You are currently viewing The Battle within: Eating Disorders

The Battle within: Eating Disorders

You ask yourself why I am writing about eating disorders on a fitness oriented blog? You can’t imagine where the connection between those eating disorders and fitness could be and are keen to know more? You can relate exactly and have been in situation like this before? No matter what it is, read on and see how eating disorders can become the battle within ourselves.

The roots.

It is not a secret, that every eating disorder we can find on our planet today has some sort of external influence. No one just decides to stop eating and become anorexic. Our society is shaping us and our thoughts about ourselves…we live in a world of expectations about our appearance and get showcased with those beautiful models and fit girls in TV ads, on posters or social media. 

And I am not saying that these expectations tell us to be skinny. The perception around a woman’s body has shifted massively over the years. I won’t go all the back to ancient times but there have been studies about how the ideal woman has had to look like in the past and now. 

The ideal woman.

It is interesting to see how each decade has their own characteristics about a woman’s figure…hard to keep up once you read how we had to change our bodies over the years.

From curvy ladies with an hourglass figure, large boobs and a slim waist in the 1950s over to thin and slim looking women only a decade after. Then, another decade later it was all about athletic appearances, the curves were back in trend and correct, back to extremely skin bodies in the 90s.

Now the new century started off saying goodbye to Paris Hilton and welcoming Kim Kardashian: flat stomach, large boobs and a juicy bum, but please don’t forget thigh thigh gap…so be skinny but not too skinny, clear? Reading this and you still wonder why so many women suffer from eating disorders? Trying to keep up with those constantly evolving changes? Now, don’t take me wrong…I am not saying that only women are impacted and at higher risk of eating disorders, not at all as you will see.

Eating disorders in the gym.

Why am I writing about eating disorders in the fitness industry? Because it is a topic that is a lot more present than you might think or people actually talk about…all you hear is the shredding and the bulking, the building muscle and the getting leaner. But it is not only about physical changes, it is also about what it does to us mentally. And the psychological impact may be way higher then gaining or losing some kilos. 

Statistically, there are sports that cause athletes slithering into an eating disorders more than others and sometimes men are more affected than women and vice versa. Especially in the world I live in and the people I am surrounded by, men are more likely to develop a disturbed relationship with food…you got it, BODY BUILDING!

For any sports, athletes are under enormous pressure to not only perform at their best but to also appear in a certain way. But let’s take a look at my surroundings and the reason you are on this blog…Fitness!

Perfectionism.

No matter if athletes, professional bodybuilders or fitness enthusiasts or even influencers – we all work towards a specific goal, we all have this ideal picture of a perfect body in mind, we all know what we want to look like and how we want other people see us. 

Am I wrong? 

Didn’t think so. 

Let’s put the obvious reasons together.

We are thriving towards getting leaner, or defining our muscles, we might want to achieve a specific weight category. From there we start exercising excessively, we start a diet and we count our calories or even macros. We might see progress real quick, we might not…now, we are either super excited and ambitious to keep going or we are disappointed and depressed and try even harder. Both ways, if drifting up, we can develop unhealthy eating habits and jeopardise our relationship with food and potentially even change the perception of our body image overall. We might not call it an eating disorder straight away…of course not, we are not under constant observation of a psychiatrist and when is an eating disorder actually an eating disorder? 

There are plenty of alarm signs, different ones for each disorder (check out my posts about each one) but the core is a similar one. 

Social Media

We all love it. Who does not sit at home at night, scrolling through Instagram reels or TikTok videos, looking at all those fit people out there and thinking to ourselves ‘how great do they all look, what a great discipline’? I am no exception here! So, we see all those posts and a tiny little voice tells us that it would be great to look just like that – maybe loose some extra kilos that are still stuck there from lockdown, work on our overall fitness and endurance, build some strength. I love what social media can do to people and how it can push and motivate them, taking them one step closer to a transformation! And I am not calling it envy (unless you keep scrolling miserably without doing anything about it), I call it 100% motivation and inspiration. 

So, like I already said: some people will absolutely smash it, others may struggle and potentially end up in a cycle where it is hard to get out of. 

I am no doctor, I am no psychiatrist but I am an example of all of the above…I have been through this s*** and it’s a vicious cycle I wouldn’t want anyone to ever be in! 

Read next:

Body Dysmorphia: Will I ever be happy with myself?

Anorexia Nervosa: Food, my enemy!

Bulimia Nervosa: I have lost control.

Orthorexia Nervosa: I am living the perfect diet.