3. Why are so many women over 40 developing eating disorders?
I suspect that with the "fifty is the new thirty" mantra, there are pressures to try to be fit, beautiful, successful and happy in ways that have not been seen before. I also know how difficult it was for me to get better back in the 1980s because there were few role models and very few treatment centers, so I suspect that some people just went in and out of their disorders without ever stringing together long-term health. Recovering from an eating disorder and staying better is especially hard, too, because food is a necessary part of being alive, and temptations and triggers are everywhere, regardless of where you go. So I think that there are a huge number of women who have been dealing with some version of disordered eating for decades, and that there could be others who are feeling disoriented by upheavals in their lives – divorce, unemployment, empty nest, poor health, changing hormones – and focusing on their body distracts them from coping with other problems. I also don't think that there is a widespread belief that long-term recovery exists, so there might not be enough hope for people to persist through the setbacks they encounter.