Eating disorders: the myth of perfection, by Alessia Anniballi

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How often do you hear about eating disorder these days? Probably quite frequently. There are several blogs, articles and newspapers which talk about it, and they reflect the new distorted conception of perfection of young bodies.

In the Middle Ages, people found it normal to believe in witches, wizard and magic. I think that today there exists an even more absurd way of thinking which is becoming a nightmare for many families: thinness as a synonym for beauty, especially among women.

According to Harriet Brown in her book Body of Truth, 97% of girls complain about hating their bodies at least once a day, even if they are in good shape. Countless articles in the Italian and international press have dealt with this issue from various points of view, even from the pathological one.

I am Italian, so perhaps you can imagine how important the myth of culinary art is to me. My fellow citizens love cooking and good food. That’s why a lot of attention is paid to Italian cuisine by people from both inside and outside Italy. I’m pretty sure you have seen Made in Italy cooking shows, which enjoy a high reputation all around the world. This is exactly what makes the problem of eating disorder all the more anguishing for us.

Many young girls in Italy – and of course almost everywhere else – display some maladjustment derived from a false notion of perfection, weight control, and body needs, taking to extremes individualism, narcissism, and the search for success and excellence, according to a study by Elena Riva.

Anorexia, bulimia and binge eating are illnesses, mental diseases that need medical treatment. They have nothing to do with beauty and perfection. You can be perfect just because you aren’t.

I strongly believe in long and detailed thoughts, books and long written reflections. Nonetheless I prefer quotations that can summarize ideas and engage readers faster and more easily. Here is one of my favorites: “You don’t need to be perfect for anyone. It is enough to be special for someone”. Doesn’t this quote give you a perfect idea? Basically, imperfection is not negative, it is a natural and part of our lives, and it represents our uniqueness.

This blog post aims to be a call to reflect on the fact that caring for our level of fitness, good nutrition and healthy food are fundamental, but there are limits that must be respected. Unfortunately, we live in a world that overlooks inner knowledge, which, in my opinion, is the most important aspect of a human being as well as the most beautiful one. Value that which lasts; a nice body does not last forever.

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