What are Eating Disorders?

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Of the 5 million to 8 million women in the United States who currently suffer from an eating disorder, 50 percent will fully recover without fear of recurrence.

Thirty percent, however, will have only a partial recovery, meaning they are still at risk; 20 percent will always struggle with it, and five 5 percent of those, or 50,000 young women, will die. Eating disorders are on the rise for boys, too, but statistics are not yet available.

When someone mentions the words “eating disorder,” the first thing that pops into most people’s minds is anorexia. While anorexia is, in fact, a very serious eating disorder that needs much attention to overcome, other eating disorders should not be overlooked as less serious.

Signs & Symptoms of an Eating Disorder

Imagine that the reflection in the mirror shows rolls of fat drooping from every area of your body. Heavy bulges of fat wrap your body like a blanket. This is what anorexics see every time they look at themselves, even if they are dangerously underweight.

Anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder that is described by the intense fear of being fat accompanied with a distorted self view where the inflicted person only sees themselves as overweight. Anorexics starve themselves without mercy. Becoming 15% below a person’s normal body weight is typical of an anorexic.

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This weight loss is achieved though several unhealthy methods. Often an anorexic will exercise excessively, take laxatives, starve themselves, or use of combination of these. This, combined with the low body weight, often causes the anorexic to become severely ill, and often close to death.

What's both curious and frightening is that it is relatively easy to spot, yet parents tend to ignore what we see in the hope that it will go away, or we unwittingly cheer our daughter on. It's not just girls, after all, who have bought into the cultural stereotype that being thin spells beauty, success, and happiness.

What we need to pay attention to is dieting. When a 10-year-old says she wants to go on a diet, we should treat it as seriously as if she asked to go on birth control.

Ignore the idea that dieting is an all-American activity or that it signals that your daughter is taking pride in how she looks. Even if you think she's pudgy, and no matter how much better she may look or behave as a result of it, dieting is your daughter's worst enemy.

Signs of Bulemia Nervosa

Bulimic individuals often have as distorted views about food as anorexics have. However, bulimia is characterized by the inability to resist food. Bulimics, instead of starving themselves, binge eat (or eat excessive amounts) and then “purge”—relieve the body of the food it has consumed through induced vomiting or laxative abuse.

This can be very dangerous to a body for many reasons—not only are bulimics depriving their bodies of nutrients, but they are also harming their digestive tract. Vomiting excessively, for example, can damage the throat and cause stomach ulcer. It can also lead to dehydration, because most of the weight you get rid of is from water.

You should be suspicious of bulimia if a person eats excessively and then excuses him or herself to the restroom after every single meal. Bulimic can have weight problems as well, but normal body weight is common. However, like anorexics, they have poor body image and may seem overly concerned or even obsessed with their own body and the bodies of others. Crash diets and sudden bouts of intense exercising are common.

Signs of anorexia nervosa

Anorexia usually sets in around puberty, but it is also associated with people of high socioeconomic class. Modeling, theater, long distance running, and any other activities where thinness is encouraged are susceptible to anorexia.

Roughly 1% of teenage girls will fall victim to anorexia nervosa in the United States, and an estimated 10% of these girls will die from the effects that follow. Though girls are more likely to fall victim to anorexia, boys are not immune.

Warning signs to look for to identify anorexia nervosa are: loss of menstrual period, dieting obsessively without being overweight, being 15% or more below normal body weight, an obvious preoccupation with food and calories, claiming to be overweight when they are not, denial of hunger, and obsessive exercise.

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Strange eating habits can also accompany anorexia. An anorexic might not want to let people see them eat, or they could cook a huge meal for other people and then refuse to eat any of it.

Anorexia is a psychological disorder, so it is going to take a lot of support from family and most likely a trained professional to guide the anorexic back to health. Resistance to help is common among anorexics, so anger and denial can easily surface.

Signs of Compulsive overeating / Binge eating

Compulsive overeaters can have very interesting habits associated with their aliment. Hiding or hording of food can be common. Lack of control of eating during binge periods is another characteristic.

Some emotional symptoms can be moodiness, irritability, depression, regret about eating, perfectionist tendencies, and avoidance of conflict.

Types of eating disorders

Dieting Illnesses

Dieting illnesses, more precisely known as eating disorders, are of two main types: anorexia nervosa and bulimia. An estimated 2 million inhabitants of the United States suffer from one of these eating disorders. These illnesses are mostly prevalent in girls and women, though men also get these disorders.

Obesity itself is not an eating disorder, but people who are obese or who fear becoming obese may develop one. Let’s take a look at obesity and its relationship to special eating disorders.

Binge Eating Disorder - The most common eating disorder is binge eating disorder. Approximately 4 million Americans have this disorder. Binge eating disorder is more than just occasionally overeating.

It is characterized by eating uncontrollably, quickly eating an unusually large amount of food at one sitting, even when the person is not hungry, and eating in secret because the person is embarrassed about the amount of food he/she eats.

Compulsive overeating is usually used as a tool to escape from stress, worries, or just reality in general. Shame and regret about overeating soon follow bouts of compulsive overeating.

More women than men have binge eating disorder, and most of the people who have it are overweight or obese. Binge eaters eat mostly sugar and fat, and as a result, they may be lacking certain vitamins and nutrients. Many of them are also depressed. Treatments for this disorder include therapy and medications such as antidepressants.

Binge-eating is different from bulimia because the person does not purge the food after eating it. With bulimia, a person usually excessively eats and then purges (vomits or abuses laxatives) to remove the food from the body. Binge-eaters do not purge, so they are less at a risk for stomach ulcers, tooth decay, and throat problems.

However, because they binge-eat several thousands of calories at a time, binge-eaters are usually overweight, sometimes grossly overweight and other times just moderately overweight.

Binge-eaters are overly concerned with food and their bodies in most cases. They use food as comfort and usually have specific food on which they binge. Sometimes, in a single sitting, binge-eaters can consume over 20,000 calories. The foods binged on are often junk foods that have little nutritional value, so binge-eaters may also suffer from nutrient deficiencies.

Binge-eating leads to being overweight, which causes a number of health problems. Heart disease is the most commonly associated problem with being overweight, and Blood Pressure and cholesterol can also occur.

All of these can lead to both stroke and heart attack, which many times result in death. Binge-eaters also suffer from mental diseases as well, such as depression and anxiety. For these reasons, binge eating can be very dangerous.

Help is available for those who want it. Steps include medication to lower cholesterol and blood pressure, operations such as gastric bypass surgery to stop feelings of hunger, and counseling to help people with depressive tendencies. Education about the food pyramid and how to plan healthy meals is also important.

The shame and guilt that compulsive overeaters feel often leads them to try and stop their eating patterns. This often leads to obsession with food and rigorous dieting standards.

The dieting standards might slow down or offset weight gain, but emotional needs are the main reason for compulsive overeating. Dieting standards are often set too high for the person to achieve, which leads them to feelings of failure and disappointment.

Bulimia Nervosa - Binge eating is also present in another eating disorder, bulimia nervosa. It is estimated that 1.1 to 4.2 percent of females will have bulimia nervosa in their lifetime. Bulimics are caught in a binge/purge cycle. They binge eat, usually in secret, then purge to get rid of the calories just eaten.

Purging may involve either self-induced vomiting after eating or using laxatives, diuretics, or enemas. People with bulimia may also exercise intensely for long periods of time in attempt to burn off the extra calories taken in during binge eating, or they may go for long periods of time without eating. Many bulimics do a combination or all of these things.

Bulimia affects more women than men and more young women in their teens and twenties than older women. These women are usually obsessed with their weight and truly believe that they are overweight even though most have a normal body weight.

It can cause a number of serious health effects, including anemia, dehydration, heart problems, ruptured esophagus, Stomach Ulcers, and even death. Like binge eating disorder, bulimia is treated with therapy and medications.

Bulimia nervosa is an eating disorder in which the patient has an irresistible craving for eating. Repeated episodes of binging in short periods of time. Surprisingly, patients of bulimia also fear obesity and this fear leads them to self-induced vomiting in order to get rid of what they binged on. Patients also frantically try laxatives, diuretics, strict fasting and dieting, or vigorous exercise to prevent the supposed weight gain. These are all potentially dangerous for heart and kidney function.

Anorexia Nervosa - On the opposite side of binge eating is anorexia nervosa. It affects around 1 to 2 percent of the female population. Anorexia is characterized by self-starvation and obsession with food, weight, and appearance, weight loss of 15% or more below the normal body weight, and an intense fear of being fat. Many of them look emaciated, but they’re convinced they are fat.

Because anorexics literally starve themselves, their bodies are severely depleted of nutrients. As a result, they develop muscular atrophy, dehydration, low blood pressure, and brain and organ damage to name a few. As many as 10 percent of anorexics die.

Most anorexics deny they have a problem until the problem gets so bad that they have to be hospitalized. Because anorexia is so life-threatening, the first stage of treatment is getting body weight back to normal. Once this is on track, therapy and medications are used.

Eating disorders are serious disorders and should not be taken lightly. If you suspect you have one or think someone you love does, please seek help. It could be a matter of life and death.

What Causes eating disorders?

Gaining weight is the anorexics' worst fear. The excessive loss of weight seen in anorexics frequently causes hormonal disturbances in women and girls and hence a number of health problems arise.

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The exact causes of Anorexia are not known. Health experts believe that a combination of biological, nutritional, and psychological causes lead to this disorder. Social and environmental causes like puberty, deaths in the family etc., are stresses that increase the chances of a person to suffer from anorexia.

There is no one cause for Bulimia, but instead many factors can play a role in this dangerous disease. Often, bulimics are overweight in earlier years and have been teased. They may also be concerned with looks due to influences in the media or in social situations.

Some try anorexia, and when resisting food is too difficult, they become bulimic. Bulimics are most commonly female, but males are not immune to this deadly disease, since the perfect male image portrayed in the media is one which is lean and muscular.

Compulsive Overeating is usually used as a tool to escape from stress, worries, or just reality in general. Shame and regret about overeating soon follow bouts of compulsive overeating.

Causes of Eating Disorders

Causes of eating disorders are numerous and usually hard to determine. The general categories of causes are media factors, biological factors, family influences, culture, social influences, and psychological factors.

In most cases a combination of factors from these categories can cause eating disorders, which is the reason the causes are really hard to pinpoint.

Recent research in the field of genetics shows that over 50% of the risk for anorexia nervosa can be contributed to genetic factors. Research about bulimia and binge eating are currently in progress.

Certain personality types have shown to be more susceptible to eating disorders, and for the most part, personality and temperament seem to be genetically determined.

For example, people with obsessive compulsive disorder have a higher rate of eating disorders. Research has also shown that people are more likely to develop an eating disorder if a mother or sister also has an eating disorder.

Perfectionists are extremely likely to develop an eating disorder. Perfectionists place unrealistic and unachievable goals on themselves.

They ignore everything they have achieved and only see themselves as inadequate or worthless. So if a perfectionist gets the idea that thinner is better you can see how the progression could take them all the way to a hospital bed.

Families that are overprotective and sheltering can foster eating disorders. When a mother or father puts extra emphasis on physical appearance, even if it is not directed at the child, also puts children at risk for eating disorders.

Pressure put on by parents to strive for success and perfection can lead children to conceal doubts and worries. This also makes the children try to gain some type of control in their life by manipulating their food intake and weight.

A group of friends or an organization a person is involved in can also lead to eating disorders. With the emotion involved in a romantic relationship it is easy to see how a person can feel pressured into trying to become thinner to satisfy the other.

Appearance obsessed friends, and pressures put on by organizations that idolize thinness can lead to eating disorders. Common organizations or groups that enjoy thinness are dance and theatre clubs, sororities, certain school cliques, and cross country running teams.

In western cultures, thinness, especially for women, is promoted as ideal. It has been proven that people tend to imitate role models. In western cultures, models and actresses, who are often times unrealistically thin, are commonly looked up to by teenagers as ideal people.

Eating disorders, whatever their cause, can be scary, so if you or someone you know is battling an eating problem, seek help as soon as possible.

Dangers of Using Laxatives For Weight Loss

One popular weight loss supplements available in the market today take the form of tea. Stores all over sell slimming tea, dieter's tea and others but all of them are actually the same. They may appear to be effective, but what is not seen may actually harm you.

One of the effects of drinking dieter's tea is frequent bowel movement. This gives people the feeling of body cleansing. These people may get toxins out of their body but it isn't exactly the only thing that slimming tea actually does to the body. Slimming tea contains herbs which are natural laxatives. These include aloe, senna, rhubarb root, cascara, buckthorn and castor oil. These are products which are derived from plants and are used since the ancient times because of their potency in treating constipation and to inducing bowel movement.

Cascara, castor oil and senna are substances which are recognized as laxatives available over the counter and are also regulated as drugs. Scientific studies show that diarrhea induced by laxatives does not absorb significant amounts of calories taken in the body.

The reason for this is that laxatives do not act on the small intestines where most of the calories are absorbed. Instead, they work on the large intestines. If taken in large amounts for prolonged periods, it can affect fat absorption of the body. This may lead to greasy diarrhea and loss of weight. Abuse of laxatives is common practice among people who suffer from bulimia and anorexia nervosa.

While weight loss can be guaranteed by overdosing on laxatives, it may also cause permanent damage to the gastrointesitinal tract and the weakening and softening of the bones, a condition known as osteomalacia.

Drinkers of slimming teas may actually patronize the product because they are less expensive and taste better than other laxatives sold in the market. Other people, such as those with eating disorders like bulimia and anorexia nervosa drink dieter's tea because they work fast and produce watery stool and having loose consistency.

Women may even be more susceptible to the effects of slimming teas. Although they may are not known to interfer directly with the woman's menstrual cycle and fertility, they should watch out if drinking them causes them to rapidly shed off weight.

It is also not safe for pregnant women to be taking in laxatives of any kind. Wise and responsible herbalists also discourage the use of senna and other herbal products with laxative properties for pregnant women and women who are trying to conceive.

One should be wary about these findings because the labeling of slimming teas in the market today can be absolutely misleading.

For instance, they commonly refer to the laxative qualities as "natural bowel cleansing properties" and not specifically use the word "laxative".Some even use the term "low-calorie" on their labelling. These products in fact, contain essentially no calories nor nutrients whatsoever; unless of course, if they are sweetened.

Adverse effects of misusing laxatives in the form of slimming tea generally occur when taken in more than or longer than recommended. These include nausea, stomach cramps, vomiting, diarrhea, fainting, rectal bleeding, electrolyte disorder and dehydration as well as injury and worse, death.

It was also reported that excess use of stimulant laxatives cause severe constipation and pain for long periods (as much as for decades) due to the colon losing its function. It eventually led to surgery removing the colon altogether.

Risk Factors:

By 7, the typical girl thinks there is a right and wrong way to look. Even little girls get together and dissect body parts, generally starting with 'good' or 'bad' hair. By 10, the meanest insult one girl can hurl at another is, "You're fat." Older girls bond through a litany of body-bashing: "You don't look nearly as fat as I do!" "Yes I do!"

Anorexia nervosa, an aversion to eating that typically affects women 14 to 25 but can begin as young as 8, has the highest mortality rate of any psychiatric illness. Along with bulimia nervosa, a related condition of binge eating and purging, anorexia is on the rise.

Anorexia nervosa occurs usually in teenage years, especially in girls of middle to upper class families. Men and boys suffer from anorexia, but less frequently. Put simply, anorexia is a person's refusal to eat when he or she needs to eat better.

Not only do anorexic patients avoid eating most foods but also tend to follow activities like hard physical exercises in order to bring down their weight (which already is below average).

Like anorexia, bulimia is far more frequent in girls and women, though men do suffer from it. An estimated 7 % of young women seeking health advice or treatment suffer from bulimia.

Also like anorexia, the exact causes of bulimia are not known and neither is there a single effective treatment for the disorder. Medication may be used to treat associated depression and psychological counseling. Familial support may be called in to treat the low self esteem observed in bulimia patients.

Compulsive overeating appears twice as often in women then it does in men. The overeater will continue to eat even after they feel uncomfortably full.

Many of the health risks associated with compulsive overeating relate to the weight gain linked to the overeating patterns.

Compulsive overeating usually follows a gradual progression. Roots for compulsive overeating are typically formed during childhood. Food might have been used to make a child feel better if they were upset.

This pattern of using food as an emotional distraction or escape would continue and slowly spiral downwards until it reaches it peak later in life.

Eating Disorders in Adolescents

Since the adolescence is the age where bones are sprout and grow rapidly, well nourished food must be given to the adolescent to facilitate normal growth & development. The nutritional intake must be monitored regularly and modified depending upon the growing needs. Teenagers tend to develop eating disorders which affect their nutritional health.

The eating behavior must be corrected as early as possible as it can lead to the development of complex illnesses. Eating disorder is the third common chronic illness, especially in adolescent females and the number has been increasing rapidly from the past thirty years.

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There are two subcategories of eating disorders, anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa. Anorexia nervosa is the restrictive form, where the intake of food is limited severely.

In bulimia nervosa is the eating disorder where the adolescent binges on food and then tries to minimize the effects by forcibly vomiting, fasting, and catharsis or over exercising. When handling adolescence eating disorders, they must be handled differently from adult eating disorders.

Adolescents face problems such as growth retardation, suppressed height, abnormal weight, pubertal delay, menstrual periods absence, and menses unpredictability. When the adolescent is growing there will be critical tissue components loss like loss of body fat, muscle mass and bone mineral.

Nutritional imbalance is also caused which reflect abnormalities in the levels of vitamins, mineral and other trace elements. The problem is that these abnormalities cannot be recognized clinically. But since protein and calories are essential to the growth of the adolescent, it is important to trace their abnormalities. Because of the problems, healthy adulthood is not a possible thing. Because of all these reasons, it is important to diagnose adolescence eating disorders as early as possible.

Eating disorders give rise to peak bone mass impaired acquisition in case of adolescents. When they turn into adults, this problem aggravates to osteoporosis. Even internal organs get affected due to eating disorders.

All this can be prevented by early intervention so as to limit, prevent and ameliorate medical complications, which can turn become life threatening.

Adolescents who practice unhealthy weight control practices and are obsessive about figure, weight, food or exercise should be treated clinically. Not only should the symptoms be checked, but their duration, intensity and frequency should also be checked.

Although most of the physical complications caused due to eating disorders get solved with the help of nutritional rehabilitation some of the conditions become irreversible and the long term consequences of this are very dangerous.

It is best if the eating disorders are recognized in the early stages as it won’t result in irreparable damage. The medical monitoring should be pursued till the adolescent returns back to appropriate psychological and medical health.

Eating disorders not only result in physical abnormalities, but also psychological abnormalities. Adolescents with eating disorders take onto social isolation, low self esteem, affective disorders, low self concept, substance abuse, anxiety, and depression.

Usually adolescents switch to unhealthy eating habits because of depression and lack of knowledge about affective techniques to lose weight. So the patients who are being treated for eating disorders must also be treated for psychiatric illness, if they have any.

Even if the habits doesn’t fit the strict criteria, adolescents who limit food intake, binge, vomit or purge accompanied with or without harsh weight loss, should be monitored because of the involvement of risk of even death. Early treatment will have an improved outcome. But the level of intervention in adolescents should be less when compared to adults.

You can also read more here about the risk of Eating Disorders and Motherhood

Eating Disorders: Not just a Female Problem

Eating disorders primarily affect the female population, but that does not mean males are not affected. Anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, as well as all other eating disorders can also strike males.

Research has shown that for every four females that suffer from anorexia, there is one male who suffers from it, and for every eight to eleven females that suffer from bulimia, there is an estimated one male who suffers from it.

Original estimates of male eating disorder rates use to be distorted and the number of affected men were represented as remarkably less. One reason for this is because males are less likely to confess to having a "woman's problem." Males are less likely to identify with an eating disorder and may be in denial that they actually have a problem.

There are differences in males when it comes to eating disorders. For example, males with eating disorders often develop an eating disorder later in life than females, and males with eating disorders usually have a history of obesity. Another difference is that females find cultural pressures in advertising and media to be thin.

Thin is seen as successful and attractive for females. On the other hand, males are portrayed as physically in shape and muscular in media, which equates thinness to being weak and devoid of muscle.

Certain sports can influence men to become dangerously thin, just like in female athletics. Sports like wrestling, cross country running, and swimming have a higher rate of anorexia, and bulimia than other male sports where muscular figures are more desirable.

Read more here about the Hurdles in the Athletic World: Eating Disorders that can be experiences by sportspeople.


The cornerstone of prevention is getting across to young girls the idea that good friends don't bond through shared body loathing.

If a friend tells you, 'I feel fat,' it's code for, 'Something's bothering me.' Parents would be wise to heed the same message. As soon as a girl talks about being fat, even if she's 8, even if she's only 5, pay attention.

Here are some other red flags:

• She wants to be a vegetarian. While this may be a genuine moral conviction for some girls, it's also a socially acceptable way to control what you eat. How to tell the difference? The animal lover will still eat ice cream and cake and peanut butter, and make exceptions for special occasions.

The girl who's using it as an excuse will be rigid about foods, get anxious if she's offered the wrong ones and be more concerned about fat content than animal rights.

• She no longer eats favorite foods (hamburger, pizza, french fries). The list of what she won't eat keeps growing.

• She has a dozen reasons why she can't eat: "I'm late for school, I'll grab breakfast there." "I have too much homework to sit at the table for dinner. Save mine, I'll eat later."

• She withdraws from activities she loved but spends more and more time exercising.

Because this is a mercurial time for any girl, it's difficult to determine whether what you're seeing is the sign of a real problem or normal, developmental changes. The trick is to look for patterns and combinations of behaviors, researchers say.

The typical 12-year-old, for instance, may change outfits three times before she goes to school because she's struggling with her "look." If she's also pulling back from relationships, however, talks admirably about people who are skinny, pushes her food around her plate one night and has a stomach ache the next, that's a problem. One tell-tale tip-off is the girl who bakes her favorite cake but makes an excuse not to eat it.

Once you start noticing eating changes, keep questions about food to a minimum. It's okay to ask once or twice, "Didn't you used to like meat sauce on pasta?" but not 20 times. Form questions, instead, about what's going on in her head: "You seem stressed and unhappy. Wanna talk?"

When disordered eating is caught early (seek help if you see two episodes in a week, especially if you can connect them to behavioral changes), most girls are able to pull back from it.

The First Treatment for Eating Disorders: Prevention

Eating disorders are extremely hard to cure for a variety of reasons, so the easier course of action is to try and prevent them. Knowledge is the most powerful weapon for fighting any battle, so it is beneficial to learn about all types of eating disorders. General awareness of eating disorders is the best first step toward prevention.

Scientists have been strongly linking genetics to a person’s susceptibility to eating disorders. This is a strong change to the previously held beliefs about pressures of society. These pressures are now seen as triggers instead of direct causes.

This means that when a trigger does happen and you feel that someone might be slipping toward an infliction, do not fall into the trap of denial and guilt. It is easy to question whether or not you could have done something different. This is a waste of time that can be used to help the person at risk.

Once you have learned about eating disorders and the triggers, you can now recognize when someone might be slipping toward an infliction. This is when you should have a consultation with a trained professional. Any doctor will be able to help diagnose an eating disorder.

If one is diagnosed, the doctor will probably also insist on a mental health professional stepping in to help. This is a good idea because there are usually very deep mental causes that can be the root of the problem.

Family and friends should try and model ideal behavior. Do not place unrealistic goals on your own appearance. On the other hand, if you are a father or a man in general you have to avoid criticizing the appearance of others.

Even phases that are said in a joking manner that are not directed at anyone in your close family or friends are dangerous. Any teasing about body type or body shape should be stopped immediately. Step in and stop this behavior. Even if it is playful teasing, taunts about these subjects can easily breed negative thinking.

Emphasize fitness over thinness. Explain to people that living fit is more important than how you look. This also includes avoiding dieting. Dieting does not work.

It is a temporary solution, but as soon as the diet stops all the weight is regained. Usually more weight is regained. It is more effective and healthier to change eating habits permanently. By doing this and following these other tips, you can help prevent eating disorders from occurring.

Understanding Your Weight

A pound of fat represents approximately 3500 calories of stored energy. In order to lose a pound of fat, you have to use 3500 more calories than you consume.

Although this seems like a simple formula remember that your body is a thinking organism designed to protect itself. If you were to try to reduce your intake by the entire 3500 calories in one day, your body would register some type of alarm and think that there is a state of emergency. Immediately your metabolism would slow down and no weight loss would be achieved.

It's better to spread your weight loss out over a period of a week, so that you aim to reduce your caloric intake by 3500 to 7000 calories per week, resulting in weight loss of one to two pounds per week. It's generally not recommended to try to lose more than two pounds in a week. Attempting to do so may cause health risks, and on top of this you're unlikely to be successful.

In the example of attempting to lose two pounds per week, you can use a basic method of calorie counting to help you accomplish your goal. To do so, you need to figure out how many calories a person of your age, sex, and weight usually needs in a day, subtract 500 from that amount, and follow a diet that provides you with that many calories.

For example, if you would ordinarily need 3000 calories in a day, you would follow a 2500-calorie a day diet. Next, figure out how much exercise a person of your weight would need to do to burn 500 calories per day, and engage in an exercise plan that will help you achieve your goal.

The result is simple: 500 fewer calories consumed and 500 more calories expended equals a 1000 calorie per day deficit, which, over the course of a week adds up to 7000 calories, or two pounds. Although individual results may vary, the bottom line is if your body is consuming fewer calories than it's expending, then weight will be lost.

How To Calculate Your Needs

In order to eat fewer calories than you need, you have to determine how many calories you actually need. Adults can calculate their approximate energy needs using the following formula:

A. Body weight multiplied by 12 (for men) or 11 (for women) e.g., 150 lbs. x 12 = 1800

B. Activity One third body weight multiplied by the number of hours you don't sleep, typically 16 hours 150 lbs. x 1/3 = 50 x 16 = 800

C. Required Calories A + B 1800 + 800 = 2600

Thus, we determine that a 150-pound man requires approximately 2600 calories per day. The "Basal Metabolic Rate" is the number of calories a man of that weight would burn just to keep the heart beating, the lungs pumping, etc. You would just burn your basal metabolic rate worth of calories if you slept all day.

Thus the "Activity" calculation is approximately the amount of calories a person would expend by spending his or her whole day sitting around. If you are engaging in activities other than sitting all day, you can increase your activity hours by the number of hours you are actually active.

Adult females can calculate their approximate energy needs using the same formula, except that the "Basal Metabolic Rate" is determined by multiplying body weight times 11 instead of 12.

Children and teenagers require more calories by body weight, but the amount varies by age and by individual child. It is best to consult a physician before altering a child’s diet, however activity and exercise increases won’t hurt the average youth of today, and will show some benefits of controlling obesity.

Overall, this gives you a general idea of what a calorie is, how it relates to weight, and how the body turns calories into fat. This is not of course a complete diet plan. However understanding your body is a definite prerequisite to making the changes necessary to conquer obesity.

When to seek Medical Advice:

Both anorexia and bulimia are dangerous and life-threatening diseases. If you or someone you know suffers from an eating disorder, realize that this is not a healthy or natural kind of diet. Seek help immediately.


1. Ask your daughter or son why she or he wants to diet. If the answer is about being teased or fitting in, brainstorm solutions but don't talk about size and shape. If the answer is about her or his body, seek help.

2. The typical girl gains one-third of her body weight, about 40 pounds, between the ages of 11 and 14.

3. Talk even to your 5- or 6-year-old (girls and boys) about media images of women and men and how unrealistic most of them are.

4. Educate everyone in your home, including sons, about "weightism," a term coined by Catherine Steiner-Adair to refer to idolizing or demonizing a person based on body shape.

5. Eating together as a family each night helps you keep tabs on what she's eating as well as how she's doing emotionally.

6. Helpful Web sites:

7. If your 5- to 7-year-old is overweight, avoid restricting how much she eats. Instead, have only healthy food at home, engage in physical activities as a family.

8. Girls who are perfectionists, anxious to please, and compulsive tend to be most vulnerable to disordered eating.

9. A girl who sequesters herself in the bathroom after a meal may be inducing vomiting or using over-the-counter laxatives.

10. "I was good today," or "I had a bad day," is code for, "I did/didn't eat any fat."


How to Help: Treatment for People with Eating Disorders

Treatments for eating disorders with the aid of a psychologist or counselor are the only types of treatment that will be referred to in this article. This is because they have been proven effective, and most other methods are not reliable enough to consider.

Therapy and counseling are the critical parts of treatment, but since eating disorders affect both the mind and body, other health professionals are going to be needed.

Dieticians and doctors are most likely going to accompany mental health professional in the process of bringing an inflicted person back to health.

Family and friends will play a key role in the process of recovery. The change of emotions and eating styles will cause a lot of emotional stress in the patient. Support will be both physical and emotional. Driving the patient to appointments and verify that food and nutrients are ingested would be examples of physical support.

Emotional support would include being a shoulder to cry on, or being a pillar of strength to look to during times of change for the patient.

A typical step in recovery is education about nutritional needs and the body. This usually includes the planning of meals and explaining the reasons for which foods the patient will be eating and why they need to eat it.

Hospitalization occurs if the patient is experiencing physical problems. This usually occurs if body weight is extremely low, and/or if a patient is experiencing a life-threatening symptom. Outpatient procedures usually occur after a successful hospitalization or as a normal course of action if hospitalization is not needed.

Outpatient procedures are the preferred route of treatment. This allows the patient to be in the comfortable hands of family or friends. Outpatient therapy can include group therapy, family counseling, nutritional counseling, and possibly psychiatric medications.

Success of treatment is related to how soon the problem is diagnosed. The longer something is practiced, the harder the patterns are to break. Eating disorders do incredible damage to the mind and body so the longer an eating disorder is left untreated the more dangerous it becomes.

Death can eventually result from organ failure due to malnutrition. If you feel that you are suffering from an eating disorder you have to talk to someone about it as soon as possible. If you feel that you can not approach your parents then it would be a good idea to go to a school nurse, school counselor, neighbor, friend, or teacher.

Treatment of eating disorders is already a difficult task but males make it more difficult because they are less likely to ask for help or admit their problem. It has been shown that a majority of the time professional help is required for recovery.

This is dangerous for males because they are more fearful of finding help. Recovery with the aid of a professional has shown good results just like with females.

Studies for eating disorders in men are sparse and harder to conduct because of several factors. The two main reasons are the fewer number of men that are inflicted, and the anxiety that men suffer when they have to try and admit their problems.

However, it is a problem that cannot be ignored for either sex, as eating disorders can be dangerously unhealthy. Seek help if you or a male you know is having problems dealing with food.

No single effective treatment exists for anorexia at this time. Medications are used to treat depression associated with anorexia. Psychological and familial support is offered to help the patient come out of the eating fear.

Self Care strategies for Living with eating disorders

New Kinds of Treatment for Old Kinds of Eating Problems

Medical professionals agree: eating disorders are very dangerous. No matter what your reasoning, eating too little (anorexia), relieving your body of food after you eat too much (bulimia), and eating uncontrollably (binge-eating) can all lead to serious health problems like nutrient deficiency, stomach ulcers, drug dependency, and heart disease.

Ultimately, these problems can lead to death. Hundreds of men and women die as a direct result of eating disorders every year.

Medical treatments are available for those who want help, but if traditional treatments are not working, there are alternative treatment options available as well, so explore all your options if you are diagnosed with an eating disorder.

Acupuncture is probably the best known form of alternative therapy. In this treatment, you receive a number of sessions in which a trained professional attempts to restore positive energy in your body by sticking needles into your skin at specific pressure points.

Although this may at first seem scary and useless, acupuncture is actually quite safe and has been helping people since it was first used in ancient China. Your traditional doctor can recommend a certified acupuncturist if you’d like to further explore this helpful option.

Along with acupuncture is acupressure, which works in much of the same way, but with force on points of the body instead of needle pricks. Other massage-like techniques can also be used with the same kind of results. Cupping and rolfing both have helped eating disorder patients in the past.

Herbs and alternative medications can also be used. Instead of prescription pills to help deal with side effects of an eating disorder, ask your doctor about natural medicines. These options can be just as effective and are often healthier for the body. Many natural medicines can be picked up over the counter, but some need written prescriptions just like traditional medications.

Your doctor or dietician can help you plan the best course of action to meet your body’s specific needs—the important thing is that you are attempting to recover and are stopping unhealthy eating habits so that you do not further damage your body.

Diet change strategies:

Dieting as a healthy and successful way to lose weight is a common myth. Unhealthy dieting is used by a lot of people affected with eating disorders. Dieting does succeed at being a good temporary way to lose weight, but once someone goes off a diet they usually gain the weight back faster.

Often times more weight is gained back then was lost. The only truly healthy way to lose weight permanently is to permanently change eating habits. A healthy diet combined with moderate exercise is what the majority of doctors will recommend.

One of the known strategies is to take some weight loss medications. This does not necessarily mean those that are being advertised as diet pills but also those that fall under the category of herbal medicines. One of the fast-growing herbal medicines especially formulated to help you lose weight is protein based meal replacement shakes. These are subsituted generally for 2 meals a day and the third meal is then whatever you like, provided it is sensible.

Vitamin & Nutrient Associations

Even when we try to eat well, we're disadvantaged. The nutritional content of most food has been compromised over the years, not only by deficient soils and modern production, transportation, storage and processing methods, but also by the enormous amounts of chemical and artificial substances added to promote growth, storage life, taste and appearance.

It's for this reason that more and more medical authorities are advocating the use of vitamin and mineral supplements.

Quality nutrition products make use of knowledge gained from the botanical world's 6,000 year history. They incorporate health building nutritional herbs with the best modern technology to help our bodies cleanse and detoxify so that the cells - the tiniest living units - can be as fully nourished as possible.

This allows the cells to grow, repair and to perform their functions with the best possible efficiency so that we feel and look better and are more able to prevent and fight disease. Once the body begins to clear itself of toxins it can more efficiently absorb nutrition.

More Resources available about eating disorders :

Eating Disorders - Preventing Relapse: Just as Important as Treatment
There is no easy and graceful path to recovering from an eating disorder. Relapse of an eating disorder is a very possible scenario for someone on the road to recovery. The key is to keep temporary relapses back into destructive patterns from becoming a full regression.

It is important to note that relapse prevention for eating disorders is different depending on each disorder. A good idea is to consult the professional that is aiding your recovery about the possibility and treatment involved with the potential relapse of an eating disorder.
(To read the rest of this article click on the Title above here.)

Eating Away Pain: How Depression and Eating Disorders Go Hand in Hand
There is no single known cause for eating disorders. In fact, for most people who suffer from them, a number of factors lead into the development of eating disorders.

These problems with food, weight, and body image can be extremely dangerous to a person’s health, both mentally and physically. Because those who suffer from eating disorders have poor body image, it is easy to see how eating disorders and depression work together.
(To read the rest of this article click on the Title above here.)

Eating Disorders and Motherhood
Eating disorders can adversely affect the ability to become pregnant as well as the health of both the mother and child during and after pregnancy. To top it off, the chance of a high risk pregnancy was the same for women that were treated immediately before pregnancy and for women who had been successfully treated eight years earlier. Eating disorders stick with you, so prevention is the only acceptable form of treatment.
(To read the rest of this article click on the Title above here.)

Free-Health-Book-Download Free Report Reveals the Facts v Fiction - Shedding Light on Eating Disorders

Free Health Book.

Dispelling the Myths and taking positive action! If you just follow the simple advice in this guide, you will begin to see positive changes within days.

Click the link above or book cover to get your free Report & eCourse today!

Hurdles in the Athletic World: Eating Disorders
A thin athlete is preferred in certain sports, and this is one reason for the higher rates of eating disorders in these sports.

Sports like gymnastics, distance running, distance skiing, swimming, figure skating, dancing, horse racing, rowing, wrestling and cheerleading have staggeringly high rates of eating disorders. Male sports that ranked the highest at risk for eating disorders are wrestling and cross-country running, so, as with all eating disorders, males are not immune.
(To read the rest of this article click on the Title above here.)

Saved by the Dentist: How a Dentist Can Spot an Eating Disorder
A little known fact is that dental health professionals are usually the first people to notice the signs of an eating disorder. This is because oral health problems are very frequent in people who have eating disorders.

If you are a dental health professional, watch out for these tell-tale signs and be sure to alert parents or other family members if you suspect an eating disorder.
(To read the rest of this article click on the Title above here.)

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Below here are examples of Health Success Results other people have had with using a self care strategy for dealing with eating disorders:

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Bulimia – the Sad Secret 
You can hardly drive down any street without passing several fast food drive-ins or restaurants. The sight of food commercials on television is enough …

Loving the Body You Have as Much as the Body You Want 
Unless the body you see in the mirror is thin, buff and curvy (for women) or six-pack fit (for men), you walk away disappointed. Everywhere you look there …

Understanding Eating Disorders 
We live in a culture that worships bone-thin movie stars. Eating disorders usually begin in the teen years, when we’re most susceptible to scrutiny by …

Anorexia – Dying to Look Good 
Jamie-Lynn DiScala of The Sopranos spent most of her teen years trying to survive anorexia. She’s now the spokeswoman for the National Eating Disorders …

Are You at Risk for Having an Eating Disorder? 
Why is it that some girls are perfectly content with their bodies while others are never satisfied? It’s more than just an imagined sense of self-hatred …

Recognizing Anorexia  
A health article from Your Health Online the A to Z directory of dealing with Health Problems & nutritional Self Care Strategies Anorexia …

Anorexia: The Horrible Truth 
Imagine that the reflection in the mirror shows rolls of fat drooping from every area of your body. Heavy bulges of fat wrap your body like a blanket. …

This test is to help you determine if you have an Eating Disorder. Be as honest as possible and remember the only person who can decide if you have an …

Myths about Food Weight and Body Image 
Myth: People are fat because they eat too much. Fact: In fact, most people who are large eat no more than normal weight people. Myth: Anyone can be …

Telling Someone About your Eating Disorder 
Don't fear the worst! Things aren't always as bad as we anticipate them to be. You have to first take the risk to discover what the true outcome will be. …

EATING DISORDER TEST This test is to help you determine if you have an Eating Disorder. Be as honest as possible and remember the only person who …

Click here to write your own.

Teaching Children Healthy Eating Habits
Although traditional eating disorders such as bulimia and anorexia most often develop among young adults, children are very impressionable and they can, as young as a few years old, be influenced by adults who have poor eating habits. If you are suffering from an eating disorder, take measures to treat the disease, if not for yourself, for your children.
(To read the rest of this article click on the Title above here.)

Organizations: Getting the Correct Information on Eating Disorders

National Eating Disorders Association, or N.E.D.A., has a website with articles relating to a variety of aspects dealing with eating disorders. Some of the article topics include basic information about eating disorders, athletes and eating disorders, body image, prevention, living a healthier life, and articles relating to the differences between males and females and their eating disorders.

N.E.D.A. is also involved in research and education about issues related to eating disorders. Fund raising is also a key component of N.E.D.A.’s agenda. One of their most important features however, is their link to resources for treatment referrals.

Eating Disorders Anonymous, or E.D.A., is similar to Alcoholics Anonymous in principle. E.D.A. is a group of people that band together in order to help one another learn more about, and recover from eating disorders. Their only requirement is that the person wishes to recover from an eating disorder. The E.D.A. comments on their web page they are not associated with any sect, denomination, political party, or organization. The E.D.A. also has much documentation available on their website.

Brochures, basic information packets, and starter kits for recovery are all available on the E.D.A. website. Their most helpful feature is probably their links page which can lead someone looking for help to other trusted sites if E.D.A. is not able to help.

The National Eating Disorder Screening Program, or N.E.D.S.P., focuses on the three main types of eating disorders. Anorexia nervosa, Bulimia nervosa, and binge eating disorder are all targets that the N.E.D.S.P. wants to raise awareness about. More importantly, the N.E.D.S.P. wants to encourage those who are suffering from an ailment to seek treatment.

The N.E.D.S.P. contains the typical information about the inflictions, and links to help. This site is important because one of its main goals is to conduct research about eating disorders, which is always important for future work.

SomethingFishy.org is a website that provides a long list of organizations that are solely dedicated and trained to help people with all types of eating disorders, so it is probably the best starting point of all the websites listed.

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