A Christian Guide to Body Stewardship, Diet and Exercise

Chapter 2: Basic Nutrition 32 Eating Disorders / Disordered Eating While nurturing our bodies through sound nutrition and exercise is wise practice, we must recognize there is a fine line between a healthy relationship with food and exercise and a disordered one. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for some individuals to innocently embark upon a weight loss journey and end up with an eating disorder. Disordered eating can lead to serious health complications like malnourishment and altered levels of various bodily hormones. A listing of various types of eating and psychological disorders is provided in Table 2.14 (Fink & Mikesky, 2021). Table 2.14. Various Types of Eating and Psychological Disorders Associated with Body Image Some of the key warning signs of disordered eating include: • Obsessing over calories • Constantly tracking food and/or exercise • Withdrawing from social situations involving food • Feeling out of control about food • Believing food must be earned through exercise • Only eating “clean” • Disordered view of body image • Extreme desire to be thin Eating Disorder Description Anorexia Nervosa A clinical condition characterized by extreme fear of becoming obese, a distorted body image, and avoidance of food. Bulimia Nervosa A clinical condition characterized by repeated and uncontrolled food binging in which a large number of calories are consumed followed by an immediate purge (e.g., vomiting or use of laxatives / diuretics). Binge Eating Disorder A clinical condition characterized by the inability to control what or how much food is being consumed. Muscle Dysmorphia A psychological disorder characterized by a negative body image and obsessive desire to have a muscular physique. Anorexia Athletica A subclinical condition characterized by inappropriate eating behaviors and weight control methods to prevent weight and/or fat gain. Although the condition does not meet the clinical criteria for an eating disorder, the associated behaviors can lead to a clinically recognized eating disorder. Female Athlete Triad A condition characterized by the combination of disordered eating, amenorrhea (absence or abnormal cessation of menstruation), and osteoporosis.