Exercise dependence is often times a part of an overlying eating disorder however, it can exist independently from a specific eating disorder. Exercise dependence is characterized as a strong desire to exercise, often times to “burn calories” or lose weight. The exercise can become an obsession where an individual will compromise or completely eliminate other activities in order to exercise. Additionally, the amount of exercise is often beyond what is recommended to support a healthy lifestyle. Exercise dependence can lead to injury, disability or even death if left untreated. Here at DietitiansABQ, we aim to help you to establish a healthy place for exercise within your life. After a thorough nutrition assessment with special attention paid to any medical complications that may exist, areas of focus may include:
- Macronutrient needs, especially surrounding exercise
- Evaluating behaviors surrounding exercise
- Evaluation of possibly harmful attitudes and beliefs towards food.
- Assessment of changes in laboratory values
- Involvement of family when appropriate
- Referral to counseling services specializing in eating disorders.