Eating Disorders – Healthy Living Tips for Weight Management
Physical attributes play a very crucial role especially amongst adolescents and teens for whom a perfect physique and body means everything. Distortions in this so-called “perfect body” lead further to many psychological issues; one such rising issue being eating disorders.
Eating disorders can be defined as extreme emotions, attitudes, and behaviors towards weight and eating habits such as anorexia, bulimia and binge eating disorder.
- ANOREXIA NERVOSA
Anorexia is a condition where people starve themselves in their pursuit of losing weight. People with anorexia see themselves as overweight where in fact they are severely malnourished and underweight. They have a constant fear of gaining weight.
- Abnormally slow heart rate
- Low blood pressure
- Anemia and menstrual disturbances
- Osteoporosis, brittle nails and hair
- Yellowish and dry skin
- Muscle loss which damages vital organs
- Severe dehydration leading to kidney disorders
- Fatigue and weakness
- BINGE- EATING
Contrary to the above, Binge eating is a condition where people intentionally overeat. People with this eating disorder often overeat due to depression or anxiety. These individuals are mostly overweight or obese and trying to lose weight but are unable to do so which in turn triggers binge eating episodes.
- High cholesterol and triglycerides leading to heart disorders
- Risk of developing diabetes and blood pressure
- Arthritis and bone disorders
- Feeling of guilt and shame leading to social isolation
- BULIMIA NERVOSA
In this condition people have frequent and recurrent episodes of binge eating followed by behaviors to compensate which include extreme exercise, forced vomiting (purging), fasting, use of laxatives etc.
- Inflamed or sore throat due to repeated vomiting
- Tooth decay or staining due to exposure to stomach acids
- Swollen salivary glands in the neck and jaw area
- Electrolyte imbalance
- Ulcers and intestinal irritation due to use of laxatives
These eating disorders are common among teens and adolescents due to their need for acceptance in the society especially amongst females. They believe losing weight and having a perfect body will improve their chances of acceptance.
Can these eating disorders be treated?
One has to follow some healthy living tips and avoid these disorders. Treatment is available and recovery is possible. Following these healthy living tips include these 5 therapies which can be used in combination.
- Psychotherapy: is crucial to treating eating disorders. It addresses the issues like depression, guilt, shame and feeling of isolation. It helps improves self esteem and self worth.
- Behavioral therapy: aims to resolve the unrealistic and negative attitudes associated with unhealthy eating behaviors.
- Group therapy: helps by promoting a sense of belonging, ‘you are not alone’. This Therapy involves the family and friends of the individual to extend support to recovery and prevent relapse. Support groups assist in exchange of ideas and experiences which promotes a positive emotion.
- Medical therapy: In case of severe undernourishment, hospitalization becomes necessary to improve one’s condition. At times medications like anti-depressants, mood enhancers are prescribed to promote a feeling of wellness.
- Nutritional therapy: While underlying beliefs and emotions remain at the core of a person’s illness and recovery, their relationship with food, eating and nutrition also play a chief role in the recovery process. The goal of a nutritional therapy is to incorporate healthy eating behaviors and develop positive relation with food.
The initial process on the road to recovery prescribes:
- A regular eating schedule: People with eating disorders are used to erratic patterns involving random eating, binge eating or prolonged starvation and fasting. Small frequent meals are recommended to avoid over eating and starvation. Plan proper meals and snacks in between using healthier option which works for you.
- Ease the rules: People with eating disorders often set unrealistic rules for themselves. For example: I will stop drinking coffee or tea. Instead of restricting yourself completely start with I will have coffee/tea only once a day.
- Say no to dieting: The key to lose weight is in healthy eating and not dieting. Learn about healthy nutritious food that energize and nourish your body instead of restricting everything.
Eating disorders are on the rise and pose a serious threat in today’s self obsessed world. Although staying healthy and fit is essential for our well being, sometimes in our pursuit of health we may end up doing more harm to it than good. The key here lies in following the healthy living tips, eating in moderation and enjoying life rather than living at the extremes.