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--------------- Print Magazine --------------
  May 2016
  April 2016

Anorexia: A Self-Image Disorder

As his practice grew, gradually in the beginning and then by leaps and bounds, Advocate Mukherjee started gathering fat around the waist. Soon, his body weight started reflecting the fact that he was spending too many hours sitting around and doing very less physical work. Of course, part of the problem was his increasing workload, which required him to do a good deal of desk work instead of moving around. The nature of cases he dealt with made him think, research and write more than speak and hop around the courtrooms. This added to his problems and also to the girth.

Advocate Mukherjee had once been a remarkable cricketer and had harboured the dream of making it to the Indian cricket team and playing cricket at international level. Like many such dreams across the country, Mr. Mukherjee's dream also crashed. However, that did nothing to Advocate Mukherjee's desire to stay fit. But then, circumstances served up other priorities, which took the driving seat in Advocate Mukherjee's life, and staying fit could not retain its top slot.

A time came when Mr. Mukherjee started realizing that he was getting fatter and when people started pointing out that he looked bulkier than the last time they saw him, Mr. Mukherjee took serious note of it. This made him take a long, hard look at his lifestyle, and he soon found where the problem was. It was his eating habits and the lack of physical work that was making him gain weight. Being a man of firm resolve, Advocate Mukherjee went full throttle into weight loss program. He was working out as much as he could and was eating just enough to keep himself alive. Advocate Mukherjee forced a miraculous weight loss and was quite proud of it. But the fact of having gained so much of weight in the first place and realization of just how fat he could grow made him scared of gaining weight again.

Therefore, despite having lost excess weight he continued with the weight loss program. When things went out of hand and medical opinion was sought, he was found to be suffering from an eating disorder called anorexia nervosa.

Anorexia nervosa is a condition in which the patient keeps starving himself in order to lose weight despite having no real weight to lose. He forces himself to eat ridiculously small amount of food, and his stick-thin figure in the mirror does not make a difference to his skewed perception of being fat. Therefore, the condition has more to do with a messed up self-image than anything else, which makes it all the more difficult to cure though it might look quite simple. But if it were so simple as to convince the person of the truth of being thin, showing the mirror would have worked like magic potion, but it doesn't. And that's because the patient refuses to believe even the mirror.

Being weight conscious - even overly so - is not the same thing as being anorexic. Therefore, it is important to clearly understand the symptoms of anorexia so that you do not attempt to remedy a non-existent problem thereby creating complications needlessly. Those who suffer from anorexia are constantly complaining about their weight. That they weigh just right or are underweight does not make a difference to their self-image of being overweight.

An anorexic person would keep comparing his physical appearance with others in terms of weight and would also compare himself or herself with models in the magazines. Furthermore, he or she would also refuse to believe that there is nothing wrong with his or her shape or weight even in comparison with the models.

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