Eating disorders are something we should not overlook. Disorders like anorexia nervosa and bulimia are well known, but there are eating disorders starting to become more researched that are just as serious as anorexia and bulimia. Here are four different eating disorder that are unfortunately becoming more prevalent.
1. Orthorexia Nervosa
Orthorexia Nervosa has to do with eating healthy foods. It is classified as an obsession with eating healthy, while this does not sound like a big deal, orthorexia is classified with compulsively being obsessed with eating "pure" and "organic" foods. The obsession will even stretch to how the food is prepared to even refusal to eat foods that are processed or punishing themselves by stricter dieting or even by fasting. This particular eating disorder is becoming more popular with the movement to become healthier.
Orthoexics, as this website coined, are determined to "stay on the wagon." They lose the ability to eat intuitively because they slowly fail to know when they are hungry or when they are full. Of course, just because you eat healthy does not mean you have this disorder, nor should you think just because you like eating healthy that you have this disorder. It is only when this becomes an obsession that you should consult a doctor. A particular reason for this is that people want to be viewed as "healthy" just like they are seen as "fun or friendly." The shift in identity can actually be a symptom.
2. Night Eating Syndrome
The next disorder is Night Eating Syndrome and is pretty self explanatory. When the person consumes most of their calories in the later hours of the night this will sometimes induce insomnia and other sleeping problems. This particular disorder is due to the lack of caloric consumption in the morning and afternoon and is most common with overweight and obese people.
3. Chewing and spitting food
Chewing and spitting food is becoming a popular way of dieting in certain Asian countries. This disorder consists of putting food in your mouth, chewing the food, and immediately spitting it out. This disorder is most common in those who struggle with anorexia because they crave what they think is "fattening" foods. This website even likened chewing and spitting food to snorting cocaine because when people start eating their favorite foods, dopamine is triggered that can easily form a habit and become a compulsion. What people do not know is that you can damage your teeth from doing this, since the different acids in your saliva break down the food on your teeth. It can also cause swollen glands and mouth ulcers from producing so much of spit. You might even end up with stomach ulcers. When your body sees that you are going to eat food, it produces more stomach acid to prepare for digestion.
4. Bigorexia and Muscle Dysmorphia
Bigorexia or Muscle Dysmorphia is a condition of obsessing about being inadequately muscular. This condition primarily affects male bodybuilders. Bigorexia includes the compulsion to spend hours at the gym and consume massive amounts of protein and supplements. Muscle dysmorphia is classified as a psychological disorder and is growing in a society that pressures men to appear more muscular and lean.
Something that we should all be aware of when it comes to eating disorders is that they can affect both genders. It is not simply in women, but it is true that more women are diagnosed with eating disorders than men. As a recovering bulimic, I know the troubles and issues that push us to want a "perfect body." However, something I struggled to come to terms with was that the "perfect body" I wanted did not exist, since it was often airbrushed and Photoshopped. I still struggle with my self-esteem and body image, but I often think about how blessed I am to have these issues.
Psalm 139:13-14 has often given me comfort:
"For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well."
Hopefully these verses give you comfort if you are going through a rough season in life. If not, let these verses fill you with love for those who are.