The Strange Behavior Of Anorexia – Part 1

Many years ago now I went to a meeting of a local self-help group for people with eating disorders.

They didn’t usually allow outsiders to come along but because I am a medical doctor they were willing to make an exception. It seems that medical doctors don’t often ask to go along to self-help groups. At least that’s what various groups have told me when I have gone along.

That evening one of the topics for discussion was a recent tour that some of the volunteers, staff and members had done to the outlying communities around the state.

They were discussing how ignorant people were of anorexia and how badly education was needed.

One of the staff related a story from one of presenting a meeting to a group in a small town.

As they started up the meeting they asked for any questions or comments, and apparently a fat woman spoke up in a loud voice and said “Oh yeah, I would like a week of anorexia.”

The presenter was totally insulted, and outraged by this comment.

I had to agree with her. However I also had to agree with the woman who spoke up in the meeting.

I’m sure many people have wanted to lose weight by a week of anorexia, and I’m sure that many people with anorexia would be delighted to have a switch to turn it off after a week. Just try it for a while, if you don’t like it, turn it off and move on.

In fact the real problem with anorexia is that there is no such magic on/off switch, or at least that’s how it seems.

Anorexia, ie not eating enough to maintain a “healthy” weight, is a seemingly strange behavior for a human being. But nevertheless people do it.

Whenever you come across a strange behavior you can ask the same question as you would with your emotions as I described in a previous post, “Under what circumstances would this behavior actually be entirely appropriate?”

Have a think about it, even leave a comment with your opinion, and in Part 2 I’ll tell you what I came up with when I first asked this question myself.

Find Part 2 here. 

-Dr Martin Russell

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6 thoughts on “The Strange Behavior Of Anorexia – Part 1”

  1. I’ll take a stab at it:
    1. Getting rid of a parasite.
    2. A religious devotion also called fasting.

    I have mostly suffered with creeping overweight most of my life, but I had a small experience that caused me to empathize with anorexics. I miscarried a baby that was a painful loss to me. When I tried to understand the possible causes, I concluded that my body had killed the baby. I hated my body for killing the baby and I ate very little and over-exercised to punish it. Fortunately, I only acted this way for a week, but I feel it gave me a little insight. So many women (in particular) hate their bodies on so many levels for so many things.

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