Dying to Be Thin: Reactions to a Highlighted Documentary

2017-08-14 12.36.37

For extra credit in my nutrition course, we were presented to watch a documentary on eating disorders. Needless to say, we had to write a quick summary of what we thought. Below, I added the link to the documentary, for your viewing pleasure too.

Documentary Link: Dying to be Thin

The documentary closely follows the lives of several individuals (and educates on a specific population) who struggle from major eating disorders; anorexia nervosa, bulmia nervosa, and unspecified eating disorder. Of which, unspecified eating disorder is considered to be the most dangerous of all, due to the fact that it doesn’t present itself under usual eating disorder characteristics. The video goes deeper into explaining psychosocial stressors affecting these individuals on a daily basis. With that said, the documentary continues to elaborate and characterize the qualities of each of these disorders; in addition to expressing long term effects of these conditions.

Characteristics of Anorexia Nervosa

  • Intense fear of gaining weight
  • Increased exercise
  • Body image distortion
  • Excessive Dieting
  • With or without purging
  • Severe weight loss, anemia, fractures, electro-disturbances, amenorrhea

Characteristics of Bulmia Nervosa

  • Binge eating
  • With or without purging
  • Extensive use of laxatives, diet pills, or emetics
  • Weight typically maintained within normal ranges
  • Teeth erosion
  • Esophageal tears


  • Develop a supportive therapeutic community
  • Monitor fluids, electrolytes, eating habits
  • Provide positive recognition, in regards to modified behaviors
  • Explore coping skills and self-worth

Interestingly, in a normal person, when chyme enters the small intestine, the hormone CCK is released and signals the brain to tell the person to feel full. In contrast, in a person with bulmia over time, binge eating causes smaller amounts of chyme to enter the small intestine, thus less amounts of CCK signals the brain. And as a result, the person continues to eat more. 

Historically, anorexia was recognized to be caused by entirely different psychosocial reasons. In the 14th century, not eating was common for religious reasons and penitential acts. In the 19th century, “being thin meant being spiritual and being thin meant they have conquered their appetites.” In comparison to today, I feel that these behaviors heavily relate to objective ideals; such as looks, beauty, etc.

Now for my initial thoughts…let me go ahead a preface this by saying…I know and understand that this is a major issue and it shouldn’t be anything to joke around about. And I’m not trying to be sexist; I understand that both men and women suffer from this issue too. To be honest my first reactions, and thoughts throughout the whole video, was quite misanthropic. I was thinking, here I am, watching a video about these women who don’t want to eat food and gain weight because of psychosocial problems. And then meanwhile, I know that there are people from third world countries out there, who are not eating because they lack that necessity/luxury of food itself. I am increasingly persuaded that we (Americans as a nation) have gone soft, our morals and priorities are not in line, and we need a reality check. Perhaps we just need to go ahead and submit our surrender to the Russians/Chinese already. Without a sense of empathy towards these individuals/population, I don’t find the video sad at all; I find it rather annoying and pitiful.



Le, T., & Bhushan, V. (2016). First aid for the USMLE step 1 2016: a student-to-student guide. New York: McGraw-Hill Education.

Assessment Technologies Institute. (2013). Comprehensive NCLEX-RN review. 17th ed. ATI Nursing Education.

Author: nursesarereal

My nursing professor once said that keeping a journal, over time, will allow me to see growth. In myself? I’m not sure yet. I’m hoping. I like to believe that nursing school saved my life. Maybe I’ll have some fun doing this. Cheers.

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