SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) — With New Year’s Eve just around the corner, many Siouxlanders work on their New Year’s resolutions with one of the most common goals being dieting and weight loss.

According to the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders, 28.8 million Americans are expected to have an eating disorder during their lifetime.

“People who are most at risk for developing a eating disorder, kinda take those ideas and since their so normalized in our society we might not even realize right away that’s what’s happening, we think oh their just hitting the gym more often,” said Kelsey Trejo, a therapist at Siouxland Mental Health Center.

While hitting the gym every day and cutting calories are considered healthy habits by our society, that often isn’t the case.

“Dieting can often lead to the development of eating disorders as well as through the normalization and often promoting disordered behaviors around food, disordered thoughts about your body and exercise,” said Trejo.

Eating disorders come in many shapes and forms, but they boil down to a person’s obsession with food and their body weight. It may result in a person restricting what or when they eat, or excessively exercising after eating a large meal. If you’re unsure if your loved one has an eating disorder, the best way to tell is by seeing if their behaviors have changed.

“Refusal to come down for meals, or they’re hiding when they’re eating, or you’re just noticing differences in how they relate to food, maybe they’re skipping out on their favorite desserts that they usually like. Those are just some warning signs you might want to look for,” said Trejo.

However, those who’ve had eating disorders can still develop healthy eating and exercise habits. Trejo said simply focusing on a goal that doesn’t involve weight or appearances can help.

“If you are wanting to maybe increase endurance maybe instead of focusing on, ‘well if I lose x amount of weight, that’ll help my endurance.’ Maybe focus more on like, ‘well let’s maybe focus more on, I don’t know, is there a hill in your neighborhood that’s hard to get up and wanna be able to go up there with more ease?’ So, focus more on the fitness goals, if that is your prerogative, rather than the numbers on a scale,” said Trejo.

Trejo said that if you have an eating disorder you should seek professional help from either a medical doctor or a therapist immediately.