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Food and Nutrition Topics..

You are here : home > Food and Nutrition > Eating Disorders and Compulsions > Anorexia: Starvation is not the answer

Anorexia: Starvation is not the answer

Anorexia: Starvation is not the answer

While we usually relate Anorexia nervosa or anorexia, with teens, this eating disorder is actually largely prevalent among women aged 15 to 35. The illness essentially entails starving oneself to death in order to lose weight and consequently build up self-esteem. 

The disease starts innocently enough. The victim wakes up one morning, looks at herself in the mirror, and decides she could do with getting rid of that 'fat'. If she just loses some weight, every thing would be perfect. So she goes on a diet and starts an exercise regime. But it doesn't stop when she's shed those few extra kilos. She continues seeing herself as fat, ignoring the perceptions of regular body weight. When she weighs about 85% of what is considered normal for her age and height, is hyperactive and exercises a lot to continue burning calories, but still cannot get rid of the nagging certainty that she is 'fat and ugly', you know she has a problem. 

Anorexia is usually accompanied by hyperactivity, hypothermia, and amenorrhea. 


This is when anorexics exercise frantically to lose whatever little weight they are left with. 


This results when the fat cells, which are the body's natural insulation, become non-existent and the victim starts feeling cold all the time. As a result, the body develops a light coating of fur on the body, to retain whatever little body warmth it can. 


Amenorrhea sets in when a woman misses at least three menstrual cycles. Loss of monthly menstrual periods is typical in anorexic women while men with anorexia often become impotent. 

Nipping it in the Bud 

Sadly anorexia is not usually 'nipped in the bud', as it is not recognised until it spirals out of control. Parents of anorexics don't realise initially what their child is going through, as a desire to lose weight by diet and exercise is normal enough. Almost every one goes through a weight-losing spree at some point in life, but with anorexics, it becomes an obsession. Their distorted perception of reality makes them see themselves as fat, even when they are rake thin. They look at themselves in the mirror and they don't see their protruding rib cages - they see the skin on it - and identify it as fat. The fear of being seen as fat continues even when the person is near death from starvation. They won't eat even when suffering from acute hunger pangs. Further, anorexics often wear loose, baggy clothes to hide their 'fat' body, so one doesn't immediately realise how much weight the child has lost. 

Change in Attitude Towards Anorexics 

The general perception that anorexics are vain and obsessed with their looks needs to be changed, and anorexia needs to be recognised as a serious disease requiring treatment. Anorexics are usually controlled people who are perfectionists but have low self-esteem. Their body weight, shape and size is directly related to how good they feel about themselves. This may be because of troubled family situations, childhood abuse or parents telling their child that he or she should lose weight or getting teased at school because of some extra weight. If a child suffers from anorexia, family members should not let the eating disorder become a hidden, secret problem. Instead, they should talk openly and with obvious concern to the young woman about the situation as early as possible. 


Group therapy seems to be one of the more effective methods of treatment as women in the same situation get together to speak about their experiences and share their fears. 

If anorexia has reached the extent that the person's life is in any danger because of starvation, she should be immediate hospitalised. It may not be easy to gain the victims' co-operation, especially if they have been brought to treatment against their will. Building a trusting and supportive relationship is likely to be the most important part of treatment.

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Leer.10 years ago
Leer.10 years ago
also, i've been looking @ the power 90 program. it sounds effective. theres a website you can go to to look it sounds like something some of yal are looking for. but before you try any workout program talk to your doctor first. luv always leer.
Sugarbaby0396.10 years ago
i know the feeling of being fat. even though i only weigh 115 pounds, everyday i struggle with what i am going to eat. i lost 45 pounds about 3 years ago in like 2 months, and go down to 105 pounds from i really know what it is like. i want to lose back down to 105, but i can't seem to find anything that works. will someone please let me in on some secretes to losing weight without having to kill yourself at the gym!!!!!
crystal.10 years ago
i am 20 years old and i have buliemia,i've been bulimic since i was 17,i went from 185 down to 125 in a matter of months,it started happening after i had a breast reduction,i wanted a body to match my chest,so i started throwing up,i was depressed all the time,i was dehydrated,cold,moody and my breath stinks,i'm trying to get help now,and i even gained alittle weight,sometimes i feel real fat but deep down inside i know i'm beautiful,as so people tell me,i don't have to be this way,and ladies,neither should you,i decided my fate along time ago,please don't be stupid like me and go down the same path,i pray that i get better someday and will do everything in my power to get there,love urself!
Leer.10 years ago
sugarbaby you seem to be almost at perfect weight. a little under maybe. so stop. you seem perfectly fine. and crystal im really happy for u that u learn to look over what u think and b healthy.
sad.10 years ago
i cant believe what happened to me...i gained im 115 at 5'8. i dont know how this happened, but i am so miserable.....what do i do.................................
Leer.10 years ago
sad, you shouldn't think that you weigh to much because at the height 5'8" you should be around 150 to 160 pounds. your not over wieght but actually very under. please start gaining weight and be healthy, eat more. it scares me when people like you that are too skinny think they are fat. i weigh 218 at 5'6" and thats when you need to lose wieght. not when your almost a stick. please, im begging you don't think that. i'll be praying for you.
sad.10 years ago
know what else sux? a mother who works for weight watchers and knows the exact range of weight you should be, and if you're unerweight, and always telling me that im underweight. if it's true, why cant i see that?
Whatever.10 years ago
sad,the reason you most likliy don't see that you'er underweight is because some miss understanding in your mind,people look at them selfe and put that they are fat in there head,even if they are not fat they still think they are,prhaps you should ask your doctor for some advice about your weight and what trigers the mind to think bad about it's body.and if you don't want to talk to a doctor then maybe you should do a little bit of research,when i did,i found that bulimia was trigerd by depression and persuer by looking at people that are thinner then you and wannting to look like them,anerexia is a disorder that starts in your head like most eating disorders exept anorexia kills you faster,you start to lose your apetite and then you cant take in food on your own.but if you feel bad about your selfe you have to see why you feel bad about your selfe,maybe you'er just depressed,or maybe you just hate your body,if you do hate your body you should really talk to a doctor about it.and you should look at who you are,iam suer your a nice person.and dont feel bad about your selfe it will drive you crazy if you do.
me.10 years ago
hi im a 15 year old girl im 171cm tall and i weigh 70kg am i over weight?.....
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