2 years of carnival of eating disorders!

welcome to two years of the carnival of eating disorders!

yes, it’s been two years as of today. here’s how it all started:

if you’re not familiar with blog carnivals, you may think this is an odd name – this link here will tell you more about blog carnivals. this carnival contains articles about bulimia, anorexia, orthorexia, body image and overeating gathered from other blogs.

i’d like to tell you right off that this carnival is not about dieting – for a very simple reason. dieting is usually the last thing needed by people who struggle with food. the majority of them already know pretty much all they need to know, and more.

difficulties around food often start quite early in a person’s life. for the first few years, these difficulties are often not taken very seriously. this is frequently followed by a period of immersing oneself in a variety of efforts to lose weight, which tends to be accompanied with reading up on (and following) information about dieting and nutrition.

for some people, that does the trick, and serious problems with food never become chronic. for others, though, this is the beginning of a downward spiral, centered around an obsession with eating food and losing weight. interestingly enough, this is the same for people who overeat and those who undereat – only how they go about these activities differs.

what helps in these situations is not yet another diet but a whole different outlook and set of behaviours around eating and body image.

what do you think? is this a valid introduction to a description of eating disorders? the only thing i would change today would be to add a sentence somewhere about body image because one way or another, that’s a related issue for everyone.

after this long introduction, i’ll do the same this time around that i do with the buddhist carnival (which also appears here on change therapy) and post this carnival in two parts. don’t want to make you work too hard, seeing that you need to get going with your new year’s eve celebrations 🙂  here’s part one, then:

anorexia and gay men
at the new gay, an insightful 2-part series on the experiences of a gay man falling prey to, and then recovering from, anorexia:

i was a full-on feminist in every sense of the word – save one. my unrelenting best friend, who always kept me in check, fiercely and consistently pointed out how hypocritical i was being in obsessing over my body. one day she put her foot down. she demanded that i sit and not get up until i had read an essay titled the body politic in an anthology of writings by third-wave feminists called listen up: voices from the next feminist generation. i acquiesced, annoyed. i was never the same.

well, as you can imagine – that book went right on my books to read shelf!

yoga: a new way to fight anorexia and bulimia
eating disorders are complex; so are the ways in which people recover. reading a book helps one person; yoga is a key element of recovery for others:

after carolyn coston took her first yoga class, she burst into tears. “this is not a real workout!” she thought. coston, then in her 20s, had recovered from anorexia but was battling an exercise addiction.

“i was used to pounding the pavement and burning tons of calories,” said coston, who had dropped 45 pounds at the height of her anorexia.

that was 30 years ago. thousands of sun salutations later, the trim but healthy blonde is grateful for the way yoga taught her to respect her body and helped her keep her anorexia and exercise addiction at bay.

bulimia is a dental disease
i was really excited to see this blog post and to hear about the book. it’s so important for health professionals to work together in helping people with eating disorders recover. like all chronic or long-lasting conditions, it doesn’t take long at all for an eating disorder to affect all areas of one’s life – one could say that that’s when the difficulties really start to set in. in that sense, health professionals who deal with chronic or persistent conditions could take a page from addiction specialists: the severity of the addiction is often measured by how much it affects the rest of one’s life. it’s not just about how much gin you pour down the chute if you’re an alcoholic or how many hours you spend on the treadmill if you’re an exercise addict – it’s what happens after and around that. how much time do you get to spend with your family if you’re busy at the bar or at the gym? what does obesity do to a person’s knees and feet? in my experience, eating disorder specialists do look at these issues but it’s the other health professionals – people in sports medicine, orthopedics and yes, dentistry – who will do well in educating themselves better in this area.

so much for my rant. let’s see what tiptoe from between living and existing has to say:

we all know that eating disorders can wreck havoc on oral health. bulimia, most notably can take a heavier toll at first symptoms which continue to accumulate further as the eating disorder progresses. in this press release, dr. brian mckay, a dentist in seattle, discusses his new book, bulimia is a dental disease.mckay’s goal is not only to educate about the damage of bulimia to one’s oral health, but also to bring together the dental community in helping eating disorder clients. mckay says, “we need a change in the standard of care. dentists must form alliances with eating disorder professionals. together we can treat both the mental and oral aspects of this disease and the result should be a higher success rate. there is nothing more inviting than seeing someone smile again.”

read here for the rest.

that’s it for today. i’ll be posting the rest some time by january 7.  in the meantime, do you have, or do you know, a post that would be a good addition to this carnival? if so, please submit it here or drop me a line, and we can enjoy it next month, at the carnival of eating disorders on january 31.

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