Anorexia is a coping mechanism for burnout in mostly female adolescents through fasting. This burnout is caused by an overload of concurrent stress factors. Fasting helps to gain mental clarity and suppresses socio-biological stress and social anxiety.

The name Anorexia (“no appetite” or “no desire to eat”) is misleading since there can be hunger and a desire to eat but this is overruled by fear. “Suppressed eating” or “Fasting-addiction” would be more accurate.

Well known stress factors are adverse child events, insecurity and personality traits like perfectionism which compel to always aim (too) high and a demanding attitude towards self and others. Schools are another factor especially when entering high school where productive learning is substantially accelerated. This article however, is about less commonly known (and untold) stress factors related to biological development.

Biology is increasingly politicized by social ideologies and outright gender confusion. What is a man, what is a woman? Biology is about describing nature in an objective manner. Social science is about describing nature subjectively (what men and women are promulgated they should be). This discrepancy comes at a price (socio-biological stress) that is paid by women and men in a different way. Anorexia is (mostly) a female way. To understand anorexia, one has to go down the rabbithole of socio-biological stress from a female point of view despite its political sensitivity and even political incorrectness.

The butterfly said to the caterpillar:
"You too will become a butterfly!"

The caterpillar was startled and replied:
"I'd rather not, I'll fly into a tree!"

The butterfly said:
"To fly, is your nature!"

The caterpillar replied:
"Then I'll stop eating, so my wings won't be able to grow!"

Selection & competition stress

The young woman was born with the natural ability to give birth. To produce the next generation. Nature granted her this ability but it was not a free gift. It came with huge responsibilities. Innately she knows that the survival of the species depends on her ability to select the best genes and to create the best circumstances for the children to grow up. Pregnancy and giving birth, will make her vulnerable and dependent on support and protection. Finding the right man however, is not easy and demands diligence and caution. Selecting the wrong man, may have severe consequences.
80% of women aim at the top 20% of men in regard to sexual market value (SMV). While men have no problem marrying down, most women only wish to marry up (hypergamy). On dating apps men swipe right 60% of the time, women 4%. A man's SMV increases when he is desired by many women. This automatically creates a scarcity of eligible men and consequently severe intrasexual competition.
Aiming for the "best" deal, is an impossible and unfair battle because it is a relative concept, not an absolute. There is no objective measurement of what is good (enough). The woman however has to take her pick at some point while she knows a better deal may always be out there. Her (grand)parents had a relatively small pool to pick from and were thus less tempted and confused by better options. They would likely find a partner within the same small circle and better options were rare. The young woman however, is bombarded with images and videos of seemingly better options from all over the world on a daily basis (choice overload). This leaves her in a permanent state of uncertainty, insecurity and looming dissatisfaction. In modern Western countries more than 75% of all divorces is initiated by women.
Since the top 20% of men is offered sex by 80% of women, these men have little incentive to be faithful. Statistically they cannot be faithful. The alpha guy is therefor a good target to get alpha genes but she "knows" she is not the only woman who wants (and gets) his genes and support. This causes fear of missing out (FOMO). Choosing the alpha will likely result in becoming a so-called alpha widow. However, despite all the risks and cons of alphas, she is willing to take the uncertain bet the alpha will treat her differently than all the other women. If not, she will have to find other ways or people to (co-)finance the upbringing.

Value stress

While she has to select the man with the highest possible value, the young girl is confused about her own value. Suddenly she is admired for her youth and beauty by many men and experiences wanted and unwanted attention and validation with almost no effort on her part. This is both flattering and shallow at the same time and makes her deeply insecure about what her real value is. Innately she knows she has to develop a good sense of real self-worth to help her through the rest of her life but short-term and easy validation through sexually objectifying herself, is very tempting. Historically young women where guided and protected in understanding and honoring their value by family and culture. In modern society this guidance and protection has, to a large degree, disappeared. Protecting a young woman from male attention and guiding her in developing profound self-validation, is deemed old fashioned, misogynous and oppressive, leaving the girl to her fate.

Young girl

Time window stress

Fertility starts around the age of 14 and ends around the age of 40. This is a time frame of 26 years. However the young woman also innately knows that postponing pregnancy will increase health risks for mother and child. From a biology and health standpoint, a time frame of 10 to 15 years is more logical. She “knows” this but she also “knows” it can take years to find the right man, years to build a stable relation, years to build a home, years to get pregnant and many years more to have more than one child. While women only focus on top 20%-men, these top men only focus on young and fertile women under the age of 25.

Social confusion stress

Biology tells the young woman she will have to select the right man at an early age and bond with him to secure a save environment for herself and the children. Society however tells her the opposite. Society tells her to be independent and not to rely on men (a woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle). Men are considered toxic and are being emasculated. With no man to share the burden of raising children with, the young woman now fears she will have to do it all by herself. In the US an increasing number of children is raised in single mother households. Having babies and having to work at the same time, is extremely demanding. This is a discouraging prospect. Society also tells her to completely ignore her biological time window and focus on her career.

She "knows" however this may result in biological complications. Society tells her that writing a sales report is more fulfilling than breastfeeding her newborn baby. And since all the magazines agree, she gets confused because her nature speaks differently. Nature granted her the highest role in reproduction while society puts her under great pressure to invalidate it. If she chooses her biology, she may have to face social rejection. If she chooses her career, she may never have a family.


Pair bonding stress

Due to the enormous biological costs and possible life altering consequences of having sex, women pair bond much quicker and deeper than men. The neurophysiology of pair bonding in women is dominated by the hormones oxytocin and dopamine. Every break up depletes a woman on a neurophysiological level more than men, ultimately resulting in the inability to bond at all. Since women are biologically programmed to look for the best deal, every new sexual encounter is added to the growing list of nonnegotiable requirement references. Male candidate number 24 has to be better than all previous 23 males combined. Once she had sex with a tall good looking and rich top 20% guy, she believes that this is what she deserves as a commiting partner where in fact she was merely used for sex. This makes bonding with a loyal but average guy, eventually impossible. Hypergamy only aims higher, never lower.
Of all hormones, dopamine is one of the most addictive. Sexual encounters with top level men provide a short lived sense of validation and dopamine rush that entice hopeless repetition. Body count matters to the sexes in a different way. Both sexes tend to misrepresent their real body count. Men multiply it approximately 5 times to boost their 'achievements', women divide it by 5 to hide potential bonding damage and depletion. While a man can "hit and quit" to spread his genes as much as possible (quantity), the woman is dependent on quality. Finding the right man at a young age with an intact ability to bond, necessitates a certain chastity. She “knows” this and yet, society tells her to explore her sexual freedoms without any consequences (quantity). She is lured into wasting her purity and ability to bond with men who have no intention to commit (top 20%). She is persuaded not to invest in a longevous relation with a man when she still can, meanwhile realizing this is essential for raising the next generation. Society tells her that her expanded list of experiences will liberate her and help her to 'find out who she is'. This list may however lead to bitterness, loneliness and resentment towards men and society as a whole. What should she do? Follow her biology or Sex and the City?

Less testosterone stress

Although testosterone is widely regarded as a sex hormone, especially in men, this hormone essentially is a "power" hormone. It enables you to carry the load, to push further, to enforce. With testosterone you can stand firm, resist pressure, fight and protect. Testosterone is essential to deal with stress. It makes you feel in control, to remain balanced in challenging situations. Being exposed to stress while having a lack of testosterone, can lead to anxiety and depressive disorder. Women have 10 to 20 times less testosterone than men.

Bad boy stress

The world is not a safe place. She knows that on average her physical strength is less than the strength of men. This motivates her to seek a male ally who is tall, powerful and capable of serious aggression. However, his power should not turn against her so the man must be able to contain his strength (morality) and only apply it in her favor. This is like walking on eggshells. Taming a wild horse requires her to enter the arena and taking the risk of being overpowered. Only a dangerous man qualifies but how will she know he will only hurt others and not her?

Bad boy

Finding a dangerous man is relatively easy but to assess and instill morality for her personal protection, is not. In modern society she is no longer guided and supported in this process. She will have to figure this out all by herself and most likely find out the hard way wether or not she is exempt from his aggression. Taming his power is a dangerous endeavour with the risk of lifelong trauma. An unguided and unprotected girl will try to win him over by irresponsibly offering sex upfront. She pays the highest price with her purity but the return on investment is mostly zero. Young women commonly report multiple abusive relations even in their late teens and early twenties, leaving their faith in men, themselves and their ability to bond in shambles.

Systematic emasculation of men in today's society, makes it even harder. Since weak men don't qualify by default, the pool of masculine men becomes smaller and thicker. A pool eventually comprised of only really dangerous and anti social men with a decreasing prospect of morality. The chances of finding a man who is both dangerous enough to protect her and civilized enough to be a good partner and father, are terrifyingly slim. Her biology forces her to enter the mating arena with a high probability of failure and seriously getting stained and hurt.

Fasting to the rescue

The young woman is desperately trying to solve an almost insoluble dilemma. Her body rapidly transformed from a girl into a woman capable of giving birth. Trying to translate this immense biological fact into her position in society, she is left to her own devices. Society does not support, guide or protect her biology at all. On the contrary. This lack of biological recognition causes feelings of confusion and despair and thus immense stress. Fasting helps to reduce stress.

Fasting causes various biochemical and mental changes. The happiness hormone serotonin is mainly produced in the intestines. In a society of excessive and industrially manufactured food, fasting often leads to a recovery of intestinal function and thus the hormonal and psychological balance. People who fast on a regular basis, report they feel relieved, think more clearly and feel better. This however can be addictive.

To end fasting and to start eating again, can be perceived as a major threat to the acquired mental benefits. The anorexic voice is the personification of the fear of losing the acquired (relative) peace again. This personified fear takes the form of a dominant and seemingly independent voice. This voice piggybacks on personality traits like stubbornness and self-will. In fasting, the young woman has found a control mechanism to regulate her psyche and is extremely fearful of losing that.


With extreme fasting, physical development is halted and this helps coping with sexual-biological stress. Fasting lowers libido. Extreme fasting leads to body deformity making her less attractive (excessive hair grow, bony appearance, witchy hands and feet). Menstruation stops at some point and along with that the biological symbol of fertility. This removes a major stress factor. Not being able to have children, discharges the young woman of having to find the right man within the right time frame. Physicality brought her too many burdens and has now become target of systematic (reproductive) suppression.

In a sense, anorexia is a flee to the emergency lane where the young woman pauses her development for a moment to catch breath. She is torn apart by opposing pressures and succumbs to the high amount of stress. Anorexia is a female panic reaction to a terrifying and unsafe society. Where boys may become violent, girls can go on hunger strike.

Her struggle with anorexia provides her with a substitute problem that she can completely focus on and even allow her to experience a sense of control. The anorexia dominates her life to such a degree that her societal challenges disappear to the background. The battle with the anorexic voice may be tough but narrowed down her worries to a comprehensible and seemingly controlable size.

Zooming out

Anorexia - as serious and dangerous as it is - is merely a reaction to a larger problem. It serves as a lightning rod to divert and occupy the mind. To draw away all attention from life and society to a confined and isolated crisis. The young girl wishes to only focus on her anorexia and forces her surrounding to do the same. Eventually the young girl will have to face the real issue and stop hiding her head in the anorexic sand. She may have caved herself in and may feel no agency to step outside, but she already knows she will eventually have to. She will deny this during her anorexia but admit afterwards.

Anorexia is in several ways a perishable phenomenon. History teaches us that anorexia soars in affluent societies and almost completely disappears when economic tides turn for the worse. As affluence comes and goes, so does anorexia. This underlines that anorexia is just as much a societal problem as an individual problem. Despite this duality, therapeutic attention is entirely focused on the girl and her nuclear family, conveniently leaving society out of the equation. Although it is true that she holds the key, it is neither conducive nor remotely fair to make her and her parents believe it is all their doing. Many doctors, therapists and psychologists seem to be completely oblivious to the complex socio- and biological nature of anorexia. This causes them to overanalyze the family instead, resulting in incoherent assumptions that have little to no therapeutic value.

As the girl gets older, her declining fertility relieves her from socio-biological stress. From a reproductive viewpoint she automatically gets of the hook around her late thirties. Women over 40 severely suffering from anorexia, are few.

But what can we do to help the young woman in a de-normalized (and de-moralized) society today? Like with any burnout, removing stress-factors is essential. Stress-factors often carry an external and an internal component.

Teenage girls spend hours with their cell phones on social media, overly focused on obtaining external validation and fighting the battle of intrasexual competition. Helping her to limit exposure to this external competition ratrace, is a good start.

Schools are a major stress-factor so removing the curriculum pressure, can be very helpful. Make school an option, not an obligation. Make school a buffet, not a mandatory meal to digest. Let her pick the classes that appeal to her. Effective learning is about following one's fluid direction of interest, not a predefined external program. Allowing her to choose her own classes, gives her control and reduces stress.

Diminishing social media and school may lead to resistance from the young girl because both represent a large portion of her external world which she values so highly. The girl can be helped by making her realize that seeking validation in the outer world, is betting on the wrong horse and a recipe for anxiety and unhappiness. Many girls experience a complete lack of support from their "friends" once they have been diagnosed with anorexia. This should give them some clue about how irrelevant their peers' views actually are.

The young girl finds mental clarity in fasting but there are other (better) ways to achieve that, like mindfulness. Mindfulness starts with becoming aware of the fact that every human being has constant thoughts in the form of self-talk voices. Self-talk is not a mental disorder, it is human nature. Once the girl realizes the difference between her true self and the stream of thoughts she has, she can start observing them more objectively. Objective observation of thought patterns allows her to recognize and evaluate them. As the girl learns to no longer (automatically) identify herself with the thoughts she witnesses, she then becomes able to distance herself from them and break the automated engagement. Engagement in thoughts then becomes a choice rather than a compulsory habit. Having this mental choice is a form of power and control which thus reduces stress.

Reading good old fashioned books instead of nervously swiping on a cell phone, helps the girl to ease her mind and to forget about her worries. Since she is released of curriculum pressure, she has lots of time to read. The essence of dealing with unwanted thoughts is not to fight them but to replace them.

Some girls find relief in wearing headphones and listening to music. When there is silence, her self-talk voices will dominate. As long as these thoughts are not replaced with alternative thoughts (like through reading), music helps to place thoughts into the background.

On a spiritual note

Souls are androgynous and have multiple incarnations in both male and female bodies depending on the intended lessons and experiences. Incarnating in the duality of 3D Earth, implies that every single life is either as a male or as a female. The essence of duality is that singularity, oneness and wholeness is presented in two opposing yet complementary parts. The essence of incarnation is (self-)submission to functional limitations in order to experience particular elements of wholeness in their isolated and concentrated form. One limitation is that human beings have no memory of past lives nor awareness of their intended lessons.

Every submission to functional limitations, implies and requires sacrifices. Where the soul has access to all the tools and solutions, the human identity has to work with a sub set of tools and available solutions. Both men and women are forced to surrender to the boundaries and responsibilities attached to their gender. This (self) imposed limitation can be experienced as unfair and undesirable, resulting in resistance on a mind level.

Men have to literally carry the weight of (physical) society, the dirty and dangerous jobs, the battle fields. Men have to sacrifice their strength and even their lives for the benefit of the community. Meanwhile men have to accept that their hard labor is not automatically rewarded with intimacy and procreation since women consider 80% of men unattractive and ineligible. Historically, 60% of men never reproduced where 80% of women have.

Women have to accept that their physique is less powerful. Women hold the key to procreation and thus a prime responsibility in regard to raising children. Women are less stress resistant. In a competence driven society this confines them to more protected and consequently less authoritative positions.

Support for both genders to cope with their limited and challenging position, can be found in social normalization as well as spiritual awareness (understanding the purpose of life and its challenges).

Affluent societies tend to de-normalize social roles and drift away from spirituality. The social fabric that supports each human being in living their (gender-bound) lives purposefully, disintegrates, leaving both genders in moral and spiritual disarray. Anorexia is a panic-reaction to the decline in societal support for women to cope with the challenges and limitations of femininity.

Spirituality holds the key to restore the balance between patriarchy and matriarchy. Read more on the balance between patriarchy and matriarchy.

Latest update: 2024-07-07