Some Who Try to Lead Healthy Lifestyles May Be Dealing With Eating Disorders

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(Photo: Unsplash/Justyn Warner)

Millions of Americans have dealt with an eating disorder at some point in their lives, and it's not always easy to identify who those people are.

There are times when even those who are striving to lead healthy lives can be affected by an eating disorder.

A recent article from the Duluth News Tribune details the story of Tara Haakonson, a St. Cloud, Minnesota, native who dealt with the eating disorder known as anorexia nervosa while she was at college.

Haakonson followed the guidelines of healthy living — exercising, eating fruits and vegetables while also avoiding processed and fast food.

She didn't recognize it back then, but looking back on it now, Haakonson realizes that she developed the eating disorder as a response to the "culture shock" she was dealing with at school. In pursuit of retaking control of her life, she opted to focus more on working out excessively instead of socializing and she even completely avoided certain kinds of food.

She lost 25 pounds during her first year in college.

Haakonson remained in denial of her condition for a while, but a visit to the doctor together with her mother finally allowed her to realize what was wrong.

Things went well for a while before she relapsed back in 2014. That was followed by her committing to the treatment and getting better again.

Currently, Haakonson maintains a healthy weight and she has also learned how to better listen to her body to find out what she needs in terms of nutrition and exercise.

Now retired Seattle Mariners catcher Mike Marjama is another example of an individual who previously dealt with an eating disorder.

As a high school wrestler, cutting weight was part of Marjama's routine, but he eventually developed an eating disorder that caused him to feel guilty whenever he ate.

Getting sent to a private treatment facility finally allowed Marjama to overcome his battle with anorexia, and these days, he is putting more of his time and energy into educating people about eating disorders, The Seattle Times reported.

That desire to spread more awareness about eating disorders is the main reason why Marjama has decided to retire from professional baseball, as he has taken a job with the National Eating Disorders Association.

Aside from anorexia, other eating disorders that could affect people include bulimia nervosa — a condition that leads people to eat too much and then follow that by vomiting, using laxatives or other methods to compensate for the over-consumption of food — as well as binge-eating, according to the National Institute of Mental Health.

Medication, counseling, psychotherapy and monitoring are forms of treatment for eating disorders.