I recently took a class titled ‘Neurobiology of Learning and Memory’ and one of the topics of the lectures was the connection between eating disorders and the brain. In earlier lectures, we had talked about Depression and Alzheimer’s. Both of the latter two are causes of either a decrease in activity of the brain, or death of neurons in the hippocampus (part of the brain involved in memory and learning), respectively. However, with eating disorders, it’s very different. The attitudes, emotions, and feelings that arise during an eating disorder are actually caused by the starvation, not by an underlying neuronal problem.
I do not want to bore the readers with any biological mumbo jumbo (even though I kind of already have), but the real purpose of this post is this next idea: Most anorexics and bulimics have a high recovery, as well as a high remissive rate when they follow the correct way of eating.
Basically, the idea behind a new treatment plan for patients with eating disorders is teaching them the difference between hunger and satiety. It’s like learning to eat like a kid again! Children will eat when they are hungry, and will let you know when they are done. As adults, we become ‘deaf’ to our bodies natural eating pattern. We eat when we’re hungry and continue to eat long after our body has reached it’s satiety level.
This new system was developed in Sweden and it uses a device called a Mandometer. This device is plugged in a computer and you place your plate of food on top of it. You eat while the plate is still on the scale. The mandometer will tell you your speed of eating and ask you of your satiety levels. Eventually, the patient’s goal is to adjust his/her curve to the ‘normal curve’ for eating. More information can be found here
The reason I found this to be interesting is because of two reasons: 1) it resembles the way our Prophet (SAW) ate and 2) it works with other eating problems like obesity, as well. So, if any of you are ever in need of a diet plan, just read the Sunnah of the Prophet (and follow it too). This goes first and foremost for myself.
"No human ever filled a vessel worse than the stomach. Sufficient for any son of Adam are some morsels to keep his back straight. But if it must be, then one third for his food, one third for his drink and one third for his breath." – Prophet (SAW); narrated by Ahmad, At-Tirmidhi, An-Nasaa’I, Ibn Majah
“It’s not what you eat, it’s how you eat it.”- Professor M