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Fat and Anorexic?

February 26, 2013

BIG TRIGGER WARNING: Extremely triggerering pictures of women with eating disorders, thinspiration and talk about eating disorders under the fold.

Note: Today’s post is by Kitsune Yokai, who writes the blog The Fat Pagan. She is under consideration to be a new blogger for Fierce Fatties. This is the second of three posts she will be sharing per our submission requirements. You can read her first here

What do you think of when you  hear the words “anorexic” or “bulimic”? What mental picture do you have?




What about this?

What exactly is “dieting” for fat people? The definition of “dieting” is “restrict[ing] oneself to small amounts or special kinds of food in order to lose weight.” It is constantly obsessing about your weight, how much or little food you eat, what type of food, when, where, why.

It is:

  • Obsession with calories and fat content of food
  • Preoccupation with food, recipes, or cooking; may cook elaborate dinners for others, but not eat the food themselves
  • Rituals: cuts food into tiny pieces; refuses to eat around others; hides or discards food
  • Purging: uses laxatives, diet pills, ipecac syrup, or water pills; may engage in self-induced vomiting; may run to the bathroom after eating in order to vomit and quickly get rid of the calories
  • May engage in frequent, strenuous exercise
  • Becomes intolerant to cold and frequently complains of being cold… body temperature lowers in effort to conserve energy
  • Depression: may frequently be in a sad, lethargic state
  • Solitude: may avoid friends and family; becomes withdrawn and secretive

 It is:

  • Fixation on number of calories consumed
  • Fixation on and extreme consciousness of weight
  • Low self-esteem
  • Low blood pressure
  • Irregular menstrual cycle
  • Constant trips to the bathroom
  • Depression

Whoa, wait a minute! Did I just tell you the signs of anorexia and bulimia nervosa? Yes I did.

Counting calories, fixation on weight, preoccupation with food or cooking, and strenuous exercise are all dietary requirements for fat people, but if you are thin, you have an eating disorder.

It is so easy for overweight and obese people to have an eating disorder nowadays. It is even advocated. Here, just look if you don’t believe me:

You hear these things all the time. I know I do. On the TV, on the radio, in songs and movies, in the street, on the internet — oh so much on the internet. You hear it from doctors, from politicians, from the First Lady, from scientists, from your friends and family.

“Just stop eating so much.”
“Do you really need to eat that?”
“Why don’t you exercise instead?”
“Your height to weight ratio is not as good as it needs to be.”
“Put down the donut.”
“I am concerned about your health.”
“If you continue the way you are, you are going to die.”

On and on, and you wonder why eating disorders in children under 12 have risen. Not surprisingly, so have adult eating disorders. That’s what happens when “[o]n any given day, nearly 40 percent of American women are on a diet.” There is not a thin line between dieting and eating disorders. They are, in my opinion, one and the same.

34 Comments leave one →
  1. The Real Cie permalink
    February 26, 2013 3:07 pm

    I’m bulimic, though its currently under control. To my dismay, I know the old programming will never go away. I was very sick last night. There’s some sort of stomach thing going around at work, and I got it. Today I finally forced myself to eat some beef noodle soup even though the idea of eating made me feel queasy. I found myself thinking “If only I always hated to eat, maybe I’d get thin.” It’s still there. No matter how I try, that voice is still there.

    • Elizabeth permalink
      February 26, 2013 3:44 pm

      Cie, have you seen Disfigured? I like what the anorexic (thin) woman says to the fat woman: Sometimes you stop thinking about food, but I NEVER stop thinking about it. Is that a good definition of anorexia, do you think?

      • The Real Cie permalink
        February 27, 2013 3:43 pm

        Yeah, I do. With an eating disorder (at least for me) the thought of food was CONSTANT. When I was starving myself, I was thinking of food as in I will not eat. When bingeing, I was thinking of eating “bad” food and then vomiting it back up.
        I haven’t seen disfigured, but will have to check it out!

      • Happy Spider permalink
        February 28, 2013 7:33 am

        That’s a vivid image, Elizabeth. What really turned me off about dieting was what someone called the “endless vigilance”. Dieting takes over my life. I never stop thinking about it. When I’m doing nothing else those thoughts take over and when I’m engaged in other activities those thoughts are running underneath. I thought the thoughts would go away once dieting became a habit but I’ve dieted for eight or ten months in a row and they never went away.
        I felt such a sense of relief both times I ended a major diet, like putting down a burden that had been exhausting me. How horrible to think of not being able to put it down.

  2. ohwowgosh permalink
    February 26, 2013 8:05 pm

    This article is really really reaching. There is a huge difference between eating disorders and dieting, many (in fact the majority) people diet successfully and stop when they reach their goals. Or are able to make healthy lifestyle changes (which by the way, eating disorders are NOT lifestyle choices, they are mental disorders) The difference between dieting, and eating disorders is that one is a mental illness, with the highest mortality rate, and one is a change in habits, that generally benefits your health in the end. I won’t say that with some people obsessive dieting doesn’t lead you down the path of developing an eating disorder. But to say that they are one in the same is completely ludicrous. This article is incredibly ignorant, and exactly what is wrong with the way that the majority of society views eating disorders.

    • February 26, 2013 10:31 pm

      I would disagree with your assessment of the health affect of dieting, depending on how you define “dieting.” When I hear dieting, the definition I’m using is caloric restriction (or carb restriction or fat restriction… whatever philosophy you choose) and/or exercise for the purpose of losing weight. Let’s call this capital D Dieting. Dieting is harmful primarily because most people think the human body is pretty malleable, and at 3,500 calories a pound, you can lose just about any amount of weight if you stick with it long enough. But the evidence is absolutely clear that mot of the people who stick with a Diet for one year or more will lose about 5-10% of their starting weight, which researchers now describe as “clinically meaningful weight loss.” According to a few studies I’ve seen, the average weight loss goal is 25%. So, people start these strict diets, level off at about 5-10% after a year, when they’re expecting to lose 25% or more, so they give up their healthy habits and put renewed stress on their cardiovascular system. Severe weight cyclers have increased cardiovascular and all-cause mortality, as well as higher weights on average. So, no, I don’t think Dieting is benign, as you seem to think. Now, eating healthy and exercising for health’s sake is awesome, but it won’t make fatties thin. Just ask any of the active, healthy fatties who read this site. So for people who have lived a lifetime of weight cycling, the fact that society encourages them to engage in the exact same behaviors as anorexic people, only to be told it’s for our health, it’s really disgusting to them. So I knew where Kitsune was coming from when she wrote this. But I hesitated to change this part, first because it’s a cross-post, so it would be disingenuous to remove what is the heart of her contention. But also, because I believe that our bloggers are responsible for their writing, and have to get their message out their way. And sometimes they’ll get called out on it, just as I have many, many, many times, and that can be an opportunity for growth and understanding.

      So with that being said, I agree with ohwowgosh that Dieting and anorexia are not identical. As I mentioned on reddit, it’s the difference between someone who gambles for fun and someone with a compulsive gambling addiction. Both behaviors are similar, but the addict, the person with the mental illness, was hard-wired from birth to be vulnerable to certain behaviors. For gambling addicts, it’s gambling, while for anorexics, it’s Dieting. But what goes on in the mind of an anorexic is completely different than that of the average Dieter. Yes, a Dieter’s entire life can be consumed by the Diet, but only an anorexic is going to pursue her goals to acutely tragic ends without help.

      I interviewed Harriet Brown a while back about her book on her daughter’s struggle with anorexia, and it has parallel roots with Dieting, but is an entirely different, utterly heart-wrenching problem. Harriet also goes into some of the fascinating theories on the evolutionary advantages of anorexia, which may explain the genetic connection.

      In any case, I hope Kitsune and ohwowgosh can see each others’ perspectives because I don’t think anyone has meant any harm in this situation. But we can all improve our own perspective by taking in the perspectives of others.


      • ohwowgosh permalink
        February 27, 2013 12:41 am

        Her perspective is bogus, and dangerous. Extreme dieting, and weight loss are symptoms of anorexia, but there is so much more to it than just weight loss, they more of a side effect. As someone who has had an eating disorder for the last seven years, and knows dozens of people in the same boat. I can tell you that it is entirely different from yo yo dieting. It is involuntary, debilitating, and all consuming. Yo yo dieting is something you choose to do, or not. An eating disorder develops and takes over everything that you are, I honestly could not tell you who I am without my eating disorder, which is the case for most everyone who has one.

        I agree that yo yo dieting is a bad idea, and that uniformed dieting can be dangerous. If someone wants to lose weight, a lifestyle change is really what is in order. However the effects of yo yo dieting do not compare to a long term, severely restricted diet (restricted, as in 800 or less calories a day, which is in my experience what ED sufferers seem to strive for) along with bingeing, purging, and extreme exercise. I also think that our perspectives, and opinions on dieting are never going to be the same, given our situations (a fat acceptance community vs an anorexic, and I don’t mean that in an insulting way, we are just two very different mindsets) But the fact remains that Kitsune saying “There is not a thin line between dieting and eating disorders. They are, in my opinion, one and the same.” is a dangerous, and ignorant statement. It is not true in the slightest. She is trivializing the most fatal of mental disorders, and the struggles that people face every day. I can see where you are coming from, but not her. Her post is insulting, and uniformed.

        • February 27, 2013 8:52 am

          Well, that I don’t agree with. She may not be as experienced with EDs as you, but her perspective is hers. Right or wrong, perspectives are based on what we’ve lived and learned. If you want to help her understand the problems you see with her perspective, then you catch more flies with honey, as they say. I find your perspective on dieting misinformed as well, particularly the idea that “if someone wants to lose weight, a lifestyle change is really what is in order,” especially if you think that weight loss is going to be more than 5-10%, and given that it wouldn’t make a real visible difference in most fat people, I’m assuming you mean more than that. Now, I could point my finger and say that’s an ignorant statement and accuse you of trivializing the something that many fat people have struggled with their entire lives, but that is not productive. I explain my side and hope you begin to understand. But being an asshole about it produces no change, except maybe to harden the perspectives of those you’re hoping to change. Kitsune meant no harm by her post, and I see no reason to be as intentionally rude as you are being. Particularly when she hasn’t even had a chance to explain herself.


        • February 27, 2013 8:16 pm

          I can’t believe I’m jumping in this fray when I know it’s a terribly bad idea. I think there may just be some common ground that’s being missed. Often dieters are pushed well below 800 calorie limits in pursuit of weight loss but never really identified as having an eating disorder because we’re still fat.

          I was on a 540 calorie/per day diet and I exercised several hours a day for over a year, lost just over 20 lbs and I was well over 100 lbs overweight. That’s hardcore, not healthy, mentally or physically, but definitely hardcore.

          • February 27, 2013 9:46 pm

            Biggest Loser contestants are running close to the very low calorie diet line, and 800 calorie diets like Optifast produce the most dramatic effects. But they also push you back up to a 1,200 calorie or more diet after you reach your goal weight. Problem is, people can’t maintain their weight loss without maintaining that same 800 calorie diet. So, some continue and others cut back and regain. Whatever the case, 800 calories or less would ultimately be deadly for whoever was able to carry it out. Typically, anorexics are the only ones capable of following through to death because it’s a mental illness.


        • March 2, 2013 9:49 am

          My response, in case you miss it. Have fun, and good luck with life.

        • anonymous permalink
          August 9, 2013 10:25 pm

          my interpretation is that kitsune’s point was that fat people can have eating disorders too, including anorexia. the only difference, “ohmywowgoshi’manidiot” or whatever your name is, is that fat people torture themselves and are told, “go on, keep doing it, fatty”, while thin people are told, “ooh, poor baby, you look like Barbie, but what pain you must be in, let’s put you in a hospital, you’re the girl version of a boy who is a tortured angst-ridden musician ” nice to miss the point, ohwowstupidtwit, and go crawl back into your thin-privileged cishetgirl world.

    • The Real Cie permalink
      February 27, 2013 3:45 pm

      I don’t think that dieting is healthy behavior. I yo-yo dieted from the time I was 12 until the time I was 45. It’s absolute madness.
      Eating disorders are mental illnesses brought on by society. They wouldn’t exist without the pressure to be thin at all costs.

      • February 27, 2013 9:42 pm

        That isn’t strictly true. As ohwowgosh said, there’s evidence that it existed prior to mass media and periods when the overweight category was the sexual ideal (Lillian Russell, etc.). Anorexia, and other eating disorders, definitely have a genetic root. Whether the culture triggers more of those latent genetic switches is another question, but I don’t think EDs are socially constructed diseases, though they may be socially exacerbated.


    • March 4, 2013 11:03 pm

      “[M]any (in fact the majority) people diet successfully and stop when they reach their goals.”

      Source, please?

  3. February 26, 2013 8:41 pm

    At 350 lbs. I was hospitalized with severe malnutrition, severe anemia (in fact, needed 6 units transfused) and my hair had fallen out. Diagnosis: Restrictive anorexia. They came into my room to look at me like a carnival exhibit. Who could imagine a fat anorexic? And better yet, one who didn’t binge or purge? Unheard of, and even now, some medical professionals still regard me as a unicorn. I know differently though. There’s a whole herd of us because when I tell my story, they come and find me thinking they were the only one too.
    I could go on about how I got to that point but I’d rather just say that I’m in therapy with an amazing intuitive therapist and am making great nutritious decisions for my body. I backslide when really stressed but know my triggers.
    I will likely always be fat. And that’s okay. Because my eating disorder had nothing to do with the want to be thin. It had to do with, and still does, with being in control. It’s an illusion and a dangerous one at that, though, when you’re playing with your life.
    I have permanent complications and decided while I still had a choice, that I wanted to live and that’s the point at which I started to live my life for the first time ever.

  4. Fab@54 permalink
    February 27, 2013 1:26 pm

    I can totally see where Kitsune is coming from on this one….
    The same disordered eating in thin people will elicit concern, sympathy and medical interventions, but in fat people it’s encouraged and enforced as the only way to get ‘healthy’….
    After all, anorexia and bulimia are eating disorders; but compulsive/consistent/repetitive restrictive dieting *is* also disordered eating. So I agree, the line is indeed very thin, and very blurred.

  5. Elizabeth permalink
    February 27, 2013 1:58 pm

    I’m not sure dieting is “something one chooses to do.” I was a “normal” weight child and then my mother became obsessed with my weight and my sister’s weight. She put me on a diet — I have some wonderful health problems due to malnutrition as my body was growing, including no adult cartilage under my kneecaps — and took me to the doctor, whom I hated, every week to be weighed. She let me sister take me to a diet doctor who put us on diet pills, i.e., amphetamines. SHE FORGOT ALL OF THIS! Years later, she said I wasn’t fat until I met my husband and I had to remind her of what she had done. I DID NOT CHOOSE TO DIET. I became a sneak eater, eating sweets instead of the protein and fat my body needed; I was 12 years old, and it was much easier to sneak a candy bar than a steak.

    And then we have the eating disordered culture around us. I really don’t think most women consciously CHOOSE TO DIET. They diet due to constant pressure from the media, their coworkers, their families, whomever. If it was made clear to them tomorrow that they looked beautiful just as they were, that dieting tends to make most people heavier than they would have been without dieting, that dieting is unhealthy, that the best thing you can do for yourself is love yourself, eat the best food you can afford with relish and pleasure, and move your body, how many people would choose to diet?

    • The Real Cie permalink
      February 27, 2013 3:49 pm

      “Dieting makes most people heavier than they would have been without dieting.”
      Amen. I’m a testament to that, and I know I’m far from the only one. I dieted myself over 300 pounds. Once I stopped dieting, my weight stabilized.

      • RAND0M-HER0 permalink
        February 28, 2013 6:40 am

        Does no one on here realize that diet means “The kind of food a person, animal or community eats”?

        I can almost guarantee that your “diet” was probably some fad diet, or you’re going to sit there and lie to me and say “I ate healthy but still put on weight”. If you really cut your calories and ate the correct vegetables, proteins and nutrients, there is no conceivable way for you to gain weight.

        This is what I have been doing for several weeks. I’m not obsessing about numbers, literally just eating enough protein, lots of veg, no grains (for now) and exercise.

        My diet has shifted from a high calorie, high carb diet to a 1300 daily intake, lower carb and very filling diet and I’m seeing results.

        Stop making excuses and go improve yourself

        • February 28, 2013 9:23 am

          I’m sorry, I have a hard time taking dietary advice seriously when it includes the fact that “I have been doing for several weeks.” Come back and see us in two years and then we’ll talk.


        • February 28, 2013 1:09 pm

          Yay, my first troll! I feel honored.

          • Kala permalink
            March 2, 2013 11:47 am

            I wouldn’t say he’s a troll so much as he’s an idiot. Someone who egregiously disagrees with you isn’t a troll, a troll is someone who comes out of their way for the purpose of being inflammatory and offending others. This guy thinks he’s helping you out, this guy is a know-it-all moron.

        • Elizabeth permalink
          February 28, 2013 6:16 pm

          This is very very funny. As athcka says, several weeks is hilarious. I was hypothyroid for years with glaring symptoms and doctors completely ignored them. I used to be able to maintain weight on 1000 calories a day; I live in the country and am very active. The last time I had surgery (all surgeries the result of medical negligence) my body temp was 95 degrees, and no one even blinked.

          It took me quite a while to get over my mother’s idiocy, to learn once again to eat normally (until full) and out in the open. I eat fresh, local, and organic, including food we raise ourselves. I do not concern myself with losing weight, just being well.

          I suggest you improve yourself by understanding that your experience is not everyone else’s experience.

  6. eleng permalink
    February 28, 2013 10:05 am

    “There is not a thin line between dieting and eating disorders. They are, in my opinion, one and the same.. I”

    I have not an eating disorder and I have been dieting since I was 18 years old, now I am 40.
    I was a fat kid and I loose the fat at 18 years old, since then I have been in a diet, I restrict my caloric intake, and I exercise. I am not underweight or overweight, I am not obsesed with food, and I am happy wtith my diet, after years of eating less I am used to it.
    My sister is an occasional dieter, she diets everytime she gains a pair of kgs, and after that she tries to maintain her weight with exercise. And none of us have an eating disorder.

    I understand that there are a lot of fat people who can’t lose weight, and that there is a direct relation between dieting and eating disorders but it is possible to diet and not being an anorexic or a bulimic

    • Fab@54 permalink
      February 28, 2013 2:06 pm


      and I repeat, IMO:

      ….compulsive/consistent/repetitive restrictive dieting *is* also disordered eating.

      Keywords: compulsive, consistent, repetitive, and restrictive.
      As soon as most or all of these words can be used to describe one’s “dieting” practices, it isn’t merely a ‘healthy diet as in ‘eating habits’… it’s disordered eating – just the same as bulimia and anorexia are disordered eating. Much like the same disease can manifest somewhat different symptoms from person to person; doesn’t change the fact it’s the same basic disease…

  7. Mulberry permalink
    February 28, 2013 4:08 pm

    Fascinating discussion here! For a particular behavior, when does it become a habit and when is it an addiction? For it seems that eating disorders could be described as addictions – if I have misunderstood the definitions, please let me know. And is there some sort of dividing line, or does one behavior shade into another along a continuum?
    Random-hero, in fact Atchka was careful to define dieting in the weight-loss sense. When you accuse people of lying, you are merely showing that you are conceited enough to believe everyone’s body will respond to food intake and exercise just the way yours does. At the least, you are ill-informed, and shouldn’t take it out on other people with whose habits you are unfamiliar.
    Real Cie, I believe that the prevalence of eating disorders is more specifically a desire to be seen as “in control” (contrasting with “out of control” fatness). Eating disorders also occurred when fasting was seen as a holy thing to do, demonstrating the matter of control as a factor, albeit for a different purpose.

  8. March 2, 2013 9:48 am

    Sorry guys for posting my response so late! Since it is huge, I’ve written a blog post instead. I hope you enjoy it!

  9. Malija permalink
    July 13, 2013 2:14 pm

    Well I’m currently 17 and while reading this, I remember times in the past, a couple years ago, that I did many things because I thought it would help me lose weight. There was a period of time in which I only ate one meal a day (I lost weight but I gained it back later), a couple of times I threw up after eating something, some of the times were accidental but I remember feeling better, that I ate and now I don’t have the calories. I didn’t realize at the time that I may have been going down a very slippery slope. I’ve been counting calories since I was about 13 I think. And of course everyone and their mother had something to say about me and what I ate and what they thought I should be doing and eating. (I live in a third world country and unless you grow it yourself, healthier foods are very expensive and unhealthy foods are cheap. Example: a Subway salad costs anywhere from $40 to $50 while a meal at KFC costs like $25. A single apple is $4 but a cake snack is $2.50)
    It’s not an excuse per se but it was very difficult for me when people ridiculed me but never paid any attention to my situation, they had no more money than I did, ate the same foods I did but were thinner and thus, knew everything about being ‘healthy’ as they call it. There were many days I didn’t eat or was forced to buy cheap snacks (I was also on the school feeding program) because there was no food available and no money but there were also many days when I didn’t eat because I thought people would treat me better. I was so confused because I’m like “Why doesn’t anyone say anything when she eats KFC everyday? People joke about her eating a lot but it’s with this kind of, its-okay-because-she’s-still-hot-and-thin attitude meanwhile I’m over here telling people why soda is bad for you because of caffiene and sugar!”.

  10. anonymous permalink
    August 9, 2013 10:09 pm

    I wish I knew what to do, I have been called fat and disgusting all my life. I have hated being female and wished to be male my whole life. For a while I told everyone who told me to be quiet and stop eating and be a nice girl to shut up because I just want to be a boy and their ‘girl shit’ had nothing to do with me. I thought that eating disorders were just more ‘girl shit’ I could reject…then I looked around at the boys I wanted to be, the boys I found attractive (yes, i’m that weird combination of a trans boy who is gay too) and most were thin…those that weren’t had hot big stomachs but slender hips and ass (my boyfriend is a broad shouldered big stomached hipless assless wonder, hot as hell)…and now I am like some insane trans boy version of a thirteen year old cis girl who wants to look like a model. i’m starving myself and going to the stupid-ass gym which I HATE so I can lose the girl fat and also try futilely to build up my shoulders and arms so I can look more boyish (I fail at both). I wish there was an ED reference for trans guys specifically…I don’t relate to the desire to appeal to the feminine ideal and I don’t relate to ED sites for cis guys because at least they are cis and have the bottom parts they feel comfortable with. oh, and i’m not allowed to go on testosterone because my heart is too fucked up…this only contributes to my issue, I feel like if I was on T, my relationship to food and exercise would be better because my body would be more male. sorry to vent, but thanks for your article. yes…I don’t look like I have an ED either (“your arrrmmms are sooo muscular for a girrrllll” fuck you, i’m not a goddamn girl, “but your hips are small, you just need to get your calves more dainty”, “why are you eating red meat instead of tofu?” because soy raises estrogen, and i don’t want ‘dainty’ calves, and my hips aren’t boyish enough for a BOY so shut UP). I am so sick of this.

  11. A.Walker permalink
    April 8, 2014 4:46 pm

    Ohwowgosh – I can assure you that yo-yo dieting is not something you choose to do or not do. If you think about it, someone whose weight fluctuates wildly, by definition does not have a healthy relationship with food. Most people would consider me to be a ‘just’ yo-yo dieter, but what they don’t know is the reason my weight has fluctuated so much over the years is because I was in a constant cycle of starving/exercising or bingeing/purging when I would lose a lot of weight very quickly – up to a stone a week – interspersed with periods where I would allow myself to eat again and gain weight slowly. That’s not to say that in those weight gaining times I had a normal relationship with food. I am currently overweight but my eating habits are strongly routed in ED behaviours I only eat once a day and some days not at all, proper food that is – the reason I’m fat now is because I eat sweets. I don’t like eating, I feel like a pig when I do and I don’t do it until I’m so hungry that I can eat quickly and it’s done. I don’t cook because I don’t like feeding myself. I can eat sweets but not real food. It makes no sense, but that’s how it is and a recovering anorexic friend of mine is exactly the same – she has a cupboard full of chocolate but no real food. Would I choose to be a healthy weight and eat normally like other people do? Yes I would, I don’t binge and purge anymore but I can’t see a day when I don’t get a kick from eating nothing, even if it doesn’t last. You may argue that because I never ‘followed through’ that I’m not in the same category as you and somehow less mentally ill – well that’s only true if you accept that we should all have a label – I have other problems too and have been in therapy for 10 years. I have never had specific treatment for EDs because I’ve never been thin enough to be diagnosed as having them, but I clearly do. Attitudes like yours reinforce the part of me that feels guilty and inadequate for never having the strength to stick with it and starve myself to death. I’m sure that’s not how you want yo-yo EDs to feel is it?

  12. Kate permalink
    June 25, 2014 8:33 pm

    No, dieting and eating disorders aren’t the same at all.
    I have dieted before and I have been anorexic and bulimic before. The difference was that with the ED’s, I COULD NOT eat. I couldn’t stand the feeling of being full. I couldn’t mentally handle taking more calories than my daily allotment. Not even one calorie more. My focus was not on being healthy or getting to a reasonable goal weight- I couldn’t stop. No number would ever have been low enough. It had to be lower each day.
    Now, you CAN be fat and anorexic and you can be fat and bulimic. I started off the last round of ED obese. I was actually more unhealthy at my “ideal body weight” on the way down than at a very anorexic weight on the way back up.

    • vee permalink
      December 10, 2014 9:38 am

      I am obviously very late to the party and it’s possible nobody will read this but I want to get my opinion out there. I’m twenty years old, and since 2012 I have been both too skinny and too big according to my age and height. In my opinion, being truly anorexic goes far beyond wanting to fit into the tiny mold society had created. A previous poster implied that ‘diet’ isn’t a term that should be used in this context due to the literal definition of the word, and I agree. A diet simply refers to current eating habits. For example, bears maintain a diet of fish. Deer have an herbivorous diet. I prefer to use the term restricting in regards to this article. My reasoning behind that is the habits that one develops while trying to lose weight. If one eats their normal diet, they will either gain weight or plateau. To lose weight, restriction is necessary. At this point, I agree with the article in the sense that anorexia and restricting are alike because there are similar behaviors and thought patterns. However, anorexia is much more severe because sufferers shift into a completely different mindset. Eating literally begins to cause paranoia and anxiety. It’s no longer about losing a few pounds to look good in public, it’s about becoming so in control of the body and life in general that the mind begins to justify toxic beliefs (ex. Gaining weight is a failure, being thin is more important than being healthy, etc). Think about how people look at anorexia. People say things like ‘Oh, if you’re hungry, then eat’ or ‘I want to lose a few pounds, but I’d never want to look like that’. People without anorexia literally can’t comprehend why someone would put themselves through that. However, people with the disease can’t even eat a French fry. Anorexia is a symptom of a much deeper problem, usually low self esteem or depression or OCD. The documentary ‘I’m a Child Anorexic’ (available on YouTube) shows a chilling depiction of how anorexia stems from other facets of life. It explains how anorexics are usually very intelligent and diligent, but usually have the demeanor of a perfectionist. This is a strong component in their eating disorder. Their idea of perfection and the pressure they out on themselves to achieve it would not seem rational to someone who is restricting for a set period of time or someone who lives a healthy lifestyle and nourishes themself properly. Anorexia are extremely hard on themselves with little to no reward. After a while, like I mentioned before, actually losing weight and looking good is no longer the main focus. It’s about strength, discipline, and always being in control. These are not problems you see in the house wife with a little baby weight to lose.

  13. Olivia permalink
    March 27, 2015 12:30 pm

    I agree dieting can be extremely damaging to ones health. but dieting behaviours are not the same as an eating disorder, although one can develop an eating disorder through dieting or similarly use disordered behaviour. But someone who diets doesnt lose every single thing in their entire lives by this quest to lose weight. in fact anorexia has often absolutely nothing to do with the actual body. it was never about changing my body. if i had been dieting i wouldnt have ended up in hospital, i would have stopped before it got too far, i would have eaten when my family begged me to eat, i wouldnt have had to drop out of college, i wouldnt have stopped leaving the house, i wouldnt have stopped talking to anybody, i wouldnt have lost all my friends, i wouldnt have been so suicidal, i wouldnt have felt life was so hopeless, i wouldnt have screamed at my mum for using up the vegetables that i weighed out for my dinner, i wouldnt be paranoid that people were putting fat and oil in all my food to ‘fatten’ me up, i wouldnt have been scared of water making me fat.
    If someone does start losing everything in there lives, THEN IT IS NO LONGER DIETING. And if they arent underweight it doesnt matter, because the only ED where you technically need to be underweight is anorexia, whereas ednos, bullimia, orthorexia & binge eating disorder can be people of healthy or over weight size.
    I do agree that some dieting methods are very unhealthy and extreme but therefore people dont usually continue with them for long (its bad because dieters can have damaged caused by this, but much less then someone with an actual eating disorder). The difference is people who are dieting can stop, they do not continue with extreme behaviours for months on end, it is not the purpose of their life. Yes it can become invasive, but thats when people without eating disorders are able to get out of it or stop.

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