The Scary Side of Exercise and Eating "Right"

5 years ago

Check out my blog for more of my thoughts, finding, giveaways, and (less somber) stuff than the below!

I've been post light, happy-dappy stuff, but sometimes you need something heavy - you can't ignore the issues that plague many of my readers. So here's your Somber Sunday post.

Sure, cutting back on sugar, switching to whole grain products, exercising regularly, and picking up running sound fine and good - but what about the scary side? The side of orthorexia, over-exercising, and eating disorders?

The scary side is complex and packed with issues, but for today let's focus on some shocking effects on fertility:

* At under a minimum of ~22% body fat, hypothalmic changes ensue that result in altered gonadotropin secretion, with likely negative results on long-time fertility

* Vigorous exercise of 1 or more hours per day is highly correlated with reduced fertility (and bone density decreases of up to 4% per year)

* Even with an apparently normal menstrual cycle, female athletes/exercisers often have a shortened luteal phase and/or are anovulatory = less fertile

* Women with a history of anorexia (even once recovered) have a much higher miscarriage rate - 1 in 5 experience miscarriages - as well as lower birth weights and cranial volumes of their children

Involuntary childlessness is 300% as high in formerly anorexic patients as control group patients, prematurity is 200% as high, and perinatal lethality is 600% as high

* A very low BMI (even if natural), defined as 19 or below, has the following effects:
   - Reduced hormone levels
   - Lower birth rate, higher miscarriage rate
   - Higher risk of pre-mature delivery and neonatal death

You may think that you never want children. But that can change - do you want to block that opportunity for yourself?

Is the extra exercise DVD, passing on the cake, the long run, or the skipped rest day worth it?

Are the muscles worth missing out on having a child?

Is fitting into those jeans worth miscarrying in the future - or bearing a child with mental retardation?

Did anything surprise you?

This is personal, so don't answer if you don't want to - do you have a regular period and a healthy body fat percentage (at least 22%)?

Feel free to pass on this post, or post about your view of things, if you think it's important.

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