Today, we spoke about anorexia to nutritionist Bárbara Oliveira. This is a food disorder, which is also related to a nervous condition and is caused by a misconception of the patient’s body image. The diagnose is often done by the family physician, by a psychiatrist or by another doctor who redirects the patient to a nutritionist. These patients show a desire to lose weight and, sometimes, it isn’t clear if the case is of extreme slimness or real anorexia, although the dangers of the disease are very real. Nevertheless, there are ways to act, both on recovery and prevention.

People with anorexia eat vey little and among the first risks are low energy levels and infections, due to being so weak. Women can also suffer from amenorrhea, the absence of menstruation, and, later on, osteoporosis. Meanwhile, all these sub nutrition issues can lead to death, but we must not forget the psychological factors and lack of self-esteem patients feel.

These are highly complex situations, because, at the limits of slimness “someone who has a BMI below 18,5 starts to be underweight. Nevertheless, anorexia is possible for people with regular weight. There are many who are thin and are naturally below the recommended weight, but we always try for that to not happen”. Nevertheless, sudden weight loss, excessive physical activity or a tendency for a too detailed attention to food indicate potential disturbances in perception and self-image.

For all this, Dr. Bárbara Oliveira considers that 90% of recovery and healing from anorexia depends on psychological treatment, together with a balanced food plan, initially low in calories but progressively adapted and enriched, to keep the patient in the weight and good health recovery process. It could be argued that a food plan which would rely heavily on high calories intake would be better, but as this is mainly a psychological issue, it its preferable to start with a slow progress of food habits, accompanied by psychological treatment.

If you think you can be on the path of extreme slimness, prevent more serious situations down the road, by reassessing your food behaviour.

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