All month we’ve been talking about body image and weight, from the Freshman 15 to defining healthy to body positivity. Unfortunately, eating disorders continue to have a presence on college campuses. The most commonly talked about eating disorders are anorexia, bulimia, and binge-eating disorder. While it’s important to know about these eating disorders, what they look like, and how you can help others struggling with these disorders, it’s also valuable to know about other harmful eating habits. While someone may not be diagnosed with an eating disorder, this doesn’t erase the possibility that they could have harmful eating habits. It’s important to recognize for yourself, and among others, what disordered or harmful eating habits may look like, so that they can be changed before turning into a serious problem.
Chewing and spitting food, and over-exercising as a way to manage the amount of calories you’ve consumed, are two harmful habits. Chewing and spitting food avoids swallowing the food, therefore restricting and preventing the consumption of calories and nutrients that your body needs. The medical consequences of this habit include stomach ulcers and dental problems. Similarly, over-exercising, or excessive exercising, can be harmful to your health as you push your body to the extreme, often while going over the amount of energy your body can produce. This can lead to malnutrition, injury, and illness. Both of these harmful habits can make you feel isolated and can consume your thoughts – negatively impacting your social and academic life.
What can you do for yourself or others in your life that may be struggling? Reach out to the Counseling Center or call the 24-hour Crisis Line at (206) 461-3222. Additionally, you can reach out to NEDA where you can either call or chat online anonymously to ask questions about eating disorders and harmful eating habits.