In the current world, eating disorders are among the most prevalent illnesses among all age groups. At least 10% of people worldwide struggle with an eating disorder.
The term “eating disorder” covers a wide range of various mental illnesses. They all engage in unhealthy food-related behavior, which is their primary defining trait as a group. Although there are many different behaviors, excessive or restrictive eating is most common. Eating disorders can cause shocking physical changes, such as a rapid gain or loss of weight.
One thing to keep in mind, though, is that you can still maintain a healthy body weight even if you have an eating disorder of any kind.
In this blog, I’ll be describing three different categories of eating disorders, along with advice on how to deal with them and maintain a healthy weight.
Types of Eating Disorders!
1. Anorexia Nervosa
Anorexia nervosa is likely the most well-known eating disorder. It typically appears during adolescence or the early stages of adulthood and affects more women than men.
Despite being extremely underweight, people with anorexia frequently view themselves as overweight. They frequently track their weight, stay away from particular meals, and drastically limit their calorie consumption.
Common symptoms of anorexia nervosa include:
1. Very restricted eating patterns.
2. Intense fear of gaining weight or persistent behaviors to avoid gaining weight, despite being underweight.
3. A relentless pursuit of thinness and unwillingness to maintain a healthy weight.
4. A heavy influence of body weight or perceived body shape on self-esteem.
5. A distorted body image, including denial of being seriously underweight.
2. Bulimia Nervosa
Bulimia nervosa is another well-known eating disorder.
Like anorexia, bulimia tends to develop during adolescence and early adulthood and appears to be less common among men than women.
People with bulimia frequently eat unusually large amounts of food in a specific period of time.
Common symptoms of bulimia nervosa include:
1. Recurrent episodes of binge eating with a feeling of lack of control.
2. Recurrent episodes of inappropriate purging behaviors to prevent weight gain.
3. Self-esteem overly influenced by body shape and weight.
4. A fear of gaining weight, despite having a typical weight.
3. Avoidant/Restrictive food intake disorder
Avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder (ARFID) is a new name for an old disorder.
The term has replaced the term “feeding disorder of infancy and early childhood,” a diagnosis previously reserved for children under age 7.
Individuals with this disorder experience disturbed eating due to either a lack of interest in eating or a distaste for certain smells, tastes, colors, textures, or temperatures.
Common symptoms of ARFID include:
- Avoidance or restriction of food intake that prevents the person from eating enough calories or nutrients.
- Eating habits that interfere with typical social functions, such as eating with others.
- Weight loss or poor development for age and height.
- Nutrient deficiencies or dependence on supplements or tube feeding.
It’s important to note that ARFID goes beyond common behaviors such as picky eating in toddlers or lower food intake in older adults.
These are some typical eating disorders that have a significant impact on a person’s physical appearance and weight.
Please keep in mind that starving or overfeeding your body can be quite dangerous for you in the long term if you want to maintain a healthy body.
Instead, try these routines that will keep your body healthy and help you maintain a healthy body weight.
1. Eat good food
Foods high in sugar and calories lead to weight gain if you are not careful. Choose foods that are high in nutrition and taste, like fruits, vegetables and whole grains and try to include more protein in your diets. Protein’s effect on your hormones and fullness may automatically reduce the number of calories you consume per day, which is an important factor in weight maintenance. You don’t have to sacrifice your favorite foods in order to take care of your body either–it’s ok to have a couple of cheat meals or cheat days every once in a while.
2. Exercise daily
Your body weight is affected by the amount of energy you take in and the amount you use. If you want to maintain your current body weight, you will need to use as much energy as you consume; to lose weight, you need to use more energy than you consume. Find a good exercise program that includes both cardio and strength training. The benefits of daily exercise are more than just keeping your body weight in check; exercise also builds muscle, strengthens your heart and helps your body to function at its best.
3. Drink more water
Drinking water, along with eating good foods and exercising daily, can help you to maintain a healthy weight. Water has no calories, so it can also help with managing body weight and reducing calorie intake when substituted for drinks with calories, such as sweet tea or regular soda. Water helps your body in keeping a normal temperature. According to a research, drinking water on a daily basis can also shrink your waistline and change your body fat percentage over time.
4. Watch your portion sizes
By eating smaller portions, you can prevent overeating and increase your intake of nutrients while consuming less fat. You can use the serving size chart below to determine how to maintain your portion size.
5. Get more sleep
Getting a good amount of sleep every night helps to reset your body, preparing it for the next day.
Those who don’t get enough sleep often tend to eat more food than they need as a way to stay awake. Make time every day to get enough sleep. Doing so will help you function better throughout the day, and keep you from eating extra. If you have trouble sleeping, find ways to relax your body like yoga, reading or stretching.
6. Track what you eat
Many people are unaware of exactly how many calories they consume, which is why it’s important to track and monitor the total calories you eat and drink each day. If you want to lose weight, you must burn more calories than you eat or drink and if you want to gain weight, Aim to eat 300 to 500 more calories per day. It’s better for your body to gain weight slowly than to put on weight quickly.
7. Practice Mindful Eating
Mindful eating is the practice of listening to internal appetite cues and paying full attention during the eating process.
It involves eating slowly, without distractions, and chewing food thoroughly so you can savor the aroma and taste of your meal.
When you eat this way, you are more likely to stop eating when you are truly full. If you eat while distracted, it can be difficult to recognize fullness and you may end up overeating
8. Be Consistent
Consistency is the key to everything.
Instead of on-and-off dieting that ends with going back to old habits, it is best to stick with your new healthy diet and lifestyle for good.
While adopting a new way of life may seem overwhelming at first, making healthy choices will become second nature when you get used to them.
Your healthier lifestyle will be effortless, so you’ll be able to maintain your weight much more easily.
9. Make a goal and stick to it
To accomplish any goal, you need to know where you currently are. Find out your Body Mass Index (BMI = kg/m2) and come up with a plan to stay in the healthy category. If you need some help, you can visit your family doctor or another healthcare provider for advice. It is better to start with small, short-term goals that you know you will be able to accomplish. Doing so will help you to stay on track toward your long-term goals.
The Bottom Line
The reason why many people fail at maintaining a healthy body weight is because they follow unrealistic diets that are not feasible in the long term.
They end up feeling either too deprived or too full, which often leads to gaining back more weight than they lost in the first place and vice versa once they go back to eating normally.
Maintaining body weight comes down to making sustainable changes to your lifestyle.
This looks different for everyone, but essentially it means not being too restrictive, staying consistent and making healthy choices as often as possible.
These are some simple changes you can make to your habits that are easy to stick with and will help you maintain your weight loss in the long term.
Through your journey, you will realize that controlling your weight involves much more than what you eat. Exercise, sleep and mental health also play a vital role in maintaining a healthy body.
It is possible for weight maintenance to be effortless if you simply adopt a new lifestyle, rather than going on and off diets.
At last, remember these three little words:
You’ve got this.
(Now get it.)