disorders are not unusual and yet people who are experiencing problems
with eating, in its many forms, are often embarrassed and very secretive.
It is important to know that you are not unique in the way you are behaving
& feeling and to get help and support. Your health will suffer as
a result of an eating disorder so take the first step and contact one
of the support groups below, or on our helplines pages or go and speak
to your doctor.
we look at what eating disorders are, one lady shares with us her personal
experience of eating disorders and at the foot of the page some general
information to help you if you are having problems with balanced eating.
As always, if you are happy to share your experiences with others then
please send us your story.
It's me Jessica, nutritional
this time talking to you about unhealthy eating behaviours and
eating disorders, which are often due to psychological or emotional
difficulties. If you are constantly worrying about your weight
and obsessing about food then you might develop abnormal and unhealthy
is an eating disorder?
disorders might mean:
• starving yourself or limiting
• eating only certain things
at the expenses of a healthy and balanced diet
• eating lots of junk food
in short periods of time (binging)
• taking drastic measures
to reduce or maintain your body weight (binging, vomiting, taking
diuretics or laxatives, excessive exercise)
You might think that your efforts to control your eating habits are
a healthy way to achieve the body you want, but if they control you
life things may have gotten out of control. Maybe you have started with
a plan to lose a few pounds but you behaviour has turned into unhealthy
and destructive eating patterns. Eating disorders significantly damage
normal body functioning and can be life-threatening!!!
are the main types of eating disorders?
There are three main types of eating disorders: anorexia nervosa, bulimia
nervosa, and binge eating disorder
• Anorexia is associated
with a distorted body image, like thinking you are fat even though you
are underweight. Serious health consequences can result from starvation
and about 1% (or one out of 100) women between the ages of 10 and 20
is characterized by recurrent episodes of binge eating (rapid
consumption of vast amount of food in a short period of time), alternated
with purging (self-induced vomiting or usage of laxatives). About 4%
(or four out of one hundred) of college-aged women have bulimia
•Binge eating disorder
refers to a pattern of consumption of large amounts of food even when
a person is not hungry. About 1% of women have binge eating disorder,
as well as 30% of women who seek treatment to lose weight
What are the risk factors for eating disorders?
You might develop unhealthy eating habits in your efforts to control
or alleviate emotional difficulties and unconsciously turn to food to
ease your pain or exert some control over your life.
Common circumstances and risk factors that contribute to the development
of eating disorders include:
• Family problems or
a troubled home life
• Major life changes:
(divorce, death of a loved one, puberty, moving to a new place, starting
high school, etc)
• Romantic or social problems
• Physical or sexual abuse
• Psychological Factors: Low
self-esteem, depression, anxiety, anger, or loneliness
• Interpersonal Factors: Difficulty
expressing emotions and feelings, history of being teased or ridiculed
based on size or weight
• Social Factors: Cultural
pressures that glorify "thinness" and obtaining the "perfect
some individuals with eating disorders, the brain chemicals that control
hunger, appetite, and digestion may be imbalanced. In this case the
nutritionist might be able to help through prescribing some specific
are the social effects of eating disorders?
If you have an eating disorder you might not be aware of how much damage
you are doing to your body and to your self-esteem. Although different
eating disorders have different physical and emotional effects they
all impair the body’s normal functioning, cause long-term health
effects and significantly impact your social and emotional well-being
ending with social isolation, shame and guilt, depression, low self-esteem
and lack of interest or involvement in other activities.
are the physical effects of eating disorders?
• loss of menstrual periods
• dry, brittle bones due to significant bone density loss (osteoporosis)
• dry, brittle nails and hair; or hair loss
• lowered resistance to illness (depressed immune system)
• digestive problems such as bloating or constipation
• muscle loss and weakness
• severe dehydration, which can result in kidney failure
• fainting, fatigue, and overall weakness
• long-term health problems including low blood pressure, low
heart rate, low body temperature, poor circulation, anemia and stunted
• dehydration (can lead to irregular heartbeats, heart problems,
and even death)
• inflammation of the oesophagus from frequent vomiting
• tooth and gum problems
• bowel irregularity and constipation from laxative abuse
• vitamin and mineral deficiencies
• chronic kidney problems or failure
Binge eating disorder
• obesity and related health problems including high blood pressure,
high cholesterol levels, heart disease, diabetes, osteoarthritis, liver
and kidney problems, certain types of cancer
• decreased mobility
• shortness of breath
some of the books available
For help with eating disorders including anorexia
and bulimia nervosa and binge eating disorder contact:
Disorders Association, 103 Prince of Wales Rd, Norwich, NR1 1DW.
Helpline 0845 634 1414
(open 8:30am to 8:30pm weekdays & 1:00 to 4:30 Saturday)
Youthline 0845 634 7650
(Callers 18 & under - open 4:00pm to 6:30pm weekdays &
1:00 to 4:30 Sat)
e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Web site: www.edauk.com
A twelve step programme for those who wish
to stop eating compulsively. Offers Acceptance, Understanding,
Communication, relief and power.
PO Box 19, Stretford, Manchester
Tel 07000 784985
Main contact Number which refers you on to individual regional
UK web site www.oagb.org.uk Worldwide support www.oa.org
experiences of Eating Disorders
has suffered with long term problems as a result of her eating
patterns, shares her experiences with you .
been asked to write an article about the long term effects of
eating disorders and how it has affected me. I did think of going
into a long spiel about my life and how it all developed, but
I suspect when you hear stories about anorexia and bulimia the
plot is basically the same and I suppose my story wouldn't be
that much different. It's the usual emotional problems, lack of
control over what's happening and of course the need to fit in
with ones peers.
I am a fifty two year old mother of two a real average Joe or
Josephine if you like and I have coped for most of my life with
eating disorders. In my youth it was anorexia; I went from the
fattest kid in Primary school to a really skinny adolescent and
from 12 to 18 managed to live on a diet of black coffee, the occasional
apple and ryvita and watery soup. A thirty a day cigarette habit
helped too to stem the voracious appetite I had so I was on my
way to bad health right from the get go.
However I met and married a wonderful man (and surprisingly I
still am) who helped me and I started eating again but I was so
frightened of fatness bulimia became my drug of choice; it remained
so until my early forties when I finally managed to stop. I still
don't have a healthy relationship with food. I hate it and now
it hates me because it does make me fat. From just under seven
stone at my lightest I am fifteen stone and am not a happy bunny.
It has to be said at this point what all the obsession with dieting
has cost me, and believe me it has cost me dear. In the years
when I should have been enjoying proper nutrition for my body
I was doing just the opposite. My bones are thinning and I look
forward to the prospect of osteoporosis. This together with scoliosis,
arthritis and trapped nerves will make for a fabulous old age
filled with pain and problems. Could I have avoided it? The scoliosis
- no, that's something I was born with. The osteoporosis - yes,
that something that doesn't run in the family and poor nutrition
in my case is to blame.
So peeps what can I say to you? What words of wisdom can I create
here to move you and change your life? Nothing probably, but the
next time you think to yourself I'm going to get this weight off
and I'll cut down on everything and I wont eat too much and heaven
forfend I'll dump everything down the loo - remember me. All you
have to do is think of a poor old girl tootling around on her
mobility scooter prematurely aged and everyday in pain. Then make
your choice - a little extra pounds and getting around - or the
prospect of a thin body and a pack of broken bones. If I could
do it all over again I know which one I'd choose.