With prolonged dieting people can lose control over their eating patterns.
In my last blog post, I talked about the dangers of fad dieting. In my medical practice at Body Brave, I listen to dozens of stories about how people develop eating disorders. In so many cases, the spark that ignites the development of an eating disorder is a restrictive diet. Sometimes, I hear that someone was teased as a child for being a little chubby. When they enter their vulnerable adolescent years, they are tempted to start dieting. Some young women who go through early puberty can be at risk - they feel uncomfortable in their changing bodies, and dieting gives them a sense of control over their bodies which can feel rewarding. However, with prolonged dieting people can lose control over their eating patterns. No matter how much weight they lose, it never feels like it's enough. This can spiral into a serious eating disorder, an extremely dangerous illness.
Of course, not everyone who diets develops an eating disorder. Genetic susceptibility plays a surprisingly important role. Those who have a family member with an eating disorder or another mental illness are at much higher risk. This genetic susceptibility, when combined with a life stressor, can lead to the development of an eating disorder. Since the Covid pandemic began, the prevalence of eating disorders has spiked significantly. People are facing a variety of stressors - social isolation, disruption of education or work, financial stress, and so much more.
These are complex brain- based illnesses with multiple underlying causative factors.
Sadly, many people do not recognize the early signs of an eating disorder. The longer the disorder goes on, the more difficult it is to recover. At Body Brave, we raise awareness about eating disorders through our Instagram posts, encouraging people to seek help early. We also work on breaking down the stigma associated with eating disorders. These are complex brain- based illnesses with multiple underlying causative factors. They are not about vanity, and they are not a lifestyle choice. Nobody would choose to have an eating disorder!