I have been traveling a bit the last several weeks...
I was struck by how many times I noticed an emaciated frame on the tourist walking past me. Is that because there are more very underweight folks walking around, or because I am primed to notice them more?
In one city overseas, my husband and I were enjoying an evening meal when we overheard a young women at the next table telling her older companion (whom we assumed was her mother) "No, I am not going to eat."
"Please", her companion prodded.
"No. I believe that it is better to feel hungry than to give in to food."
This young woman is not alone in her belief. Even though the statement itself is false, millions of eating disordered individuals would agree with her resoundingly.
This type of sentiment may sound familiar to some of you. It resembles aspects of something called "Ana's Creed", a set of beliefs that are often adopted, to one degree or another, by countless women and men in the throngs of an eating disorder. Distorted as these beliefs are, they often account for, or are a symptom of, disordered eating of a severe magnitude.
This is Ana's Creed, along with its companion, the "Thin Commandments". I thought it important that treatment professionals be informed as to the content of these belief sets. However please note, that my including them here in no way endorses their content. My efforts and energies to the contrary, and I thank you sincerely for yours as well.
Ana s Creed
I believe in Control, the only force mighty enough to bring order to the chaos that is my world.
I believe that I am the most vile, worthless and useless person ever to have existed on the planet, and that I am totally unworthy of anyone's time and attention.
I believe that other people who tell me differently are idiots. If they could see how I really am, then they would hate me almost as much as I do.
I believe in perfection and strive to attain it.
I believe in salvation through trying just a bit harder than I did yesterday.
I believe in bathroom scales as an indicator of my daily successes and failures.
I believe in hell, because I sometimes think that I am living in it.
I believe in a wholly black and white world, the losing of weight, recrimination for sins, abnegation of the body and a life ever fasting
The Thin Commandments
• If you are not thin, you aren't attractive.
• Being thin is more important than being healthy.
• You must buy clothes, cut your hair, take laxatives, starve yourself, and do anything to make yourself look thinner.
• Thou shall not eat without feeling guilty.
• Thou shall not eat fattening food without punishing oneself afterwards [sic].
• Thou shall count calories and restrict intake accordingly.
• What the scale says is the most important thing.
• Losing weight is good/ Gaining weight is bad.
• You can never be too thin.
• Being thin and not eating are signs of true will power and success.