What Is An Eating Disorder
Photo credit: @samira_so
An eating disorder is a common and controversial issue in our society. It is because society has painted this perfect body that everyone should have. The ideal body involves an hourglass-curvaceous-thin-body-type for women and a muscle-rich-arms-and-six-pack-abs for men. With this, people tend to resort to having an unhealthy lifestyle and eating inappropriately, thinking that this would help them achieve the perfect body.
What is an eating disorder?
According to eatingdisorderhope.com, eating disorders describe illnesses that are characterized by irregular eating habits and severe distress or concern about body weight or shape. These may include inadequate or excessive food intake, which can ultimately damage an individual’s well-being.
An eating disorder can develop in any stage of life but usually appears in teenagers and young adults. Although it is treatable, the symptoms can be detrimental and deadly if not addressed properly. This disorder commonly coexists with other mental illness conditions such as anxiety disorders, depression, and substance abuse.
What causes an eating disorder?
A variety of factors can cause eating disorders.
Biological factors — irregular hormone functions, genetics, nutritional deficiencies
Psychological factors — negative body image and poor self-esteem
Environmental factors — dysfunctional family dynamic, professions and careers that promote being thin and weight loss (i.e., ballet and modeling)
Aesthetically oriented sports (rowing, diving, ballet, gymnastics, wrestling, long-distance running)
Family and childhood traumas
Cultural or peer-pressure
Stressful transitions or life-changes
The most common types of eating disorders:
Anorexia Nervosa — the person is suffering from this disorder has an obsessive fear of gaining weight. They refuse to maintain healthy body weight, and they have an unreal perception of body image. They usually limit the amount of quantity they consume and view themselves as overweight, even when they are underweight.
Bulimia Nervosa — is characterized by repeated binge eating, followed by behaviors to compensate for the overeating such as forced vomiting or excessive exercise or taking laxatives or diuretics. When they vomit, take laxatives or diuretics, they do this in secret, creating feelings of shame, guilt, and lack of control.
How can you overcome an eating disorder?
First, you have to admit that you have a problem. However, overcoming an eating disorder is more than just giving up unhealthy eating behaviors. It’s about learning new ways to cope with emotional pain and rediscovering yourself.
You have to learn to listen to your feelings, listen to your body, accept and love yourself.
Once you’ve decided to make a change, reach out for support. You could ask help from your family, a close friend, or if you are comfortable confiding to a therapist or doctor that can do too.
And when you are in the process of recovering, there are times when you feel and will experience lapses. Don’t be too hard with yourself. As I said, recovery is a process, and that often involves setbacks. Don’t let feelings of guilt or shame derail you from healing.