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Differences between diets and anorexia

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Many people who are trying to lose weight and become thin suffer from anorexia nervosa. Anorexia is an eating disorder that happens because of abnormal eating habits. It can have negative impact on the physical and mental health of the individual who is suffering from it. Let’s find out what are the differences between diets and anorexia.

Relationship with food

If you are on a healthy diet, you can always weigh the options you have about food. You are worried about what will happen to your meal plan if you eat something and how you might regret it later. This is a thought process which may not be problematic. You focus on meeting goals because that will help you to progress towards them and achieve them. However, if you have a healthy relationship with food, which is there in case of diets, you will not spend days worrying about the intake. Your emotional well-being is completely fine.

On the other hand, eating disorders like anorexia will work complete differently. Instead of simple guilt feeling about eating the food, it may result in chest constricting and highly emotional feeling. People who suffer from anorexia will have fear towards food. They do not want the food; rather they have a feeling of disgust and aversion towards food. They simply want to push the food away. They cannot eat the food, feel the guilt and move on like people who are on diet.

Relationship with weight

People who go on a diet they do so because they have a specific goal in mind. They want to lose that excess weight and reach a specific body size, which is well within the logical boundaries for them. The goal may be very specific like losing 5, 10, 20 or more pounds. There trying to achieve a look because they believe that look will suit them.

However, people who have eating disorders like anorexia, and they do not have any specific weight goal in mind. They would like to go to zero or lower than that. They want to be able to count the ribs. They are insatiable and they have unjustifiable needs in case of weight.

Relationship with the scale

For people who are on diet, the scale is an inanimate object. It can only measure the progress. They understand that a scale will help them to record your progress and see where they stand in regards to their goals. It doesn’t have a life and so they do not make it their friend or enemy. For them, it is just a tool to help them understand where they are heading to.

For people suffering from eating disorders like anorexia, they have a stronger relationship with the scale. Either they love the scale of hate it. People who are anorexic will always depend on the scale for validation. Their response to a higher number on the scale can be highly emotional. They simply personify the scale and make it a friend or an enemy.

How you treat this scale can decide whether you are on a diet or you have an eating disorder. And you can very much decide that.

Many of these are very subtle differences and it is possible for someone on diet to cross the line and become someone suffering from an eating disorder. The difference is there in the processing of the situations and whether you have specific goals in mind or not. It is also important for you to evaluate whether the goals you have our rational or not.


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