Take Control Over Eating Disorders


In my adolescence, I struggled with both anorexia and bulimia, two eating disorders which can really take a toll upon someone's life. The dehydration caused by anorexia put me in a hospital bed, and that was the moment when I realized I had to change something fast, or I am going to die.

I gave up my ambition to be rail thin, and I learned that I actually love my athletic body. I also learned who I really was. My athletic body was not meant to be super skinny, so I learned how to work with my body and not against it. The Ms. Galaxy competition was my salvation. I even went to the gym twice a day, in the morning and the evening, to prepare for it. I also realized that the muscles I began to appreciate needed to be fed or all that exercise goes to waste.

What is anorexia?

People suffering from anorexia see themselves as overweight when they are clearly not. So weight control and eating become real obsessions, eating very small quantities of food or doing excessive exercise, extreme dieting, misuse of laxatives or self-induce vomiting. Among the symptoms of anorexia, some of the most common are extremely low body weight, intense fear of gaining weight, severe food restriction, unwillingness to accept healthy weight, distorted body image or lack of menstruation. Left untreated, anorexia can lead in time to medical complications such as anemia, weakness, muscle wasting, brain damage, osteoporosis, multi-organ failure, infertility or lethargy.

What is bulimia?

People suffering from bulimia nervosa experience recurrent episodes of excess eating, without any control over these episodes. The binge eating is usually followed by excessive use of diuretics and laxative, forced vomiting, fasting or a combination of all. Unlike anorexia, bulimic people can maintain a normal weight, but some are slightly overweight. Similar to anorexia, bulimic people want to continuously lose weight, and they hide their behavior because it is accompanied by feelings of shame or disgust.

Among the symptoms of bulimia, some of the most common are acid reflux disorder, chronically sore throat, swollen salivary glands, severe dehydration, intestinal irritation from laxative abuse or worn tooth enamel from the exposure to stomach acid.

How to treat eating disorders?

The first step in treating eating disorders is to admit that they represent a problem that you have to deal with as soon as possible. You should be aware of the fact that left untreated, they can have severe emotional and physical consequences.

Seek the help of a qualified professional. Find one that you feel connected to, whom you can talk freely and trust. He or she will develop a treatment plan that is tailored according to your needs and problems. You will be advised to try several therapies such as medical nutrition therapy, art therapy, family therapy, dance therapy or dialectical behavioral therapy, each with its own benefits. Your treatment might also include medications, such as antidepressants, medical care and monitoring or individual, family or group psychotherapy. Having been a victim of an eating disorder, I am proud to say I conquered it. It is not an easy thing to do, but if you use the same will you did while being caught up in it, I know you can get healthy too. Believe in your strength, and don’t ever be afraid to ask for help. You are in full control over your life and your body, so treat it with love.