Individuals who are at an increased risk of (or currently dealing with) an eating disorder, can get some health benefits from exercising. The first step to overcoming the condition is getting help for your eating disorder and devising a plan that works best for you. For years, doctors and counselors have seen exercise as hazardous for those struggling with eating disorders, but recent studies prove otherwise. There are many ways a structured exercise plan can help patients overcome most eating disorders.
Most eating disorders are triggered by the patient suffering from low self esteem. Exercise helps this issue in more than one way. The first way is thru the release of chemicals into the brain that cause feelings of happiness and contentment. The second way is allowing the patient to feel proactive about their health and well-being. Of course this method of treatment may not be appropriate for everyone suffering from an eating disorder.
Eating disorders are about control. The patient feels like they are better able to control their weight and appearance by controlling how much they eat or if they keep the food down. By treating the disorder with exercise, you are allowing the patient to control their weight and appearance by offering a healthy alternative. It is important that you teach them proper technique and do not allow compulsive exercise as that can be even more dangerous.
In addition to treating existing eating disorders, exercise can be used to prevent eating disorders in those with an increased risk. By giving the person a way to cope with stress or disappointment before they begin showing signs of an eating disorder, doctors may be able to prevent the occurrence entirely. If a patient is in counseling and expressing poor body image or low self esteem, the doctor can recommend an appropriate and limited exercise routine to help. Exercise can help maintain a healthy weight while building muscle and balancing the chemicals of the brain.
Counseling can be hard on patients with eating disorders. Many people suffering from these disorders are young and may not have the adequate finances to afford treatment, or may simply be embarrassed to ask for help. If the patient is altogether healthy and not extremely underweight, an exercise regimen may be an affordable alternative to standard treatment plans. If the patient is severely underweight or suffering from other health issues, these issues should be addressed prior to beginning a workout regimen.