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How Can I Get My Former Eating Habit Back

Question:

am a girl of sixteen too concerned about my weight. i weigh 49.5 kg with a height of 172cm. i have been told and convinced that this weight is not good and ideal for me. but i just cannot stop this crazy diet am on. i tend to consume fewer than 700 calories a day even after that i feel am eating too much. i want to eat normally but i just cant. what can i do to stop thinking about calories and just eat?. thanks.

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Answer:

You report that you are 16 years old and that your weight is 49.5 Kg and your height is 172 cm. These numbers convert to 108.9 pounds and 5.6 feet. You are correct to be concerned about your weight. If you continue on this diet you will become dangerously thin and be at risk for harming your health even leading to death. You are experiencing an illness known as Anorexia Nervosa. It afflicts young women like your self all over the world. The causes are not clear but there are probably many factors that lead to anorexia nervosa. One of the major ones is the emphasis placed on female thinness by the media through television, Hollywood Movies, popular magazines and the fashion industry that uses anorexic looking female models to sell clothes and other items. There is also evidence that eating disorders run in families and that has certainly been my experience in working with young women with these disorders.

Your comment that you want to eat normally but cannot is one of the main symptoms of anorexia. The fear of gaining weight becomes so strong that it becomes impossible to eat more. I have seen some young people who were poor in math skills until it came time to keep track of calories. Driven by the fears of gaining weight they learned to caloric content of all types of foods and could do quick and accurate calculations of how many calories they would consume at a particular meal.

It is a good thing that you recognize that you have a problem and that you have written to us. Now, it is time for the next step: taking action to get help. You need to speak to your parents and inform them of the problem. Some parents are keenly aware while others are unaware even as their daughters melt away. Your needs would best be met if you attended an eating disorder center that would provide the experts needed to help you recover. Among those experts are a medical doctor who will do weekly weigh-ins, a psychiatrist who might use anti depressant medications, a therapist to help you talk about your weight and body image issues as well as other issues that bother most teenagers and an eating disorder group of fellow teens. Very often a licensed nutritionist with expertise in anorexia is also used. You and your parents will probably be seen on occasion for family therapy in order to help everyone resolve the problem.

The sooner you get help the better the results. It is my hope that you and your family will not delay getting you help so that you can avoid having to deal with this the rest of your life, which happens to some people.

One last thing to point out is that those, like your self, who develop anorexia, are bright, high achieving and very perfectionist in all they do. The idea is to turn those assets to good use instead of losing weight in pursuit of skinniness.

Best of Luck

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