Feelings and perceptions of women recovering from anorexia nervosa regarding their eating behavior

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According to the phenomenological approach, observing a phenomenon through the perspective of those who lived it may be necessary to acquire fully comprehension of it. Therefore, to fully understand the eating behavior during anorexia nervosa and during its recovery, this study investigated individual perceptions and feelings of three women recovering from anorexia nervosa. This study is characterized as a qualitative research with phenomenological approach. The data were collected through interviews and analyzed following steps proposed by phenomenology researchers. During the anorexia nervosa experience, food restriction and irregular meal patterns were observed. Controlling food intake was associated with happiness. Guilt, anguish, sadness, fear and anger were associated with eating, and food was considered a villain. An obsessive thinking about food and a paradox between liking to eat and not wanting to eat were also observed. During recovery, it is important to have a more flexible eating behavior without negative feelings regarding food; however, feelings of guilty and fear were still detected. Perceptions about contact with nutritionists revealed the use of ineffective strategies. Although similarities were found in all reports, every woman had their own particular and singular experience. Rescuing their memories and experiences through their speech was important to fully understand and comprehend these personal experiences, and this complete understanding may enable health professionals to act more efficiently in the treatment of this complex phenomenon.




Petry, N., de Assis Guedes de Vasconcelos, F., & da Cunha Feio Costa, L. (2017). Feelings and perceptions of women recovering from anorexia nervosa regarding their eating behavior. Cadernos de Saude Publica, 33(9). https://doi.org/10.1590/0102-311X00048716

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