The Race to the Finish Line

The Definition of Hungry in Terms of Anorexia

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Hungry: an intense desire for something. 

Much of the United States population connects the word to food. Families cook dinner, friends get ice cream to hang out, couples cook for their anniversary. In our society, the concept of food is typically seen as a reward or celebration. 

With anorexia, this mindset is shifted. People suffering from the disorder connect the word hungry to the desire to be skinny. Food is not a reward, rather it is a guilt trip. 

Hunger for Food Over the Hunger to Be the “Winner”

According to Mayo Clinic, anorexia creates a distorted body image within someone, along with a compulsive fear of being overweight. As Reported by Eating Disorder Hope, it has the highest mortality rate of any mental illness and affects over 200,000 people per year. Many of which are girls aged 15-24.

A driving factor of this disease is competition. It is a competition between themselves, their bodies, and others suffering from an eating disorder, on who can last the longest. According to Emma Whidborne in her article “When Eating Disorders Became a Competition”, it was always a race to see who could lose weight the fastest, as stigma made it seem like you could not have an eating disorder unless you were extremely underweight. 

Anorexia becomes an obsession in someone’s mind. As reported by Cordelia Sigurdsson on Varsity, the illness makes one think about food for hours and hours. When you do not eat you feel like you are winning, and when you feel like you are winning you do not stop. Sigurdsson discusses that competitiveness continues to fuel this thinking, and the only way to recovery is to change your thought process and say winning is beating anorexia and taking your mind back. 

This can be exceptionally difficult, especially for younger people. According to Newport Academy around one and two of every 100 teens deal with anorexia, which is caused by peer pressure, social issues, or emotional problems. The constant worry racing through one’s mind can be exhausting and have a drastic effect on their lifestyle and performance in activities such as school, sports, etc. 

According to Eating Disorder Hope, only one-third of people who suffer from anorexia get help. 

As reported by WebMD, 5%-20% of people diagnosed with anorexia will die. 

The race of anorexia has no winners. The competition is toxic, never-ending, and deadly. The finish line is a hospital bed from a malnourished body or a suicide attempt. Anorexia is not a fashion statement, it is not a hoax, it is a disease. Stop the stigma and treat it as such.