In Part 1 we looked at Anorexia and Part 2 Binge Eating Disorder. Although I touched on it in Part 1, we will look at Bulimia today.
I met a woman quite a while ago, before I became a personal trainer. I was working out at a local YMCA. We were talking as we went through the cycle of equipment. In our conversation, she disclosed to me that she was bulimic. I was surprised since she wasn't thin. In fact, she was a little bit overweight. This woman was a newspaper reporter for the local newspaper. I didn't learn the "why" behind her purging, but I realized she trusted me with a glimpse into herself. Somewhere in her life, trust must have been broken. That may have been part of her "why".
There are many others I've met along the way who did crazy things to burn off the calories through exercise. Seriously bone thin, one would put on heavy ankle and wrist weights to swim laps! It's heartbreaking to watch.
Bulimia is yet another eating disorder which may or may not partner with anorexia and binge eating disorder. Bulimia usually affects young women, but also affects men, and middle-aged adults. Most bulimics purge what they eat, usually after some type of binge, but not always. Since food is the tool and damaged self-image is the motivation, the person tries to obtain a distorted image of the "perfect self" by controlling weight gain through vomiting, laxatives, diuretics, or excessive exercise. Technically, excessive exercise and/or fasting is called Bulimia Non-purging type. My way of purging when I was anorexic was through laxatives and excessive exercise. (See Part 1) Most bulimics are average weight, so it's difficult to suspect an eating disorder. There are signs,which include:
These individuals are trying to control their lives and past pain. This is where the emotional,social, and spiritual aspects of a person affect the physical. (see A Story Behind Every Body) The reasons behind this deadly eating disorder are:
People suffering from bulimia are at serious risk of health issues and death. Because they purge, the electrolytes in the body become imbalanced.Arrythmia and cardiac arrest are of serious concern. The teeth, throat, and esophagus erode from stomach acid damage. it's not unusual for them to have chronic acid reflux. Difficulty balancing bowel movements and urination comes from the abuse of laxatives and diuretics. Since depression is common, thoughts of suicide and even the attempts are very real hazards. The earlier someone gets treatment, the better the outcome for a "successful" recovery. Unless God miraculously heals them, they will constantly deal with the underlying psychological issues. They must make a daily decision to live in a healthy manner.
Eating disorders not only affect young people in their pre-teens, teens, and college age, it also affects people in their 40's and 50's due to the social demands to look and behave young. Some mid-lifers have been fighting with eating disorders since their teens and 20's. But many have taken quite a psychological beating in the marketplace. Out of fear of losing their jobs and status, they do everything they possibly can to look young, from hair color to face lifts and botox, to weight loss and wearing clothing from a much younger generation. This is sad because God's Word tells us of the worth of older adults to younger adults (Titus 2:1-5) Our fast paced, global society changes so fast, these mature adults feel left behind or unable to keep up, sometimes unwanted. What a shame!
If you or someone you know has an eating disorder, please encourage them to seek help. Forceful demands to "change" behavior will only drive the person deeper into the eating disorder practices. They must be approached out of loving, but firm, concern for their welfare. There are great resources at the bottom of this post I have used as resources.
Anyone with an eating disorder is welcome to join a Healthy Lifestyles group with the approval and the interaction of a counselor, psychologist, and/or psychiatrist. The foundations of Totally Fit 4 Life point all participants toward healthy relationships, a healthy view of God, and personal value. If you have questions, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. if you comment at the bottom of this post disclosing that you suffer from an eating disorder, I will keep your information confidential. All comments to blog posts are subject to my approval. I will only post them if you give consent.
Hopefully, you have found this series about eating disorders helpful. I can't emphasize enough the importance of living a totally healthy lifestyle and teaching it to your children. God loves you so much. We are here to pray for you and encourage you in your walk with the Lord, as well as anything else you face. May God bless you!
For more information: