You just have to eat less: how to distinguish self-care from psychological problems

Ksenia Korol, a sports nutritionist, fitness trainer, member of the National Association of Dietitians and Nutritionists, the founder of the “Body Friends” project, explains how to distinguish an eating disorder from a desire to lose weight (six alarm signals as a bonus that cannot be skipped).

Ksenia the King

"What's so complicated, just pull yourself together: eat less and play sports" - unfortunately, such tips do not work when excess weight is associated with psychological problems. Usually a person eats in order to receive energy and substances necessary for the body. Malfunctions often happen when food begins to play a completely different role. This is called an eating disorder.

Eating disorders are internationally recognized and included in the DSM-5 diagnostic guide. The criterion for all types of disorders (bulimia, anorexia, paroxysmal overeating) is considered to be one and the same underlying feature: the hyper-significance of appearance, shape and weight, as well as serious problems with eating behavior.

But how to understand where self-care ends and the disease begins? Now we will tell.

Anorexia is considered a mental illness of “spoiled teenagers” who want to attract attention to yourself. But it is not so.

Anorexia nervosa can affect both women and men. The disease is always visible with the naked eye: the patient is severely depleted. Anorexia can occur both in the form of severe nutritional restrictions and in the form of artificial induction of vomiting. In this case, the extremely small weight of the patient will distinguish the disease from bulimia.

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Typical features of bulimia - vomiting that the eater seeks to induce after an “improper” meal, severe dietary restrictions, excessive exercise, the use of laxatives and diuretics. The weight of a patient with bulimia is often higher than generally accepted standards.

What bulimia patients don’t tell. This is always erased fists, and bursting vessels in the eyes, and the need to use long objects when the "two fingers" stop working. For example, it is widely known that a woman had to remove a toothbrush accidentally swallowed from her stomach.

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Although anorexia and bulimia have received widespread fame, are much less common than paroxysmal overeating. Alternating bouts of gluttony and trying to diet is a common problem in some adult women. Often this behavior leads to weight gain. A paroxysmal eater experiences rather mixed feelings about food.

Usually it is anxiety, fear, shame. Attempts to control appetite and weight are replaced by uncontrolled absorption of food. Just as a joke, "I woke up when I was drinking a borscht cutlet." It is very difficult for such a person to identify hunger and satiety. Why is there hunger, he often does not even feel the taste.

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All three situations described not treated by a nutritionist or fitness trainer. The help of a qualified psychologist is needed here. Because the matter is not in the body, but in the head. A nutritionist and trainer will only act as accurate support for the main treatment.

People with eating disorders often suffer from depression and anxiety, they may have suicidal thoughts. The cause can be both shocks in adulthood and childhood injuries. It is important to understand: food in this case is not food, but a kind of replacement for unexperienced feelings and feelings. After a course of psychotherapy, there is a significant improvement in eating behavior.

Based on this checklist, you can determine if you have a disturbance in eating behavior:

  1. You divide the products into “right” and “wrong”.

    After a “wrong” meal, you experience a sharp sense of guilt and a desire to make amends for it.

  2. You often have a desire to work out the "wrong" meal in the gym.
  3. You often have a desire to significantly limit yourself or, in principle, refuse to eat after a “wrong” meal.
  4. You often have a desire to "cleanse yourself" - to induce vomiting, drink a laxative or diuretic.
  5. Sometimes it seems to you that during a meal you lose control of yourself - you cannot stop and you overeat.

  6. You can eat a lot of food in a short period of time, for example a few chocolates and large sandwiches for an hour.

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