Happy Anorexics

So, did you figure out why? What are the reasons you have engaged in a struggle with your body? Do you want to feel better about yourself? Do you hope to feel more confident, less self-conscious, sexier, more accomplished, more energetic, more optimistic, happier?

So: How’s that working for you? How far have your efforts brought you to these positive feelings? Maybe you already know that they have not in fact brought you closer either to solving the problem or achieving happiness — that in fact your problem has become larger and your self-hatred and unhappiness more intense.

But that’s only because these strategies haven’t worked, right?

If only you could have the body you dream of…

If only you were thin

Then, then you would be happy.

You may not know how to get there, but you know that if somehow you could, your life would begin.

But consider the situation of people with anorexia. People with anorexia, by definition, have been successful at achieving thinness. One stringent definition of Anorexia Nervosa requires sufferers to have a BMI of 17.5 or less.

A BMI of 17.5 or less is not necessarily what you may think of as “emaciated.”

Toronto model Caroline Savage has a BMI of 17.5:

Puerto Rican model Ana Delia D has a BMI of 17.5

Toronto model Sara Balint has a BMI of 17.5

U.S. model Kelli Kickham has a BMI of 17.5:

People with anorexia often look like supermodels. They’ve achieved what you may be imagining. And yet, despite having achieved a supermodel-like ideal of thinness, they are not happy. In fact, people with anorexia are more likely to die by suicide than people with any other DSM-IV mental disorder, including depression and schizophrenia. If being thin and having a model’s figure worked to bring self-confidence, happiness, and self-esteem, eating disorders treatment centers should be filled with happy anorexics.

This is a new, and lovely, eating disorders treatment hospital. Does it look like a place of happiness to you?

Achieving thinness doesn’t bring happiness. Indeed, the evidence suggests it may bring misery.

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