To Eat or Not To Eat
University of Phoenix
November 11, 2012
Hello, my name is Dr. Rachel Green. I am an eating disorder counseling specialist. Today I would like to talk with you about two forms of eating disorders, obesity and anorexia nervosa. In our discussion, I would like to be able to give you a new perspective on food, hunger and satiety hoping that it may benefit those who live with these disorders.
Obesity is defined as when a person has maintained a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or higher. People with obesity have many health risks which include hypertension, Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, bone health problems in addition to many other health complications and illnesses.
Anorexia nervosa is defined as a mental illness because it refers to individuals who refuse to keep their weight within 85% of the standard weight for their age and height. Those who live with anorexia express deep anxiety about gaining any weight in addition to their body image being dramatically distorted. These individuals refuse to eat and have a habit of going on eating binges, which they follow with vomiting. Their excuse for this is that they have to do this to keep what they view as an acceptable weight. This illness is very severe and is life threatening in most cases. It can result in heart failure, kidney failure and damage to the brain.
Both anorexia and obesity are studied in depth. Several new theories have brought new light to the treatment of these conditions. We will also discuss numerous hunger and satiety myths as well as facts about the maintenance and development of these disorders. We will have a chance for Q&A in the later part of the program.
There are a wide variety of theories that attempt to address why we choose to eat or not to eat. Hunger and satiety have bio-psychosocial factors that are detailed in theories relating to obesity and anorexia.
From an evolutionary perspective, we can see that periods occurred in which shortages existed in our food supplies. These may have contributed to obesity as a part of our genetic predispositions as a means of storing food when it became available so that those calories would be available to us later for our use when food supplies became scarce. This relates also to the desire to eat great quantities of high calorie foods. Consumption of high calorie foods leads to fat storage of that food’s energy. We also know that we require at least 3 solid meals daily to maintain our normal weight. This social connection to normality can be carried forward into social interactions that take place when consuming foods that are more palatable due to high fat content or high sugar content. This carries forward into our understanding of the motivations for eating.
Such factors do influence our eating patterns. Additional factors play into the choices that we make that may conflict with our ability to maintain a healthy and ideal body weight. Calories are burned during exercise and if we do not balance our caloric intake well with our exercise levels then we will not be in balance. People also have different rates of metabolism, which affects their ability to burn or store fat. Thermogenesis, which is a non-exercise activity where energy is dissipated, is also relevant to this discussion.
Studies in Biopsychology have shown that we do not eat due to the need to fuel the body, but eat because of our learned, embedded responses. Studies show that people tend to eat larger quantities in social settings than when alone. This factor alone would be a significant contributor to obesity if we correlate socializing with food.
Satiety has shown to be related to the types of food we eat. We need certain nutrients and minerals. Candy doesn’t include these nutrients and minerals, and so our bodies do not feel satisfied or full when we eat...
Citations: Pinel, J. P. J. (2011). Biopsychology. (8th ed.). Allyn & Bacon.
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