Anorexia May Be Habit, Not Willpower, Study Finds, and Marquel TPVs NYTimes Fatal Skinniness Section correspondent started eating.
The findings may help explain the role habitual behavior plays in disorders where people persist in making self-destructive choices no matter the consequences. According to the Times, anorexics are not the steely willed ones strong enough to reject the temptations of foie gras or apple pie a la mode or of a dozen chocolate French pastries. Instead, they are creatures of habit who, seeing a table of such delicacies, are more likely to munch over a bunch of grapes at the end of the table merely intended as decoration.
Marquel pondered this and could come to no conclusion. Couldn’t even get a start on the problem. What did it mean to have a habit of eating grapes in front of mamma’s apple pie a la mode or of homemade cinnamon ice cream? How does habit even enter into it? Sounds like preference to Marquel, or a strong willed determination to starve.
Marquel found Dr Pierre Mangetout, director of the study, in the middle of a meal which, though huge, couldn’t possibly satisfy this 350 pound researcher.
“In a sense that’s right. We don’t have to worry about generic predispositions or even complex drug treatments. If it’s a habit you can change it. ” he said. And burped.
“Well we haven’t said that but, for instance, we’ve told people to hold their forks in their left hands as a reminder to eat rich foods. As a habit it can be partly broken by conscious choice.” He said.
“Yes. Well that’s not really a problem.” He said.
“I think we can just switch hands if we are anorexic and that will solve the problem.” He said, rather optimistically.
“I think you’re overreacting. What we have found is a small piece of the anorexia puzzle, which kills more people than heart disease.” He tried to remind me.
“I wish it were that simple.” He said.