Jed thought that his wife was just determined to lose weight after their baby was born. She would only eat fruits and bread every day and was strict with her calorie counting. After that, his wife would perform a strenuous exercise routine. He didn’t mind it that much until he received a phone call at work. His wife died at the gym while she was working out and had cardiac arrest at age 34.
Sometimes the thinking by patients and family members is that if the effects of the illness are not overt, then how can a problem exist. — Judy Scheel Ph.D., L.C.S.W., CEDS
What Jed didn’t know was that his wife suffered from a psychological problem called Exercise Bulimia. Exercise Bulimia is a form of physical workout performed by a person who wants to shed off unwanted body fats and calories in an extreme manner. This exercise is done in a very rigid way compared to regular healthy exercise. The effect of exercise bulimia on the human body is more on the negative side rather than the positive side.
This type of exercise is done by people with bulimia as a replacement for purging, but the effect is still the same. It can put people’s health and life in danger. The whole situation can become life-threatening when the person purges and uses exercise bulimia, just to get rid of unwanted body fat and calories.
What Is Exercise Bulimia?
Exercise bulimia is classified as a type of bulimia nervosa. It is a workout style that is driven by the intense desire to burn out calories at the soonest possible time. The person with the disorder tracks down his food intake and then calculates how to burn them off.
Instead of purging, the person uses this form of exercise to disable the food intake from turning into excess fats. It is mostly accompanied by anxiety, especially if food and body image issues are present. Clearly, a person who suffers from exercise bulimia also has other mental health disorders to manage.
When weight, body size and shape are seen as synonymous with love, acceptance, and self-worth, young people are vulnerable to the efforts of the weight loss industry. — Dawn Delgado LMFT, CEDS-S
The Difference Between Getting Fit Through Exercise And Over-Exercising
Getting fit and being obsessed with exercise lies on a very thin line. People work out several times a week to get healthy. Others are facing the risk of getting addicted to exercise coupled with bulimia and anxiety issues. On a worst-case scenario, some people would even do their workout routine if they are not feeling well just to meet their target. This action puts a person’s life at risk.
How Do I Know If I Have Exercise Bulimia?
Since working out is one of the two means to get healthy and fit, exercise bulimia is hardly recognized at first. It will only be diagnosed as such when the result of rigid exercising surfaces. However, it can still be uncovered with the following questions:
- Do you intentionally skip events, functions and other essential meetings so that you could work out?
- Do you feel guilty whenever you miss a workout session?
- Has anybody told you that you are exercising too much?
- Do you have a target number of calories to be burned whenever you are exercising?
- Do you rigidly track down the food you eat?
- Is being fit very important to you?
- Do you believe that your self-worth will be defined by how much you weigh or look?
- For female respondents, is the menstruation flow extraordinarily light or infrequent?
- Do you often take measurements of yourself?
Combining psychotherapy with nutritional therapies and yoga provides an integrative approach to efficacy and empowers our clients in their recovery process. — Leslie E. Korn Ph.D., MPH, LMHC, ACS, NTP
If you answered YES to at least five of the questions stated above, then you may be at risk of developing exercise bulimia. Now, if you responded YES to ALL THE QUESTIONS, then you have exercise bulimia, and you need immediate treatment.
There is a second part to this article which discusses the risks of exercise bulimia, how to recover from the same mental health disorder and other essential facts about it. It is in the hopes of the writer of this article that you’ve learned something about exercise bulimia by reading this short writeup. If you have a loved one who is exhibiting signs of exercise bulimia, then push for help and treatment immediately.