Minnesota Starvation Experiment Reflection

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When I am doubting the need to eat more in recovery from this restrictive eating disorder, I find it helpful to reflect back on the Minnesota Starvation Experiment and the experiences of these men who were ‘semi-starved’ during the war.
The behaviours they exhibited at the time of the experiment and in recovery when allowed to freely eat again is insightful and reassuring when reflecting on how those of us who restrict our diets behave both during the illness and in recovery.

Today, as I face eating much more food than my eating disorder is comfortable with, I find it useful to remind myself that some of these men who were only restricted in their diet for 6 months (not years), when allowed to eat again ate in what would be considered an extreme way – thousands of calories a day and for periods of anywhere between 6 months and 2 years after the experiment ended.

None of these men had an eating disorder, none of them had suddenly developed binge eating disorders… they were just human beings responding to their animal instincts to eat and refeed after a period of effective starvation.

For those of us in recovery from an eating disorder, when we want or need to eat a lot of food – this too is not us reverting from one disorder to another but merely our body trying to get the food in that it so desperately needs to stay alive and work at its best for us.

Therefore – extreme eating is normal and part of recovery – let ED say what it wants – truth is truth!

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