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.