Monday, June 1, 2015

Calorie Mindful or Drunkorexia

I recently came across a research article discussing a phenomena (possible 'disorder') called drunkorexia. The term and what it means caught me off guard and to be honest, disturbed me. It disturbs me for a couple reasons. The first is that I am loathe to think that my advising persons - as a public health educator - to consider how they spend their calories in a given day might in some way suggest that I think people should drastically cut their calories in order to 'fit in' highly caloric (and dangerous) binge drinking. Of course, I expect that the primary audience for my blog and YouTube channel are not mostly college aged females - the group that engages in this behavior the most - and is instead, people doing their best to consume the right amount of calories to keep themselves at a health promoting weight. So when I say that I personally consider the 1 beer, glass of wine or alcoholic beverage (~ 100 cals) in my daily total, and thus have a smaller lunch or breakfast in order to have that drink, I am NOT advocating skipping meals or 'starving' in order to 1) drink on an empty stomach for a quicker high or 2) or to consume 500 or more calories in alcohol and not gain weight.

I am also concerned when people medicalize/diagnose behaviors, like the dumb one I just described, into psychological problems - at least too quickly. Labeling people, in my experience as a social worker (not a psychiatrist/psychologist or nutritionist), too soon or maybe at all, can cement the problem; the person becomes the problem - the illness manifests because someone said it was there.

My area of expertise and research is not eating disorders. The main point of this post, and the point I will reiterate and end with is: being smart about the calories you consume does not include - never includes - not eating. It is easy to reduce a breakfast and or lunch by 50 to 100 calories by changing its ingredients. I do not advocate any of the behaviors associated with this 'drunkorexia.'


Beth (you know which one) said...

Interesting. There's actually something called Drink Your Carbs: the Drinker's Diet which basically promotes an overall healthy diet that minimizes consumption of simple carbs (i.e. sugar) through food in order to accommodate the consumption of carbohydrate calories through alcohol. It certainly does not promote drunkorexia or excess drinking. But it does point out that "Losing weight while continuing to drink alcohol is as easy as pie—as long as you accept the fact that you can no longer eat pie."

Deirdre Dingman said...

I love that last line and I follow the logic. Thanks for sharing!