Perfectionism in psychology is defined as a personality trait in which a person strives for ‘flawlessness’. This striving is accompanied by setting high-performance standards, being self-critical and a concern for what other’s perceptions of you are.
Rigid rules around diet and exercise, which often form unhealthy behaviours follow rigid thoughts and beliefs we have of ourselves. In order to promote healthier habits, these rigid thought sets need to change.
The development of an eating disorder can be prevented! However, no one should feel guilt or blame if these illnesses do develop as they are so complex. I have 3 siblings, all raised in the same household and went to the same school. They did not develop an eating disorder as I did. Individual personalities, circumstances and the way each person deals with emotions and difficulties need consideration.
I had the honour of presenting a 90min lecture at Filex 2017 on “Identifying and Managing Eating Disorders in the Fitness Industry”. One of the participants at the end of the session asked why every trainer was not in the session. Her daughter had signed up for a 12-week body transformation challenge, and was told that dairy and carbs were evil. She was instructed to do an extra hour of cardio on the treadmill because she had eaten these. Her daughter is in a clinic suffering Anorexia Nervosa.
Recovery from an eating disorder is very complex. These serious mental health issues result in a disordered array of physical, mental, emotional and social health consequences. Research indicates that approximately 50% of people who have suffered from an eating disorder fully recover. Because of their complexity, there is no single pathway to recovery and effective treatment would consider the multifaceted nature of these issues and each individual concerned.