Bulimia nervosa is a very serious eating disorder which involves frequent periods of consuming large amounts of food (binging), that's followed by purging to prevent gaining weight. Some people with bulimia nervosa abuse laxatives also for the same reason or as an alternative to self-induced vomiting (purging).
There's another form of bulimia though that's equally as serious but it doesn't involve throwing up to keep a person from gaining weight.
Exercise Bulimia is an eating disorder that easily goes undetected because we all know how important fitness is to our health and overall well-being. Men or women with exercise bulimia don't appear underweight and on the outside, they look healthy and in good shape, but they're not on the inside. People suffering from exercise bulimia don't throw up after they eat instead their form of 'purging' is done by excessive exercising to get rid of the calories they just consumed as well as the guilt.
Exercise bulimia is very dangerous and most people with this disorder don't even realize they're suffering from this form of eating disorder until serious damage has been done to their health.
Exercise bulimia doesn't just involve extreme exercise right after a person has eaten to burn off the calories either.
Exercise bulimics can work out for hours involving some form of fitness every day and sometimes more than once a day. They're obsessed with exercise and often binge eat and to relieve feelings of shame and guilt will exercise in excess so they don't gain weight which makes them feel better at the time.
Exercise bulimics can be so obsessed with fitness they spend much of their free time focused on working out either at the gym, at home, running, jogging etc. but their fitness regimen is taken to extreme. They may work out in the morning then go to the gym during their lunch hour and may even work out in the evening. A person with this form of eating disorder will even work out when they're not feeling well or shouldn't due to an injury and when they can't, they become depressed and feel miserable.
Mika Brzezinski is a journalist and co-hosts MSNBC's weekday 'Morning Joe' broadcast. She recently talked about her own personal struggle with eating disorders she's experienced throughout her life. Exercise bulimia was part of the cycle she went through due to her addiction to food, running ten miles after a binge usatoday.com reports.
In 2009 Cali Carlin from CBS News talked with Robyn Yamanaka, a professional trainer about her experience with exercise bulimia. Robyn was working out three or more hours a day and in six years hadn't taken a day off.
She said she had more health issues than an overweight person would have due to being under weight. Due to over exercising Robyn had stopped her menstrual cycle for eight years, had a stress fracture and osteoporosis. Fortunately Robyn's parents saw to it their daughter received treatment for her eating disorder and she was able to go back to work and was recovering.
Potential health complications from exercise bulimia may include; injuries, depression, dehydration, weakened bones, bone loss, arthritis, anxiety, fatigue, reproductive problems and cardiac arrest. Treatment for exercise bulimia is similar to treating "other eating disorders" and with a proper diagnosis, individualized treatment, therapy, education and support recovery can be achieved.
If you or someone you know may be suffering from any eating disorder, I understand how difficult it is to seek help but you're not alone and you can find lasting recovery. You deserve to be happy, give us a call 1-800-559-9503 and we'll guide you through your recovery journey every step of the way.