My name is Ashley Lytwyn and I’m the director of nutrition at breathe life healing centers in West Hollywood California. At Breathe we help people recover from eating disorders and anorexia is an eating disorder that we treat.
Anorexia is a disorder that is characterized by very low body weight. The fear of gaining weight even if it’s just a couple pounds and having a distorted view of your own body or shape.
People suffering from anorexia are compelled to diet and exercise regardless of the negative consequences on the body mind and soul. Restricting food becomes an automatic habit and thought of eating high-calorie food has a lot of fear and anxiety. With the restriction the brain of the gut function is altered a person is in a starved state. This changes the way that we think and behave the ability to pay attention to focus to concentrate on things that you would normally love and that starts to deteriorate.
When the brain isn’t getting enough food it will constantly think about what it needs. And in this case its food!
A few causes of anorexia might be genetic or hormonal. Specifically relating to the signals that convey hunger and fullness. It might be social or environmental with popular diet culture. Emphasizing yo-yo dieting, glorifying weight loss, and idealizing people in smaller bodies.
It can also be asymptomatic expression of unresolved trauma. The treatment and recovery process for anorexia can be challenging due to the sheer nature of this disorder.
The disorder takes away the ability to rationally or reasonably think about what food does for the body. And what it really does? It provide respect and nourishment for our lives. Weight restoration, normalizing eating behaviors, and challenging those negative perceptions about food and body are the first steps for recovery.