One pernicious result of diet fanaticism is a binge-and-purge eating disorder, called bulimia or bulimorexia (obsession with eating, but with a compulsion to be thin). It may start after a period of stringent dieting, subsequently degenerating into alternate dieting and binging. The person may eat up to 40,000 calories (or even more) in a couple of hours.
One lady described a typical binge: a couple of Burger Queen, burgers with French fries; then a repeat at McDonald's; followed by a dozen doughnuts at the doughnut shop; a couple of sundaes at Dairy Queen; then home to raid the refrigerator; after which she throws up all of it.
In the earlier stages, the vomiting is self-induced, but it later becomes involuntary. Bulimics may eat and throw up ten times in one day. Some bulimics take large amounts of laxatives and/or diuretics every day to prevent weight gain, or simply to relieve pain after the binge. They may starve themselves for a couple days afterward.
Eventually, the bulimia is so uncontrollable that every time they start to eat, it turns into a binge. It controls them completely. They are no longer doing it for the enjoyment of eating, or thinking about weight control, but because they can't help themselves. It develops to a point where it is a physical addiction in addition to a psychological disorder.
It becomes very, very dangerous, and can result in metabolic alkalosis, a destruction of the body's ability to maintain its acid-alkaline balance. It can damage the liver and kidneys, and can be life-threatening. The constant eating (food in their mouths for hours at a time) also results in tooth decay.
This disorder was discussed on the Phil Donahue Show, WTSP, Channel 10, Tampa, on June 28, 1982.
Most bulimics are women, only 5% are men. Most bulimics look normal and are not significantly overweight or underweight, but food has become their total preoccupation, and they spend six to eight hours a day in its involvement. A bulimic usually binges and purges in secret, and they have been said to spend as much as several hundred dollars on food in one weekend.
This behavior is epidemic in colleges; up to 30% of college students practice some form of bulimia, according lo the 20/20 TV program on July 1, 1982.
It is also common among dancers and actresses (very few men are bulimics). Actress Jane Fonda admitted to having been a bulimic for years. She said the more you do it, the more you need to do it. She said as she grew older and realized what she was doing to herself, she was determined to stop. It took her sixteen years to break the pattern. She accomplished it by the use of willpower and exercise.
Both anorexia and bulimia are severe and dangerous eating disorders.
Home > Lesson 44 - Overeating: Fasting Fanaticism And Diet Fanaticism
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