The Effects Of Under-Eating
Many people who want to change their weight under-eat for a while. This is commonly known as “dieting”. Under-eating for a short period of time can do a little damage, but for some people under-eating becomes a way of life.
Studies have shown that under- eating disorder can be seriously health hazardous especially upon female health. Under-eating can take many forms:
- Restraint of eating to keep your weight under control
- Severe eating restraint to keep weight under strict control
- Eliminating specific food groups such as all fat or all carbohydrate because of health fears, or fear of putting on weight
- Under-eating, as with someone with bulimia who is afraid that if they were to start eating they would go out of control
- Extreme under-eating in someone who has an unhealthy compulsion to reach or attain a very low body weight as in anorexia nervosa
Psychological Effects Of Under-Eating
Mood is badly affected by under-eating. Many of the nutrients in food affect the emotional centers of our brain and reducing these nutrients or affecting their balance has an adverse effect on mood. Under-eaters generally feel depressed, low, and prone to be easily irritated or enraged.
Very low weight under-eaters may feel spaced out a lot of the time and not in touch with their feelings. But panic attacks are a common symptom which is often associated with panic about weight gain. Panic symptoms are not just emotional.They commonly arise if the body’s stress systems are not getting the nutrients they need to keep us balanced and able to cope with life. Panic attacks only subside when weight becomes normal for your age and height.
Obsessions and Compulsions
One of the most prominent changes of under-eating is heightened obsessiveness. This refers to the tendency to be inflexible and to carry out rigid routines. One may feel compelled to walk a certain distance each day and some people may become very anxious about keeping things clean and tidy. This may interfere with the ability to be spontaneous and relaxed.
The obsessiveness is often striking when it comes to eating and exercise. Extreme under-eaters find they have to eat in a particular way. Eating can become a mini ceremony in which food has to be arranged on a place or eaten in a particular order. These rituals can include cutting food into very small pieces and taking tiny bites.
Some people become obsessive-compulsive to such a degree that they could be described as suffering from a starvation-induced OCD. Hoarding objects – including bags of food – is common among people who just don’t eat enough.
Other Side Effects
Withdrawal & Looking Inward
Under-eating can make you feel better in the short term especially if people draw attention to your willpower or weight loss. But a person will become prone to withdrawal and a great deal of self-focus if under-eating continues and becomes a way of life.
Some people with the eating disorder anorexia nervosa have a very poor social life but a very vivid inner life, which is expressed by writing stories or poetry. Such writings are usually about the emotional pain of the disorder but sufferers are closed from the experiences of life outside.
This can be explained by the effects of undernourishment in the brain; also, the tendency to avoid the company of other people is encouraged by low mood and over focusing on all the rituals which must be done to keep hunger at bay.
Loss of Sexual Feelings
A loss of sexual appetite is expected and is due to hormonal changes.
The phenomenon of feeling fat or bigger than you are is common among under-eaters whether they have an eating disorder or not, and predictably this leads to more restraint.
We do not fully understand WHY this happens and experts believe that the experience of fatness is really a sensing of all the buried feelings which have led to the need to under-eat in the first place.
Fat feelings increase with weight loss if a person is already underweight, and thus eating more, rather than striving for even more weight loss is the only solution to the problems of “feeling huge”.
Eating Disorders And Girls
Usually youngsters in their 20s, began struggling with their body image and disordered eating. They might decide to start exercising every day for hours and hours per day ,thinking that keeping that fitness level can make them healthier.
But frankly, girls might have many problems by overdoing everything connected with fitness and food intake. Unfortunately,they all want to look like fashion models.
They might lose their menstrual cycle, might deal with reactive hypoglycemia, which means that shortly after eating they might get a drop in blood sugar leaving them shaky, sweaty, nauseous and reaching for more food. They might also struggle with digestive issues, dry skin, mood issues, and insomnia.
Keeping these unhealthy habits- over exercising and eating, can lead in some cases to an early menopause Making hormonal dis-balance may lead to prescribed hormonal intake for the rest of their lives.
The Female Athlete Triad
What is the Triad?
The Female Athlete Triad is a syndrome of three interrelated conditions that exist on a continuum of severity, including:
– Energy Deficiency with or without Disordered Eating
– Menstrual Disturbances/Amenorrhoea
– Bone Loss/Osteoporosis
What Causes The Triad?
An energy deficiency is an imbalance between the amount of energy consumed and the amount of energy expended during exercise. The primary cause of the Female Athlete Triad is energy deficiency. Often, this can involve a conscious restriction of food intake, problems with body image and a high drive for thinness. Sometimes, these conditions can lead to disordered eating, or more serious eating problems, like anorexia or bulimia.
The most serious menstrual problem associated with the Triad is Amenorrhoea, defined as no menstrual period for 3 months or more. However, athletes who have irregular menstrual cycles are also susceptible to the effects of the Triad.
Women with the Triad are at higher risk for low bone mass leading to weakened bones, called osteoporosis in its severe form. This type of bone loss can cause an increased risk of fractures, including stress fractures.
Truly understanding of how our bodies work and focusing on health,can help women become empowered in their bodies. When you’re empowered, it’s easier to make choices that support your health for on a longer period of time.