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    Army Eating Disorder
    An_200926 posted:
    am a 24 year old female currently serving in the United States Active Army. I joined over two years ago by losing over 70lbs. Now that i am in iam finding it hard to focus on my job that i love so much. Under current army policy AR 600-9 a soldier that is overweight must lose 3-8 lbs a month or face seperation from the Army. I have been in the program for almost 6 months now and lost over 15lbs and 4% body fat. I constently worry about my weight and my appreance according to the Army standards. I thought it was a simple as taking a few laxatives before bed to lose that few lbs before a weigh and tape or to just not eating for a few days before the test. Now its gotten to the point i take laxatives everynight before bed even tho i know it could hurt me iam in fear of losing my job and doing what i love. Serving my country. It got so bad that id spend hours in the bathroom either purging or severe diahrrea. With lack of sleep i still find a way to push myself to the gym working out at least twice a day 6 days a week, sometimes three times a day and spending at least 30mins in the sauna...just for those few pounds. I few repremand from my chain of command if i go to the hospital. I fear that they will think im trying to get out of the army..which i am not. I fear that they will think i am lieing to get out of physical training. I LOVE being a soldier i love my unit and everything about the Army and i want to stay in. I find myself hiding taking the pills from not only my unit and command but my huseband and family. I can see i am tired that i am dehydrated that i am sick but i cannot stop. I DONT want to lose my job, the Army is everything to me everything i worked 4 yearrs in college for and struggled for over a year to get in. SOMEONE help me i do not know what to do
    Oopsla responded:
    No, it is not as simple as taking a few laxatives.

    Being in shape is a lifetime activity. You must discipline yourself to want to "Be all you can be". To do this you must change your approach to many ideas and rebuild yourself. You spent 4 years at college to exercise the mind. You must also put a fair amount of time in at a healthy lifestyle.

    Saunas and laxatives are no good for the body. A sauna should be used only the few hours before weigh-ins to get that last pound or two. To burn fat your body needs to be hydrated. It sounds like you are hitting the gym but I fear you are not using your time wisely. It is easy to burn out if your dehydrated. Studies show that if you run more then 1.6 miles a day you will lose weight. Get out of the gym, off the treadmill and put some miles in. Stop any sugary drinks. Eat your proteins and complex carbos. You cannot lose weight if you have no energy. The way to lose is through activity, not starving or dehydrating. If you eat sensibly and concentrate on being healthy through proper exercise yo will achieve this AR 600-9. The military has a realistic goal that I must applaud them for.
    If the military provides you with counseling, use it. Especially a nutritionist. You are smart, take the time to read some books on it. Right now your drill sergeant would be screaming you to, "Get your head down soldier!". They taught you how to perform during crisis times without losing your wits. This is the same thing. Just apply what they taught you. Getting frantic will not help you. Understand the enemy and beat it (and the enemy is not fat).

    Oopsla replied to Oopsla's response:
    One other thing. Sure you can hide the laxative usage from the army but do see them about all the other stuff. Can you and your husband exercise together or a friend? I know when I trained some ROTC who pulled bulldog that it was multiple people. I am sure not the only one in this boat. Is there any roster of people on base that you may get some mutual support from? Don't shut your problems in. Reach out like you did here. Being super fit isn't for everyone but being fit is obtainable by most. The important thing is to remember that being healthy is a daily activity.
    msp36 responded:
    Laxative abuse is only about 10 percent efficient at ridding your body of unwanted calories, plus they're expensive and addictive. Once in the digestive tract, your intesines do their thing and actually speed up the caloric absorbsion when one is abusing laxatives for two reasons:1) You develope a tolereence for them and 2) your body, as part of the fight or flight- feast or famine response, will turn every available calorie you consume into fat, and stick it on your ass! Which blows.

    I am still ill, I can't give advice, but oops is right<theroetically>, feed yourself, cause you will starve yourself into a binge

    .This is a cool thing I just read. Stressing about things causes cortisol in your body which in turn inhibits the bodie's ability to produce human growth hormone (HGH) and testosterone( yes women need testostrone).Both of these are responsible for lean muscle mass, metabolism, cell repleneshment and sexdrive. Of the top ten organic ways proven to facillitate the production these hormones, meditation is cheap and easy and quite cool. Just an ideer. Been doing it myself and I feel better.
    soldier86 replied to Oopsla's response:
    OK this all i have to say because this is really hurting me and it doesnt seem like anyone truly understand. Everyone thinks i am not doing the right thing. I do run almost everyday. We have a 1 mile track a 1/4 mile dirt track, 2.15 mile gold course track and a 4.5mile hospital course. I run each one at least once a week. SO my problem is not how i work out or how much i do. I have a personal training at the gym who works out with me. My huseband was injured in iraq so he cannot run with me for fear he will just hurt himself more.

    It seems like you think just like i feared my chain of command would think. That im doing something wrong.

    I do see a nutritionalist and she says my diet is exactly what im supposed to be doing. I keep a food diary and she is aware of the laxatives and sauna and has told me they are not healthy. Ive told everyong that i dont want to be super fit just not lose my job. PT is not a problem for me i get almost a 300 on my PT test. I max two events and come very close on the 2mile run. Thats not the problem.

    i guess ill take what you said it still doesnt help with the fact that my huseband thinks i am bulimic and my chain of command now knows because of it.
    Oopsla replied to soldier86's response:

    The more you talk, the more we understand. The problem is too many calories for the work being done.

    Lets work through this starting with the food diary. Let us say she gives you a list of foods to eat. Do you eat these and keep them down? Do you eat things off the list and either purge or rely on the laxative to pass them? Both of these do leave a lot of calories in the system so these items NEED to be accounted for somewhere on your list. Eating a brownie then purging it is not zero calories. You must be totally honest with the list. We like to lie to ourselves and say, "That didn't count", but it does. Do not be ashamed. This is what it is and you can work through it. You must not be upset at yourself. Tell yourself it will work out.

    Portion control, can you have your husband verify or dish out the serving size to be sure it matches what the doctor ordered?

    (long shot) Are you on any medication? Some people have been known to sleepwalk on some and raid the fridge. It would be good to rule out any raids that you may not be aware of.

    Laxatives, saunas, purging are all bad. Do not stress yourself out by worrying if your command knows. It only adds stress. You know it is bad. Find a way of putting these down.

    Excellent on your conditioning, good for you. The point about it is that running is a calorie burning machine. If you are sticking to a proper diet it will burn off the weight. Some people go to the gym and... well... they go there but... Going to the tracks like you said and putting the miles in is awesome. Work on your speed while doing them to. Always try to better yourself by a few seconds (but don't get upset if you don't). Make your exercise fun.

    If anything I'd say it is the calories that are not being counted. Your thoughts?

    soldier86 replied to Oopsla's response:

    Mu huseband has started to get worried. nights of not sleeping is taking a tole on not only me but him as well, He worried about me as he should. He has convinced me to go see what we call the 6th floor here on post. It is were people go that need help kind of like a behaviroal health place. He made me write down everything that has been going on, how long it has been going on and all that. He took it from me and said he woulkd take me himself to the docotor to see whats going on.

    Some much stress he says is causing it. If my chain of command would acctually help me and be there for me this wouldnt have happened he says. They dont pay attention to the warning signs and dont really care. When one of us reaches out for help me get told me are basically nothing, worthless even tho we are great soldiers, we do our jobs everyday do PT e veryday and dont bitch about it. Ive never told my husband whats has been going on his figuyred it out himself and was mad that i never told him.

    I lied to everyone, my huseband my friends my dietician and everyone. I thought i could stop that i could fix it. I go to the gym i put in the time i run the miles and burn the calories but i could never seem to get the three lbs off. I would start to look leaner and meaner they said but still the same old me in weight. I have a two pack but a gut i have really toned arms but nothing to show for it im still under restriction and under fear i will be expelled from the army. I run my heart out on the tracks and push myself till i almost puke or do puke from the pain in my sides. Im putting in the time i just thought it would all stop or calm down and it hasnt.

    My chain of comand well those directly above me dont put in the time themselves to be the NCO's they need to be. They hardly ever come to PT with us or come watch those do PT in the afternoon they r TOO BUSY they say...they dont practice what they want us to do so like i said my fear is when this comes into the open that i have an ED then they might think either i am an attention getting person or that im too sick to function which is not right. I do physical training i run i can do pushups i do the time i do my job and i think i do it well just something has to give i need a break
    Oopsla replied to soldier86's response:

    I hear ya. As I read your post to me it sounds as if you do not ever feel good about yourself. That you are never good enough. Some ED is related to attention seeking but I don't see it in you. You have take stock in yourself and believe in yourself.

    I can hear how you are critical on yourself. Please, please, please take a moment to love yourself. That, "i need a break" moment. It is important to give your thoughts a rest. Do the PT and what have you but also take time to push the world out of your head and be you. It could be 5 minutes of peace or a day. Whatever it takes.

    Personally, I have given up competing against others. I will never be the fastest, strongest, smartest... It is not that I have given up but that I set realistic goals in my head to follow. I follow my drum beat. You can have the military screaming at you, or in this case being indifferent, but ultimately YOU must make the choice to cut the weight or do the PT.

    So if they say jump! you look.. and say... I can make that. Or say, "Mr. Military I might not make it. You'll have to pick up the pieces if I fall". Or you doubt, but jump and make it and then say, "Thanks Mr. Military I didn't think I could". Regardless of what happens you make the decision on your own to jump or not to jump. Graciously accept the outcome. There is no shame in falling. In this ED case you are falling. There is no shame in asking for help. The same is in hiding (but we all do so don't beat yourself up over it).

    I chose to do things for me and my family not because someone tells me to. Everything else is suggestions. In other words I try to isolate my mind/self and pass the world through filters. I also have to pass my own thoughts through the filters to see if I am being unreasonable.

    So when you look at why you are taking laxatives, purging, etc. you need to ask yourself if you are the chicken with it's head cut off running around the barn yard or if you have your wits about yourself. Don't let the military cloud your best judgment.

    The military is a cookie cutting machine. Soldier, you are more then that. Have faith in yourself. Don't ever belittle yourself. You are, who you are. If you need some extra help, admit it. Hiding it will only cause stress and pain. Get this fixed and I am sure you can be more then your ever were. And do think of this time as a learning experience. All learning is good.

    I wish you the best,

    PS I rambled in circles, sorry.
    KyMbErLYAnnB responded:
    Kay heres the thing hun i know how hard it is to meet the armys standards and how u really dont want to jeopordize ur career how ever losing the weight the wrong way is veryyy dangerous ..... and never mind the fact if they find out how ur losing the weight you in fact could be in alot deeper with ur superiors then if u were to lose the weight the right way limit ur portion size run an extra mile... im going through the same thing im trying to reenlist and i wont be able to until i pass the taping ive been out for 2 years and slacked with my physical conditioning alot i went from an even 120 to being 164 lbs its been 3months and im only at 147 its hard i struggle but im trying to do it the right way i run bike go to the gym 5 times a week but the army isnt about taking the easy way out if u love being a soldier please honor what u say and stop cheating ur self hun for all the females struglling with the same thing. have u ever failed a taping? if u havent stop being scared ur serving our country thats enough stress just do ur pt and if u think u might fail a taping that week or month run a little loger or something.

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