Anorexia-Bulimia is Not About Food
Many people just associate anorexia-bulimia with food and/or dieting. But this is not the case. An eating disorder is not just about food and dieting.
Eating problems are just only a symptom of anorexia-bulimia. In the big picture eating disorders are a disorder of feelings and emotions. For sufferers food abuse helps them to respond to their feelings, thus allowing the individual to avoid, postpone, forget, deny, or otherwise anesthetize their feelings.
For the anorexic or bulimic person, keeping a safe emotional distance precludes the risk that others will discover her/his real self and hurt them.
Secondly, an eating disorder is a disorder of control. A sufferer perceives that she/he can’t control anything in their life except for their food intake and their weight. They perceive that controlling their weight and food intake will enable them to keep their uncontrollable life in balance.
Thirdly, an eating disorder is a disorder of thinking. Anorexics-bulimics are thinking in a distorted way about themselves, the world, and their place in it. They believe that gaining even 1 kilo invariably leads to gaining 10 to 20 kilos. Their misconception about how they look is called body image distortion or “broken eye syndrome”.
Fourthly, an eating disorder is a disorder of coping. For sufferers, their eating disorder is a way they cope with everyday stress: with their school, homework and pressure from their friends.
Fifthly, an eating disorder is a disorder of identity. For many sufferers their eating disorder becomes a substitute for their identity. Some of them even describe that being without their disease is as unthinkable for them as being without air to breathe.
Sixthly, an eating disorder is a disorder of values and lifestyle. For many bulimics spending time with themselves and binging is much more important than going out, seeing friends and socializing.
The eating disorders become their lifestyle, their entertainment and total interest in life.
Seventhly, an eating disorder is a disorder of relationship. Some people even say about their eating disorders something like: “My best friend is always there for me.” This is about their eating disorders, they perceive it like their “best friend”, unlike these hurtful and rejecting people in real life.
And finally, an eating disorder is a disorder of behavior. The extreme unbending and compulsive nature of unbalanced eating behaviors is the main feature of the disease.
For most sufferers they simply do not know how to stop, if they eliminated one meal, they want to eliminate two; if they lose some weight they want to lose more and more and it becomes a vicious cycle.
It also gives them a form of control they don’t normally have in the real world. So the wish to stop has to become greater that the wish to stay where they are, but unfortunately by the time they reach this point they have done a lot of damage to themselves.