Survey by Lasting Change Shows Women Feel Shame, Guilt Regarding Food

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A survey of more than 500 women showed almost 85 percent feel shame or guilt about the food they eat.

The 10-question survey, which focused on women’s eating patterns, was developed by Lasting Change founder Beth Novick and was posted on Craigslist in 68 cities nationwide in May 2011. Lasting Change, a recovery program for people with eating disorders and disordered eating patterns, conducted the survey to gather information about the prevalence of food issues, especially among women.

"None of the results surprise me," said Novick, who recovered from a 40-year history with anorexia, bulimia, binge-eating disorder, and disordered eating patterns. "They're consistent with my own experiences and what I've observed as a personal trainer for 15 years. I see this every day."

More than 47 percent of the respondents occasionally or frequently eat in secret. Thirty-two percent have considered purging; 20 percent admit to purging occasionally or often.

Respondents had the opportunity to share their thoughts about food and dieting. Feedback ranged from "I struggle with emotional eating" and "food has always been my enemy" to "I wish we didn't have to eat, as a species."

"This is a serious problem, and not just in young women," said Novick. "The psychological role food plays in many people's lives is destructive and potentially dangerous. This is about a lot more than just dieting and weight loss."

Complete survey results are available at


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Beth Novick
Lasting Change
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