Mind and Body Health

Eating Disorders – The Effects and The Recovery

I know this is a blog about me losing weight but part of losing weight and having a healthy eating lifestyle means understanding about negative eating habits as well.

Next week, February 26- March 4th is National Eating Disorder Week. The goals of the awareness week is to increase knowledge about the prevalence, dangers signs and treatments of eating disorders. Eating disorder rates have increased every decade since 1950. That being said, the illness and mortality from these conditions also continue to grow.


Early this week, I was listening to Z100, my favorite radio station and they had a guest on the show that was speaking about Project Heal; http://theprojectheal.org ; which is a non-profit organization that focuses on people suffering with eating disorders who want to recover but are unable to afford treatment. For some reason, this topic hit a spot for me because it dawned on me that while I might have issues trying to lose weight, there are so many people out there that have unhealthy eating habits.


Eating disorders are basically conditions marked by an unhealthy relationship with food. There are three main types of eating disorders:


1- Anorexia Nervosa – weight loss due to excessive dieting and exercise sometimes to the point of starvation. Many people with anorexia feel they can never be thin enough and constantly see themselves as fat no matter how much weight they’ve lost.
2- Bulimia Nervosa – extreme overeating, which is followed by purging.
3- Binge Eating Disorder – regular episodes of extreme overeating and feelings of loss of control about eating

Signs and Symptoms of Anorexia Nervosa-
• Underweight, with protruding bones or a sunken appearance to the face
• Fatigue
• Dizziness or fainting
• Brittle nails
• Hair that thins, breaks or falls out
• Menstrual irregularities or loss of menstruation (amenorrhea)
• Baby fine hair covering face and other areas of the body Refusal to eat
• Denial of hunger
• Eating only a few certain “safe” foods, usually those low in fat and calories
• Adopting rigid meal or eating rituals, such as cutting food into tiny pieces or spitting food out after chewing

Signs and Symptoms of Bulimia Nervosa:
• Abnormal bowel functioning
• Damaged teeth and gums
• Sores in the throat and mouth
• Scarring on the back of the hand/fingers used to induce purging
• Swollen salivary glands
• Menstrual irregularities or loss of menstruation (amenorrhea)
• Irritation and inflammation of the esophagus (heartburn)
• Constant dieting
• Hiding food or food wrappers
• Eating in secret
• Eating to the point of discomfort or pain
• Self-induced vomiting
• Laxative use
• Excessive exercise
• Frequent bathroom trips after eating

Signs and Symptoms of Binge Eating Disorder:
• Eating large amounts of food
• Eating even when full
• Eating rapidly during binge episodes
• Frequent dieting without weight loss
• Frequently eating alone
• Hoarding food
• Hiding empty food containers
• Lack of control once one begins to eat
• Depression
• Grief
• Anxiety
• Shame
• Disgust or self-hatred about eating behaviors

Social media has become a forum that negatively affects people with eating disorders. Social media amplifies behaviors associated with eating disorders- obsession, comparison and competition. It has become a place where people constantly go to seek and gain approval. Some studies have actually shown that the more time teenage girls spend on social media, the higher their risk of developing negative body images and eating disorders.


It’s common for people with eating disorders to hide their unhealthy behaviors, and it can be difficult to recognize the signs of an eating disorder, especially early on. Most eating disorders tend to develop in the early teenage years and are much more common in women and girls. There is no real precise cause other than it seems to coexist with psychological and medical issues like depression, low self-esteem and anxiety.

Educate yourself during National Eating Disorder Awareness Week. It’s time to take eating disorders seriously as public health concerns. Eating disorders do not discriminate.

Oh I also wanted to add in a book that I read years ago and I think it really brings home the effects of eating disorders:

One thought on “Eating Disorders – The Effects and The Recovery

  1. Thank you for writing this. I’ve almost died/was almost put into hospice for my ED twice and I was put into a mental hospital three times for my ED. Recovery can be a bitch. The only person that can recover for you is yourself and that seems to be something that my parents don’t understand. Hang in there xx

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