Most of us at least at one point in our lives have experienced reduced intake of food or felt bloated due to overeating.
If you try to remember how you felt while dieting, you might recollect that the initial elevated mood due to desired weight loss was followed by tiredness and inability to carry out your usual daily activities. Emotionally, you may have experienced annoyance, irritation and sudden outbursts of anger, sadness or increased tearfulness.
Comfort eating and binging on eat-all-you-can buffets may bring immediate satisfaction, but the guilty consciousness will force you to put your trainers on and do an extra mile the following day. You may take a laxative or have a green-tea-only day to cleanse your body.
If you have noticed that doing some of the above has shifted from being an occasional occurrence to your daily preoccupation, there may be an eating disorder. People with anorexia nervosa avoid eating and lose a lot of weight. They are usually at least 15% below their recommended body weight for their height, and often feel fat, even when they are very thin. People with bulimia nervosa eat large amounts of food in ‘binges’ and then make themselves sick, or purge – take laxatives to get rid of the food.
How it effects your life
Currently, there is a lot of statistical data on the gender and age in which eating disorders are mostly likely to develop. However, understanding what causes the eating disorders is less straightforward. Food can often be seen as the only element of your life that can be totally and completely controlled by you despite the events in your school, family, social, or work life.
Eating disorders can have a number of effects on the life of those who are battling with them. Psychologically, you may experience lowered levels of motivations and self-esteem and alteration of your body image, placing you at risk of self-ham or suicide. Socially, there might be increased conflicts in your family at meal times. You may find yourself unable to consume food in public places.
On the physical level a process called ‘reductive adaptation’ takes place: reduced intake of foodà reduced body massà loss of capacity to functionà brittle metabolic state. To put it simply, if our body does not receive the necessary amount of nourishment in the form of carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins and liquids, we will experience the initial desired weight loss. However our body’s internal organs and systems will gradually become less and less functional. If unattended to, the consequences of the eating disorder can be tragic.
Recovery from an eating disorder can be a long and gradual process during which you can be supported by your family and friends, a general practitioner, a psychiatrist, a nutritionist, an occupational, group, or personal therapist.