Many people do not know the difference between eating disorders and disordered eating. It is important to be aware of the factors that influence these issues, their symptoms and the ways in which we can learn to prevent them. An eating disorder is a psychiatric disorder that must be clinically diagnosed by a physician.
It can lead to severe health problems and even death. Disordered eating is a general term used to describe a variety of abnormal eating behaviors that are used to maintain a lower body weight. There are many psychological, interpersonal, social, genetic, and biological factors contributing to the development of eating disorders. The following are some of the most common ones:
* Family Environment: Family conditioning influences our eating behaviors greatly. It is during childhood that our eating habits are established. Our choice of how much food we eat, when we eat and family, friends, traditions, social events, and other family-related factors limit how often we eat. Family conditioning, structure and patterns of interaction, including abuse, can influence the development of an eating disorder.
* Unrealistic Media Images: On a daily basis, we are all confronted with advertisements that portray computer-enhanced images of lean women. Young adults who have not yet developed a sense of identity lack the ability to accept that these images are unrealistic and in result, they tend to compare themselves to these “perfect” female bodies and create a negative body image in their heads. Body image influences eating behaviors, therefore the media is a contributing factor to the development of eating disorders.
* Socio Cultural Values: It is hard to deny that Western socio cultural values contribute to eating disorders. This is mainly because of the insistence Western culture has on the slenderness of women, which is associated not only with health, but also with wealth and self-discipline. In addition, the people that we interact with, such as our family, friends, teachers and co-workers also influence the way we see ourselves. Body dissatisfaction and eating disturbances can be caused by hurtful comments regarding a person’s weight and body image.
The two most common examples of eating disorders are Anorexia Nervosa and Anorexia Bulimia. Anorexia Nervosa is a deadly eating disorder, which is characterized by self-starvation, which causes deficiency in energy and essential nutrients that ensure the proper functioning of the human body. It is a serious and life threatening eating disorder that must be medically diagnosed by a physician.
Anorexia Bulimia is characterized by consistent binge eating, self-induced vomiting, fasting, excessive exercise, and misuse of medications such as laxatives, in order to prevent weight gain. Both disorders cause mental, emotional and physical changes and can cause serious health risks.
Disorder eating is centered on unhealthy behaviors, and some examples are binge-eating, Chronic overeating, and Chronic dieting. Bing-eating disorder is the most dangerous of them which can cause significant weight gain. One may think that binge-eating is a quick weight loss diet, but instead it is unhealthy, harmful and overtime it will actually lead to weight gain. People with binge-eating disorder are mostly overweight.
Our current food environment offers a variety of good-tasting and cheap food, which makes it hard for people with this disorder to resist food triggers. Chronic dieting is when you consistently and successively restrict energy intake to maintain a desired body weight or even lose weight. The restrained eater can be at a risk of poor health and nutrition problems.
The most rational way to prevent eating disorders and disordered eating is to try to achieve a weight that is appropriate for you and one that can be maintained for life. The following list provides some other techniques that are useful in prevention:
* Teaching children and young adults that changes of body shape and size are a natural part of human development..
* Reducing peer and family weight-related criticism.
* Helping children and young adults to become aware of unrealistic body images and false representations of the ideal body types.
* Encouraging participation in physical activity and sports early on.
* Establishing healthy eating behaviors at an early age in households, schools, communities and social environments.
By being able to follow the above ways, one can prevent eating disorders as well as disordered eating, and in result live a healthy and risk free life. The right eating behaviors and habits leads to a healthy lifestyle that will guarantee the maintenance of a desired body weight and a stable emotional, psychological and mental state. Also, it will help you learn about How to Lose Weight the right way!
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