Weekly Whine: “Health” Frenzy

Sometimes, I like finding like-minded blogs. Blogs that may teach me something new about my field. I  like health, and I don’t think health is just about the sciences.

But I am not in support of this world-wide frenzy to be “healthy” to such an extent that people are pushed towards eating disorders.

Exercise is GOOD. Leading a balanced lifestyle is GOOD. But exercising your body into oblivion is NOT good. Counting calories is bad. Needing to perform jumping jacks for every cookie you eat is unhealthy. Yeah, a while ago I saw a blog explaining how many jumping jacks one needed to do to deserve an Easter egg.

Eating disorders are defined as “syndromes characterized by significant disturbances in eating behaviour and by distress or excessive concern about body shape or weight.”

I know what it’s like to look in the mirror and hate what you see. But I also know what it’s like to know that what you see is not unhealthy. I believe we are evolving a generation of eating disorders under the pretense of being healthy.

When I was little, my mom used to tell me, “Nothing with a too is good for you. Too much of anything is bad.”

I guess in colloquial speak, that translates to “everything in moderation, including moderation.”

Here’s the interesting thing about eating disorders: DSM-IV criteria (pretty much a toolkit for psychiatric diagnosis) divides eating spectrum disorders into

  1. Anorexia Nervosa
  2. Bulimia Nervosa
  3. Eating Disorders Not Otherwise Specified

The latter category sounds kind of lame, but it basically elaborates that even a case where a patient has so-called normal body-weight, but maintains an intense fear of gaining weight and a distorted body image, is considered an eating disorder. Similarly, one who perhaps does not purge several times a week (but still purges) is also considered to have an eating spectrum disorder.

There is nothing wrong with wanting to be healthy. And I’ll be the first to agree that obesity is not healthy. But neither is body dysmorphism.

So for crying out loud, be healthy and be happy. And stop making people so desperate to have a beautiful streamlined tummy that they become terminally unhappy.

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7 thoughts on “Weekly Whine: “Health” Frenzy”

  1. I have watched several close friends struggle with eating disorders for years. It is such a horrible disease and I will never understand it. Thanks for raising awareness.

  2. Great post. A good friend of mine has struggled with anorexia since childhood, and the impact that her eating disorder has had on every facet of her life is tragic.

  3. My sister has suffered from an eating disorder for over a decade- “healthy” living blogs can often be triggers to those that are vulnerable. I read several of them, and often I struggle to comprehend how their bodies maintain such high levels of fitness.

  4. I really liked that you wrote about this. It is unfortunate that while the current rampant promotion to “cut calories, exercise MORE, count and weigh everything” is beneficial to the 60% of our population that are overweight/obese, the remaining 40% is slowly conditioned that we have constantly be in a state of dieting and increasing exercise. Interesting how an obesity epidemic is leading to one of disordered eating.

    1. I like the way you put that. It is unfortunate, because I guess the underlying principles are valid, as you say. It also annoys me that young (and not-so-young) girls who have perfectly healthy bodies get caught up in the frenzy too.
      Thanks for your input!

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