Excessive Exercise and Eating Disorders


 Excessive Exercise and Eating Disorders

A common misconception is that exercise might help with eating disorders. This site will discuss what the appropriate amount of exercise for a healthy diet should be.

For an in-depth discussion on this topic, click on the link below:
"Excessive Exercise and Eating Disorders".
29 _____ _____ _____ November 2015 | Updated 12 / 31 / 2016 || Excessive Exercise and Eating Disorders http://www.ellenwhitebooks.com/article/excessive-exercise-and-eating-disorders/#sthash.LKSCkqD3.NnsbLOdmT.dpuf
"Excessive Exercise and Eating Disorders"
by Ellen White
Exercise can be a great benefit to overall health, but excessive exercise can have dangerous consequences for those with eating disorders. In fact,  studies have shown that intense exercise ,  especially during the teenage years,  is associated with an increased risk of anorexia nervosa. Even more concerning is the finding that the risk of developing anorexia increases as girls move from being elite athletes to recreational exercisers . At this point it becomes necessary to consider some of the risks involved in extreme exercise habits. Excessively exercising has been linked to depression, anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), and suicide in adolescents. The risk of developing an eating disorder increases dramatically when an adolescent engages in exercise at a very young age. 
Studies have also shown that people with eating disorders exercise in order to curb feelings of hunger and eliminate the perceived negative effects of disordered eating. As such, the desire for physical appearance is mistaken for a "need" to work out excessively. Yoga, Pilates, hot yoga and even regular old walking are all ways that many people choose to purge calories by burning them off through exercise as opposed to taking any or all of their calories in via food . When one exercises so much that exercising becomes a method of purging calories, it is important to consider how serious the problem might become. This is especially true when said person has been diagnosed with an  eating disorder  or has family members who have been diagnosed with an eating disorder.
Exercise may also be used as a form to punish the body for eating certain foods or to punish the body for gaining weight. However,  the heaviest patients often exercise long and hard for no reason at all . The National Institute of Mental Health in conjunction with the National Eating Disorders Association found that exercise is often part of a ritual that includes fasting, avoidance of social situations, self-deprivation, and even purging. As such, it is easy to see why exercising excessively can cause so many problems when it comes to disordered eating.
It becomes important to understand how exercise can cause harm in recovery from an eating disorder. Most people exercise to feel good, but those who struggle with negative emotions or depression may have a greater risk of exercising excessively . For people with eating disorders, the obsession with weight gain can become so intolerable that incessant running on the treadmill or at the gym becomes necessary. In fact,  research shows that  compulsive exercisers  exercise in order to purge calories and burn fat; however, they often do not experience any improvement in body image or weight management . Because of this, it is best for both anorexic and bulimic patients to avoid excessive levels of exercise until they are under the care of a physician and dietician.
While exercise is vital for overall health, balance is the key to avoiding a life threatening condition. While anyone can benefit from exercise done gradually and in moderation, it is not a good idea for anorexic or bulimic patients to engage in any level of exercise that causes them to severely restrict calories. If an individual exercises too hard or abstains from eating altogether, this can cause severe damage to the body's vital organs. In addition, the symptoms of an eating disorder can be intensified by strenuous exercise . It is best for people with eating disorders to choose a form of exercise that makes them feel strong, not weak. The effects of exercise should not be underestimated. Physical damage in the body caused by excessive exercise may be called "rhabdomyolysis," which is caused by excessive muscle breakdown and loss of protein into the blood stream. People who exercise excessively also experience muscle soreness, dehydration, and even cardiac problems like arrhythmias in the heart and ventricular fibrillation .
The following table represents an analysis of research studies concerned with excessive exercise among those with eating disorders:
If you are struggling right now, you can find help by calling our confidential support line at 1-888-935-1318 . Alternatively, you can check out our list of eating disorder recovery organizations .
30 _____ _____ _____ Excessive Exercise and Eating Disorders http://www.ellenwhitebooks.com/article/excessive-exercise-and-eating-disorders/#sthash.LKSCkqD3.NnsbLOdmT.dpuf
Excessive Exercise and Eating Disorders
Research from Eating Recovery Center shows that excessive exercise can aggravate disordered eating habits in those with an eating disorder or people who have a family history of disordered eating. As Excessively exercising can cause or aggravate anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge eating disorder even after the patient has recovered from the disease.
Excessive exercise can cause a high level of stress and therefore aggravate the eating disorder. In addition, those in treatment for an eating disorders are often told to avoid exercise.  So for those who are supposed to rest and relax may have a difficult time dealing with the feeling of guilt and shame that may come from engaging in physical activity. 
However, some people with eating disorders find that they need to continue excessive exercising during or after recovery in order for them to feel good about themselves or maintain their weight. If this is the case, they should be monitored very carefully by a physician as well as a dietician or nutritionist.
The National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders (ANAD) states that  "Exercise can be an effective part of an eating disorder treatment program. Exercise helps people with eating disorders to learn more positive ways to take care of themselves, to increase self-esteem, and to develop a healthy body image. Exercise is also a way to deal with stress."
Unfortunately it is easy for a person with any kind of eating disorder to over exercise. People who have been diagnosed with any type of disordered eating often feel like they have no control over their life. As such, excessive exercise becomes their way of taking back control of their body by being the one who dictates how much time will be spent on physical activity.

It is easy to see why excessive exercise can be detrimental to the body. While exercise alone is not the problem, people with eating disorders and disordered eating often find that it is easier to punish their bodies through physical activity if they themselves are putting up restrictions on food intake. As such, it is best for people who are recovering from an eating disorder to avoid intense physical activity that causes them to delay or completely eliminate meals. It has also become apparent that those who suffer from other emotional disturbances may find that they have a greater risk of engaging in excessive amounts of physical activity. Those with bulimia nervosa often turn to exercise as a way of punishing their bodies for binging or purge calories after binging.

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