‘Drunkorexia’: an Unhealthy Way to Lose

Bad habits; 'anorexia' while drinking alcoholHave you heard of anorexia? Chances are, you know well that it’s an eating disorder that makes a person lose more weight than is healthy. The person may feel very afraid of gaining weight, and may exercise too much or eat far too little.

But have you ever heard of ‘drunkorexia’? This is a newer term that describes a person who practices disordered eating and binge drinking. What could motivate a person to do such a thing?

Motivations for ‘Drunkorexia’:

  • The person ‘saves up’ calories for alcohol consumption in order to prevent weight gain.
  • The person knows that getting drunk faster is possible on an empty stomach.
  • The person feels it saves money; they set aside food money and spend it on alcohol instead.

Just look around in the media and you can see why people tend to put more importance on their weight instead of their health. However, the pattern of behavior described above is very unhealthy, and can cause serious side effects. Cynthia Sass, a registered dietitian and contributing editor for Shape magazine, fills us in on these side effects. They include:

  • Short and long term cognitive problems, such as trouble concentrating and difficulty making decisions
  • Poor nutritional status, which can lead to muscle loss, a weaker immune system, and a greater risk of injuries
  • Acute alcohol poisoning, especially in women
  • An increased risk of chronic diseases tied to high alcohol intake, such as breast cancer, liver damage, high blood pressure, cancers of the upper GI tract, and stroke
  • A greater risk of developing a more serious eating disorder or substance abuse problem

If any of these behaviors seem familiar, it’s time to make a change.

Here’s what to do:

  • Don’t skip meals if you’re going to be drinking.
  • Let exercise be the way you boost energy and feel better, not the way to manipulate your body so it can tolerate more alcohol.
  • Drink in moderation. That means no more than one drink for women and two for me. No, you can’t save up drinks all week and have them on the weekend.
  • Try to plan activities that don’t involve alcohol. In this stressful day and time, have you tried to mix in mental or physical activity with your recreation? Try out a new sport, visit a local museum, take a trip to a park that you’ve never been to; these are all great ways to relax and enjoy life.

 

Remember, we’re in this together.  We care about your health!

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