Published: 01/22/2015 - Updated: 07/31/2021
Author: MSc. Miriam Reyes
“I feel terrible, I’m nauseated just because I ate a handful of peas and another handful of corn. I ate them because I was hungry, but everything I do has consequences because my body no longer accepts it. I feel sick, and like I’m going to throw up…”
Anorexic or bulimic individuals began to increase in number due to several interesting causes that could be analyzed at length in order to get to the root of this dangerous condition. People can suffer from anorexia and bulimia not only out of an intense fear of gaining weight or losing body aesthetics, or due to a fear of criticism or a lack of adapting or flexibility to changes in routines, but this behavior could also be due to other, deeper and ingrained causes, like early education and personal character. Anorexia: its deepest root, fear of being, that people will see me as I am, of not being perfect, of making mistakes or not being what others want me to be. Anorexia or bulimia are generally cultivated at an early age, and are due primarily to emotional or behavioral characteristics that are learnt from an early age. This could be related to severe rejection by authority figures, be it parents or teachers, or heavy social stereotypes regarding body images, and unmerited rejection from those that surround us, in regards to our body.
What was learned
If you have learned to reject yourself and to live according to acceptance or outside approval, to severely criticize yourself or to place too much importance of body aesthetics, then you would have learned to harshly reject and disapprove of yourself. You have an incorrect assessment regarding your figure or body weight because of a fear of rejection, the search for perfection be it aesthetic or moral, which could cause your eyes to distort the image you see in the mirror. You could deny seeing yourself as you really are.
The tendency to be a perfectionist with yourself is not only something learned from your surroundings, but it is something that you have admitted as a truth because of your unique and personal character that you have had since birth. This means that you have had to learn form a harsh and perfectionist environment, full of judgments, and now you have to learn to love yourself, respect yourself, and remove any abrasive judgments from your head.
Your unique tendency to be a perfectionist, combined with a demanding and severe environment, could provoke either bulimia (vomiting what you have eaten) or anorexia (avoiding eating).
“…it could be that bulimic individuals do it for aesthetic reasons, and they could suffer less from it, but anorexics suffer more because it is stronger…strict diets and foods that you are taught to believe to be bad and harmful, exaggerating what you should and shouldn’t eat, suddenly the body opts out because everything could be “bad” and you are committing a sing by eating this or that…”
Symptoms of anorexia or bulimia
Symptoms of suffering from anorexia or bulimia are quite evident:
- No hunger or one stops eating (anorexia)
- If they do eat, they induce vomiting later
- Anorexic or bulimic individuals usually take laxatives
- Severe eating disorders
- Both end up having a malnourished and severely thin body, with lean and flaccid muscles.
These eating disorders create an entire array of conditions that could be cardiovascular, arrhythmia, reduction in the size of the heart, polycystic ovaries, osteoporosis, severe acne, increase in body hair, baldness, etc.
Unlearn self-rejection: learn to nourish yourself
A lot can be done to help an anorexic or bulimic individual. The first thing would be to avoid judgment or rejection, and disapproval. This must happen both in the people that surround the affected individual, as well as in the individual suffering from it. Criticism and self-rejection, as well as feeling not good enough, intelligent, capable, etc., is one of the primary causes that provoke this condition. The individual must learn to talk to his/herself with honesty, but without making judgments regarding value. They must tend to their personal necessities before anything else, which is to say, they must make their likes and preferences a priority, rather than living according to others, or what they have been taught. For this, they need to explore their feelings, and learn to de-condition themselves from the limiting social or belief patterns that they grew up with.
To reeducate someone regarding their diet is to reeducate them regarding their values. It is very important that the individual suffering from these conditions, work on his/her judgments. One way of doing so is to start by reconciling with food, little by little. This means they need to read about the nutritive properties of food, and start to break their moral judgments regarding the things that “dirty up” the body. Really, all food is valuable if made consciously. Nature has given us everything so we can try it. Anything can be eaten responsibly, it is the way in which we eat that affects the food more than the food itself. If you eat, thanking and loving your body, then the food will function as as fuel for keeping the body alive. You therefore need to find things in life that motivate you, the reestablish new values and throw away the old, dysfunctional paradigms. This will help you feel freer so as to discover and create your life.
Another way is to emotionally free yourself. Individuals with this condition are generally severe and hold on to internal pain or severe anger that they don’t dare recognize or let out. It is important to learn to let go of what you feel, to recognize anger and not paint painful experiences with “love”. The body then takes on a position of constant rejection towards anything that comes at it from outside.
So you need to observe the experiences that have not nourished you, and understand the positive side. At the root of it, you might need to relearn to love yourself as you are, to feel your body in a loving place in order to experience life, to not reject what you feel, nor have heated ideas about life. Mother nature allows all types of expressions, no food in itself is “bad”. The way in which you eat something is what creates the dietary effect, and this is true in daily life as well. Experiences aren’t “bad”, there is learning and wisdom in everything. This may be an arduous task, but you can let yourself be accompanied by someone to help you understand your feelings.
Revised by: Dra. Loredana Lunadei on 07/31/2021
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