Last week an Israeli Instagram model, Avital Cohen shared she had struggled with a fear of becoming fat, which lead to an eating disorder. Avital proudly showed before and after photos. In this case the after photos were of her in recovery and having returned to a healthy weight. Avital shared that she was “afraid of food”. She felt pressure to make her life look perfect online but struggled with her feelings about herself. She also shared that she “turned my life around by dealing with my mental health.”
This got me thinking about the pressure so many women feel to be and look perfect. Unfortunately, many women struggle with poor body image. Many more have feelings of not being good enough. For some this may turn into an eating disorder. Avital struggled with a fear of food and fear of eating. This led to her not eating or restricting her food intake. This is called Anorexia or Anorexia Nervosa. Anorexia is a dangerous disease which can lead to infertility and many other long-term medical consequences. If you or someone you know is struggling with Anorexia it is important to know the signs & symptoms of the disease. These can include;
- No longer eating foods or food groups that a person previously enjoyed This may include suddenly becoming a vegan. It may also include following extreme diets or cutting out whole food groups such as dairy or grains).
- Sudden, unexplained weight loss This can be the direct result of restricting food intake
- Negative body-talk, especially about fear of weight gain Talking about a fear of certain foods, or a fear of being “fat” or weight gain.
- Becoming emotional or overwhelmed around meals/food You may become angry, afraid or tearful around food. You may have fears surrounding how your food was prepared or how much you’re expected to eat.
- Low Energy/Fatigued this is the direct result of not giving your body enough fuel. You may feel fatigued, have difficulty remembering things or want to sleep more often than normal.
- Loss of Menstrual Cycle This may be a sign of malnourishment. When your body is not getting enough nutrition to survive, it stops all non-essential functions including your menstrual cycle. If your menstrual cycle has stopped & you have been struggling with restricting your food intake, this may be a sign of extreme malnourishment.