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Eating Disorders And Working Out

There are good and bad correlations with eating disorders and working out. The negative aspect of the duo occurs when exercising becomes obsessive and is accompanied by orthorexia. Just because you exercise every day, it doesn’t mean you suffer from this condition. Orthorexia is a compulsion to avoid eating certain foods to the point, the person may only have a few food choices left. It’s an eating disorder that takes healthy eating and healthy exercise miles beyond the point of healthy. On the other hand, regular exercise has been found helpful for those with anorexia and certain types of eating disorders.

When have you crossed the threshold from healthy to compulsive?

It’s tough to know when you’re just dedicated and when exercise has become a compulsion. Just like anorexia and orthorexia, working out to excess gives the person suffering from it a feeling of control over their life. There’s no actual number you can put on how much is too much, because an Olympic athlete is going to workout beyond the normal amount of time. For the person with a problem, it means putting exercise ahead of everything in your life to a point it becomes unhealthy, both for the body and mind. It means shunning other social activities you used to love. People who suffer from it often workout even though they have a high fever or have pulled muscles. It is truly an obsession, where, regardless of the circumstances, you workout two, three or more hours each and every day.

When exercising is a social outlet, you probably don’t suffer from an obsession.

People with a compulsion to overdo in the area of exercise and feign healthy eating by eliminating most foods from their diet often don’t socialize. They may take up running and other solitary types of workouts, such as running, but keep themselves separated from a workout community, like we have here. Remember, it’s a compulsion and people tend to shun socialization. In fact, one study found that exercising can be beneficial to help prevent eating disorders and overcome them.

Exercise provides other benefits than just weight loss and strong muscles.

Exercise boosts self-image and can help lift depression. One study at the University of Florida shows that it actually might be beneficial for those at risk of eating disorders. For years, doctors felt that exercise could be harmful, but in many cases, it’s quite the opposite. According to the study, which used 539 students of average weight, the psychological effects of working out actually helped prevent eating disorders and could be part of the treatment.

– Whether it’s eating healthy or working out, anything can be taken to extremes.

– When you work with a personal trainer, the trainer can help provide you with a healthy workout schedule and identify the physical symptoms of over-exercising.

– If you’ve suffered from anorexia or any other eating disorder in the past, let your trainer know before he or she creates your workout. Group workouts, strength training and yoga can be far more beneficial than solitary exercising, such as running.

– If you’ve had eating disorders in the past, watch for the signs of compulsion when you start a workout program. Working out when ill, starving yourself on days you don’t workout, increasing your workout time continually and frequent injuries should alert you to the potential of a problem.

Depression And Health

When you talk about depression and health, you’re talking about a combination that normally are found together. When you are ill, sometimes the first symptom is a feeling of depression. In fact, some chronic illnesses, such as diabetes, arthritis, heart disease, kidney disease, lupus, HIV/AIDS, MS and hypothyroidism can cause depression, which is why you should always get a physical if depression is long standing or particularly severe. Depression can also lead to some of those same diseases or aggravate it and make it worse.

Depression is more than just feeling sad for a reason.

The loss of a loved one, loss of a job and even moving can make you feel depressed, but it’s not the same as depression. It’s natural to feel sad when you encounter a loss in life, but even that type of depression can lead to a weakened immune system. How many times have you heard of an elderly person losing a spouse, only to die themselves within six months? It’s not coincidental that it happens. Depression causes stress and stress triggers the release of hormones such as cortisol, which affect the immune system and other parts of the body.

Fight depression with exercise.

One study gave a group of depressed individuals a proven anti-depressive medication and the other group a placebo, but included exercise into the study. The improvement on each group was identical, with the group exercising’s only side effect being weight loss and improved health. Another study conducted in 2005 at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, noted that just 30 minutes five days a week for 12 weeks, reduced depression symptoms by almost half.

Depression limits the brain’s adaptability and limits neurotransmitters in the brain.

Depression locks the brain into a loop of negativity. Exercise tells to brain to boost the efficiency of neurotransmitters by boosting the BDNF— brain-developed neurotrophic factor—which helps the neurotransmitters function better. It also builds new neuropathways and improves brain plasticity, which means it helps brain cells grow.

– Healthy eating can also help reverse the effects of depression. Omega3 fatty acids from fish or nuts, Vitamin B complex from leafy greens and eggs, Vitamin D and tryptophen from dairy and other sources and selenium from Brazil nuts and walnuts help. Cashews and cashew butter also helps.

– Exercise and healthy eating can also prevent weight gain that often accompanies depression and leads to further depression. It can also help with weight loss, which boosts self-image and helps decrease depression.

– Exercise stimulates the creation of dopamine and other hormones in the brain that make you feel good right after working out for a boost, even though it’s not permanent.

– Getting adequate sleep helps reduce depression. Unfortunately, depressed people often have insomnia. Exercising can help you sleep better.

Back To School Health

Back to school health starts with getting everyone back on the school schedule for sleeping, waking and meals. It’s insuring that all immunizations are all up-to-date and if physicals are necessary, they’re completed. It means the active times of summer are finished and it’s time to sit focused in the classroom. Whether you’re a working parent or a stay-at-home one, it can all add up to extra work and planning to insure the good health of all family members, including parents.

Planning is important.

Insuring adequate sleep and good nutrition is of primary importance. The first comes with adjusting sleep schedules. About two weeks before school starts, it’s time to start setting bedtime earlier by increments for everyone whose schedule is changing. If going to school means rising two hours earlier, adjusting bedtime a half hour every three or four days and getting up earlier will help reset the internal clock. Stick with the same schedule on weekends, just as you should throughout the year. It helps stabilize the Circadian rhythm.

Check the school lunch program.

Even though there are many changes to make school lunches healthier, it’s hard to standardize requirements when one child may be the perfect weight at 70 pounds, while another is just right at 120. Each one requiring a different amount of nutrients and calories. Some programs use prepackaged foods with lots of processing and additives. You can check the menu and supplement with nutritious snacks for mid morning and have snacks ready in the refrigerator for after school.

Make sure the kids get physical.

Going from an active summer lifestyle to all day in the classroom decreases the amount of exercise each week. Create activities for the family on weekends that increase the time, whether it’s going for a walk, riding bikes together or shooting hoops in the driveway. Check for after school activities to help burn off the pent up energy and stress from the school day. It might not seem like it, but school can be stressful no matter what the child’s age. Create a chore list that requires physical exertion on the child’s part, whether raking the lawn or sweeping the floors, every little bit counts.

– Get the kids to help you make snacks and meals. It helps them learn how to choose food wisely, encourages healthy eating and can be fun.

– Get up earlier in the morning and walk your children to school, if possible. Both you and your kids will benefit from the extra exercise. It helps boost the brain power for the day.

– Limit online and TV time. Computer games may be fun, but they aren’t developing a healthier child.

– Reinforce the rules of healthy hygiene, such as emphasizing washing hands after using the bathroom.