Megarexia is an eating disorder that was described for the first time in 1992. Although it has not been much investigated, nor is it collected in the scientific literature, many doctors, dieticians, and psychologists recognize this pathology’s existence.
As with other similar disorders, in megarexia, there is an alteration of the body’s perception of oneself. What happens is that an overweight or obese person sees himself as thin or athletic, when, in fact, he is not.
How to understand this position? What are your risks? This time we will do a brief review of its main symptoms and risk factors. Also, we will review how it is approached.
What is megarexia?
Megarexia is an eating disorder in which the overweight or obese person is unable to see himself as such. They have an altered perception of their body image, so they do not appreciate the changes in their silhouette.
Do not confuse this disorder with self-acceptance. This disorder leads to unhealthy lifestyles. They hardly do physical exercise, do not pay attention to their diet, or even their meals are unhealthy.
For example, it is common for the affected person to base their diet on pre-cooked food, pastries, foods rich in saturated fat or sweets. As we well know, this type of food is not only harmful because of its high caloric level, but because it affects the body in many other ways.
Cholesterol levels rise, and insulin resistance rises as well. They are factors that are related to the risk of suffering atherosclerosis, type 2 diabetes, among other diseases. Furthermore, for obvious reasons, they end up developing severe obesity.
What are the symptoms of megarexia?
First of all, people with megarexia do not accept their problem. Many of them see their excess weight as an indication of health. Others try to avoid the problem by pretending it doesn’t exist.
For example, they avoid mirrors, photographs, tight clothing, and so on. Contrary to what happens in anorexia, these people try never to weigh themselves. The clothes they usually wear are wide and comfortable, and they think that people are exaggerating when they talk about their overweight.
However, this does not only occur in adults. Many parents encourage megarexia in their children. They think that the child is relatively obese and is indicative of good nutrition, and they continue to feed them the wrong way.
What risk factors are there for suffering from this disorder?
Like any other eating disorder, one of the most important risk factors is self-esteem and mental stability. Those who have a history of another similar disorder are more likely to suffer from it.
It is also related to anxiety and stress levels. The same happens with the canons of beauty or the tendency to idealize certain people according to their physique or their achievements.
When someone does not trust themselves or has a negative self-view, it is easier for them to develop megarexia. For example, if a teenager believes that he cannot achieve anything, or that he will fail to try, it is easier for him to resign himself to those extra pounds and end up convincing himself that it is okay.
How is megarexia treated?
Due to its complexity, megarexia requires a multidisciplinary approach. That is, health professionals’ intervention from various specialties is necessary, such as a doctor, a nutritionist, and a psychologist or psychiatrist.
First, it will be necessary for the person to understand their problem and be aware of it. Therefore, the psychologist will have to perform therapies where he can internalize it. Similarly, the doctor will determine if specific treatments are necessary.
Also, from the hand of the nutritionist, the person will obtain a diet according to their needs. The objective will be to combat excess weight and adopt a healthy diet. Regular exercise and other habits are also suggested to cope with obesity.