Eating disorders and its perils


The times are unbearably exasperating with the presence of social media things have become as weary as a loud neighbor draining all sense of serenity within. There is a heightened interest in conventions of beauty resulting in objectification of both men and women. The weight of these conventions is bringing misery in lives of many. There is a spike in the rate of eating disorders. This problem is so grave that according to statistics by National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders, a person fighting an eating disorder dies every 52 minutes. People fighting with body dysmorphia are not only in the limelight but are present around us.  

The characteristic that adds up to the imperilment of this illness is that it cannot and is not recognized the individual suffering from it until it’s too late. These people often develop a wall around them due to their illness leading to other mental illnesses such as depression, anxiety, perfectionism and impulsivity which is caused due to imbalance of hormones such as dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin, cortisol and leptin. This also leads to mood swings, lack of motivation or appetite. When the illness is recognized by the friends and families of the individual, they are in a constant denial about it but they subconsciously display very abnormal routines of constantly checking their calorie intake and making lists about eating less than the prescribed average calorie mark for men (2500) and women (2000). The already low levels of calories are then used by people suffering from these individuals in excessive exercise which can classified as activities which affect daily and essential routines of the individuals and are performed irrespective of the excruciating fatigue or pain they may cause. The people even feel distress if they skip these physically tolling rituals due to any illness they may have contracted. The fragility of their beauty in their minds is so prominent that they feel the need to constantly weigh themselves and spend ten minutes to hours in a day finding a flaw in their bodies and then punishing themselves for it. they wear baggy clothes for the task to not pay attention to their “flawed” bodies. Many even go on to voluntarily purge themselves to fit into the congested gaps of society which eventually goes to mold their dispositions until there conscious and self-worth is crushed brutally. Eating disorders not only effect one’s mental health (which itself is already stigmatized and referred as insignificant in comparison to physical health) but also physical health. It can cause osteoporosis, degenerative arthritis, reproductive issues and heart issues among others. 

Most of the times the response of a person not suffering from this illness to anorexic and bulimic people is just to “eat” or telling them that they do not look “fat”. But this is as insensitive as it is ignorant. The issues are most of the times triggered even more after hearing such remarks as people fighting these illnesses have a really sensitive perception of what they should look like.  Such comments throw them down a rabbit hole of self-criticism push them towards the edges of self-destruction.   

 Whilst the body positivity movement is on the rise advocating for beauty being of diverse nature, it being in all its glory only when it is reserved for all races, genders, sexualities and sizes. This is also being criticized for promoting an “unhealthy lifestyle”. Indeed, binge eating disorder is also unhealthy but the advocacy is for beauty not lifestyle. The conventions are not constant in nature too during the medieval age it was considered to be more attractive to be large even twenty years ago it was considered better to be petite and last decade being curvy was in trend and again being petite is becoming trendy. Hence, body types and sizes are treated as fashion they go in and out of trend like clothes. This objectification is being challenged by this movement. The reason for being in a good shape (which is having a BMI between 18.5 to 24.9) should always be for health-related reason but not to fit into the trend of size and be considered beautiful as ruled by the conventions.

Though eating disorders are not only born from the desperation to fit into the narrow conventions of society. Binge eating disorder is due to the desperation of individual’s disposition to find some sort of serotonin by eating food due to their lives being underwhelming to them. Many athletes and people too develop disorders such as bulimia and anorexia to gain control over their lives by gaining insecurities over their bodies and controlling it in an unhealthy manner. 


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