Posts Tagged ‘anorexia’

Guide To Understanding Anorexia Part 1/2

Tuesday, June 26th, 2007

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What is Anorexia?

Anorexia Nervosa, often just called Anorexia, is an eating
disorder wherein an individual has a distorted body image. This
misperception leads to an avoidance of food and severely
restricted caloric consumption. Low body weight and an intense
fear of gaining weight are characteristic traits. Anorexia is a
psychophysiological disorder which, if left untreated, can
eventually lead to death.

Who might be at risk of developing Anorexia?

Anyone can develop an eating disorder, however there are
certain individuals who seem to have an increased risk. Women
are, of course, more likely to develop an eating disorder than
are men. That said, the rates of Anorexia Nervosa in men is
increasing somewhat. More research is needed to determine the
cause of eating disorders, however those at risk may include
high strung individuals with a stringent set of ideals. People
who exhibit perfectionism in their pursuits both academically
and extracurricular. Someone with a family history of obesity.
An individual prone to dieting on a regular basis. A history
of physical or sexual abuse. Someone who has been subject to
bullying and/or teasing. Elite athletes who believe their
success depends on maintaining and achieving a certain ideal
weight. Aspiring to a profession which focuses on weight and
appearance (dancers, models, actresses, etc.) Someone who
struggles with depression or anxiety. A tendency toward
addictive behaviors, perhaps manifest in alcohol or substance
abuse.

What are the signs and symptoms of Anorexia?

The symptoms of Anorexia can be easy to hide, initially, but to
a concerned and watchful parent they should become relatively
easy to spot, particularly as the disorder progresses. Keep in
mind, however, that generally the person suffering from the
eating disorder will feel guilt and shame and will try to
prevent anyone from noticing their struggles. Warning signs may
include;
●A refusal to eat certain foods. This may be in the form
of cutting out an entire food group, i.e. carbohydrates, sugar,
fat. It may also be just individual foods like no longer eating
beef or refusing to eat bread.
●Always being `on a diet’. This can become a common
excuse for avoiding food and social situations where food may
be served. It is so common for young women, in particular, to
be on a diet that until the weight loss becomes excessive this
may not be considered a problem.
●Strange eating patterns. Cutting up food into tiny
pieces, chewing each bite a certain number of times, eating
only one food at a time, refusing to let foods touch, pushing
food around the plate.
●Excessive exercise. Anything more than an hour per day
of high intensity exercise would be considered excessive. Many
elite athletes do exercise more than this, but for the average
young woman this could be cause for concern. Current
recommendations are 2-3 days per week of weight bearing
exercise with 8-12 repetitions of the exercise per body part.
3-5 days of cardiorespiratory training for 20-60 minutes per
session. 2-3 days per week of flexibility training.
●Wearing baggy clothes to hide her figure. This could be
because the individual feels fat and wants to hide her supposed
horrible figure. It could also be an attempt to hide the
excessive weight loss from not eating. Additionally, sometimes
there is a desire to avoid growing up and baggy clothing can
hide the fact that a womanly figure is emerging.
●Preoccupation with food. Wanting specific information
on nutritional values of foods, knowing the exact fat and
calorie content of foods, talking about and thinking about food
all of the time.
●Weight loss. This is a relatively obvious sign, however
initially the weight loss may be seen as a good thing. If the
young woman was somewhat overweight, the initial weight loss
may be complimented. This acknowledgment and attention may
feed the desire to lose even more weight. Anorexics typically
can get down to less than 85% of normal height and weight for
age.
●Sensitivity to cold. Loss of body fat leaves the body
sensitive to temperature and feeling cold when everyone around
is comfortable.
●Labeling foods `good’ `bad’ etc. Giving a moral
connotation to the foods available and feeling guilty for
eating `bad’ foods. Eventually even healthy foods can be
designated as `bad’ because of a high calorie content. Good
examples of this would be nuts and avocado.
●Dizziness or lightheadedness. Drop in blood pressure,
dehydration, iron deficiency anemia. All can lead to dizziness
and lightheadedness. This may be particularly sensitive to
change in position.
●Frequent headaches.
●Avoidance of social situations which may involve food.
As mentioned above, the excuse that she is “on a diet” may be
used to avoid social situations. People who have Anorexia
don’t necessarily want people watching them eat. This may be
because they don’t want people analyzing what, if anything,
they are eating. Additionally, it could just be a way of
avoiding the temptation of food. It is a common misperception
that Anorexics don’t get hungry. This is not the case. They do
feel hunger, but their fear of weight gain and desire to be `in
control’ of their appetite is stronger than their hunger.
●Absence of menstrual periods (amenorrhea). Strict
dieting and excessive exercise can lead to a disruption in the
flow of hormones. Consequently, the body doesn’t produce
enough estrogen and progesterone. Ovulation is suppressed and
menstruation stops.
●Anxiety and/or depression. This is a vicious cycle in
regards to eating disorders. Feelings of anxiety, depression,
and low self worth can lead to Anorexia. The physical and
mental effects of the Anorexia can lead to even more depression
and anxiety. The eating disorder and depression continue to
feed off of each other, each aggravating the other.
●Eating rituals such as only using a certain cup to drink
out of or always insisting on a certain fork. These are small
methods of exerting control over the environment where food is
involved.
●Increased interest in food, cooking, collecting cook
books etc. Although someone with Anorexia will avoid eating,
the hunger causes a huge interest in food. Being around food
and providing food for others become almost an obsession as the
body fights for the nutrients it needs but is being deprived of.

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Little Known Facts on The Importance of Self Image

Sunday, March 11th, 2007

It is not a surprise to most people that health studies point to
popular culture as a perpetrator of body image which has
corresponded to the self image and well being of women AND men.
What may surprise you is that this is not a new phenomenon.
Is the rail thin appearance of runway and magazine models a new
obsession which has started young girls and women on a path
towards starvation, malnutrition and disorders such as anorexia
and bulimia?
Actually, No.
The western world created a popular culture of ‘you can never be
to thin’ as early as the 20’s when flapper styles caused women to
starve and over exercise their bodies to attain the flat chested,
androgynous look that was popular at that time.
The fuller figure did make a comeback during the depression, but
quickly reverted in the 60’s with thinness being equated with
physical beauty.
Studies on self image indicate that women tend to consider
themselves heavier than they really are. This distorted body
image is linked to unhealthy dietary practices like anorexia and
bulimia.
Although distorted body image affects men and women of all age
ranges, it is middle and upper class women who are most commonly
affected in thinking they are too heavy and need to loose weight.
Girls as young as nine are following the paths set down by
mothers, sisters and others.
On the other hand, men with body image problems often feel they
are too thin and use of steroids by youths trying to build muscle
mass shows that they are also adversely affected by media
portrayals of the body.
Bad self image is learned. This can be clearly illustrated by a
study conducted by WHO with Canadian students. The study showed
that the confidence of children dropped dramatically through the
pre-teen years. The percentage of 11 year old boys and girls who
felt confident all of the time was 47% and 35% respectively. By
age 15 the percentage dropped to 30% for boys and a disappointing
14% for girls.
What are we teaching our children?
In a quote from Health Canada based on a research program for
VITALITY the following report was made: “Slimness in western
cultures is associated not only with success and sophistication,
but with character virtues. Conversely, obesity is the opposite
of all these things and, particularly in the case of women, is
associated with failure and a collapse of self-discipline.”
Self image is tied to several factors, only one of which is body
image. Self image is part of self awareness and starts early in
childhood, even before speech. As we become adults many tie their
self image to such factors as job success, relationships and
abilities. Body image – if a person has a negative view of
themselves physically – can be one of the most dramatic
influences.
Health Canada’s findings show that although self image may be
subject to change throughout our life, our “fundamental sense of
feeling worthy or unworthy (self-esteem) remains relatively
stable”. This means that it is while children are still young
that the most impact is made on their future self image. Creating
a safe, nurturing and loving environment can be the greatest
protection against negative body image and low self-esteem.
The information contained in this article is for educational purposes
only and is not intended to medically diagnose, treat or cure any
disease. Consult a health care practitioner before beginning any
health care program.

About the Author

Emily Clark is editor at Lifestyle Health News and Medical Health News where you can find the most up-to-date advice and information on many medical, health and lifestyle topics.

Food Addiction Can Lead to Death

Wednesday, March 7th, 2007

Food has been described as ambrosia and the elixir if life. For some, eating is a biological necessity for others it is a passion that can turn into an obsession. Experts define food addiction to be a disorder where the addict is preoccupied with food, the availability of food, and the pleasure of eating. There are three recognized addictions:

• Overeating, where the addict has no control over the amount or the number of times he eats. The person has no concept of being overweight or the servings a person must eat normally. Being an overeater, the addict will indulge in uncontrolled eating binges. Being obese, the addict will be prone to hypertension, diabetes, heart diseases, arthritis, and cancer.

• Bulimisa Nervosa, where the addict binges and then tries to maintain weight by vomiting, using laxatives, excessive exercise, or even fasting. Such addicts will develop dental problems like thinning of enamel, excessive number of cavities, swollen salivary glands, fluid and electrolyte disturbances, as well as calluses and scars.

• Anorexia Nervosa, where the addict fears weight gain and so starves himself. Obsessed with weight gain and body shape anorexics will exhibit obsessive behaviors in maintaining themselves. In the process, they develop problems like disruption of menstrual cycle, emancipation, hair loss, unhealthy skin pallor, and a lack or fluids.

The most common health problems are obesity, alcoholism, diabetes, bulimia, food allergies, and food intolerance.

The signs that you are addicted to food are:

• Uncontrolled cravings for particular foods. Some are addicted to sweets, others to soft drinks, yet others to coffee.

• Continuous or frequent eating. No fixed meal times an addict will eat throughout the day.

• Sharpened hunger on consumption of specific foods.

• Anxiety attacks, feelings of nervousness, low sugar, a headache, stomach gripes and grumbles.

• Withdrawal symptoms.

• Fatigue.

• Extreme irritations.

• Intolerance to foods.

• Feelings of guilt at having eaten.

The very cornerstones to curing the addiction are to:

• Identify and avoid what are known to be trigger foods or drinks.

• Put into practice a diet that is nutrient rich, healthy, and helps maintain or loose weight.

• Make lifestyle changes. Adopt a healthier lifestyle and include plenty of fresh air as well as exercise.

• Focus on personal and spiritual development. Seek inner peace, calm, and joy. Practice meditation and deep breathing.

• Plan to have activity filled days to distract the mind from food.

Even if you have a niggling doubt that you may be a food addict you must seek help. Nip the problem in the bud before it grows into something unmanageable and serious. You must consult a nutritionist, doctor, psychologist, or an eating addiction center or specialist. There are programs run by groups like Overeaters Anonymous that run 12-step programs which are extremely beneficial.

Paul Wilson is a freelance writer for http://www.1888Discuss.com/food/, the premier REVENUE SHARING discussion forum for Food Forum, including topics on all about food, food network, food recipe, health food, food gift, different food and more. His article profile can be found at the premier Food Article Submission Directory http://www.1888Articles.com/food-and-drink-articles-13.html

Eating Disorders: Anorexia and Bulimia

Sunday, February 25th, 2007

The incidences of eating disorders in our society have been steadily increasing over the last few years. It now occurs in 1 out of every 100 women. Nineteen out of 20 people who suffer from eating disorders are young women between 18 and 25.

Studies have found that our social habits and expectations increase the likelihood of the disorder in our young women. The emphasis on outward appearances and thinness are targeted daily through peer pressure and how our society markets its Health and Fitness Products and Services.

Yes obesity is definitely a problem in our society, and we have guidelines for Health and Nutrition, but the majority of young women fail to follow the guidelines in an effort to gain immediate gratification or have had abnormal eating habits throughout their lifetime.

Anorexia Nervosa:

Case Study:

Jennifer is 20 years old. She is very attractive and has always been an over achiever. From an early age she prided herself on her figure. She watched her diet, exercised daily and maintained a regiment of self-discipline. She has always been thin, but has never been satisfied with her weight or appearance. She continually strives to lose more weight. She is 5’ 6” and weighs 85 lbs.

Jennifer is unaware of the fact that she is undernourished, therefore she sees no problem with her appearance or weight.

How does this happen??

Learned behavior has a great deal to do with why this happens. Many young women develop anorexia-like patterns as our society is pressured with the pursuit of thinness. Many women are anorexic based on the eating patterns they have developed by trying to accomplish unrealistic weight goals.

Fashion models, long distance runners, women athletes and dancers commonly have anorexia-like traits.

  1. An intense fear of becoming obese. Even as they lose more weight.
  2. Inaccurate vision of how their bodies appear. Feeling fat when in actuality they are very thin and emaciated.
  3. Continual weight loss. 25% or more of their original body weight.
  4. Refusal to gain weight, which would place them in a normal body weight range.

Physical Dangers:

A rigorous dieting regime will send the body into starvation mode. Then the physical effects will start to manifest themselves:

Thyroid hormones will become abnormal. Adrenal, growth hormones and blood-pressure hormones also become abnormal.

Heart functions change. The heart pumps less efficiently, muscles become weak and thin. Heart rhythms many change. Blood pressure levels fall.

GI function can become abnormal. Diarrhea occurs as the lining of the digestive tract slow.

High levels of Vitamin A and Carotene in the blood.

Reduced levels of Protein.

An increase in fine body hair, skin dryness and deceased skin temperatures.

Brain activity becomes abnormal. Loss of sleep and feeling of never having enough rest.

Anorexia Nervosa is hard to diagnose, because almost everyone in our society is in pursuing thinness. Denial and deception are common place for young women with Anorexia, therefore it takes a skilled professional to diagnose Anorexia.

Bulimia

Bulimia occurs in women of all ages, but is more common among those under 30. Bulimia is more common than Anorexia and in males. Only a small percentage of people who are Bulimic show signs of Anorexia.

Case Study:

Carry is a women in her late twenties, she maintain a normal weight range and obsesses about food. She starves herself then binges, when she has eaten too much she vomits.

Carry, like 60% of people with Bulimia, starts to binge after a period of extreme dieting. The most popular binge foods are food that are high in sugar and fat, and are easy to eat in large amounts. (cookies, cakes, ice cream, and bread products)

The side effects of the binge eating are swollen hands and feet, bloating, fatigue, headaches, nausea and pain.

Physical Dangers:

Fluid and Electrolyte imbalances.

Abnormal Heart rhythms

Kidney dysfunction which can cause bladder infections and kidney failure.

Irritation to the pharynx, esophagus, and salivary glands.

Erosion of teeth and dental caries.

Use of laxatives can cause injury to the intestinal tract.

Bulimia has been described as a socially approved method of weight control. Practiced among women in the upper-classes because of social obligations which include many dinners and parties.

Both Anorexia and Bulimia are socially generated eating disorders generated by our need for the “perfect image”, resulting in self-destructive eating patterns.

Listen to your Body, it is Wiser than you Think. Respect your own unique traits and Diet sensibly.

Resources:

WebMD
http://my.webmd.com

Eating Disorder Treatment and Helpline
http://edhelpline.com

National Eating Disorders Association
http://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org

Anorexia and Bulimia Care
http://www.anorexiabulimiacare.co.uk

This article is freely available for reprint provided that the resource box at the end of the article is left intact and the article is published complete.

About The Author
Written by Tina M. Rideout, For more information about Health and Fitness visit:
http://clean-living-nutritional-supplements.com
gworkp@yahoo.com