Eating disorders

5:13 pm


So this week is eating disorders awareness week and I thought it would be optimum to talk about eating disorders. The majority of us are focused on our appearance, which normally is okay, but when this leads to extreme behaviours to achieve a certain goal it becomes unhealthy. For the mind and the body.. therefore leading to eating disorders.

Let’s start by mentioning the two main eating disorders: anorexia nervosa (AN) and bulimia nervosa (BN). AN involves the individual trying to remain as ‘thin’ as possible and being significantly underweight. The sufferer may starve themselves, or may use laxatives and force themselves to vomit to avoid chances of weight gain. They will constantly worry that they may gain weight. A major factor of AN involves the individual having an incorrect perception of their body, denying their low weight status. In simpler terms, an AN sufferer may believe they are ‘fat’ (even though they are underweight) and therefore, attempt to become slim by (unhealthily) trying to lose weight.

Bulimia nervosa, contrary to popular belief, does not necessarily mean the sufferer is underweight like AN. Many BN sufferers can have their BMI (body mass index) above their ideal for their height/age. While trying to control weight with restricted eating, BN sufferers tend to present recurrent episodes of uncontrollable binge eating. In such instances, food is often eaten in secret and not for pleasure, with 1000’s of calories being consumed at once. This can lead to feelings of guilt and depression. Of course, the individual would try to counteract their excessive eating episode, by harmful measures (vomiting, use of laxatives). Generally, BN sufferers engage in forced vomiting after eating meals too. Similar to AN, they base their self-evaluation upon their body weight/shape.

As you may understand, eating disorders are more serious than most people take them to be. They are unfortunately very common too. YOU CANNOT ALWAYS TELL IF SOMEONE IS SUFFERING FROM AN EATING DISORDER, IT IS NOT JUST ABOUT WEIGHT. A sufferer may not necessarily display low weight, or even if they do, it doesn't mean you'll see it. A person with AN does not seek approval of others (with contrast to BN). BN sufferers typically want to seem attractive to others, whereas in AN the individual is more concerned about how they look for themselves.

The language people use around a sufferer is vital. Constantly praising someone for looking good because they have lost weight can reinforce their belief that they NEED to be slim to be appreciated. This is not true! No one should think that, but of course many do. Unfortunately, society and the media have placed so much emphasis on the idea that being a ‘size 0’ is attractive that a lot of young girls and boys think they need to adhere to that. It is important to understand that what we see in the media is NOT ALWAYS A CORRECT PERCEPTION OF REALITY. There is often a lot of editing and airbrushing that is done on photos of models. It is best to stick with a healthy weight for your age and height (check your BMI) while eating a balanced diet with exercise! If you maintain a healthy lifestyle, your weight will follow!

Eating disorders can be dangerous in many ways, especially to the person’s health. It is necessary that people receive support and help to make this hard time easier for them, and to allow them to come out from their disorder. You can get help from your family/friends, but if you are not comfortable doing that then you can always contact your GP. Other useful sites are:

B-eat (beat eating disorders)
You can also ring their helplines:
Helpline 0845 634 1414
Youthline 0845 634 7650

If you spot an eating disorder in someone else, you could save their life by providing them with help. Common signs someone may show are:
- Complaints of being fat
- Missing meals
- You do not see the person eat, even though they claim to have done
- Excessive focus on calories consumed
- Constantly worried about weighing themselves
- Looking pale
- Rapid loss in weight
- Often wearing loose clothing to hide weight loss
- Calluses on knuckles (from using hand to induce forced vomiting)
- If female, the person complains to have been missing periods (known as amenorrhea)
- They are also experiencing depression/anxiety/obsessive-compulsive disorder

Remember, eating disorders can be treated. All you need to do is get help, for yourself or whoever it is that you know is suffering.
Keep well and stay healthy!
Ayesha xxx

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  1. An insightful post dear!
    Thanks for your sweet comment on my blog


  2. great post very helpful dear thanks for sharing. say would you like to follow each other? just let me know on my blog.. hugs

  3. This is a great post for raising awareness! I'm obviously familiar with both of these disorders but I've learned some new facts too. I do think the media is largely to blame, it's tough being a young impressionable girl these days. I saw a photo of Jennifer Lawrence recently which had been photoshopped, JLaw is so beautiful and has such a fantastic figure - I was shocked!

    Tara xo

  4. Hi Ayesha,
    It's good of you to raise awareness on this issue which plagues our society today. Love the fact that your blog is more than just beauty and fashion and actually talks about real life issues. Keep up the good work :o)
    Love Sheen xxx

  5. Thanks for everyone's lovely comments :) xxx


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