16-22 October 2015 #780

Ask Anjana Anything: Weigh your options, not your self worth

You do not need to be thin to fit in. You should aim to be at a healthy weight that is right for your body type
Anjana Rajbhandary

Hello everyone,

Eating disorders are severe psychological disorders characterised by particular eating patterns that negatively impact your physical and mental health. The most common eating disorders are anorexia nervosa (when one eats too little and has abnormally low weight due to fear of gaining weight), bulimia nervosa (when one binge eats and then purges to avoid weight gain), and binge-eating disorder (when one eats too much, too regularly and feels a lack of control over their eating habits).

While there is no single cause for eating disorders, weight and body shape concerns seem to be important factors. The most common causes of eating disorders are genetic, environmental and psychological. If you or anyone you know may have an eating disorder, please seek help as it can be a life-threatening disorder.

Send me your questions to [email protected]

Hi Anjana,

I have struggled with being fat for a long time. I have very low self esteem because of how I look. I am 23 and my mother says if I do not become thin, no one will marry me. She has also put me on a strict diet. I buy food that I like when I am out because I am always hungry at home. I hate how I look but I cannot stop eating. Eating is the only thing that makes me happy. I am embarrassed to eat in front of people. I read your article on gaining weight but you lost weight easily, please tell me how to do that so my mother doesn’t call me fat anymore.

Hurt Soul

AR: I am sorry that this is very painful for you and I completely understand what you are going through. Our society does value superficial beauty and it puts a lot of pressure on people to look good.

People with certain medical issues (thyroid, diabetes) have a tendency to gain weight more easily. I would recommend meeting with a physician to check to see if the cause of your weight gain is related to your physical health.

From your description, it seems to me like you may have binge-eating disorder but you will have to meet with a mental health professional to get a proper diagnosis. You are overeating because you are not allowed to enjoy food at home and you are made to feel bad, which, in turn, causes you to eat more unhealthy foods in order to make yourself feel better. The first step to wellness is acknowledging you have a problem and the second is wanting to change. The third step is realising that it will be difficult at times and that you will want to give up. Honestly, you will probably falter at times but you can get back on track, so don’t be discouraged.

My struggle with being overweight did not have anything to do with medical issues. What worked for me may, or may not, work for you but I would be happy to share my tips. How you perceive yourself has a lot to do with how successful you will be in changing yourself. You do not need to be thin to fit in. You should aim to be at a healthy weight that is right for your body type.

It will not be easy but it is not impossible. I would suggest meeting with a therapist if possible. If I were you, I would start by making small changes. Instead of eating unhealthy foods, try to eat more fruits and vegetables. Drink lots of water. Try to do something physical every day, maybe walk around the neighbourhood. Accept yourself for who you are, and believe in yourself. If I did it, you can too. Love yourself. Good luck.

Read also:

A little cup of self love, Anjana Rajbhandary

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