When I was a scrawny teenager, people were just starting to learn about anorexia, and I got a lot of comments about it.
I didn’t have an eating disorder, I ate whatever I wanted. But at 5-foot-9 and 110 pounds, I heard a lot about it. People worried that I didn’t eat enough or that I was depressed.
I didn’t take it lightly, I had a cousin that died of difficulty from an eating disorder, anorexia. So I wasn’t happy when people said I was too thin and I didn’t think the jokes were funny.
In my research, I discovered that in cultures where people don’t emphasize being thin, anorexia basically does not exist. In cultures where it does, it affects young girls more than any other population.
Anorexia is a mental disorder in which the person limits their intake of food, exercise constantly, and has a distorted view of their weight. They can be a perfectly healthy weight, but think that they are fat.
Bulimia is another eating disorder that causes people (more women than men) to eat, then fast, vomit or use laxatives to get rid of the calories.
Types of eating disorders:
- Binge Eating
- Pica: when a person consumes non-food items like soap, hair, wool, stones, laundry detergent
- Rumination Disorder: when a person vomits food and eats it again
- Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake: not eating food because of smell, texture, color
- Purging or Night Eating: people who eat excessively after waking in the middle of the night
People with eating disorders don’t need jokes or to be admired, or condemned because of their weight. They need professional help and understanding.
By Amanda Rogers for Surepoint Medical Centers
Photo by I yunmai on Unsplash
Amanda Rogers is a freelance writer based in Fort Worth, Texas
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