Millions of women seem to be on a perpetual diet, so what is the difference between somebody on a diet and someone who has anorexia. The answer is that often there is little difference.
The issue here is not of the act of dieting. It is the intention behind the act and the beliefs of the individual about him/herself that count. A healthy person with good self esteem and a balanced perception of life, can embark on a diet because he or she would like to lose some weight. This person knows that their self esteem will be improved by doing so, much in the same way as it would by learning a new skill.
For this person, the body is not the be all and end all. He or she does not depend totally on the weight loss in order to feel worthy. There is an awareness of the person as a multi layered, multi faceted person whose body is only one aspect of the personhood.
However, many people begin to diet without being aware of how dependent they are on the approval of others. They may think they are dieting just to make themselves feel better in that one aspect of their lives when in actual fact they are suffering from low self esteem issues and are dieting in an attempt to escape from these by gaining the approval of others.
Millions, if not billions of people are approval junkies. They live by the word ‘should,’ slaves to conformity, in jobs they hate, with partners they don’t like, never giving a thought to why, or to what they would prefer to be doing. For these people, going on a diet can be a dangerous thing, because the expectation is that the new, slimmer them will get them more of the drug – approval. It often does, but approval is just that – a drug.
Anorexia is at the extreme end of this addiction – the need for approval is so great that the individual will go so far as to destroy him/herself in an attempt to win it….