Let’s face it: all of us have been wondering from time to time about how fast anorexics lose weight, or what is the reason of that, or what is this anorexia thing at all. Time to get ourselves some answers!
And we’ll be starting from the very beginning, from the fundamentals of the problem.
What is Anorexia?
The word “anorexia” comes from the Latin language and it literally means “no appetite” (“an” – denial + “orexis” – appetite). This phenomenon may be caused by a great variety of diseases (often harmless) or be a stand-alone condition, in which case it’s called either Anorexia Nervosa or Anorexia Mirabilis in most of the cases.
Is Anorexia Always Something Serious?
Answer: no. Although the word itself sounds somewhat tragic and grim, anorexia isn’t always related to something serious or life-threatening. For example, it is normal to feel a lack or absence of appetite during a common cold or a mild bacterial infection. In fact, this state is the “Anorexia of infection,” an essential part of the acute phase response.
Another fairly common reason of anorexia is dehydration. You can experience it yourself on hot summer days when you’re not too inclined to think about food, yet images of drinks of all sorts flood your mind.
That said, anorexia can be a manifestation of many life-threatening conditions too, including AIDS, cancer, diseases of the gastrointestinal tract, and even mental disorders. But when we’re interested in how fast do anorexics lose weight, we’re usually curious about one of the stand-alone clinical conditions, and that’s either Anorexia Nervosa or Anorexia Mirabilis.
What Is Anorexia Mirabilis?
This type of anorexia is extremely rare, almost “extinct” in modern times (if we can say something like that about a disease). The name means “miraculous lack of appetite,” referring to an extreme form of religious fasting, during which adepts of a particular belief would starve themselves in the name of a Deity.
Anorexia Mirabilis was rather common during the ecstatic Medieval Ages among women and young girls, who perceived this as an act of serving God or as retribution for their sins. Regarding psychology, this is a shift of needs, during which a certain need becomes so powerful that it displaces all (or many) others. In this case, the necessity of retribution, cleansing or “love of God” was perceived as much more important than the physical need of eating – thus the feeling of hunger itself was thrown aside.
People with anorexia mirabilis could quickly starve themselves to death, and later be beatified by the church. An example of that is Blessed Columba of Rieti.
What Is Anorexia Nervosa?
Anorexia nervosa, or often just anorexia, is an eating disorder characterized first of all by a significant lack of appetite – just as the name implies. This state is accompanied by weight loss, fear of gaining weight, an overwhelming desire to be as thin as possible, significant restrictions in eating behavior, and changes in one’s perception of one’s real weight.
Anorexia Nervosa is the condition that the media has in mind when it tells us how much kilos a certain model has lost in the last months, or that Angelina Jolie now weighs less than 70 pounds. This is the reason for hundreds of top models to bring themselves to the verge of starvation for the sake of having the “perfect” body. As a self-imposed torture, a dangerous obsession that should not be underestimated, anorexia transforms the noble desire for a beautiful body into a distorted perception that can ruin lives.
What is the Cause of Anorexia Nervosa?
Throughout the years, many scientists hypothesized many causes of anorexia, including biological, sociological and psychological factors. Some people blame the influence of modern media; others affirm that this condition is the result of hormonal imbalance – one way or the other, the result is the same.
Anorexia, regardless of its cause, is a dangerous state of progressive weight loss due to a significant lack of appetite up to a complete absence of it.
So, How Fast Do Anorexics Lose Weight?
Now that we know what anorexia is and what types it is divided into, we could easily answer this question, right? Not exactly. Every human being is unique, with peculiar psychological and biological traits that make any process (weight loss included) different from one case to the other.
How fast a particular person can lose weight is highly dependent on his or her original weight, body and personality type, the level of physical activeness, and possible hidden pathological processes. There is no universal answer to the question above, just some statistics.
Also, take into account that we will be mentioning numbers for weight loss related to extreme anorexia, meaning that the hypothesized person would be completely deprived of any food (thus being in a state of starvation), but allowed to drink water at will.
Several studies and reports affirm that an average person in a state of anorexia can lose up to:
- 2 pounds per day during the first week of starvation
- 1 pounds per day during days 7-10 of starvation
- 6 – 0.8 lbs per day after day 10
On average, we’re talking about around 30 pounds in a month, which is an enormous amount for your health. Remember that your body is meant to be a well-balanced system, so any quick changes do not bring any good even if faced in the right direction. Anorexia is NOT something you’d like to experience, and never something you should try out to lose weight.
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