Detrimental Effects of Anorexia and Bulimia

Do you have anorexia or bulimia? If so, you are risking your life!

The results of either one of these disorders can have long lasting devastating effects on your body.

Anorexics typically don’t eat. They pick at food and watch their calorie intake very closely. Bulimics, on the other hand, eat a lot to compensate for when they don't eat, and will purge or take excessive amounts of laxatives after they go on an eating binge.

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These two disorders are closely related. Anorexics are far more likely to become bulimic, as starvation forces the issue. Those with the disorder are far more likely to crave food so badly that they have to eat eventually, which can lead to bulimia.

The Detrimental Effects of Anorexia and Bulimia

Either of these eating disorders can have long lasting negative effects on the body which include: malnutrition, dehydration, vitamin deficiencies, acid reflux, dry skin, hair, nails, swelling of the face especially, sallow colored skin, teeth erosion, laxative dependence, toxicity, amenorrhea, diabetes, low blood pressure, extreme fatigue, damage to internal organs, and death.

Control issues are typically the root cause for either disorder. Many times, there is an overwhelming feeling that their life is out of control. They compensate for those feelings by controlling the one area of their life that they can control, which is their food consumption! (I’ll show them! I can control something about myself and my life!)
Food becomes their ‘levy’ to provide some control.

Those suffering may have low self-esteem and constantly
‘think they are fat’. They become obsessed with numbers. How many calories does a food contain? and how much do I weigh? These are the two ‘number’ questions that consume them. They might feel a need to often ‘touch’ or ‘feel’ their stomach, to make sure it’s not fat.

Those with anorexia or bulimia hide or hoard food, seem very secretive, count calories, and are totally consumed by food. Every waking moment becomes a constant struggle when they think about what they’ll eat next. Planning menus, checking out new recipes, going grocery shopping, and fixing food for others to enjoy are typical for either disorder.

They may also become loners in school or other group oriented places. They enjoy their time alone and make excuses not to socialize. They may lose their close friends. They become afraid to admit what’s going on inside of them to loved ones and hide their weight by wearing baggy clothes.

Exercise is also a big part of both disorders. When they’re not planning their next meal, they are exercising on the bed, running miles, or participating in other sports related activities. However, exercise is partially done in secret. They want to hide how much they are actually doing!

On the other hand, they also might be quite good at some type of skill that does not involve food at all. They might enroll in school, play in a band, be artistically inclined, or anything that keeps their hands busy. As long as they’re busy, they aren’t eating! When they get alone however, they quickly turn to their obsession for food.

How do I know so much about it? It's because both my brother and sister had anorexia first, then bulimia back in the early ‘70’s. My brother James was teased about his weight all through High School. His nickname was ‘Butterball’. When he became a junior in High School he had started to grow out of his plumpness, saw the reaction of the girls at school, and then became obsessed trying to lose more weight. (to attract more girls!) James lost more weight and looked very handsome indeed. But then he couldn’t stop. He was hooked. He had cut his food intake to almost nil when he somewhere got the idea for overeating and purging. Thus the cycle continued.

Unfortunately, my sister was watching my brother. She learned the behaviors from him and soon went down the same road. Both became increasingly thinner and purging became something I heard a lot while I was growing up. James was able to overcome the purging somehow but two years later in 1972, he committed suicide.

My sister was in and out of hospitals for many long years. My parents didn't want to lose her too so they provided as much help as they could. Back in those days, little was known about treating the disorder so she really never got better for very long. Sadly, she was never able to shake the habit and her lifestyle remained the same. She had been a full blown bulimic for over 10 years when she died tragically in a car accident in 1979. She was 5'7" and weighed 78 pounds when she passed away. If she had just had a little more padding on her, the outcome might have been different.

Sad but true.

I was left alone as an only child after their deaths. It was devastating to our family. My mom and dad became so overwhelmed by losing two of their children, that I often got left out or felt abandoned.

If you have either anorexia or bulimia, it will be equally devastating to your own family if you should die.

Parents raise their children feeding them healthy and nutritious foods. It is NORMAL for parents to want to feed their children. This is inborn. We start out their lives by feeding them breast milk. We feed them baby foods and then finger foods as toddlers. Throughout our children's lives we just want them to be healthy and happy. Food is naturally a focus for parents. What happens when anorexia and bulimia take over is heartbreaking. We are denied the simple pleasures that feeding a family can give.

This is one major dilemma that we face as parents with children who have anorexia or bulimia. After all, food consumption is a large part of who we are as providers.

Are You Bumilic or Anorexic?

You are not fat! Here me well!

Starvation dieting actually makes you gain weight. If you deprive your body of food, your body goes into the starvation mode and HOLDS ONTO YOUR FAT. Funny how our bodies FIGHT to protect us.

It is much better to nibble throughout the day and use control the amount of foods you eat at one time. That way your body won't be in the starvation mode and hold onto fat, since fat is what you are worried about. You are also depriving your body of its nutrition if you don't eat. Your body will start to shut down, including your organs. Your skin will become sallow, gray, and dull looking. You just won't look healthy or have that natural glow you used to have.

Please eat something! Fruit is a natural fibrous food and will NOT pack on pounds. I used to watch my sister nit pick at food and eat amounts that a toddler might eat. It was very disheartening to watch her waste away.

If you love your parents, then do something about it. Remember too, that you have to love yourself enough to want to change. Sure life is hard, but no one ever promised you it'd be easy.

I wouldn't recommend dieting. Just eat a well balanced healthy diet. Eat a little of this and a little of that. I am 5'6" and weigh around 115 pounds. I am also over 50. If I can stay slim naturally, so can you!

It is important to note that eating disorders have one of the highest death rates of all. The Eating Disorders Association of the UK estimates it at 10 percent.

An 18 percent mortality rate has been suggested for anorexia. These death rates are higher than those with some forms of cancer.

The rate for bulimia is much lower than for anorexia.

Need Help?

The biggest concern for people who are bulimic or anorexic is that they are certainly not getting good nutrition. To make sure you are getting the nutrients you need, nutritional drinks or protein shakes are perfect for you! They can provide your body with some of the nutrients it needs to survive. The thing your body needs the most are vitamins and proteins. Your body craves active enzymes and nutrients that build and feed your cells. You should also take vitamins religiously. They aren't as good as just eating healthy foods, but they are something!

If you need help, I suggest you get it. Anorexia and Bulimia are not sexy! It is not cool to have either disorder! You need help! Don't be ashamed to admit that you do! You are precious. Your life is precious!

Avalon Hills

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