Chief Marketing Officer Julie Holland, MHS, CEDS has been named the National Eating Disorders Examiner. Read an exceprt from her blog on how struggling with an injury or battling a sickness could be an eating disorder trigger for certain people below, or to read it in its entirety, click here.
Could an illness or injury be an eating disorder trigger?
Many people who develop eating disorders
can cite triggering factors: a major life change, a particularly stressful time or a weight loss that resulted in very positive feedback from those around them. Oftentimes, for these individuals, genes load the gun and life circumstances pull the trigger that sends them into disordered eating territory. What many people do not know is that, for certain individuals with a genetic predisposition for eating disorders, struggling with an injury or battling a sickness can be eating disorder triggers
Injury as an eating disorder trigger
Active individuals who enjoy filling their lives with sports and other physical activities can be thrown off track when injured. Suddenly the daily activities they have come to know and love are no longer possible—at least for the time being. For those with a genetic predisposition to eating disorders, they may start to feel conflicted on how their bodies appear with less physical activity, and may struggle with body image issues and even disordered eating behaviors. If these feelings of discomfort persist, individuals may engage in restricting calories or purging after meals to counteract their lack of usual physical activity.
For collegiate and professional athletes, so much of their lives revolve around their sports. With practices, off-season training and games or competitions, there is not much time left for other activities. If these individuals, who define their lives by their sports, experience a game-changing injury, and they have the genetic predisposition to an eating disorder, it can create a slippery slope. Once injured, these individuals may turn to eating disordered behaviors to cope with their change in persona. In this case, warning signs of eating disorders in athletes
may become apparent after they have stopped playing their sport.
Illness as an eating disorder trigger
Pneumonia, cancer and other intense illnesses can take a toll on an individual’s body and leave him or her feeling exhausted and weaker than expected. As individuals struggle with illnesses, they may experience unusually high weight loss for a variety of reasons. As these individuals begin to feel better and regain their health, they may hear from friends and loved ones – even strangers – that they “look great” or are “looking so thin.” These types of comments may strike a nerve, and if a latent predisposition exists, could trigger an eating disorder
as these individuals strive to maintain a thin ideal and extend the positive commentary on their appearance.