EATING DISORDERS





Food is playing a very important role in our life. The main purpose of food is to provide energy and nourish our body and gives us sweet pleasure. At every social gathering, food is always the center of attention. As we observe in today’s scenario, people are eating more for pleasure than for nourishment and surprisingly it is not restricted to a particular age group.


What should be normal healthy eating behavior? An individual eats, only if hunger arises and stops eating as soon as hunger subsides. This clearly indicates that the individual is aware of eating limits. In current times, this systematic eating behavior is missing due to a variety of reasons. This could be a lifestyle, food habits, food industrialization, stress, overeating from childhood, and many similar reasons. To maintain a proper healthy life, it is extremely important to watch and observe our eating patterns and psychological behavior.


There are different levels of eating behavior that can easily be seen in today’s eating the .

Level 1: Pleasure eating

Sometimes we enjoy eating food so much that we just couldn’t control the quantity. Such an immature impulsive approach towards eating occurs, when people eat because the food tasted good or as they want to eat that particular food or for immediate gratification.


Level 2: Eating for energy

Many people have a goal to fill up their tummy so that they need not eat at least for 3-4hours. While eating they don’t listen to their tummy and just gulp food. The biggest disadvantage of this approach is a huge amount of food at one go badly impact sugar level. Apart from quantity, lack of awareness and knowledge impact food choices which in reverse affect health.


Level 3: Eating for recovery

It is an inevitable cumulative effect of levels 1 and 2 which leads to obesity, diminished energy, poor health, and mood. Such people often go on diet to limit the quantity and organizing food into good and bad.

Imbalance fad diets lead to many health issues and disturb internal coordination. The benefits of such diets are typically short-lived and no longer satisfying promised effect. After all this, the tendency then is to slip back to levels 1 and 2.


Level 4: Eating disorders start

If we don’t recognize the above three levels and don’t act on them, unfortunately, we will reach level 4 of an eating disorder.

Disorder eating covers a broad spectrum of eating behavior. Some possible causes of disorder eating include negative body image, low self-esteem, peer pressure, and lack of information about how eating and dieting affect health. To prevent this problem what is believed to cause them should be understood first. Eating is a self-soothing activity, it is quite possible that a cause of overeating might be that child has not learned any other way to soothe himself or calm down when upset. Similarly, a teen girl might find her need for attention met when she loses weight after being on diet. There are many causes and predisposing factors which in combination can influence a person to adopt a disordered eating pattern. Unfortunately, today both males and females are at the risk of disordered eating behavior due to unreasonable expectations for their body shape portrayed in the media.

Anorexia and bulimia have destroyed thousands of lives and placed the victims in a mental prison that is endured 24hrs a day, every day.

Anorexia nervosa: (AN)


Anorexia nervosa is characterized by an irrational fear of becoming fat, coupled with a relentless pursuit of thinness. People with AN ( Anorexia Nervosa) always have fear of getting overweight even though they are underweight. They go to extremes to reach and maintain a dangerously low body weight. They don’t accept the

seriousness of current low body weight.

The main causes of AN are

· Dissatisfaction with own body.

· Dieting

· Low self-esteem

· Obsession with perfectionism

· Childhood sexual abuse

· Family history of eating disorder

· Genetic

· Individual personality traits

· Family environment

· Participation in activities like ballet and gymnastics etc.

Anorexia Nervosa lead to many health issues, as irregular eating, disturbs the body system in horrify way. Infertility, constipation, kidney failure, depression, abdominal pain, pale skin, irregular menstruation, stunning growth, bone problem, etc. are commonly seen in people with AN

Bulimia Nervosa: (BN)

In this, there are recurrent episodes of binge eating. It can be characterized in two ways.

· Eating in a discrete periods of time, an amount of food that is definitely larger than most people would eat during a similar period of time under similar circumstances.

· A sense of lack of control of overeating during the episode.

People with BN then compensate for this binge eating to overcome weight gain. They pursue two ways

· Purging way: In this, they regularly do self-induced vomiting or misusing laxatives, diuretics' or enemas.

· Nonpurging way: fasting, over-exercise without the regular use of purging behavior..

This purging behavior may occur twice/week or thrice/ month.

Binge eating disorder (BED) has only recently been recognized in the eating disorder field. Binge eating has the same symptoms as Bulimia Nervosa of over and frequent eating. Binge eating episodes must also be associated with at least three of the following.

· Eating more rapidly than usual.

· Eating until feeling uncomfortably full.

· Eating large amounts when not hungry.

· Eating alone due to embarrassment and feeling disgusted, depressed, or guilty after overeating.

Binge eating occurs on average at least 2days/ week for six months.

Eating disorders are chronic conditions that result in a greatly diminished quality of life in personal, interpersonal, financial, and medical realms.

Preventive strategy:

· If a teen is having weight problem then the mother should support them and stop blaming themselves and child for the same. Instead, be a part of the solution.

· All influential adults, organize your words in such a way that, don’t blame any food good or bad. Talk to kids about what really is good or bad and share value with them.

· Avoid horror stories of Anorexia and bulimia. Help children to relax but not by showing television this will lead to weight gain and loss of skills.

· Examine cultural values. Promote size acceptance as a part of the natural diversity of human beings.

Eat to live don’t live to eat!


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