Can Being too Perfect Lead to Eating Disorder?
Perfectionism, or rather two specific forms of it, can drive a person toward eating disorders. The two forms of perfectionism are adaptive and maladaptive perfectionism. While the former is goal-oriented and drives a person to achieve the target set, the latter is more to deal with their mistakes and what other people think of them.
This research was done by Tracy Wade and Marika Tiggemann from Flinders University and was published in the Journal of Eating Disorders.
The common feature of both forms of perfectionism is that they are concerned with their physical features, and that leads to the eating disorder. The research studied over a thousand women from different walks of society and their BMI ranged from 14 to 64, i.e., from underweight to morbidly obese. It was found that the more difference these women had with their current BMI to a healthy BMI, the further their current body image differed from the one they envisioned.
Though the role of perfectionism in eating disorder has yet not been ascertained, it has been found that the need to be perfect triggers a person in making mistakes in his/her diet. It was observed that out of the 1,000 women, those who wanted to be the thinnest were most worried about being wrong and had lower self-confidence. They also tended to worry about their organizational skills.
"While some perfectionism is normal and necessary there comes a point at which it becomes an unhelpful and vicious cycle. Knowing that perfectionism of any sort is a risk factor for eating disorders suggests we should tackle 'all or nothing' attitudes with clients, as well as helping them to become less invested in defining their self worth in terms of their ability to achieve high standards," Prof Wade was quoted as saying in Medical Xpress.