Eating Disorders

Excess body weight is the most common reason for weight management programmes, however during our personal trainer courses and exercise referral qualifications we often discuss eating disorders. According to NICE, the number of individuals who suffer with eating disorders is increasing. This could be down to a number of reasons which include social media and the perceived pressure to look a certain way. At FLM Training we feel it’s important to equip our students with an understanding of these conditions, their signs and symptoms and the referral process which needs to be followed. Below are the signs and symptoms of the two most common eating disorders in the UK.
The most common eating disorders are anorexia and bulimia nervosa. Both of these conditions can be extremely difficult for the individual and result in extremely awkward circumstances which they may face on a regular basis. According to Active IQ, it should be recognised that although the common symptoms involve not eating or disappearing after eating, the primary cause is often a psychological one and therefore personal trainers and other fitness professionals must have a referral path in place to direct the client to a qualified and suitable professional for help.
It’s also important to be aware that anorexia and bulimia nervosa have some similar signs and symptoms but they also have different signs which are outlined below:

Anorexia

Physical
Psychological
Behaviour
Long-Term
·         Extreme weight loss

·         Insufficient growth

·         Constipation

·         Abdominal pain

·         Hair loss

·         Dizzy spells

·         Dry, rough, discoloured skin

·         Dysmenorrhoea

·         Loss of Bone Density

·         Intense fear of gaining weight

·         Distorted perception of body

·         Denial of problem

·         Mood swings

·         Can be obsessed with food and calorie counting

·         Rituals attached to eating

·         Self starvation

·         Restlessness

·         Hyperactivity

·         Wearing baggy clothes

·         Vomiting and / or taking laxatives

·         Difficulty in becoming pregnant

·         Osteoporosis

·         Death

Bulimia

Physical
Psychological
Behaviour
Long-Term
·         Frequent weight changes

·         Sore throat and tooth decay

·         Swollen salivary glands

·         Poor skin

·         Dysmenorrhoea

·         Lethargy & tiredness

·         Uncontrollable urges to eat

·         An obsession with food

·         Distorted perception of body

·         Mood swings

·         Anxiety and depression

·         Low self esteem, shame and guilt

·         Binging and vomiting

·         Going to the toilet after meals

·         Excessive use of laxatives

·         Periods of fasting

·         Excessive exercise

·         Eating in secret

·         Heart attack

·         Rupture in stomach

·         Erosion of teeth

·         Choking

In the majority of cases, clients who suffer with the above eating disorders won’t always react or change their habits from nutrition advice alone. According to Active IQ this is because of the psychological nature of these conditions and this is why the client should be referred to the GP or registered dietician.
The purpose of this blog is to outline the main signs and symptoms of these conditions and also to highlight the importance of referring clients to the relevant healthcare professionals.

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