Don't worry mom, it's only a hunger strike!

I wondered in my book: what is really up with hunger strikers?

Having seen anorexia up close and personal, I now blanch at the idea of these "fasts" that churches go on in search of teaching children about hunger in the less fortunate. Ramadan fasts and Yom Kippur fasting worry me.

I know that if my daughter got it into her head to skip a meal for charity, not to mention go on an indefinite fast, I'd jump out of my skin.

But once again I discover that the world is completely nuts, and despair at how to convince young people with eating disorders that they are suffering from delusional thinking when Former Anorexics go on Hunger Strikes in public and people send letters of support.


  1. That is extremely ridiculous.

    I think it is dangerous for ANYONE predisposed to an ED or ANY type of body image/weight/shape concern to "fast" even for charitable reasons.

    I know in grade 9, I did the 30 hour famine for volunteer hours -- for me it showed me that "wow! I can not eat for 30 whole hours and I still feel great!" -- the next year I was to develop anorexia that led me to a 3 month hospitilzation and 4 more years of being disordered before I really did want recovery.

    I'm not at all alluding that fasting CAUSED my AN -- just that it certainly did not help, when I was already concerned with dieting and shape.


  2. However, I do think that fasting for religious reasons is sometimes OK as a tradition and custom, as long as the participant is psychological stable to practice.

  3. I think you are right a :) - like the name! - those peoples who traditionally observe fasting and feasting customs usually know what they are doing and in fact small children, young women, pregnant women and those with known illnesses are usually encouraged to observe the "fast" in other ways, for example a Christian Orthodox family I know restrict their kids' TV viewing during Lent, not their food.
    It seems with this girl that the attraction of the protest was the hunger bit, not the cause - so sad

  4. Hi.

    I'm Muslim and grew up fasting during ramadhan. During Ramadhan you only not eat during the day, and meals (at dawn and dusk and otherwise) are communal - not just family meals, but also large meals with the community. Though you don't eat in the daytime, at night you're practically forced to sit down and eat with a group of people every morning and night. If you don't too often, they fuss.

    There's also usually more food as food tends to be shared. I've never lost weight during Ramadhan, but I've gained it.

    I'd assume the same thing happens for most religious fasts - you're obliged to have festive, feast-like meals with other people when you do eat, and it's unlikely that you can keep at a pattern of disordered eating when that happens.


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