April 25 2018
Content warning: This entry contains material that may be triggering for those who are dealing with or recovering from eating disorders.
Many of us know that eating disorders like anorexia and bulimia are unhealthy, even deadly in many situations. They can cause serious health problems such as low testosterone in men who deal with an ED (eating disorder), missed menstrual cycles, tooth decay and severe stomach problems from frequent vomiting or irregular bowel movements and constipation from laxative abuse, even death. Eating disorders are categorized as mental illnesses where there is an unhealthy relationship with food. People with eating disorders often struggle with body image and disrupts their normal activities with unusual eating habits to alter their appearance. Eating disorders can be genetic or caused by psychological issues like coping skills, control issues, trauma, family trouble, or social issues. Sadly, only about 10% of people with eating disorders receive treatment out of about 35% who seek treatment. Eating disorders are sorely misrepresented as something only reserved for rich, privileged girls who are obsessed with getting ready for beach season but the reality is much, much darker than all of that. If you have a mental illness or any sort of narcotic addiction problem, you will probably be able to find an online community chatroom or board that will help prevent you from enacting any potentially damaging behaviour that can exacerbate your addiction or mental health problem. While you may find similar groups for those with eating disorders, you also have a big chance of finding groups that are actually pro-eating disorder which are pro-ana and pro-mia blogs and chatrooms (ana being short for anorexia and mia being short for bulimia). These pages contain tips, diet plans and blog entries that revolve around weight loss through eating disorders. The community consists mostly of people who are very aware of their ED and that it is likely linked with mental illness, but do not mind or care, in fact they also share tips on how to hide your disorder from your family and friends.
The diet plans that are typically found on these pages are nothing short of distressing. The main diets found are called the Lunabelle diet plan (40 day plan with eating below 1000 calories each day with intermittent fasting) the Rainbow diet (each day categorizes food by colour and ideally do not consume more than 700 calories in a week) and the ABC (anorexia boot camp) diet (50 day plan that typically does not go over 500 calories per day with intermittent fasting during the week). The average active, healthy person is supposed to consume between 1600 to 2500 calories a day. These pro-ana and pro-mia pages are promoting something that is not only incredibly unhealthy (can cause severe heart problems, long term to permanent digestive problems, hair loss, tooth decay, muscle loss and dizziness just to name a couple of things that eating disorders can and will do) it can actually kill you.
For those trying to physically recover from eating disorders, there are a few natural supplements and tips and tricks you could use to keep you healthy and to slowly repair some of the physical damage that has been done. B vitamins are absolutely essential since many of them might have been lost through improper nutrition or frequent purging, especially food based sources like nutritional yeast (rich in B12) and brewer’s yeast. Calcium is essential for helping to re-build some bone density and preventing early onset osteoporosis that comes from eating disorders. Medium to high impact exercise on a regular basis will help your metabolism regulate itself and will help prevent constipation that can happen when you quit abusing laxatives with every purge. Magnesium chloride is also very good for preventing constipation caused by laxative withdrawal as well as relaxing your nerves and heart rate which would likely be sped up and going hard from eating disorders as well. Fortunately, most cardiovascular problems caused by eating disorders can be treated through proper nutritional rehabilitation and electrolyte intake. Electrolytes are incredibly important for recovery from eating disorders in order to regulate hydration as well as proper nerve function. More important than anything else, we need to stop assuming that eating disorders are nothing more than a vapid rich girl phase to keep thin. This is a real and serious illness, this is not a joke. The consequences of eating disorders are not just limited to extreme weight loss, we need to stop and ask why we do not see this as an actual illness; knowing that what you are doing in order to lose weight will likely harm or even kill you but choosing to do it anyway so you can have control over your weight is an illness and needs to be treated and respected as such.