Can Fitness Obsession Affect How We Eat in a Negative Way?

Author Anna Erikson 

 

Getting fit is undeniably good for everybody.  We should be striving to maintain a healthy weight and a reasonable level of fitness but is there a downside?  Sometimes things can get a little bit too obsessive and how we eat takes a negative turn.

 

Compulsive Behaviours

 

Creating routines, like when we go to the gym or have a run are great.  Motivation and scheduling combined can help us build an excellent plan for our fitness, but it is essential to guard against obsessive behaviours when it comes to our food. The danger is that we start to use food as punishment or reward for not meeting, or meeting our self-imposed targets.  Negative thought patterns can quickly develop, and we can find that we start to use food to bring control. If the gym session does not go as well as hoped for example the punishment is skipping breakfast.  Diet should be structured in a way that is healthy but not used against yourself as a punishment or control.

 

Education Brings Fear

 

As we build our fitness, we start to really consider what we are eating.  Again this is no bad thing and can be an incredibly healthy way to live.  However, sometimes with education comes fear.  We start to obsess over every ingredient and worry about whether we should eat it.  When fitness becomes and genuine obsession, this sees people not eating because they cannot justify the ingredients on the wrapper.  While it is always worth knowing what is in the food we eat – again care should be taken to avoid building an unhealthy obsession.  It is not right to feel guilty about the food we eat, but instead, a healthy, clean eating menu means the ability to eat a sensible amount of food without feeling the need to punish yourself.

 

Body Dysmorphia

 

In severe cases of fitness obsession, the signs of body dysmorphia can start to appear.  Expert London Personal Trainer said this can be a potentially dangerous condition so if you are concerned about yourself or someone you know it is worth trying to get a health professional involved.  In body dysmorphia, the sufferer becomes so obsessed with a version of healthy that they carry in their head, that their own body stops being acceptable, no matter what it looks like.  When they look in the mirror, the reflection they see does not match the reality, and they convince themselves that they are still unhealthy or overweight and need to work harder.  This can lead to using food as punishment and restricting the food they will eat.  Of course, this can be very dangerous for someone who is expending vast amounts of energy at the gym, but then not eating enough to maintain health.  In severe cases it can lead to collapse as the amount of food going in does not provide the body with enough vital nutrients and vitamins.  However, due to the image that the person sees in the mirror, they are unable to stop themselves using food as a control.

Disclaimer

This article is our opinion only we are not Health/Medical proffesionals. Always seek medical advice with any health concerns or medical issues.

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Exploring The Feeling Of Dread – And How To Overcome It

Dread. It’s a sensation that a lot of us are sadly all too familiar with, and for some, it is more prominent in their lives than it is for others. We’re taking a look at the feeling of dread, and what it feels like, along with some positive techniques that you can use to overcome it.

What is dread?

Dread is characterised by a feeling of great fear and also apprehension. To dread something is to be waiting for it to happen and worry about it constantly. One of the most significant problems with dread is that it can be an all-consuming feeling and one which isn’t that easy to get rid of. We all feel dread at various points in our lives, although some people are known to experience dread with more frequency than others. Further compounding the issue is that we aren’t taught how to deal with fear from an early age, so a lot of people struggle with this kind of adversity when it becomes an issue.

So, how do I overcome this dread?

Thankfully, people have come up with a few tips and tricks over the years to try and help people to learn to overcome dread. One of the first things that you’ll need to do is to take a deep breath and calm down.

From there, you need to think carefully about these feelings of dread and why they’re upsetting you. Think about what it is that you do dread. Is it a person, or the place? Is it a bad memory which has altered your view of the situation? You need to know what the problem is before you can face it.

Try and look at things logically. What is there to be afraid of? What is there to dread? Logic is one of your best friends in these kinds of circumstances, as people find it easy to become panicked and scared when they only use their emotions to try and deal with a problem. If there’s no logical reason to dread the events which are going to happen, you need to try and tell yourself that as much as possible. Repeat it like a mantra. Make sure that you know exactly what the issues are, and that you don’t have to be afraid.

Alternatively, talk to someone about how you feel. When we talk about things and say them out loud, it goes a long way in rationalising and processing what we fear. Feelings which are kept bottled up and hidden away are the ones which can be a problem. What you need to do in this instance is calm down, tell someone what you dread and why, and then accept their support and understanding, and hopefully, it’ll help you to confront your feelings in a better way.

Overall, dread is something which no one wants to feel, but it is also something which can be a huge part of our lives. Knowing how to combat these feelings of dread, and even accepting that it is okay to be afraid, will help you to feel better about the situation you’re in, and also aid in coming through everything and being a stronger person for it.

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What is an Eating Disorder?

What is an Eating Disorder?

 

There are millions of people all over the world suffering from eating disorders.  However, it is a term that is still widely misunderstood with many people assuming that it is just a phase or someone who has taken their diet too far.  Eating disorders are much more complicated than people might think, so in this blog, we will break down and look at what they are.

 

It is Not a Choice

 

An eating disorder is a recognised medical condition that comes under the umbrella of mental health or psychiatric illness.  It does not just stem from someone choosing to eat less, or indeed eat more.  Eating disorders tend to fall into the category of chronic (long-term) illness and the person suffering cannot just ‘snap out of it.’  The gender and age of the patient are indiscriminate as all ages and genders can be just as likely to suffer as anyone.  It is something that can develop at any time and is often, but not always, born out of a triggering event.  The cause of the eating order is the key to seeking help and getting better, so patients will be offered talking therapies to help them make sense of what has happened.

 

Four Recognised Disorders

 

If a patient presents to a doctor with issues surrounding eating they are potentially going to be diagnosed with one of the four recognised conditions.  Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa, Binge Eating and Other Specified Feeding and Eating Disorders (OSFED).

 

Until recently people were most aware of Bulimia or Anorexia and they were considered to be the classic definition of eating disorders in the public mind.  However, recent cases of binge eating have been highlighted in television documentaries, where people are shown eating themselves from obese to the grave.  People are now more open to accepting that there are three conditions,  but few are aware of the last one, which is the catch-all diagnosis for individuals who do not fit the clinical profile of any of the others.  This does not mean in any way that these people are not suffering as much.  All eating disorders are serious, and the medical community places no more importance on one of the diagnosis than the others – they are all considered serious issues that need professional help.

 

Hidden Conditions

 

A classic symptom for all those with eating disorders is the desire to hide their behaviour from the world.  For some, it is considered self-punishment and discipline that they, in their mind, deserve, whereas others just deny or dishes the behaviour as they either do not realise they have an issue or do not want help.  It is important that eating disorders can be identified as the damage to the body is more than mental health care.  Organs and body systems can be permanently damaged by behaviours associated with each condition, and if the patient is unable to access the correct help, can become seriously ill or even die as a result of this damage.

 

The good news is that recovery is entirely possible.  So if you or someone you know seems to be showing some symptoms of issues with food, it is worth trying to advocate that they seek medical advice as soon as possible. Try to get them to understand that there is nothing to be ashamed of; it is a medical condition, not something they have done wrong.

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when-healthy-eating-becomes-unhealthy

Author  Mike Stone

 

When Healthy Eating Becomes Unhealthy

 

Strange as it might sound, healthy eating becoming unhealthy is a growing concern for those who deal with eating disorders.  It might seem unusual that someone who is on a mission to become a healthy eater can spiral into the realms of unhealthy eating, and we are not talking about those who simply fall of the bandwagon and go back to food that they had once binned as being bad for them.  So just how does healthy eating become unhealthy?

 

Not Just a Bad Day

 

We all understand that the perils of commencing a healthy eating plan or diet can lead us to days where we only want to reach for the junk food and gorge on our body weight in food in just a few hours.  That isn’t the problem here though.  This is something that spirals from obsession to an eating disorder that is known in the medical world as orthorexia. Still a relatively new term you will be forgiven for not having heard of it, but rest assured simply reaching for the chocolate or eating a family bag of crisps when you meant to stick to a low-fat diet is far from this eating condition.

 

Obsession Takes Over

 

A person that takes healthy eating into the land of unhealthy eating develops a fixation on what they are putting into their bodies.  It starts with the best intentions and a typical mindset.  For whatever reason, and it is different for all of us, they decide to clean up their eating and head for a new way of consuming their food.  Some people start by going sugar-free, or cutting meat and becoming vegetarian.  Other try not eating wheat or gluten, and some opt for organic everything.  All of which can be perfectly healthy and are not wrong ways to eat by any means but orthorexia is different.

 

When a person starts to obsess about every element of the food, they eat issues can arise, and rituals can develop that see them become so totally preoccupied with their diet and body image that things can start to go wrong.  It comes down to a form of control that might offer them something they feel has been missing in their lives.  Habits surrounding food can be made very safe and healthy whereas others can spiral into downright dangerous.  By using food and exercise as a control people who suffer from this eating disorder can be completely unaware that things are not going well.  The focus is the result and the fact that they have only eaten three organic carrots boiled in purified water while having run 10 miles on the treadmill might strike them as a resounding success, but you can see how that would damage the body over a longer period.

 

A healthy diet should always be about balance.  If you go out for a meal and eat something, you wouldn’t normally, a healthy approach is to see that as a one-off.  If you or someone you know is obsessing over every mouthful and often denying themselves as a particular food is not available, it might be time to seek help.

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Effects of food on our mood

 

More on Food and Mood

 

Food is essential for the body to keep going, however with the vast array of food in the modern world it does not mean we are always making the best choices when it comes to food.  There is a direct link between the foods we consume and the way we feel, or our mood.  The way food is made up, and the components within each meal we have, can dramatically alter our feelings and mood, and this can be further compounded by when we eat.

 

Stick to the Basics

 

First of all the most important thing is to ensure that you are eating enough food.  Blood sugar is one of the key stabilising factors of a healthy body and something that is often overlooked.  Fad diets popularised by celebrities are often pushing people into unhealthy eating habits.  There is nothing that says you have to eat huge meals three times a day, in fact to the contrary, but eating properly at regular intervals is vital.  If you are hungry, you are not going to be in the best of moods.  If it goes deeper than this and your blood sugar levels are affected, you can also become confused and angry as the body struggles to work.

 

Soporific Sugar

 

One of the biggest culprits that most people can name when it comes to food and mood is sugar.  Fast food, sweets and other ‘junk’ may well be convenient and comfortable, but a high sugar content simply leads to a spike in blood sugar.  This might send you into a hyper happy mood, but it will be short-lived.  Once the sugar is processed further into the body, the ‘crash’ will leave you feeling grumpy and lethargic. Sugar is not healthy for the body anyway and is thought to prevent the natural development of healthy cells, so a good one to avoid where possible.

 

Perfect Protein

 

At the other end of the scale, protein is a great mood booster and can help you stay happy and in balance all day, provided you eat it regularly.  This is because they make the processing of carbs go slower which in turn releases essential chemicals norepinephrine and dopamine (the feel-good factor).  Protein does not have to be all about the meat either, even on a healthy, low-fat, vegan or vegetarian diet, there are plenty of options available: Tofu, eggs, seafood, yogurt, and chicken to name just a few.

 

Vital Vitamins

 

The other thing to guard against if you want your diet to promote a happy mood is missing those essential vitamins.  Sadly the climate has changed in the UK, and we do not get as much access to sunshine, which generates that all-important vitamin D, so we need to look for more of it in food.  Vitamin D candidates are low-fat milk, egg yolks, and soy milk.  B vitamins are also great for mood and energy levels, and B12, in particular, is a real mood lifter.  Try adding more broccoli, leafy greens, oranges, oatmeal, cottage cheese and salmon to your diet to help your body absorb B vitamins from food.

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How I deal with Goal Insanity

Author Jane Jones

 

Are you wondering why you are having a hard time accomplishing your realistic goals? You might need to take a look at your approach (and sanity). 😉

Are you suffering from goal insanity? I was. Let me explain:

This past week I did a little self-reflecting as I was disappointed in myself for another day going by without exercising. I want to be healthy, and I want to be strong, but as my day gets going things come up, and I keep putting it off and off until finally it’s way past my bedtime, and only the thought of my pillow and closing my eyes occupies my mind. Exercise plan? What exercise plan?

Making exercise a part of my routine is a realistic goal. I have looked at my life, and I know I have enough minutes in my day to let 30 or so be for moving my body.

As I sat feeling a bit discouraged with myself, I ended up mindlessly scrolling through Facebook (since that’s the best way to use my time, obviously), and I came across this quote, supposedly from Albert Einstein:

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

I realized that I was insane. How can I expect to exercise when I’m not making it a priority? How can I expect to be strong and healthy when I’m not putting in the time to get that way? I realized I needed to make time for exercising a priority if I really wanted to improve. I changed clothes and went for a walk with my daughter. It felt good to get some fresh air and some movement into my day! As I walked I made the decision (again) that I was going to start making exercise a regular part of my routine, but this time I went home and made a plan on how that was going to be accomplished. It’s nice to think about your goals, but planning is key.

I had forgotten the basics of goal-setting. Remember way back in January when Rebecca outlined how to make New Year’s Resolutions stick? She said to make SMART goals: Specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and with a time-frame. I made a general goal of exercising, but I did not plan out how or when. The way I had made my goal wasn’t smart or SMART.

My goal is still a work in progress. I set my alarm the next day to get up and exercise, but I ended up hitting snooze a few too many times. Repeat this same scenario a couple more times, and I remembered that I’m not a morning person and that I may be on a different level of insanity expecting that I’ll wake up without changing any of my other habits (I’m a night owl through and through). I’m going to keep trying different things until I get the results by finding a way that works for me. Reconfiguring your goals is all a part of the process.

Whether you are trying to incorporate more movement into your day or to eat more vegetables, take a look at your goals and see if you need to make some changes.

What are you doing over and over again but expecting different results each time?

How do you make exercise a part of your routine?

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