As I continue studying to take my Group Fitness Instructor Exam in order to help people become more healthy, I realize that the fields of physical activity and nutrition go hand in hand. I also understand that many people eat in unhealthy capacities which can precipitate mental and physical disorders and thereby compromise the individual’s ability to lead a productive, powerful life. However, by learning more about these unhealthy eating patterns, people can gain the information necessary to make positive changes in their lives and thereby live in optimal wellness. Here are three unhealthy eating patterns-known as eating disorders-that you should know about:
1. Anorexia Nervosa
Although defined broadly, anorexia nervosa is basically an unhealthy obsession with achieving weight loss through calorie restriction. The restriction of calories can be accomplished in several ways, including exercising to excess, drastic diets, and fasting. In discussing anorexia nervosa, HelpGuide notes that it is a complex eating disorder marked by three components. First, it involves a refusal to adhere to a healthy body weight. Second, it incorporates intense anxiety regarding the idea of weight gain. And third, it includes a distorted body image. Because of the fact that anorexics often live in fear about becoming obese, the thought or reality of eating can be highly stressful. Despite the fact that the thought of food induces stress, anorexics often find that they cannot stop thinking about food.
2. Bulimia Nervosa
In defining bulimia nervosa, Women’s Health notes that it is a kind of eating disorder in which an individual consumes a large volume of food in a short space of time and subsequently attempts to prevent weight gain by throwing up or taking laxatives. This process of binging and purging is profoundly unhealthy and is often coincided by other behaviors that compromise health such as overexercising. Although anorexia is similar to bulimia nervosa in that it often incorporates a fear of weight gain and dissatisfaction with one’s body size and shape, bulemics differ from anorexics in that they can fall within the correct range for their weight and age.
3. Binge Eating Disorder
In defining binge eating disorders, the Mayo Clinic notes that it is “a serious eating disorder in which you frequently consume unusually large amounts of food.” They go on to point out that while most people overeat occassionally, a binge eating disorder is distinguished from activity like having seconds or thirds during a holiday meal. Going beyond this form of periodic unhealthiness, individuals who have binge eating disorders overeat regularly and often do so in secret. This sense of deep shame regarding one’s behavior is one of the tell-tale signs that an individual is struggling with this type of eating disorder. Diagnosing and treating the condition is important, especially since it can precipitate a plethora of unhealthy patterns including but not limited to social isolation and starvation.
Although the eating disorders listed above can have a profoundly negative impact on an individual’s life, they don’t have to. By undergoing diagnosis and treatment, people who struggle with eating disorders can get the knowledge and support necessary to begin walking in great health. If you think that you or a loved one may be suffering with an eating disorder, be sure to contact a trained medical official for assistance.
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