Living Healthy: Learn more about eating disorders

By: Nastya Gudkova ’18

For many people, eating healthy is a burden. When faced with pepperoni pizza, curly french fries, and chocolate brownies in the dining hall, why would anyone choose those lifeless steamed vegetables? The answer is: summer.

When the weather gets warm, and beach season starts, everyone wants to look their absolute best. Boys and girls start taking daily trips to the gym, and many also choose to go on a diet. Some of these weight loss strategies can be very good for your health, like eating breakfast and avoiding late night snacks.

However, some people stop eating anything at all, leading to consequences that deprive your body of nutrients, leave your mind stressed, and most importantly, sabotage your health. Most of the time, people do not think about the awful consequences that starving yourself can cause. That is why eating healthy and regular exercising is the best way to get in shape.

A very significant point that many people usually forget is that severe self imposed dietary restrictions can cause a lot of damage, and can be very dangerous. They can lead to many illnesses such as anorexia nervosa, or bulimia nervosa. When dieting, many people think that nothing bad will ever happen, but this is not always true. This is why everyone should be extremely careful about dieting.

Anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder that causes people to obsess about weight and what they eat. It can affect both men and women. This particular eating disorder is very common among teens and young adults. In fact, the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders (ANAD) reports that:  

  1. Anorexia is the third most common long term illness among teenagers.
  2. Males make up about 10% ­to 15% of those who suffer from anorexia.
  3. Teens and young adults between the ages of 12 and 26 make up 95% of those who have eating disorders.
  4. Anorexia is the most common cause of death among young women ages 15 to 24.

You will be absolutely right to say that not every person who starts dieting will eventually become anorexic. However, North Dakota State University states that 35% of people who start a “normal” diet will take their diet to unnecessary extremes, and up to 25% of this group will develop an eating disorder.

In November, Community Life sponsored a talk about eating disorders and healthy eating in the Blue Room. If you attended the meeting, you might remember another very serious eating disorder, bulimia nervosa. People with this illness binge eat and after, try different ways to lose weight, which usually means vomiting. However, in some cases, it can also mean over exercising, or avoiding food at all for periods at a time. Some people with this particular condition have a fear of gaining weight; however, it does not mean that they are underweight. Some people with bulimia nervosa are overweight, or even obese. This physiological eating disorder is life threatening. It affects much more than just your weight. Bulimia can also cause ulcers, low blood pressure, kidney failures, dehydration, and esophageal ruptures which are caused by excessive vomiting.

In a society where judgement is common, it is important to not let the pressure of “being skinny” get to you. “I think people should be happy and accepting of their own bodies, and not take in to consideration what others think. It is important to always remember that you are very unique. No one else in the world is like you, and this is very special,” says Dechan Choden ’18, who, along with many others, believes that healthy eating and regular exercise will not only create a better body, but also a better mind.  

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One Response to Living Healthy: Learn more about eating disorders

  1. Ms. Rhonda Pattberg, MSN, RN says:

    This is very well written and based upon facts. Some of the other symptoms of someone who is dieting in an unhealthy manner are:
    *dizziness
    *fainting’
    *dry, dull hair that is thin and breaks easily
    *irregular heart rhythms
    *irregular or absent menstrual periods
    *taking laxatives to remove extra food that was eaten

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