I have asthma and need an effective method to lose weight instead of binging / purging.

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I have a very complicated tale to tell. Firstly, I’m a 19-year-old male. I have always been a finicky eater and food has always ruled my life. My mother and my younger sister both lost weight very fast by not eating. I did the same.

I didn’t eat anything for nearly 5 months and when I did eat, I purged. I lost 86 pounds. It made me unhealthy, but I finally liked my body and myself for the first time in my life. This was last year. With the onset of winter and the new school year, I was on the go less and at home more (during the summer I spend the week working full-time on and off at my friend’s cottage).

I have since “recovered” from my bout with anorexia. Even though it wasn’t REAL anorexia, I don’t think. I have always hated food and eating. This was not a change of that; I only acted on my feelings.

I have gained back some of the weight that I lost, 25 pounds to be exact. I now weigh 175 pounds. (At 5 feet 7 inches I’m fairly “big-boned”.) I still feel that I am overweight. I am now back at work since school is over (its construction, 12 hours a day). I want to lose weight, for keeps again and I am starting to purge and avoid eating.

I need help because I would love to be able to find an EFFECTIVE method to lose weight. I have asthma, so high-impact exercise is short-lived though, I do ride my bike a lot. If I cannot find an effective method, I will have to stick with purging and not eating. I can’t be THIS heavy. I hate myself. 140 is my aim. Only 35 pounds to go!

What should I do?

Have you tried the Healthy Body Calculator®? Your weight goal is not unrealistic, but purging and starving yourself are not effective ways to lose weight. They can lead to serious health problems. Starving yourself can lead to a decrease in heart rate and body temperature, fainting, fatigue, weakness, nutrient deficiencies, dry and scaly skin and increased risk of infection due to a decrease in white blood cells.

I encourage you to develop a healthy eating plan for life along with physical activity, behavior and attitude changes. I recommend a healthy eating plan based on My Plate, keeping in mind variety, balance, and moderation. It is important to choose a variety of foods from all food groups to receive the nutrients your body needs. To achieve balance in your food choices, eat foods from the 6 major food groups every day (grains, vegetables, fruits, milk, meat and beans, healthy oils). Eat foods in moderation, rather than eliminate certain foods. For example, if you have a higher fat lunch from a fast food restaurant, choose a lower fat supper.

Your summer construction job can help burn calories depending on how much physical labor you perform, but I encourage you to continue to exercise to balance out the difference between your winter and summer activities. Physical activity does not have to be high impact. Regular exercise is more effective in managing weight than short bursts of hard exercise. Aim for 30 minutes of exercise 5 days a week. Ideas for other low impact exercise includes walking, low impact aerobics, yoga, water aerobics, and swimming laps. Keep in mind that people who combine exercise and a healthy eating plan are more likely to lose more fat and less likely to regain the weight back.

Lastly, your perceptions and attitudes about your body are unhealthy. I would recommend you make an appointment to see a psychologist specialized in eating disorders because based on your symptoms above, you did have real anorexia and bulimia.