When Diet Is NOT The Solution

When Diet Is NOT The Solution

We’re not here to talk about dieting and managing our weight through diet. Today we want to talk about the times diets aren’t the solution. 

An Eating Disorder?

An eating disorder is a serious and complex mental health issue that affects one’s emotional and physical health. Those with eating disorders develop unhealthy relationships with food, weight, or appearance. Anorexia, bulimia, and binge-eating disorder (BED) are general eating disorders.

Eating disorders are treatable. People with these issues must seek treatment, as people with untreated eating disorders risk developing many life-threatening problems.

Are Eating Disorders Common?

Unfortunately, eating disorders are more common than many people realize. Around 30 million Americans have an eating disorder. 

Eating disorders are caused by several complex factors, including brain biology, genetics, personality, cultural and social ideas, and mental health issues.

Types of Eating Disorders

There are several types of eating disorders. Some people might have more than one type of disorder. 

Anorexia nervosa

People with anorexia Nervosa greatly restrict food and calories, sometimes to the point of self-starvation. Anorexia is characterized by an obsessive desire to lose weight and a refusal to eat healthy amounts of food to provide the body the nutrients and calories it needs to function correctly.

Bulimia nervosa

People dealing with bulimia binge-eat large amounts of food over a short time. After consuming the food, they may force themselves to purge the calories by vomiting, using laxatives, or exercising excessively to eliminate the food and calories from their body.

Binge-eating disorder (BED)

BED is characterized by a person experiencing a loss of control over their eating. They will eat or perceive that they’ve eaten large amounts of food in a short period of time. However, after binging, they don’t purge or burn off calories through exercise. Instead, they feel uncomfortably full and can struggle with regret, shame, guilt, and depression.

Management & Treatment of Eating Disorders

Eating disorders are the 2nd most lethal psychiatric disorders, next to opioid addiction.

Restricting calories, extreme exercise, or throwing up can and will affect your overall health. Untreated eating disorders place those at risk for serious health problems, including:

  • Heart problems include heart failure and arrhythmia.
  • Acid reflux or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
  • Hypertension (low blood pressure).
  • Gastrointestinal problems.
  • Tooth damage.
  • Osteoporosis.
  • Organ failure.
  • Severe dehydration and constipation.
  • Infertility
  • Amenorrhea (stopped menstrual cycles.
  • Stroke.

How Treating Disorders Are Managed or Treated

Treatments for eating disorders will vary depending on the type of disorder and the individual's specific needs. Experts can help people address and manage food-related issues even without a diagnosis.


  • Maudsley Approach: The Maudsley approach is a form of family therapy that helps parents of teens with anorexia. Parents actively guide their children’s eating while they learn about healthier habits.
  • Psychotherapy: A mental professional can determine the best form of psychotherapy for every individual's personal situation. Many people with eating disorders can improve with cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). CBT therapy helps individuals understand and change their distorted thinking patterns driving their behaviors and emotions.
  • Nutrition Counseling: Registered dietitians trained in eating disorders can help improve an individual's eating habits and develop nutritious meal plans. They can also offer tips for grocery shopping, preparation, and meal planning.
  • Medications: Some individuals with eating disorders have other conditions, such as anxiety or depression. Taking antidepressants or other drugs can help improve these conditions. As a result, the individual's thoughts about one’s self and food can improve. 
  • The best treatment approach is typically a combination of all these professionals working together to get a comprehensive treatment to address the mental, physical, and behavioral aspects.

    Dieting isn’t always the solution! If you or someone you know has an eating disorder, please reach out to someone for help. You’re beautiful, loved, and can get through this!

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