Eating Disorders: Obesity, Anorexia Nervosa, and the Person Within

By Hilde Bruch | Go to book overview

The covers were drawn up around her though the room was warm. Her hair had grown long and straggly . . . her face had a puffed, plump, shiny look to it. It had been about a month since he had seen her last and in that short time she had put on a lot of weight. . . . Her eyes were large and drugged. He could not believe, glancing at this heavy, ugly girl, that she was the same girl who had been his sister.

She did not respond when he tried to talk to her, but she reached greedily for the cake which he offered and ate it quickly. Maureen's eating was what maintained her mother's morale and she reassured herself, "She eats everything I make for her, so she is all right." And so the months passed, "Maureen lying in bed, forever lying in bed and stuffing her face with coffee cake and cookies and whatever sweet crap Loretta gave her, so that her face had broken out, her body grown disgusting."When she finally recovered she lost weight quickly:

Those days I liked to fast; to make up for the days I ate so much, so I got dizzy sometimes at night. I ate crackers and some bread after work and a banana or orange or something, that was all. I liked to feel my stomach ache with hunger, knowing that I was hungry and not filled up, not fat anymore.

Nadine, the girl from the wealthy home, reacted differently when she ran away from the involvement of a love affair.

I had to get out and leave you. I had to escape. I am sorry. . . . I called home. They both flew down to get me. . . . I couldn't sleep or eat. I kept crying all the time. All I could think about was you. I tried to starve myself. I felt sorry for myself, and I wanted to punish my parents. . . . I wrote long letters for you, crazy things. They put me in a kind of hospital. . . . A place for people sick in the head. We all carried ourselves like glass, we were very breakable.


BIBLIOGRAPHY
1. Banting, W., Letter on Corpulence, addressed to the public, 4th edition, Mohun, Ebbs and Hough, New York, 1864.
2. Bilz, R., Anorexia nervosa, Bibl. Psychiat., 147:219-244, 1971.
3. Bjurulf, P., and Lindgren, G., A preliminary study on overweight in the south of Sweden, pp. 9-15, in Occurrences, Causes and Prevention of Overnutrition, ed. G. Almqvist Blix & Wiksell, Uppsala, 1964.
4. Bruch, H., "Obesity in childhood. III. Physiologic and psychologic aspects of the food intake of obese children", Amer. J. Dis. Child., 58:738-781, 1940.
5. Bruch, H., The cultural frame, Chapter 3, pp. 35-59, in The Importance of Overweight, W.W. Norton & Co., Inc., New York, 1957.
6. Cahnman, W. J., "The stigma of obesity", Soc. Quart., 283-299, Summer, 1968.
7. Clauser, G., and Spranger, J., Hinweise auf die Aetiologie der Fett-und Magersucht aus Volkstum, Kunst, Medizingeschichte und Wissenschaft, München. Med. Wschr., 99:53-58, 1957.
8. Cloete, S., I speak for the African, Life, 34:111, 1953.

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