What is Anorexia?
Anorexia is an eating disorder. This means that you do not eat enough for your body to be healthy. You will restrict your food intake so that you can be as thin as possible.
There is a range of weight where your doctor will think you are healthy. This is measured using something called the body mass index (BMI). Your doctor will measure your height and then weigh you. He will then use a scale to work out if your BMI is healthy or not. If it is a long way below what it should be you will be given a diagnosis of anorexia.
It could be that you show signs of anorexia a long time before your weight drops to a point that worries your GP. If you are afraid of eating food with fat in, or sugary foods or foods with carbs in – then you might have the starting of a problem too. If your stress and upset feels better when you refuse to eat food or if you are keeping secrets – then it might be the start of anorexia.
Why is anorexia a problem?
Anorexia is one of the most serious mental health issues there can be. It is life threatening. This sounds dramatic. It is likely you feel people say this to make you eat more. Is it a form of emotional blackmail? The answer is no. Anorexia puts pressure on your bones, your kidneys and even your heart. Heart failure is the most common cause of an early death for long term sufferers with anorexia.
But really, the problem is with how you feel. You should feel good about yourself. By refusing to eat you are sending a big message out to the world that you do not like the way you look and maybe even who you are. If we set aside food for a moment, anorexia is a problem because you do not feel so good.
How can you get help?
If you know you are refusing to eat to lose as much as you can, to be as thin as you can, then you need to ask for help. If you cannot speak directly to your parents or a guardian, you should find a trusted adult such as a family friend or a teacher. At some point, you will need support from your family but maybe you need someone with you to take the step of speaking to them.
You will need to go to the doctors. Your physical health will have suffered a little. You will also need counselling to help you rethink your ideas about food. Things won’t change overnight but every day will get a small bit better.