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What is Anorexia?

Anorexia Nervosa (AN) is defined as a mental health disorder impacting overall nutrition of the body. It can occur in individuals of any age, race, gender or ethnicity. It used to be believed to only happen in certain social classes but that is no longer, and honestly was never, the truth of the matter. It can present in individuals of any body shape or size.

Anorexia Nervosa (AN) is defined by a restriction of energy intake which leads to a significant decrease in body weight based on the person's age, sex, development, and physical health. Individuals living with AN can experience a distorted view of how their body appears and they may also struggle with an intense fear of gaining weight. In some cases intentional physical activity can and will be used by the person as a "punishment" for meals or in excess to create a deficit if energy is consumed.

Those living with AN can be at moderate to high risk of nutrition related malnutrition because of the food restriction and prolonged nature of this restriction. Many individuals will make excuses when dining out with peers or loved ones in order to not have to consume food (I already ate or I'm not hungry) and they may begin to isolate (eat on their own or cancel plans often). If you or someone you love is presenting with these symptoms it is a good practice to let them (or yourself) know you care and are there to help them seek support with an eating disorder informed therapist and registered dietitian.

Recovery is possible and AN does not need to be faced alone. You matter and you make a difference.

Michelle Riggs, RDN, LD

From Scratch Nutrition, LLC

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