for anyone living with an eating disorder and their loved ones.
Karen Beathard is sharing her story to help others. For several years she battled an eating disorder.
"I gained some weight and I became alarmed at that and I decided I needed to lose some weight," Beathard said. " I wanted to learn more about what I needed to do to never become overweight."
In high school, Beathard quickly dropped pounds going from a healthy weight to 85 pounds. She says she exercised intensely and stuck to salads. Soon, those around her became concerned. After a celebrity died from the disorder, her parents were alarmed.
"Karen Carpenter died with an eating disorder and the doctor called my mom," Beathard said. "The doctor told my mom he thought I had an eating disorder and needed help."
After counseling, Beathard began the recovery process and became interested in nutrition. She turned her focus from herself to others, and is now helping with St. Joseph's Eating Disorders Support Group.
"The program is designed to help them overcome and see that it's possible to come to a level of recovery," Beathard said. "We'll talk about how you can maintain a healthful body weight, and participate in healthful practices without going to the extreme of becoming overweight."
The seminar is for those battling the disorder and for their families to understand how to deal with the issues associated with disease.
In a society urging folks to be too thin, while promoting portions too big, It's a seminar to find a happy medium promoting a healthy life.
The first meeting is Thursday, March 2nd at 6:30 pm at St. Joseph Rehabilitation Center Quilter's Café. The seminar is free of charge.
If you miss Tuesday's meeting you can still get involved.
For more information you can contact Sylvia May with the Eating Disorders Support Group at 979-846-1845.