Eating Disorders Wellness
The Crown: Season 4, a show on Netflix, sensitised Indians to eating disorders. Princess Diana’s struggle with bulimia sparked conversation surrounding eating disorders among Indians. Although there isn’t much dialogue about eating disorders, there is a huge misinformation crisis surrounding it. Eating disorders continues to be a social stigma.
What is an eating disorder?
There are various kinds of eating disorders and most of them are triggered by a range of psychological conditions. Unhealthy obsession with weight, food and body shape can lead to eating disorders. Eating disorders have detrimental health effects and can even lead to death.
What causes an eating disorder?
Eating disorders can’t be attributed to a single cause. Doctors and experts typically link eating disorders to the interplay of an array of various factors.
Turbulent family relationships, psychological problems, genetics, low self-esteem and unrealistic beauty standards are few of the many factors that can trigger eating disorders.
Furthermore, sports or physical activities that encourage a lean body type are often associated with eating disorders. Infact, a study suggests a relationship between anorexia and perfectionism. Unrealistic personal standards, society and family pressure, criticism and low tolerance for mistakes can cause eating disorders.
What are the different kinds of eating disorders?
Anorexia nervosa: significant and unhealthy weight loss as a result of excessive dieting and exercise. Individuals with anorexia nervosa often starve themselves. They don’t perceive themselves to be thin enough and label themselves as “fat” individuals, which is far from reality.
Avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder (ARFID): Individuals with ARFID avoid certain kind of foods and/or eat very little of it. The texture and/or odour of certain types of foods dissuade them from eating it.
Bulimia nervosa: This is characterised by cycles of extreme overeating, known as bingeing, followed by purging or other behaviours to compensate for the overeating.
Binge eating disorder: Consistent episodes of extreme overeating.
What are the symptoms of eating disorders?
There is no checklist to eating disorders and the symptoms might vary from person to person and disorder to disorder.
Symptoms for Anorexia nervosa
- Dramatic weight loss
- Sporting loose attire in order to camouflage weight loss
- Obsessed with calorie counting and food
- Diet has zero carbs and fats
- Skips meals and does not eat in front of others
- Cooks meals for others but refuses to eat them
- Excessive exercise
- Consistent self-deprecating comments
- Constipation and stomach pain
- Denies extreme thinness is a problem
Symptoms for Bulimia Nervosa
- Eatinglarge amounts of food in a short time.
- Purging and vomiting after meals
- Skips meals and eats very small portions in front of others
- Excessive exercise
- Constantly dieting
- Excessive use of gums and mints.
Symptoms for binge eating disorder
- Consuming food much more rapidly than normal
- Eating until uncomfortably full
- Significant food intake even when not hungry
- Eating alone due to feelings of embarrassment and shame
- Feelings of guilt or disgust with oneself
How to treat eating disorders?
Consulting a mental health professional for psychological therapy and prescriptions can help one manage his/her eating disorder. A registered dietitian can educate individuals with eating disorders on nutrition and can also help with meal planning. Medical or dental specialists can address any medical issues.
Partners, parents and other family members play a key role as they can provide the necessary emotional support.
How does nutrition education help eating disorders?
Nutrition education can help people with eating disorders establish a healthy relationship with food. It also dismantles food myths.
To sum it up, nutrition education can:
- Establish a healthy weight
- Educate individuals on the importance of including fats, carbs and other “unhealthy” food
- Encourage meal planning and regular eating patterns
- Chalk out guilt-free meals
How does WellnessOn help manage eating disorders
WellnessOn is not just about calories and weight management. Our wellness coaches ensure your physical, emotional and mental wellbeing. Our members can connect with our trusted and experienced overall wellness coaches in addition to our nutrition experts.