Many people go through life unaware they have developed an eating disorder. Most people don't even notice that you may have one. Outer appearance may seem "normal" in today's society. Excessive exercising is one way to hide binge eating, bulimia, and anorexia. Exercising and staying healthy is stressed in the Korean culture. Yet, many go through life struggling with body image issues that can cause depression, addictions, anxiety, sleep disturbances, memory loss, cognitive impairments, social anxiety, and more serious physical disabilities. Example: high blood pressure, anemia, organ failure, diabetes, and many more symptoms.
Bulimia is when a person consumes a large amount of food in one sitting and will either purge (expel the food through the mouth) and/or then exercise an excessive amount to "burn of the calories" an example would be running for hours, back to back classes at the gym, hyper-focused on having to "burn" off the calories and fasting. They might not eat again for that day feeling guilt over the amount of food they consumed. Overtime this can cause anxiety and blood pressure to rise. Sugar level are at extremes ( roller coaster) due to large amounts of food consumed at once then, the body going into starvation. This can also lead to addictions. Alcohol & drugs can be used to induce vomiting, appetite control, body craving for sugar, increase energy (false assumption), deal with depression, and sleep disturbances.
I have been called a "picky eater" since childhood. I didn't like to eat some of the traditional Korean foods or American dishes. However, I am willing to try different foods and enjoy the experience of trying something new. An ARFID eater is someone who is a sensory eater. They use all of their senses or one to decide what they like to eat. many people have been confused as being "picky eaters". They will only eat certain types of food that sight, smell, taste, texture, touch will allow them to eat. This sometimes goes under diagnosed, I have seen Anorexia patient who never knew they were ARFID eaters and shamed they're entire life for being " a picky person". Anorexia patients will use laxatives, excessive exercise, calorie count, purge, portion control, fasting, and constantly check their body for fat. This can lead to heart problems, bone fractures, dehydration, high blood pressure, addictions, depression, hospitalization, and also death. This can also lead to other eating disorders ex; Binge Eating Disorder.
Being aware of signs that a friend, peer, family or loved one is suffering with an eating disorder can help save lives.
Sujong Chang M.S. NCC
RICE Institute & Counseling Center, Norcross