The REAL Truth About How Appetite Is Affected By Anorexia Nervosa

1 Feb

The literal translation of this eating disorder is “loss of appetite” and believe it or not, to some extent this is true.

Many people would have you believe that those with Anorexia Nervosa walk around with rumbling hunger pangs that are so strong they can barely concentrate on anything else. This is entirely false. Anyone who has personal or indeed medical knowledge of the condition will know for a fact that the amount of food needed by the body reduces substantially during prolonged abstinence. Many sufferers of Anorexia use restrictions and fasting as a means of mentally exerting their control on the environment around them.

The way this occurs is that the person will eat less and less calories over a period of time, gradually working their way down until they eat a mere 50 calories a day. Usually with items that are known to be “negative calorie foods” which means that the body burns more calories to process and digest the food than what is actually contained in what is being consumed. Therefore, by the time Anorexia is actually noticed in a person, their body will already be used to relying on its own reserves to function within normal capacity. Once the restriction regime runs into a natural fast, the “hunger” is simply an association with the missing of bulk moving through the body towards the stomach. The rest of the body continues to work as usual. Hunger lasts approximately 48-72 hours during which time a headache may occur due to toxins naturally leaving the body as it cleanses itself. After this time appetite reduces significantly. So much so that even thirst gradually diminishes with it.

This is the feeling that a person with Anorexia will relish. The thought that their body is able to function without the need for copious amounts of foods and drinks that are a part of everyday life. The feeling that they have made their body stronger and more resilient. It is a feeling of empowerment and superiority that the individual is often supressed from in other areas of their life. This addictive feeling that they are in control of themselves, is a secret feeling that only someone with Anorexia could explain. The very nature of the disorder itself is of course, secretive.

Once a fast has gone on for 1-2 weeks it becomes harder to break, and this is down to 2 reasons. The first being that there is literally no appetite. A slice of cucumber for example is enough to make an individual with Anorexia feel bloated and uncomfortable for the rest of the day. The second reason is that the moment food is placed into the mouth the feeling of absolute self-control disappears.

These two reasons together form the undeniable need for oneself to exercise. Often to the point of exhaustion in order to over-compensate for the loss of control and to “correct” the situation. It is this gradually occurring obsession with exercise that ultimately leads a person with Anorexia into a downward spiral, and in some cases, their demise.

There is more information in my related article here.

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