March 27th, 2006

Thought this was interesting.

"Dangerous Dieting in the Past

Eating disorders are not new. Romans would eat, and then vomit, and eat some more. It was a sign of status of the wealthy and elite. The ancient Egyptians would consume emetics to purge themselves of diseases they thought came from foods that they ate (1,2).

Morbid hunger was first described in the 5th century as a ravenous appetite, absence of chewing, and vomiting. Forms of eating disorders in the Middle Ages were referred to as anorexia mirabilis, meaning loss of appetite due to a miracle. Saint Catherine of Siena, who lived in the 14th century, starved herself for religious fulfillment. She would force herself to vomit as punishment for breaking her vows. Religious women were considered holy for fasting. Later on in history, however, fasting was considered to be inspired by the devil and efforts were made to discourage this type of behavior (1,2). "

Sense of self?

I've seen a lot of questions about (distorted) self-image in the discussion section, but this question is a little different.

How has weight loss/weight gain affected your perception of self? Even those of us who believe that our identity is based on some spiritual, intangible essence must acknowledge that on a day-to-day basis, we are also something physical.

I doubt there are many of us who have stayed at around the same weight -- or even if you have, there must be other changes in appearance that you notice. How does the fact that your body can change affect the way you think of yourself as a complete entity? By losing weight, some of us believe that we can "become a different person." Do you feel like different people at different weights? Do you believe that there is a static "you" that has survived your struggle with your eating disorder, unchanged? What sense of self do you have, and how is it affected by your physical appearance?

You don't have to answer all of those questions. :) I'm just trying to get the brain juices flowing.
  • Current Mood