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Eating Disorders

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(Bismillah)

Alsalam alaykom

I have noticed that there is literally no help for eating disorders (even compared to other mental health issues like depression) from the islamic community. This really bugs me as it is a really important problem but people seem to think that it cannot effect muslims. This severe lack of support can often make the situation even worse.

So i think it would be nice to have a thread where we can come up with some tips and islamic help for those who are going through hard times. I know i posted this in the sister's forum but don't forget that brothers can also suffer. In fact, it must be even harder for them to try and get help.

A few tips from me:

1. tell someone. I know this is said so much but i really cannot stress the importance of it. It can be so hard to tell someone face to face so you could try writing a letter to them. If someone notices that your behaviour is not as it should be then don't try deny it. Accept it and try and defeat it.

2. Remember Allah. Allah doesn't care what you look like and He loves no matter what. He is always there when others are not. If you cant tell a person about your problems then let it all out to Allah.

' Say, (O Muhammad, to mankind): If ye love Allah, follow me; Allah will love you and forgive you your sins. Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.' (3:31)

'O Friend of he who has no friend,

O Physician of he who has no physician,

O Responder to he who has no responder,

O Affectionate One to he whom none holds in affection,

O Friend of he who has no friend,

O Helper of he who has no help,

O Guide of he who has no guide,

O Associate of the forlorn,

O Merciful One towards he on whom no one has mercy,

O Companion of he who has no companion.

Praise be to Thee, there is no god but Thee, The Granter of all Succour, Protect us from the Fire, O Lord. '

Remember you are NEVER alone.

3. Read. Read books and increase your knowledge. Get your mind off food and what you look like. Read about Ahlulbayt (as) and how they always took the moderate path and that this world does not matter in the slightest. Remember that our purpose is much bigger than looking nice. Drown yourself in books and thoughts that help to take you away from the bad thoughts that creep into your head.

4. Think. Think about what you are doing and why. Is it to impress people? Is it to make yourself happy (trust me, it will only make you sad)? Is it to gain control and power over your life? Make notes and brainstorm these thoughts. Dissect them till you convince yourself that what you are doing is pointless.

I don't know if this will actually be useful to anyone but maybe someone will stumble across it and it will help. Im sorry this is a short post but i don't have time right now for anything longer.

Please share tips and comments.

Feel free to pm me

Wa alaykom alsalam

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salaam alaikum,

 

when i saw this post i thought to say thank you for posting , u put some excellent comments in their and i hope that girls who are going through these moments realise all that u wrote & maybe this can influience them to seek the right way of eating and exercising healthily and to maintain a healthy lifestyle. why i say this cuz believe it or not i used to be like this , i was Anorexic at some point in my life back in 2011 i even remember the year cuz it was the biggest mistake i ever made in my life to become like this and i will never forget that time....usually i am not open on something like this but when i saw this post i wanted to comment. i wish girls can realise that being Anorexic is the most horrible state for one to be in , and it affects u not just healthily but in ur mood & personality. but for me it was not about just 'losing weight' it was about being the "epitome of femininity" , i wanted to be like those girls in the fashion magazines so much cuz i thought this was the only way to become truly beautiful & feminine, and it turned into an obsession. i was too focused on being feminine that i somehow associated "super thin" with femininity & being happy. i now know this is wrong & what u see in our media today is destroying our mentality about what is Beauty. even in the middle east this is changing. I remember i got SOOO thin people didn't recognise me anymore or know who i was.....that's how bad it was......when i see girls in those magazines i just feel so bad for them but i never wish to be like that again. 

 

and ur right, it is very hard to be open about this & usually girls will keep it to themselves , & this is why its important for parents , family members to keep an eye on their daughters' weight & eating habits. & its just as important for girls wanting to diet to go to a Diet doctor FIRST before trying anything on their own!!

 

 

ps: some brother few weeks ago posted a stupid thread on some crazy diet telling people on sc to "starve" themselves for one month straight , anyone remember that?........ :no:  :no:  :no:

 

anyways, thank u so much for posting

Ws

Edited by Mlle. Advice

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Girls can become anxious, perfectionistic and/or OCD about a lot of things - and sometimes it becomes extreme - and expresses itself in different ways - including eating disorders. It doesn’t help that the media portrays girls who are successful at being feminine, as being (unattainably) perfect – there are no flaws in the carefully created, perfectly manicured mirages. 

 

This is a good topic to open up and to discuss. Perhaps, image issues are solely within the domain of modern times – maybe this was not a significant issue in previous times and so has not been addressed...? 

Edited by Maryaam

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A wr wb

If you feel hungry every now and then ,try to reduce walking and running exercises for a month, then see how you eat.Reading Quran helps a lot.It puts the nafs under control.

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Girls can become anxious, perfectionistic and/or OCD about a lot of things - and sometimes it becomes extreme - and expresses itself in different ways - including eating disorders. It doesn’t help that the media portrays girls who are successful at being feminine, as being (unattainably) perfect – there are no flaws in the carefully created, perfectly manicured mirages. 

 

This is a good topic to open up and to discuss. Perhaps, image issues are solely within the domain of modern times – maybe this was not a significant issue in previous times and so has not been addressed...? 

There are some excellent works that deal with social constructions of beauty and control over women's bodies..

Fatema Mernissi's Size 6: The Western Women's Harem

Susan Sontag's Women's beauty: put down or power source

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This is a good topic to open up and to discuss. Perhaps, image issues are solely within the domain of modern times – maybe this was not a significant issue in previous times and so has not been addressed...? 

(salam)

I have thought that image issues have always been around but that with the coming of the internet it's something that has a wider influence worldwide. 

For example, foot binding or lotus feet in China started in the 10th century (around 900 bc) because it was thought that narrow and small feet were beautiful. Scientists have also discovered a vast array of substances in mummies that aree thought to have been for beautification purposes. The media has always presented a certain type of woman. Whilst this image of the 'ideal woman' may change through the years, I think its always been there. 

 

(wasalam)

Edited by *Sayyeda*

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Wasalams,

 

I noticed people concentrating on the 'looks' aspect of eating disorders and although there deffo is often an image element present when people develop them, its usually not that simple. I had bulimia off and on since about the age of 13. It was at its worse when i was about 14-15 and then again in early 20's. I've always used food to self medicate - literally cant remmber a time when i havent used food to control my mood; its one of the ways i dealt with stress s a child and i still do it to some extent. For me the bulimia was about being able to 'self medicate' without getting hugely fat as a result. So i would go and buy a load of junk food (mostly cake, biscuits and ice cream) and binge on it and then throw it up. As i was eating the food i would go into a certain state of mind and body that was very comforting. Then after i would feel utterly gross and disgusting until i'd thrown it up. Then i would feel better, but still a bit guilty and ashamed still. Unfortunately telling someone didnt help and it only got worse after their unhelpful reaction. The only thing that helps me is self enquiry (like CBT). Also, i started to force myself not to throw up when i'd binged, so i could no longer feel so at ease buying junk food and thinking 'well i'll throw it up after anyway'. Educating myself about food also helped and creating a desire in myself to focus on nutrition.

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Wasalams,

 

I noticed people concentrating on the 'looks' aspect of eating disorders and although there deffo is often an image element present when people develop them, its usually not that simple. I had bulimia off and on since about the age of 13. It was at its worse when i was about 14-15 and then again in early 20's. I've always used food to self medicate - literally cant remmber a time when i havent used food to control my mood; its one of the ways i dealt with stress s a child and i still do it to some extent. For me the bulimia was about being able to 'self medicate' without getting hugely fat as a result. So i would go and buy a load of junk food (mostly cake, biscuits and ice cream) and binge on it and then throw it up. As i was eating the food i would go into a certain state of mind and body that was very comforting. Then after i would feel utterly gross and disgusting until i'd thrown it up. Then i would feel better, but still a bit guilty and ashamed still. Unfortunately telling someone didnt help and it only got worse after their unhelpful reaction. The only thing that helps me is self enquiry (like CBT). Also, i started to force myself not to throw up when i'd binged, so i could no longer feel so at ease buying junk food and thinking 'well i'll throw it up after anyway'. Educating myself about food also helped and creating a desire in myself to focus on nutrition.

(salam)

 

Thanks for sharing your story, I'm sure it will help others who may be going through something similar. 

I have to agree with what you said about how people concentrate on the looks aspect of eating disorders and its not usually that simple. 

Unfortunately, misconceptions that every skinny girl must be anorexic are rife and not everyone understands that bulimic people can be skinny, overweight or perfectly within the normal weight bracket making it harder to identify and tackle it. 

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(bismillah)  (salam)

 

Sister, may I ask a question? Did you know about bulimia before your suffered from it? I.e. was it something that was learned from others or was it from yourself?

 

Wasalam, yes im pretty sure i was aware of anorexia and bulimia. As i remember i didnt plan it the first time it happened, but after i realised how easy it was to induce vomiting i would plan it more. I know in my case (and i assume its like this with most people) i started off with the intention that it would just be something i did now and again, as a sort of short term solution until i either felt no more need to use food the way i was or found a better way to cope. I had no intention at all of becoming 'a bulimic'. It reminds me a bit of the way people use drugs and alcohol. They dont start out with the intention of becoming an addict or deleoping a dependence. At the beginning you feel in control, but you end up feeling controlled by it. Alhamdullillah when i realised what was happening i managed to get a handle on it to some extent and then eventually stopped. Denial plays a big role in its development i think. I never labelled myself 'a Bulimic', even though i knew my behaviour would probably get me a diagnosis as such and still now i probably play it down a lot because i just see it as a bit of a naive and irresponsible phase i went through, akin to smoking or something; athough i take it much more seriously if someone else is doing it.

 

 

(salam)

 

Thanks for sharing your story, I'm sure it will help others who may be going through something similar. 

I have to agree with what you said about how people concentrate on the looks aspect of eating disorders and its not usually that simple. 

Unfortunately, misconceptions that every skinny girl must be anorexic are rife and not everyone understands that bulimic people can be skinny, overweight or perfectly within the normal weight bracket making it harder to identify and tackle it. 

 

Wasalam, thats a very good point Sayy. I know in my case my weight was always in the healthy range. Ive never been underweight and only marginally over weight before, so there would have been no clues there. I know some people get marks on their knuckles, which can be a clue, but i never had that. I think the only person who could spot any signs, in the case of bulimics, is probably a dentist.

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Wasalam, thats a very good point Sayy. I know in my case my weight was always in the healthy range. Ive never been underweight and only marginally over weight before, so there would have been no clues there. I know some people get marks on their knuckles, which can be a clue, but i never had that. I think the only person who could spot any signs, in the case of bulimics, is probably a dentist.

(salam)

As dentists aren't really concerned with a patients overall health it falls to the doctor to diagnose it really. Complains of acidity and dry lips as a result of reflux and stomach acid can also be an indication to a good doctor who can then proceed to check the oral health of the patient. But I guess that's why it goes unnoticed.

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(salam)

As dentists aren't really concerned with a patients overall health it falls to the doctor to diagnose it really. Complains of acidity and dry lips as a result of reflux and stomach acid can also be an indication to a good doctor who can then proceed to check the oral health of the patient. But I guess that's why it goes unnoticed.

 

Yep, i think after so long doing it consistently, or if you do it a lot every day, youre going to start to get problems like that. I read in the paper the other day that a court in UK has ruled that a 16 year old can be force fed at the hospital she is in and it mentioned that she was purging up to 30 times a day...which is just...well i cant even imagine how horrendous that is. I know some people get to the point where they are throwing up blood. When its that severe, or youve been doing it long term, it erodes the enamel on your teeth. My dentist does a cancer check in my mouth every time i see her as a matter of course (they put a little napkin thing under your tongue and roll it to look underneath), so if they spotted signs of acid corrosion they might mention it, but for people who are lost in the grip of something like that im not sure something like that would stop the behaviour. It seems theres a better chance of over coming it if you catch it early. One thing i have noticed though, are quite a few articles in the papers over the years of women with eating disorders who over came it when they had a baby. Its like their mothering instinct to look after themselves for the sake of their child was enough to shift something in their minds and give them the resources to beat it alhamdullillah.

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Yep, i think after so long doing it consistently, or if you do it a lot every day, youre going to start to get problems like that. I read in the paper the other day that a court in UK has ruled that a 16 year old can be force fed at the hospital she is in and it mentioned that she was purging up to 30 times a day...which is just...well i cant even imagine how horrendous that is. I know some people get to the point where they are throwing up blood. When its that severe, or youve been doing it long term, it erodes the enamel on your teeth. My dentist does a cancer check in my mouth every time i see her as a matter of course (they put a little napkin thing under your tongue and roll it to look underneath), so if they spotted signs of acid corrosion they might mention it, but for people who are lost in the grip of something like that im not sure something like that would stop the behaviour. It seems theres a better chance of over coming it if you catch it early. One thing i have noticed though, are quite a few articles in the papers over the years of women with eating disorders who over came it when they had a baby. Its like their mothering instinct to look after themselves for the sake of their child was enough to shift something in their minds and give them the resources to beat it alhamdullillah.

(salam) In cases where it's been a longterm thing like the 30 times a day lady, there's usually a lot of enamel erosion. Another factor that contributes to it going unnoticed is compliance, usually people do not want their eating disorder to be noticed by health professionals. So they purposefully withhold  information relevant to it whereas in other conditions, a patient will disclose most relevant symptoms to help reach a diagnosis. It's true that motherhood is empowering for some women, the responsibility of somebody else's life in their control gives them the strength to give up bad habits ie drugs, alcohol, smoking, abusive relationships etc. Alhumdulilah. 

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