In an ideal and logical world, people would eat only to survive. Instead, many people today center their lives around food and weight issues. And some of these people may not have normal eating behaviors, but they also don’t have an official eating disorder.
A new book released this month which was written by Ph.D. Jennifer J Thomas and Jenni Schaefer, called “Almost Anorexic: Is My (or My Loved One’s) Relationship with Food a Problem?” posits that there is a gray, middle category between normal eating and eating disorders (like anorexia nervosa) which they call “almost anorexia.” The book states that these people “may feel preoccupied with their body image, go on crash diets, and consider drastic weight-loss strategies.”
These people may also suffer considerably to the point where it negatively impacts their everyday lives. According to the book, “almost anorexia” will involve at least one of the following symptoms:
- Infrequent to severe binge-eating
- Compensatory behavior
- Food/eating/diet/weight restriction
- Weight changes
- Negative body image
The book gives numerous examples of people with “almost anorexia,” how to identify it, overcome it and get help.
So do you think you are almost anorexic? A good starting point discussed in the book is taking the EAT-26 self-test in order to get a better idea of your eating-related thoughts and behaviors: http://www.eat-26.com/
Authors Jenni Schaefer, a former sufferer of anorexia nervosa, and Jennifer Thomas, a clinical psychologist, said in an email interview that they estimate that about 1 in 20 adults suffer from “almost anorexia.” Its prevalence could be increased to 1 in 10 for teen girls.
“It is fairly normal for women ... to be concerned about weight and eating, and of course it’s great to eat a variety of foods and enjoy moderate physical activity,” they said in an email interview. “But here’s the bottom line: eating more raw vegetables is healthy, but eating only raw vegetables is almost anorexic.”
Another example of “almost anorexia” could be someone who counts calories excessively and rigidly.