The Importance of Eating Healthy

The importance of eating healthy

Eating disorders, such as excessive, compulsive or binge-eating, anorexia, bulimia and dieting failure, affect millions of people of all ages and from all walks of life. An eating disorder is a complex mental health problem and stems from both emotional and psychological distress which results in an obsessive relationship with food. The ability to control the amount and type of food consumed makes sufferers believe they are coping and controlling their problems, and it’s a way for them to block out painful and overwhelming feelings.

Sadly, people often attempt to control eating disorders by dieting, fasting, over-exercising, using slimming pills, diuretics, laxatives and purging (vomiting/emetics). These strategies can produce short term weight controls, but they do not provide a solution to eating disorders. These quick fixes fail to address the underlying emotional/psychological problems that trigger and fuel eating disorders.

The difference between disorders?


A psychological disorder often stemming from extremely low self-esteem and an inability to cope with worries and stress. Sufferers develop a distorted view of their own body shape and weight, leading them to hyper-control their intake of food to the point of starvation. The mid and long term health effects of anorexia can be severe, including changes in hormone balances (girls may stop having periods), depression, permanent bowel damage from use of laxatives, anaemia, osteoporosis and heart disease are likely as are other types of damage to major organs.


Bulimia is also linked to emotional problems and issues of self-esteem and inability to cope with stress. Bulimics fall into an abusive cycle of gorging on food and then making themselves sick to get rid of the food by vomiting or taking laxatives to purge their bowels. Bulimics are often at risk of developing a pattern of drug or alcohol abuse. The excessive vomiting of bulimia often causes tears to occur in the inside of the throat. Long term damage can include ulcers, severe anaemia, swollen saliva glands.

Compulsive Eating

This is the most widespread of the disorders with the widest spectrum of sufferers, from those who eat excessively through boredom or depression, to those who binge-eat or comfort eat excessively (even constantly) to deal with stress and depression. As compulsive eaters do not purge themselves after they eat they are often severely obese and consequently suffer from many of the health problems associated with obesity, including high blood pressure, damaged joints, heart disease and diabetes.

Look out for the signs of these preventable disorders

Anorexia Nervosa, also called Anorexia, is a potentially life-threatening eating disorder that is characterised by self-starvation and excessive weight loss. When a person has anorexia nervosa their weight is usually at least 15% less than normal body weight. Extreme weight loss in people with anorexia nervosa can lead to dangerous health problems and even death.

The term anorexia literally means “loss of appetite”. However, this definition is misleading as people with anorexia nervosa are often hungry, but refuse food anyway. People with anorexia nervosa have intense fears of becoming fat and see themselves as fat even when they are very slender. These individuals may try to correct this perceived “flaw” by strictly limiting food intake and exercising excessively in order to lose weight.

Early Warning Signs

You should look for at least 3 of these signs being present to indicate the possibility that an eating disorder is present.

Anorexia Nervosa:

  • Rapid weight loss over several weeks or months.
  • Continuing to diet even when thin or when weight is very low
  • Unusual interest in food, calories, nutrition, or cooking.
  • Intense fear of gaining weight
  • Strange eating habits or routines, such as eating in secret.
  • Feeling fat, even if underweight.
  • Inability to assess one’s own body weight realistically
  • Striving for perfection and being very self-critical
  • Undue influence of body weight or shape on self-esteem
  • Depression, anxiety or irritability
  • Infrequent or irregular, or even missed menstrual periods in females.

For everyone it is best to aim for a well-balanced diet with a range of different food types rather than lots of one and none of the others. Eating:

  • plenty of fruit and vegetables
  • plenty of starchy foods such as bread, rice, potatoes and pasta. Choose wholegrain varieties wherever possible
  • some milk and dairy products
  • some meat, fish, eggs, beans and other non-dairy sources of protein with only a small amount of foods and drinks high in fats and/or sugar. This will assist in ensuring your diet is varied, nutritional but also providing those essential vitamins. If possible, select options which are lower in fat, salt and sugar whenever you can.

Now that you know why you should eat healthy, it’s time to put a plan into action and make sure you stick to it. Cambridge Safety are here to help, as eating healthy can help prevent mental health issues.

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