Anorexia Nervosa

I am hungry 90% of every day. If I eat a slice of bread I must  run an extra 2-3 miles. I measure everything I eat. If I sleep on my side I always get a bruise because of the pressure placed on my bones. My ‘fear foods’ include anything fried, anything with alot of sugar, pizza, mexican, all sweets, large portions of anything. When my family wants to go out to eat I hate it because there is nothing I can eat at a restaurant or I’ll get fat. Food is on my mind all of the time. I’m always cold. Yes, my skin is very dry and my hair is not shiny. Just ask my family, I’m very moody and irritable. I try to act happy but I feel depressed most of the time. I don’t socialize very much because there will probably be food involved and I’d rather stay home so I don’t have to eat.

Anorexia Nervosa is a severe restriction of food/calorie intake characterized by self-starvation and excessive weight loss. 15% under ideal body weight has been considered an anorexic health state. Occasionally the restriction is in the name of good health or being a vegetarian stating “I don’t eat any fat because my dad has heart disease and I know fat is not good for me” or “I don’t eat meat because I’m a vegetarian”. The individuals imminent low weight may be the real health threat vs the potential of developing heart disease.

Warning signs of anorexia nervosa include:

  • dramatic weight loss
  • preoccupation with weight, food, calories, fat gms, dieting, body image
  • refusal to eat certain foods progressing to restrictions of whole categories of foods ( NO carbohydrates or NO fats)
  • frequent comments about feeling fat or overweight despite recent weight loss
  • denial of hunger
  • anxiety about specific foods, gaining weight or being fat
  • food rituals – playing with food, cutting food into tiny pieces, eating food in a certain order,
  • frequent excuses to avoid meals and food situations
  • excessive exercise
  • frequent weighing, possibly several times each day

Consequences of starving your body:

  • slowed heart rate, low blood pressure which can eventually lead to heart failure
  • muscle loss which icludes heart muscle
  • fainting, fatigue, overall weakness
  • gastrointestinal disturbances
  • dry skin, hair thinning
  • growth of downy hair called ‘lanugo’ on the face and all over the body
  • paresthesis (burning or tingling) on limbs or any body parts
  • body decreases the rate it burns calories
  • food preoccupation
  • collection of recipes, cookbooks and menus
  • increased consumption of coffee, tea, diet drinks and spices
  • decreased ability to concentrate
  • apathy

Fighting anorexia nervosa is an exhaustive struggle 24/7. This battle with food and body image is always a part of your being, even when you momentarily wake during the night and first thing on your mind with the sun rays of a morning. The extreme disturbance in how you view your body, your weight and body shape robs you of peace and replaces it with anxiety.  This is not the way you are to spend your time on this earth. Reach outside yourself to find someone to support your journey inward to find that place of peace and freedom with self, food and body. CB