Eating Disorders

About Women's Nutrition

An eating disorder is a serious mental illness. People who suffer with these have very unhealthy eating habits. They may feel a sense of power as they control how much they eat. Eating disorders can be fatal. Some people with eating disorders will eat very small meals or skip entire meals to lose weight. Eating disorders involve eating behaviors that will hurt one’s body.

People with eating disorders think about food almost every second of the day. They use food for comfort during stressful times. These diseases most commonly affect teenage and young adult women, but women of all ages are at risk. Health care professionals can help treat these disorders. Friends and family should urge anyone who may be suffering from an eating disorder to get help. Three general eating disorders include:

Anorexia Nervosa

Anorexia Nervosa is defined as limiting the amount of food a person eats over a long period of time. Signs of anorexia are extreme weight loss and a skin-and-bones appearance. Hair loss, being cold, and skipping menstruation cycles are also common. People with this disease usually deny that they have a problem. They may look in a mirror and see themselves as ugly and over-weight. Often, those with anorexia are terrified of gaining weight. They may be unhealthy but are anxious to lose more weight. This disease can be deadly over a long period of time. Professional treatment can help break the addiction of weight loss. Many people combine anorexia with binge eating disorder and bulimia.

Bulimia Nervosa

Unlike anorexia, people with bulimia know that they have an eating problem and hide their eating behaviors. Bulimia is harder to detect than anorexia. People with bulimia are usually in their normal weight range. The key sign of bulimia is using unnatural methods to remove ingested food from one’s body. Secret eating or leaving during a meal are also signs of this disease. Those with bulimia commonly use one or more of the following methods to compensate for excessive overeating:

  • Diuretics
  • Excessive exercise
  • Fasting
  • Laxatives

The person fears gaining weight and finds relief in getting the food out of their bodies. The symptoms related with this disease are:

  • Bad breath
  • Constipation
  • Dehydration
  • Tooth decay, if a woman is vomiting because of the tooth’s constant contact with acidic vomit.

Binge Eating Disorder

The third eating disorder is not as well known. Binge eating is consuming large amounts of food. But people with this disease do not try to compensate for the excess food intake. People who binge usually choose foods that can be chewed quickly and that are high in fat and sugar. The triggers for binges are not hunger pains, but usually stress and depression. Digesting a lot of food over a short period of time is very unhealthy. It will raise the body’s cholesterol levels and blood pressure. Recently, doctors are finding more people who binge. This disease is related to being overweight and obese. Those who practice these behaviors often feel guiltily about eating. They may admit that they lose control of themselves during the binge. 

North County WIC Clinic

599 South 500 East
American Fork, UT 84003

801-851-7329 (fax)

Provo WIC Clinic

151 South University Ave Ste 2100
Provo, UT 84601

801-851-7303 (fax)

Orem WIC Clinic

816 N 980 W
Orem, UT 84057

801-851-7346 (fax)

South County WIC Clinic

910 E 100 N, #125
Payson, UT 84651

801-465-0911 (fax)