To parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and writers of The Denver Post,
Thank you so much for your concern about my supposed “drunkorexia,” which is apparently the deliberate decision to eat less food on days destined for drunken debauchery. Though this is not an official medical term, it has been noted in Colorado as a recent “growing trend” among college women. However, let me assure you, drunkorexia is not actually real, and the things that appear similar to the nonexistent disorder may actually be conscious dieting choices among university realities.
Any college student’s diet is abnormal and worthy of attention on its own. Our campuses are equipped to fight our appetites with buffet-style dining halls filled with low-quality options, and our kitchens are stocked with frozen pizzas, chips and Cup of Noodles, each drenched in unhealthy preservatives and way too much salt. Our meal times are tightly squeezed into our schedule among study sessions, work shifts, volunteer programs and internship hours – meaning we chow down while running out of our apartments and we treat ourselves to late-night breaks in the middle of all-nighters. It may not be an ideal routine for our waistline, but it works out well for our resumés, academic transcripts and graduate school applications.
With that said, extending our workouts and skipping meals may not be our best bets, but announcing, “I’m drinking, therefore I don’t want to eat so much, so I’m going to have a mixed green salad and a Diet Coke,” seems like a sign of sensible maturity. In a nation expanding quickly with actual medical concerns such as obesity and diabetes, maybe a couple calorie swaps – whether we plan to drink or otherwise – are a good idea!
It is true, there are college women – and people in general – who are seriously battling eating disorders and/or abusing substances. However, anorexia nervosa and bulimia are commonly related to a distorted self-image or fear of losing control, while alcoholism is characterized as its uncontrolled consumption and often inspired by personal reasons. These are both serious conditions, related in some cases, but those who are skimping snacks solely to stay under the recommended daily caloric intake after a few shots should not be diagnosed the same. Or with made-up medical terms like drunkorexia. It isn’t fair for those students who actually need the medical attention, and it’s simply annoying to those who don’t.
We’re in college, we’re going to drink, so we might as well be logical and somewhat healthier about it. This isn’t a problem so much as it’s a solution. Come on!
And to the UNC students who keep “seeing their friends drink on an empty stomach, binge on ‘drunk food’…then feel guilty and vomit” – that is not drunk food, that’s affordable food on a college budget that your friend is eating because she only had a bowl of lettuce for dinner and now, 6 hours later, she’s hungry. Plus, people don’t throw up because they feel guilty, it’s because they’re drunk/hungover. So be a friend, hold her hair back, and buy her dinner next time – there’s probably a better chance she’s saving her money instead of her calories for alcohol!