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A Guide to Eating Disorders

You see the messages all the time about weighing the right amount, and looking the way society demands. “Use our product to look beautiful!” “Look fabulous by eating this one ingredient!” We are constantly bombarded with images and messages that tell us that we need to change our weight, even if we already are a healthy size. They tell us we need to fit into those size 0 jeans, because if we don’t, we are terrible people. Sometimes that shame and guilt can lead us to make wrong decisions.

We know that we should lose weight the healthy way: eating right and exercising. For many men and women, this isn’t good enough. According to the National Eating Disorders Association, 20 million women and 10 million men have some kind of eating disorder in the United States. An eating disorder is an illness that deals with the amount of food you eat, whether a lot or a little. Here are the facts about three major eating disorders: bulimia, anorexia, and binge eating.

Type

What it is

Signs and Symptoms

Resulting Problems

Bulimia

Eating food and then getting rid of it by vomiting or over-exercising.
  • Going to the bathroom during meals
  • Weight that fluctuates often
  • Damaged tooth enamel and bad breath
  • Sore throat or mouth sores
  • Dehydration or acid reflux or other stomach problems
  • Irregular heartbeat and possible heart failure
  • Electrolyte imbalance
  • Inflammation and possible rupture of the esophagus
  • Tooth decay and irregular bowel movements
  • Ulcers
  • High blood pressure, high cholesterol levels
  • Gallbladder disease
  • Irregular heartbeat and possible heart failure
  • Electrolyte imbalance
  • Inflammation and possible rupture of the esophagus
  • Tooth decay and irregular bowel movements
  • Ulcers
  • High blood pressure, high cholesterol levels
  • Gallbladder disease
Anorexia Denying the body nutrients in order to avoid gaining weight. This can mean a refusal to eat any food, or a refusal to eat healthy amounts of food.
  • Emaciation
  • Deep fear of gaining weight
  • Restricted eating habits
  • Distorted body image
  • Inability to maintain a normal weight
  • Constantly weighing themselves
  • Weak, brittle bones
  • Loss of hair
  • Fatigue and muscle loss
  • Increased risk of heart failure due to a slow heart rate and low blood pressure
  • Downy hair all over the body because of the body trying to stay warm
  • Multi-organ failure
  • Weak, brittle bones
  • Loss of hair
  • Fatigue and muscle loss
  • Increased risk of heart failure due to a slow heart rate and low blood pressure
  • Downy hair all over the body because of the body trying to stay warm
  • Multi-organ failure
Binge eating Eating excessive amounts of food at a time, and not being able to limit your food intake to a healthy amount.
  • Feeling numb while on a binge
  • Stockpiling food for future binges
  • Feeling stressed or anxious and needing to eat to relieve the stress or anxiety
  • Eating even if they are full
  • Eating normally in public and overeating in private
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Insomnia
  • Muscle/joint pain
  • Depression and/or anxiety
  • Obesity
  • Heart disease
  • Gallbladder disease
  • High blood pressure and cholesterol levels
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Insomnia
  • Muscle/joint pain
  • Depression and/or anxiety
  • Obesity
  • Heart disease
  • Gallbladder disease
  • High blood pressure and cholesterol levels

 

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