Understanding Anorexia Nervosa
This is a box of Celebrations. It has about 2000 calories in it in total, the daily requirement for the average female.
If someone handed you a box of Celebrations and told you to eat them all, how would you feel? This question was put to us today by a psychiatrist specialising in eating disorders. Of course there was the guy at the back that shouted “Shotgun!” straight away, but I was surprised to hear that most of the room felt like I did. A little bit disgusted, put off by the idea of eating an entire day of calories in one sitting. Most people said they would refuse if asked.
But what about if you were forced to eat them? Someone standing behind you saying “Go on, just one more! Thaaat’s it! Now eat another one!” It’s condescending. Again, people said things like they might feel angry, or pressured. Some people might cave.
Now imagine the same situation in a sufferer of an eating disorder. Except that instead of a box of Celebrations it’s a cheese sandwich. But you feel the same way. It’s pretty much your entire daily calorie quota, and if you eat it, you will probably get fat. It’s kind of disgusting to imagine eating that much in one go.
But everyone wants you to. Imagine if whenever you sat down at the table someone put the tin of chocolates in front of you and told you to start. And when you don’t want to because it’s a disgusting amount of food, they get angry and upset. Start arguing, shouting, coming up with ways to force you to eat them. But in your mind there is a perfectly reasonable reason not to eat them. And whether it’s the box of chocolates or a cheese sandwich, wherever your personal boundary lies, it’s hard to force yourself to go over it.
Just something interesting to think about.
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- latestartpremed said: This is an amazing analogy that I’m going to use with my friend Ellen. She keeps trying to force our other friend to eat and I’ve tried talking with her about it, but she just continues on.
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