Informal Definitions

Definitions on this Page

Compulsive Exercising ("Anorexia Athletica")

Nocturnal Sleep-Related Eating Disorder


Informal Feeding and Eating Disorder Descriptions

Compulsive Exercising (sometimes called “Anorexia Athletica”)

Anorexia athletica is a condition where people over-exercise to the point that fulfilling their exercise goals takes on more importance than almost anything else. Exercise is used to control body shape and weight and to provide a sense of power, control and self-respect. It isn't a clinically recognized diagnosis in the same way that anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa are, but compulsive exercising can have serious health consequences.

Symptoms of anorexia athletica include:

  • Being unwilling to miss a single workout
  • Taking time off work, school and relationships to exercise.
  • Focusing on the challenge exercise poses while sacrificing enjoyment.
  • Believing that one’s self-worth depends on our physical performance.
  • Rarely being satisfied with one’s physical achievements


Nocturnal Sleep-Related Eating Disorder

People with nocturnal sleep-related eating disorder may binge-eat, or consume strange combinations of food, raw foods and even non-food items in the period between wakefulness and sleep. Upon waking up, the person has little or no memory of doing this.

Although nocturnal sleep-related eating disorder is found across ages and in both males and females, more females appear to be affected. Because it occurs while the person is unconscious (as in sleep-walking), it is may be best to consider it a sleep disorder rather than an eating disorder.



Orthorexia is a cluster of food- and weight-related symptoms, including:

  • Eating only foods regarded as healthy.
  • Relying only on "natural" products to treat an illness.
  • Finding more pleasure in eating "correctly" rather than enjoying the tastes and textures of a variety of foods.

Although orthorexia is not a recognized diagnosis, it does - like other forms of disordered eating - lead to an obsessive focus on food. People with orthorexia experience emotional satisfaction when they stick to their goals, but intense despair when they fail to do so. Weight is commonly used as a measure of their success. Their behaviours and beliefs can lead to social isolation and ill health. If weight loss compromises health and body dissatisfaction plays a part, orthorexia may become anorexia nervosa.