Exercise Bulimia Is More Prevalent Today

In today's world of social media, exercise bulimia has become much more prevalent. With endless 'perfect' celebrity selfies, men and women are feeling the pressure to look a certain way, though we are not reminded enough that most of those photos use filters and photo editing.

Exercise bulimia is a subset of bulimia where a person exercises excessively to burn calories that they have consumed. If a person is using exercise as a means to 'purge' any ingested calories, then they have exercise bulimia and should seek treatment. The characteristics of exercise bulimia are similar to bulimia nervosa.

What Causes Exercise Bulimia

Exercise bulimia is due to a combination of psychological, societal and physical factors which include:

  • Society's obsession with being thin
  • Self-esteem is low
  • An abnormal level of certain chemicals in the brain
  • Genetics

Signs and Symptoms of Exercise Bulimia

Typically bulimics purge their food by vomiting or using laxatives. In the case of exercise bulimia, people will choose to purge caloric intake by way of over-exercising.

Here are a few key signs and symptoms to look for in someone who has exercise bulimia:

  • Exercising several hours per day./li>
  • Overly self-critical and focused too much on appearance./li>
  • Closely tracking how many calories are burned when working out.
  • Choosing to exercise over important events, family functions, social engagements, work, or school.
  • Becoming angry if a work-out is missed, and then refusing to eat.
  • Choosing to exercise even when exhausted, injured, or sick.
  • Suffering from health issues such as arthritis, osteoporosis, dehydration, exhaustion, or injuries.

Complications from Exercise Bulimia

There are numerous complications caused by exercise bulimia which affect everything from your physical to psychological health. One of the more serious complications that over-exercise can cause is the abnormal remodeling of the heart, according to a study published by researchers in 2012.

Following are some of the complications that can result from over-exercising:

  • Arthritis
  • Fatigue
  • Injuries
  • Dehydration
  • Heart problems
  • Reproductive issues

Treatment for Exercise Bulimia

Exercise bulimia is a treatable disorder, so if you suspect that you have exercise bulimia, it is important to seek help. The first step in treating exercise bulimia is communicating that you have a problem.

There are several sources for treatment:

  • General Physician: a general physician will assess and monitor the physical consequences of exercise bulimia.
  • Therapist: a therapist will assess and work through the underlying issues causing the exercise bulimia.
  • Nutritionist: a nutritionist will work to rebalance the metabolism and how to implement a healthy balance between exercise and nutrition.

Source: Healthline, Eating Disorder Hope, Body Whys
Photo: Pexels

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