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Do Anorexic Women Know They Look Awful From Being Too Thin?

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I have recently watched a few shows on Anorexia via Dr. Phil and one thing perplexes me.  For most women the Anorexia begins because the women want to look better, i.e. be thinner, etc.  The confusing thing for me is, don't they realize how hideous they look when they are so thin?

by on Jun. 15, 2012 at 11:50 AM
Replies (11-20):
GodchickwithMS
by on Jun. 15, 2012 at 12:05 PM
my BFF in college, dropped dead of a heart attack on the treadmil next to me. She was severely anorexic, to the point of growing the "fuzz" all over her body, as her bodys' way of trying to find warmth. she thought she was beautiful, and she believed every other female, including me, was horribly fat. it was about control, not food, but I was a 5'6" 90 lb. college student, and we would compete with food, and how little we could eat. i had to lovingly step away many times, as the friendship became toxic.
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futureshock
by Ruby Member on Jun. 15, 2012 at 12:05 PM

Blind to their own bodies

As strange as it may seem, when people first develop anorexia nervosa they
may not be aware that something is wrong because their bodies send them false signals.

Although at least 15% below normal weight, anorexics feel energetic and reject foods that used to tempt them. Most remarkable, underweight anorexics literally cannot see that they are too thin. This brain-imaging picture shows the pattern of activation of the visual cortex when women look at other’s bodies and when they look at themselves(1).
As these pictures dramatically illustrate, when people with anorexia tell us “I just can’t see that I’m too thin” they are telling the truth—the visual cortex is literally blinded to their own body contours while the brain region responsible for one’s body image is hyperactive, seamlessly filling in the blank with a fattened up version. This odd blindness happens only for an anorexic’s own body and only when he or she is underweight(2).

https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&q=cache:i9GlNdGns_kJ:www.drsarahravin.com/web/pdf/AN-Guisinger-article.pdf+Do+Anorexic+Women+Know+They+Look+Awful+From+Being+Too+Thin?&hl=en&gl=us&pid=bl&srcid=ADGEESj99ShgZpUEQW-lP-B8jFYqNPcNAea4I4EjqV94MC4dtkqdWq06pI7RVJ_egWl2zbcZSue1JyZpCMXSDQ05Xxnp30suMrNdg_esMXZbv1n3nBZk6lZMunQm71z7MGnPsXwWf1fa&sig=AHIEtbTGLlgqHEhEs71-NYJe44iPxAFIjg

Ziva65
by Gold Member on Jun. 15, 2012 at 12:05 PM
Yes. Even just seeing their bones, they still perceive themselves as fat. They need psych intervention.


Quoting Veni.Vidi.Vici.:

I have heard/read that many women who have anorexia suffer from body dysmorphic disorder. I think that's what it's called? Anyway. If people who struggle with anorexia also have that disorder I also [ass]ume that their ideas about 'beauty' is skewed.


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Bethsunshine
by Bronze Member on Jun. 15, 2012 at 12:06 PM

No they don't know. That's why it's a mental disorder. Their body perception is really skewed.

futureshock
by Ruby Member on Jun. 15, 2012 at 12:06 PM


Quoting momtoscott:

 For many anorexics the disorder does not begin with a desire to look better.  It's a desire to exercise control over something--appetite, what goes into their body--when so much of life seems out of control.   Also, often, it's kind of an FU to the universe, a disappearing act.  Bulemia is more associated with looks, IMO, which comes from reading about eating disorders and the people I have known with these problems.  I have worked a lot in the fitness industry.  What people will do to themselves in pursuit of perfection is unnerving. 

Thank-you for this information.

rfurlongg
by on Jun. 15, 2012 at 12:08 PM
Most people with eating disorders also have body dismorphic disorder. What you see when you look at them is not what they see when they look at themselves.
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parentalrights1
by on Jun. 15, 2012 at 12:08 PM

Well it might be something like Dysmorphia (sp?)

I've... TRIED to be anorexic before as a teen (Yeah I have no willpower after half a day)

When you keep seeing yourself as bigger than what you are and you keep being overcritical of things that others just don't see then I can see how those women might think they look better. Some of them probably do realize it looks hideous at some point.

As for me. I have always felt I looked like a fatass. I would look in the mirror and hate what I saw and be depressed when shopping clothes. Now I can look back at pictures as a teen and, at the risk of sounding vain, I was hot. I couldn't even enjoy being hot because I had that damn dysmorphia problem (That's what I figure it is anyway)

I think it may have started as a young child. I was a skinny little 5 year old. My grandma always had some weird hangup with her children and grandchildren's weight. She would pinch your stomach and say you needed a diet because you're getting too fat. Gee thanks. That's not abusive at all.

I think low self esteem and having the world present unrealistic expectations does that to a person.

futureshock
by Ruby Member on Jun. 15, 2012 at 12:08 PM
1 mom liked this

Wow how horrifying!  Thank-goodness you didn't get sucked into the madness.

Quoting GodchickwithMS:

my BFF in college, dropped dead of a heart attack on the treadmil next to me. She was severely anorexic, to the point of growing the "fuzz" all over her body, as her bodys' way of trying to find warmth. she thought she was beautiful, and she believed every other female, including me, was horribly fat. it was about control, not food, but I was a 5'6" 90 lb. college student, and we would compete with food, and how little we could eat. i had to lovingly step away many times, as the friendship became toxic.


futureshock
by Ruby Member on Jun. 15, 2012 at 12:09 PM


Quoting Bethsunshine:

No they don't know. That's why it's a mental disorder. Their body perception is really skewed.

Can they recognize if someone else is so skinny that you can see their skeletons?

OHgirlinCA
by Platinum Member on Jun. 15, 2012 at 12:10 PM

 No, they don't.  They have a misconstrued image of themself.  If they had to draw a picture of how they see themselves in the mirror, they will probably draw someone much heavier than they are.

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