Understanding Exercise Bulimia

Counselor in Charlotte, NCEveryone knows that maintaining health involves eating right and being active. However, some people take this to the extreme. While exercising regularly is a positive and healthy behavior, some people develop an obsession with exercising. Working out too often or too vigorously can cause damage to the body. Coupling this obsession with an eating disorder like bulimia can have disastrous results. So it's important to talk to a qualitfied counselor in Charlotte, NC, or in your location.

With traditional bulimia, bulimics binge eat and then purge after eating to get rid of the food that they have consumed. This is a way to cope with the guilt of binge eating. Exercise bulimia is similar in that there is an eating binge but instead of following this binge with a purge, the bulimic heads to the gym or out for a run to excessively exercise away the calories and the guilt. Excessive exercise can damage your physical health as much as forced purging can and those who are exercising to excess are putting their health in serious jeopardy. Some physical consequences of exercise bulimia are:

  • Abnormal remodeling of the heart which places the bulimic at a greater risk of developing life-threatening cardiac arrhythmias.
  • Excessive stress on joints
  • Premature development of arthritis
  • Stress fractures
  • Decreased immune system
  • Increased risk of respiratory illness
  • Women may experience infertility issues and amenorrhea
  • Increased risk of depression

Identifying this disorder can be difficult. Most people assume that if someone is physically fit they are healthy and in control of their body. How do you know whether your friend is pushing to train for a marathon or if there is a more serious issue? Look for these signs and symptoms:

  • Agitation or depression when they are unable to workout
  • Daily exercise with no rest days or breaks
  • Exercising despite illness, exhaustion or injury
  • Chronic dehydration
  • Amenorrhea in women
  • Highly self-critical
  • Chronic exhaustion
  • Intense hours long workouts daily
  • Skipping social events to workout
  • Withdrawing from friends and family
  • Appearance obsessed

While they may look healthy and fit, those who struggle with exercise bulimia often have several underlying mental health concerns that are contributing to their eating disorder. Depression, low self-esteem, a history of mental, physical, or sexual abuse can all lead to the development of an eating disorder. Identifying and treating the underlying causes of the eating disorder are key to recovery.

Exercise bulimia is not widely known. For many people asking for help is the most difficult part of this illness because they don't look sick. Appearances can be deceiving. If you, or someone you love, are struggling with exercise bulimia, Legacy Freedom can help.

Affordable Counselor in Charlotte, NC for Body Disorders

Our holistic approach to eating disorder treatment is focused on you, not your eating disorder. By addressing the underlying causes of your eating disorder, we can help you heal. Together with your care team, our dieticians will help you focus on proper nutrition, while our physical therapists help you learn to exercise in a healthy way and repair the physical injuries. Talking with our counselor in Charlotte, NC, in both one-on-one and group sessions, will help you work through your underlying issues and begin to heal. We also offer more than ten different types of alternative therapies. Our wide range of treatments includes tai chi, equine therapy, inner child therapy and acupuncture. No matter which treatment you choose, our care team will help you set your goals and work with you to achieve them.

Ready to stop the cycle of bingeing and exercising? Want to learn more about our treatment offerings or our holistic approach to mental health? Call or click to connect with Legacy Freedom of Charlotte today!


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