“I don’t want to eat, I will become fat if I take my meal” that was the reply of my 9 years old daughter family when I ask some probing questions like why are you skipping your meals. She confidently replied if I became fat, girls in my class call me names as they call others Moto, Ball, Elephant etc.
Nowadays media play a very important role in depicting the importance of being skinny to become beautiful. People want to maintain their weight to have the ideal look but they are ignoring their health to achieve their perceived ideal weight. People are keen to try different diet plans, fat burners and remedies online to reduce weight. By practicing this many individuals adopt serious health issues like kidney failure, liver problems and stomach ulcers.
Eating disorder is a psychological condition in which the individual have a distorted relationship with food. DSM IV (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual) provide the three categories of eating disorder such as Anorexia, Bulimia, and Bing eating. In Anorexia, an individual refuse to eat to drastically lose weight. Bulimic patients are involved in eating in short time intervals and using unhealthy means to avoid gaining weight by using laxatives, self induced vomiting and compulsive exercise. In binge eating, individuals take a large amount of food constantly and not involved any compensatory activities. The most important thing to notice is why an individual have an unhealthy relationship with food. The possible reasons to having eating disorder are psychological, social, and biological. While we are talking about the psychological reasons of eating disorders, the most important is level of stress an individual is facing. When experiencing stress, a hormone named Cortisol is secreted and tells the brain you are hungry. The individual become involved in emotional eating and gains weight. Our life is full of stress, the important thing to learn is that how to react towards stressful situations. There are so many coping strategies one can learn to beat the stress.
Eating disorder is very common among the young generation as society defines a very narrow criteria of beauty and if they are chubby or overweight, they have to face bulling at school and college. Eating disorders affects the self image and self-esteem of individuals. They become socially isolated and remain obsessed on how to lose weight. Eating disorders thus arise where an individual tries to cut down on food or feed their emotions by consuming a lot of food.
Lack of knowledge about eating disorder is a dilemma and is made worse when people don’t want to talk about their issues specially related with body shape and body image. In Pakistan only few professionals are dealing with eating disorders Rainbow Obesity and Eating Disorder Centre Lahore is the first eating disorder centre in Pakistan providing the assessment, diagnostic, and treatment services for eating disorders.