If you have been following me for any length of time, you might know that I have suffered with anorexia. I say it in the past tense, however it is something that I will battle with it my entire life. Eating disorders don’t just go away. The symptoms on the outside will heal, but the scars on the inside will always remain. The irrational fear of gaining weight I believe will always stay with me.
Let me give you some background on eating disorders in case you are unfamiliar.
Anorexia Nervosa is an eating disorder that is depicted with an abnormally small food intake and a refusal to maintain a normal body weight for the person’s particular gender, age, and height. A distorted body image coupled with an intense fear of “getting fat” accompanies this disorder. Individuals will attempt to control calories by participating in episodes of severe restriction of calories. Sometimes this is done to overcompensate for overeating or to cause a negative caloric balance to “earn” extra calories later.
Binge eating is another form of an eating disorder. This occurs when an individual significantly surpasses their caloric needs. It involves the consumption of large amounts of food. It is followed by feelings of depression and guilt. These binges can occur from 3-5 times per week.
Binge eating can often lead to Bulimia Nervosa. This is identified by binging and then purging the food by vomiting or other means; including the heavy use of laxatives and diet pills.
Anorexia Athletica is another form of anorexia. It includes the compulsion to exercise to excessive and unhealthy levels to give the athlete a sense of having control with maintaining or losing body weight.
Restricting calories can likely to lead to binge eating. This happens because our bodies need food. When we deny our bodies the fuel it needs, our brain takes over to ensure survival. It will make you hungrier, so that you will eat more food. Add in the right emotional stress and you have a ticking bomb for a binge session. It most often occurs because of the stress and exhaustion of excessive dieting.
Weight loss should be a part of small healthy lifestyle changes. Small changes don’t cause large amounts of stress on your emotional and physical being. When disordered eating habits become routine is when eating disorders occur. These disorders can start from an attempt to lose weight and then grow from there.
Eating Disorders can even occur in those educated about healthy eating strategies and inappropriate behaviors- including personal trainers. I have been working really hard the last couple years to be healthy. I thought I was winning that battle, but in reality- I wasn’t.
For the last year, I have struggled with anorexia athletica. I had been consumed with the need to maintain my weight loss and feel the need to control the fact that I WAS eating. So I worked out beyond what was necessary. I worked out way beyond what I would advise to a client. I worked out beyond what was healthy. So, I talked with my husband and then took a few months to only work on my yoga practice. I used yoga to gently heal my body from the abuse that I had been putting it through. While I had started eating again, I hadn’t eased up on my workouts. I would from time to time, but I would start “adding” more in. I tell you this to show you that I am a real person. I have struggles just like you. I am a real mom in the real world with work, husband, kids, and responsibilities.
If you struggle with an eating disorder or are concerned that you might be on that road please reach out to someone. I know how difficult that can be. I would scream “help me” inside my own head sometimes to my husband. Somehow the words never escaped from my lips though so he wasn’t aware of my desire for help. Reach out to a loved one – someone you trust. If that seems too scary there are places you can go. National Eating Disorder Association is only a click or phone call away. Their number is 1-800-931-2237.
Please join me next week where I will discuss what happens to our metabolism and bodies when we restrict calories.