“Healthy Eating” Concept Dangerous in Recovery

The root of the development of anorexia nervosa is not about food, but the behaviors are, and in order to recover, the first step involves re-establishing a healthy weight. Eating disorders, particularly anorexia, can be, and often are, fatal. The thinking patterns that are established in the brain of an anorexic may resemble rules or religious dictates. These thinking patterns and the accompanying behaviors are what must be terminated in order for recovery to be possible. Yes, it does take time to restore someone who is emaciated to a healthy weight. But to continue to allow any thoughts of foods that are deemed good/bad, healthy/unhealthy, right/wrong, will only continue to fuel the old thoughts and behaviors. In order to truly recover, one must face the fears of the foods that not been allowed, and begin to break the “rules” to prove that the fears associated with those foods are irrational. You cannot allow an anorexic to continue to focus on fruits and vegetable, cutting them into small bites, etc., as these thoughts are consistent with the disease. The bottom line is, to recover means that a person will eat ANY food and not consider it bad or wrong. For the long term, moderation is the key. No one ever died from eating a Big Mac and French Fries, or a chocolate candy bar as part of their daily diet for a few weeks in recovery, but every week in our country, several hundred women and men die from eating disorders. What really IS the worst outcome?
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