Overtraining and Eating Disorders

The dangers of anorexia, bulimia, and overtraining

What do these words mean?


An eating disorder characterized by an abnormally low body weight, intense fear of gaining weight and a distorted perception of body weight. People with anorexia place a high value on controlling their weight and shape, using extreme efforts that tend to significantly interfere with activities in their lives.

  • Severely restrict food intake
  • Misuses laxatives, diet aids, diuretics, enemas.
  • Excessive exercise
  • Some binge and purge
  • Thinness=self worth


People with bulimia may secretly binge — eating large amounts of food — and then purge, trying to get rid of the extra calories in an unhealthy way. For example, someone with bulimia may force vomiting or engage in excessive exercise. Sometimes people purge after eating only a small snack or a normal-size meal.

  1. Purging Type: Inducing self vomiting through laxatives, diuretics, or enemas after bingeing.
  2. Non-purging type: fasting, strict dieting, or excessive exercise.


Overtraining syndrome is the result of overtraining and is a neuroendocrine disorder (meaning it affects nerves and hormones).When too little rest is allowed, the benefits of training are reduced or even completely diminished and performance suffers. When performance starts to suffer, the athlete often starts to train harder in an attempt to better his/her results. This leads to a vicious cycle of poor performance and increased training.


  • Increased morning heart rate and blood pressure
  • Decreased maximal heart rate
  • Frequent illness such as upper respiratory tract infections
  • Persistent muscles soreness
  • Weight loss
  • Loss of appetite
  • Disturbed sleep patterns
  • Depression

The Facts

  1. The rate of development of new cases of eating disorders has been increasing since 1950.
  2. There has been a rise in incidence of anorexia in young women 15-19 in each decade since 1930.
  3. The incidence of bulimia in 10-39 year old women TRIPLED between 1988 and 1993.
  4. The prevalence of eating disorders is similar among Non-Hispanic Whites, Hispanics, African-Americans, and Asians in the United States, with the exception that anorexia nervosa is more common among Non-Hispanic Whites.
GRAPHIC – Eating Disorders Behind Closed Doors (Anorexia/ *Bulimia Nervosa* Binge Eating Disorder)

Seeking Help

NEDA Helpline

Available Monday-Thursday: 9AM-9PM Eastern

Friday: 9AM-5PM Easter

Number: (800) 931-2237

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It proves difficult, but you can overcome it!