How can you starve yourself? Don't you know there are children around the world who don't get enough to eat? Why don't you do something to help them, rather than putting so much energy into harming yourself?
These questions occasionally come up when my daughter, Lisa, and I give talks about our book, "Hungry: A Mother and Daughter Fight Anorexia" http://tinyurl.com/y9cgz9a. And for me, the question is: Why didn't you stop your daughter from doing this?
Because, um, we're not perfect. If either of us could have bypassed anorexia, we would have. If Lisa could have known she was crossing a line back in high school that would lead to years of pain, if I could have put the pieces together earlier and found the right professional help ... boom! Done!
Had we not been touched by eating disorders, we might be asking the same challenging questions.
The short answer is that anorexia is not a lifestyle choice. It is a life-threatening disease that attacks brain function. Without adequate nourishment, rational thought suffers, as do many other critical body processes. It can end in kidney or health failure, or merely osteoporosis. The anorexic doesn't sit around thinking, "Yeah, let those poor people starve while I deliberately reject food" any more than an overweight or obese person thinks, "Yeah, let those poor people starve while I eat all the cookies in sight."