Friday, 24 October 2014

Lifestyle Anorexia

There are quite a number of things I didn't expect to be controversial. Number one, that dieting is proto-anorexia, that is early stage anorexia nervosa (AN).

Allow me to settle that before I continue;
Anorexia is a mental illness.

Anorexia is an illness.

Anorexia is very serious.

Anorexia is very important. 
Okay.........erm, what's the difference between restricting calories to [for] the point of weight loss if you are anorexic or not?

Let's try it this way. A person with a mental health diagnosis jumps up and down, Maasai style. A person who we'll describe as legally sane does the same what's the difference in the mechanics of the act of jumping between the two?


Though context may differ, I'm actually not referring to that. I'm talking about specific action aimed at a specific purpose.

I thought this was obvious, not least to [thin] anorexics themselves, who I'd credited with having the kind of awareness their social status allowed. My policy on listening to others define their state of mind or being is a bit like the rule of asking artists about their work. Suffice to say, some room for a bit of careful and respectful skepticism may be required. We all seek to present ourselves in the light we would wish to be seen in, even unconsciously, which can clash with a more objective interpretation.

I don't necessarily start with that as policy. That starts when what you're saying doesn't make sense.

There's a groove in the thinking of many thin anorexics and their supporters borne of insisting dieting is separate from anorexia. To the extent many who've experienced the (latter) condition can't make sense of it. We all sense this distinction is dubious, but ceded to PWA insistence due to the influence of their social class.

Yes, there are other forms of anorexia, say, those who don't get paid enough. That tends to filter out susceptibility. Those who will cut back on food from those who cannot and have to find ways round that/ cut other necessities. But, that's not the kind we are talking about.

To be scrupulously fair, one could say, dieting as a prescription for 'obesity' did not consciously start off as the aping of anorexia. At least, not permanently. Losing a certain amount of weight and then leaving it behind was perhaps tolerable. What went wrong was the true nature of human metabolic function.

Turns out its built not simply to resist [calorie restriction induced] weight loss, but to recover any loss. Rather like the body does with other tissue loss; blood, bone, skin.

This was a surprise to everyone, myself included. We imagined adipose tissue would behave as we saw it-superfluous. Whether that's so or not, doesn't matter, the point is biologically speaking, the cudgel of starvation just becomes another assault on tissue that the body functions around replacing.

I was intrigued by the (supposed) rationale for separating calorie restriction dieting, from calorie restriction that becomes anorexia. The difference in the latter is the system of defenses that defeat calorie restriction in the main either doesn't function fully, or is somehow overwhelmed by a countering force.

That difference seems mainly inherent in a few, though it can vary in source [for some it seems to be related more to their mindset enabling them to enforce anorexia, rather than having AN proper] and strength. For some its very close to the surface, others less so.

Previous explanation centered on how weight loss dieting trivialized anorexia. In other words the connection wasn't denied then-it was too well known. Now though that has become truth, rather than convenient fiction. What's shocking those who are susceptible to anorexia need to be aware of this connection. Not being so leaves them to blunder into their potential unknowingly. That has always struck me as shockingly cruel. I have to wonder how many who've perished could have been saved by being fully aware of this beforehand.

This disconnection trivialised dieting, making it harder for people to grasp why dieting created such a mess. They ended up blaming themselves for being, greedy, lazy and flaky.

Dieting is so appalling and unsustainable because of the nature of its inherent pathology-something that moves you towards ill health/ death.  Not because there's anything wrong with the dieter-regardless of size. Insisting this continues the pathologizing of 'obesity' by another route.

This is often countered with but, but 'obesity' c'est mal, but even if that was so, it wouldn't alter the pathology and unsustainable nature of calorie restriction dieting.  Indeed, that  form of countering actually acknowledges this.

Even when there is an eating disorder, it's common practice to just swap one disorder for another. Wasted anorexics are coerced/"supported" to overfeed, gainer style as recovery. Reversing the fixation on loss with one of gain. Watching the scales, celebrating gain, rather than loss. Food as the primary route to both, dieting down is the cause and dieting up the "cure."

The same disregard for and riding roughshod over internal feeling. In this case it may be well meaning. But it seems many thin anorexics dislike the possibility of swapping one ED for another plus the weight gain that can occur in a metabolism primed by dieting (down) for gain, see above link.

Wishing to preserve their much valued and hard won thin or at least slimness. Separation of the two enables them to hide their anorexic behaviours, although at a slightly different pace in, successful dieting i.e. "healthy dieting/lifestyle anorexia." 

A lot of people will find this hard to entertain, given the hostility of many, including authority to pro-ana, which is congregations made up of amateurs dedicated to anorexia as a lifestyle. Amateurs who agree with authority can invoke their ire by being too direct about it. Anorexia is well supported by the establishment and the class milieus which generate, at least the administration of it.

As we can see in the way we are all kept contained within calories in/out, up/down. 

When I speak in a personal capacity about anorexia, I'm mostly referring to the experience of dietary restriction and weight loss dieting. Many thin fat phobic anorexics don't seem to realise how potent their condition really is.

Seeing fat people as the unspeakable opposite, they can barely conceive of shared experience from the same source. Despite telling everyone how much more seriously they need to take it, they sometimes can't grasp, a little of it can go a surprisingly long way.  

No comments:

Post a Comment