Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up
Anorexia Athletica
avatar
An_200987 posted:
Why is severe exercising and limited caloric intake considered healthy in overweight people (the biggest loser resort has clients do 7 hours of exercise a day and eat 1200 calories) while the exact same behavior is considered pathologic in a person of normal weight?
If I only did one hour of cardio today instead of my usual two, and as a result only feel I can eat 0-600 calories instead of my usual 1200-1500 today, would you deem me normal because I'm overweight? BMI of 28.5, for those interested.
Reply
 
avatar
Caprice_WebMD_Staff responded:
Hello,

I'm sure others will be responding and sharing their ideas but, in the meantime, I wanted to welcome you here.
 
avatar
42Wired_ responded:
Keep in mind that on "Biggest Loser," all the contestants are closely medically supervised while on extreme diets and extreme exercise plans. Also keep in mind that these people are morbidly obese (BMI > 40), and that this is just a TV show. The term "reality show" does not necessarily imply that it has basis in reality.

Regarding a diagnosis of anorexia, a person's BMI is irrelevant. A person with anorexia has a distorted view of his or her own body, which causes them a lot of anxiety, which is the driver of extreme dieting and extreme exercising.

The reason the contestants on "Biggest Loser" are not considered pathological anorexics is because it is not a distorted body image that is driving them to adopt an extreme weight-loss plan; they adopt the (medically supervised) extreme weight-loss plan because they have an extreme amount of weight to lose.

A person of normal weight should not adopt such extreme measures because they do not have to lose an extreme amount of weight. Slimming down a little is fine, but when a person only wants to lose 15 or 20 pounds, a gigantic daily calorie deficit isn't necessary, and can be harmful.

Two hours of cardio a day (staying under maximum heart rate) is excellent. Eating around 1800 calories or fewer a day for men or around fewer than 1200 calories a day for women, though, can be harmful to the body. There is a minimum daily calorie threshold the body requires for all systems (immune system, nervous system, the brain, etc.) to be operating at 100%.

On top of that, if a person gets too few calories, the body goes into starvation mode, and essentially hangs on to every bit of energy it can by slowing the metabolism to a crawl, which can make losing weight more difficult.

At my peak, my BMI was 41, so I unfortunately understand the anxiety and depression that come with the constant bombardment of messages from our society telling us all that we should not be fat, and the desire for all the weight to be gone NOW instead of losing it gradually. I was suicidal over my weight, and had started abusing laxatives (but wasn't losing any weight).

I got professional help through my doctor (as well as weight-loss expectations that were realistic, for once), and now I've lost 80 pounds with 40 more to go, and don't get depressed anymore.

I consume between 1900 and 2100 calories a day (because I'm male and tall), I get 90 minutes of cardio 5-6 days a week (running, biking, and swimming), and I lift weights 2-3 times a week.

After I hit my target weight, I plan to increase the amount of calories I consume to just under what I burn to maintain my weight, but keep exercising just as much.

Remember to take care of your body, because you only get one. I hope you meet your goal. Keep us posted.
 
avatar
dailyalice replied to 42Wired_'s response:
BMI of 25.7.
I still do 2 hours of cardio a day, and eat only what I burn in the gym; ie, the 1200-1500 I work off. I'm 5'7".
Yesterday I had to cut my workout 10 minutes short because my hip started hurting. I felt anxious and guilty.
Today I wasn't even going to go to the gym because it hurt to walk. I thought, hey, I'll take a day off, maybe go out to eat. Then I started thinking about how I'd only been to the gym 3 days in a row, and how I couldn't eat if I didn't work out. I told myself I'd just do one hour.
I did two hours. I wanted to stop at 1:30 as I was exhausted, but forced myself to keep going for fear that if I "slacked off" today, and since I "slacked off" yesterday, it would get easier and easier to be a wimp and slack off in the future.
It's extremely effective for weight loss.
 
avatar
42Wired_ replied to dailyalice's response:
If a part of the body is painful beyond normal muscle soreness, it's probably not a good idea to exercise that part of the body; continuing to exercise despite pain can risk serious injury, which may result in a COMPLETE inability to exercise. Stopping due to the pain was the responsible decision, and you should not have felt guilty or anxious; it does not count as slacking off, nor does it make you a wimp in any way. I promise. :)

But if it still hurts to walk or exercise in a day or two, go see the doctor and see what they recommend to do for the pain.

What's your goal BMI? Mine's 24.0, but I'm fairly muscular, so any less and I'd be a stick. lol
 
avatar
dailyalice replied to 42Wired_'s response:
Lol - my goal BMI will almost certainly change as I approach it. My goal weight is 164, highest that is considered normal for my height. But I can see it changing to wanting to lose just 5 more pounds...,
 
avatar
hope1289 replied to dailyalice's response:
i am 21 years old and i believe i am suffering from this.. i am lucky if i hit 600 calories a day.. minus the fact im in he gym 5-6 days a week and do 45min of cardio .and ...60-80 min of interval and strength training all in the same day which completely leave me negative in my calories and i am a full time student with a job working 25-30hrs a week and im always on the go.. i weight 103-104.. im scared to eat sometimes in fear of gaining weight that i have lost..
my story? i was skinny my entire life.. at 5'3" 120lbs i had muscle and played sports like soccer and softball 6 days a week. after high school i did NOTHING and my diet erratically changed from balanced to UNHEALTHY and i ate fast food 3 times a day EVERYDAY and sat on my butt and had no type of exercise and i was doing bad in college. i did this for 2 1/2 years when i decided i didnt feel like me. i weighed in from 120 to 158 in 2 1/2 years.. thats 38lbs! in 5 months of serious dedication to the gym and eating super healthy with the help of my boyfriend.. i was back down to 122 for my birthday july -> december. now from december to now end of july.. i am terrified of going back.. obesity does not run in my family and the doctor said im overdoing everything!!! is it possible to keep my body image and weight within 3-5lbs year round (or even keep it the same) if i just keep eating a clean healthy balanced diet with 1 cheat meal a week and 4-5 days at the gym? i want to be focused more on my school than eery calorie i intake.. especially since im in the nursing program. i dont want to let this control my life.. i just want to maintain my body now and maybe tone up even more (yes i know muscle weighs more than fat) but i love all my new clothing and i dont want to "grow out" of everything..


Spotlight: Member Stories

I've suffered from EDNOS, Anorexia, and Bulimia for about 7 years. The cause is a longing for control and comfort because of many situations that ...More

Helpful Tips

How to load photos on WebMD
WebMD has created a guide to assist you with loading your photos. Photo upload guide More
Was this Helpful?
8 of 14 found this helpful

Related News

There was an error with this newsfeed

Report Problems With Your Medications to the FDA

FDAYou are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.