Monthly Archives: November 2007

carnival of eating disorders #11

welcome to the november 30, 2007 edition of carnival of eating disorders.

i see this carnival as serving two purposes: one, as a concert of the voices who live with eating disorders – as people personally affected by them, as friends and loved ones, as professionals. the other purpose is to educate people who do not deal with eating disorders on a frequent basis. there are a lot of misconceptions out there, and it’s important to set them right.

one misconception is that bulimia and anorexia “are for young women only.” for one thing, these eating disorders are also experienced by children, by men, and by people over 25. the other is that the aftereffects of anorexia and bulimia can last a lifetime – not that these aftereffects can’t be managed, they can even be a good source of learning – but these eating disorders are not like the flu. you don’t just have them for a while and then it’s over and forgotten.

with this in mind, let’s hand it over to faith from that is so queer, who talks about her experience of being a 36-year-old woman living with bulimia, in body ambivalence:

i am 36 years old. i will be 37 in six months and 1 day.

for all of the progress i’ve made in the past two years, especially since i didn’t even start recovery until after 17 years of on and off bulimia, i’ve gotta tell you, there is a huge part of me that feels so damn stupid.

despite knowing a community of intelligent, thoughtful and strong women with eating disorders, i still have a voice in my head saying eds are for nicole richie and your sorority sister. not smart, funny women like us.

so often when i disclose, people say things like, “i had a period of bulimia in high school.” or “i had anorexia in my freshman year of college.”

how juvenile do i feel as a 36 year old married woman, with a house and a job and all the responsibility that goes with it, sticking my finger down my throat.

next, carrie‘s corn at ED bites is about recovery from anorexia, about “plateau” feelings she’s having. she points out something that is very “loud” in the lives of people with eating disorders (and addictions, as well): the thoughts around the addictive substance or behaviour.

i’m still neurotic about food, but i can and do eat enough to maintain my weight.

at the same time, it’s still a tremendous battle. there are many days when i don’t want to eat, when i would rather go back to restricting because it’s easier and i know what it is. i have these constant thoughts telling me, “you can do this. really, you can. do you need that granola bar? that piece of cheese? that extra helping?”

and all i can think to reply is, “duh- i know i can do this. i’ve been doing it the past 8 years. it’s not rocket science. but i can’t. i won’t.”

i’m left with an enormously crappy feeling at the end of it all. okay, fine, i ate the food that i needed to. i get that this is a victory. but it feels like a hollow one. the progress is that i can respond to those eating disordered thoughts in a positive and healthy way. i just want those thoughts to go away.

following this, lucynda riley asks us, hold me accountable at a public diet. this is part of her first entry:

this is the first entry into this blog. i’ve been on a diet for a month. i haven’t made a lot of progress. i think i am a tiny bit thinner but not a lot.

a week later we find this entry:

… when I put on my favorite heavy denim skirt (that i made last year before i started dieting) it hung loosely on my hips. i had to pull out and remove 2 inches of elastic before it would stay on my waist and even now its not very tight. i did that with my green skirt two weeks ago.

so maybe this blogging is helping?

in that entry, lucynda talks about a “perfect size”. i’d be interested to hear what you, dear readers, think about that. what does it mean to be a perfect size? what’s your relationship with the “ideal weight”? how do ideal weight and size relate to, say, comfortable or healthy weight and size?

these are the three entires featured this time around. of course, there were more submissions. i have to tell you that i don’t mention all submissions – some of them really don’t have much to do with eating disorders. for example, i rarely include recipes, anything that talks about new diets, or is just a very general article about eating disorders. there’s lots of other places where you can read about that. so you can be sure that i’ve vetted every article you find here. that includes these ones:

therapydoc offers hoo-du ya love, substances, and the bake sale at one of my favourite blogs, everyone needs therapy. this post is a warning about hoodia gordonii.

chris gives us here’s one way to eat healthier snacks. the blog is the healthy snacks blog.

sagar presents top 50 vegan and vegetarian restaurants in the world. she’s a travelhacker.

james d. brausch at weight loss dude has a question: does rice make you fat?

that’s it for this edition.

so, people, if you have written an article on any of these topics, please, submit it to the next edition of carnival of eating disorders, to come out on december 31. use the carnival submission form.

oh, and here are my questions again:

what does it mean to be a perfect size? what’s your relationship with the “ideal weight”? how do ideal weight and size relate to, say, comfortable or healthy weight and size?

isabella mori
counselling in vancouver

recovering from anorexia: a treasure trove of wisdom

last year, i had a post entitled recovering from anorexia: 10 activities. over the months, we’ve had some important conversations on that post and a lot of wisdom from people who are overcoming anorexia. i’d like to present this wisdom here in a somewhat organized and easy-to-read format. these are all things that have helped people who are in recovery from anorexia. none of these ideas and activities were “invented” by a therapist – they’re all tried and true.

i’d like to thank everyone who has contributed to this so far. none of this was written by me – i’m just the person who gathered it all together.

1. constant reassurance- often when eating, i repeatedly ask those around me (parents, my partner) whether it is “okay” for me to be eating what i’m eating, whether it’s “okay” to gain the weight… i know what their answers will always be, but it helps to hear it repeated.
2. engaging in healthy relationships: a form of distraction, this makes me feel loved, special and takes my mind away from the negative thoughts.
3. honesty: when i have the strength to do this one, it does help… but it’s a matter of me not wanting to ‘burden’ people with my rubbish.
4. try not to get caught up in the social network around you if it entices unhealthy habits.
5. not isolating myself from loved ones, i.e. going out to dinner with them and truly enjoying the company and food too

getting in touch with your body
6. for me it’s been a discovery of what my body actually likes and wants. it’s matter of listening to yourself and feeling ok in your own flesh.
7. the best thing is to try to learn yourself- when you’re hungry- how long you should work out, etc.
8. working hard to have the mindset that i can trust my body to balance if i eat a little too much one day.

9. i also use to keep a post-it note on my desk that read “some things just aren’t worth it” and it would remind me when i wanted to restrict that i wasn’t hurting anyone but myself.
10. personal achievement- doing things like short courses and working really helps, i focus my energy on achieving something else other than weight-loss and see positive results at the end.
11. fortunately, my parents noticed my sudden “healthy” eating habits and got me a wonderful team of therapists to treat it. it takes your body a little boost to get out of that dangerous underweight range, so when it was taking a long time for me to gain weight they told me i might not be able to go back to college. i realized my school, friends, and life were more important than something as silly as calories in food and i just had to try harder, every meal eating more.

12. i know it always helps me when i have schedule- so if it helps to plan out what your eating or when you can eat in between studying, socializing and classes definitely do that.
13. it seems somewhat extreme but every night before bed i would plan out my next day on a post it note bit by bit, when i should eat lunch and dinner in between my five classes, gym time and meetings… it kept me sane even through the tough times that i knew i had a plan.
14. walking away from unhealthy eating: i’m not always good at this and do slip up and purge, etc. but walking away definitely does help at times.

writing and art
15. spending quiet time with your feelings: writing is a huge helper, art and music too. i would recommend any of these, almost above everything else, to people trying to recover.
16. writing does help but it feels pointless but good for me at the same time

self empowerment
17. i have taken things into my own hands and am doing much better than anyone thought possible.
18. find your own ways to cope. for me, it’s reading research articles through our school library on the long term effects of eating disorders. from my readings i have found that sure, you can take calcium pills, but they won’t do much if you’re deteriorating your body, which isn’t just fat. it’s muscle and bone too.

eating differently
19. sometimes i eat a lot in the day, sometimes i eat a little bit less…it all balances out. now that i’m nourishing myself extra i can exercise, but i take days off and just hang out with friends. i also eat something after i workout, i.e. fruit with peanut butter.
20. i also don’t drink coffee or diet soda to limit my appetite. in my research i found that the phosphoric acid (found in pop) and caffeine (found in coffee and usually pop too) are no no’s for bone health.

body image
21. i realized my worth is not a number on a jean take, especially such a small one. plus, curves are beautiful. it’s normal to have relapses in thinking, but you just need to keep eating normally. it’s so much better to prevent an eating disorder or prevent relapse.
22. it’s kind of nice feeling “above” the whole propaganda that thin is in. notice that most with people with eating disorders are women? hmm…i know with mine it was also a control thing, but i have to admit the media was a part of too.

understanding the disease
23. every time i want to restrict i look up research on the effects of eating disorders and osteoporosis (especially because i know i have that), ones that are credible. it scares me so much that i never skip a meal anymore because malnutrition is so harmful to the bones.
24. people with anorexia are bound to get cravings when they start eating, and chances are, they are going to last for quite some time.

made a decision
25. i too one day just decided that i was going to eat, because i wanted to get better and also because i love food so much.
26. it took me about two months to finally decide that i was sick of controlling every mouthful so one day i just decided to buy a huge box of chocolates after dinner one night and i finished the whole lot, enjoying every second of it. now that was a turning point. i began looking forward to my after-dinner treats, and now i eat a lot. i have just reached my minimum target weight, but i’ve yet to get my periods. so, that is my motivation to keep up my weight.

27. i also stay away from calorie counting or anything that would lead to me ocd about food.

be gentle with yourself
28. try to be gentle with yourself. know that there will be some nights where you should have ate more, or should have not eaten so much- and know that it takes time to get over this problem. know that if there is a time where you eat too much- it’s only a few minutes of your life, you aren’t a bad person, and forgive yourself and move on.

4 reasons why we like lists

write lists, write lists, that’s what every blogger is told.

what is it that we find so fascinating about lists? i tried to find some research on that but can’t come up with anything so far. hm. let’s ask some academics who might know: john suler, famous for his psychology of cyberspace studies; chris from mixing memory, a cognitive psychology blog; and web strategist jeremiah.

in the meantime, here is … uh … a list of what i think attracts people to these bulleted and numbered items:

  1. lists impose a feeling of order on the jumble of demands, feelings, thoughts, information and other input that we’re faced with every day.
  2. lists are easy on the eyes; we can quickly skim them.
  3. lists are less threatening than long paragraphs. they’re less likely to contain complicated ideas and turns of phrases.
  4. numbered lists, especially when they’re a response to a problem, can give us a feeling of relief. only 5 things i need to do to get my energy back? sign me up!

what do you think? do you like lists? no? why or why not?

oh, and the reason why i’m writing about lists today is because i just took part in a little list writing project. well, maybe not so little. there were 67 of us, each offering a “list” post. i’ll, errr, list them all in a minute. by december 3, i’m supposed to tell which ones i like best.

why don’t you look them over and tell me which one i should vote for?

a tester’s dream – 5 steps to revive a rejected bug! by debasis pradhan

escape the rut by catherine kunst

form a running habit with seven easy steps by shane magee

how to prepare for christmas by ajay

list of classes by priscilla palmer

list of why blogs are a female gender by domtan

lovecraft & cthulhu christmas list by cullen bunn

my five wish-list classes i would enroll in by al

six savvy reasons why you should travel light by sheila beal

six simple steps to remembering and living the abundant life you are meant to live by anita pathik law

ten things i didn’t know until last week by blaiq

the quitter’s checklist by em dy

the top ten internet business ideas by john

thirteen reasons why wordpress is superior to blogger by jhs

to do to make tomorrow better by bob

twelve days of classic country christmas by scott

my top-10 personal development blogs by marco

100list – 100 things i can do to make more money. by dj wright

3 things i wish i knew then what i know now by stephen hopson

3 ways to bring back the joy to the holidays by karen lynch

what you think is what you see: 4 ways to stop negativity by holli jo

5 crash course tips in viral marketing by john murch

5 reasons (not) to drink coffee by lodewijkvdb

5 reasons why i bought a domain by wishbone

5 surefire ways to increase comments on your blog by vijay

5 things that i believe to be lies by krizza

5 ways to become the perfect idiot by lori

5 ways to crack or reset a forgotten windows xp administrator password by aseem kishore

5 ways to win a blog contest by erz

6 steps to take writing ideas from wordpress themes by karen zara

7 powerful tips to overcome failure by donald latumahina

7 seven tips for students to success by xoel cardigan

7 tricks you need to fight procrastination by samir bharadwaj

get out of debt quick: 7 tips by tejvan

top 7 paid review writing mistakes you can avoid by prince john

8 habits of highly successful salespeople by daniel sitter

9 ways to achieve success in life by adebola oni

10 life lessons learned while camping by ad tracker

10 productive ways for moms to “relax” by neena

10 things to consider before acting as your own contractor by shawn van dyke

10 tips on how to watch a horror movie when you are a scaredy cat by migraine chick

10 ways to improve your personality by z hereford

10 ways to survive the writers’ strike by cynthia boris

10 ways to work through your workout by gal josefsberg

your top 10 inspirational quotes by sparky

12 wordpress editors you can choose by karthik

13 encouraging questions by isabella mori

15 tips to prevent repetitive strain injury and carpal tunnel syndrome by css

17 power tips for stumbleupon beginners by dr. mani

18 tips to become a productive blogger by monika mundell

5 blogging ups, 5 blogging downs, and 10 blogging tips by albert foong

21 punching tips on social media marketing and social media optimization by etienne teo

top 23 motivation tips, tricks and tactics from the blogosphere by mike ambrose

26 ways to change the world by chris

35 guaranteed ways to increase your rss subscribers by fred

no cost business tools: 37 free applications that make your life easier, free of charge by levi

40 ways to make your mind your playground by fier

50 ways to start a conversation by dee

100 motivators for informal learning by marcel ackermann

100 resources to improve your career, relationships and money by lawrence cheok

100 sites i seek inspiration from by iain hamp

100 things to do before i die by joseph gibbs

100 ways to personally conquer chaos at work by judy martin

100 ways to promote a startup by jason drohn

best 101 lists by pearl

150 funniest resume mistakes, bloopers and blunders ever by jacob share

100 things to write a list of 100 about by kotsengkuba

a new theme

well, folks, i finally have my new theme up and running. what do you think? i still need to iron out all kinds of little kinks and realize that i want to re-write all my pages (as opposed to the posts) – but all in all, i think my new “house” is ready. please feel free to kick the tires and tell me what works and what doesn’t.

here are my thanks:

first of all to my readers. thanks for sticking around through all these changes and experiments!

i also want to thank SBI, the host for my counselling in vancouver website for two years, for stellar service. unfortunately, their system didn’t work out for me but that is absolutely not due to them. i would highly recommend them. great service, tons of information and advice, a really nice community. the main reason why i switched away from them is because i wanted to amalgamate my web site and my blog, and that didn’t fit with their technology.

thanks also to my friend zoe neill-st. clair, one of the most intelligent people i’ve ever met. she’s been my main technical advisor and has made the cutline theme into this good-looking babe of a site. originally, we were going to use tiga. the main reason why it took forever to make the change from the old theme (about two months) is because we kept wracking our brains trying to find a way to fix a permalink problem with tiga. it turned out that with my server, we simply couldn’t use the already existing permalink structure, which i needed to keep because of all the existing links to this blog. so good-bye, tiga. too bad. it’s a really nice theme.

also, thanks to 1and1, the host of this blog for about 18 months now. they’ve always been helpful, have sometimes gone way beyond their scope, and the few times when their advice wasn’t quite accurate, were always quick to correct things.

finally, i want to thank my friend robert sanzalone, who i consider to be my blogging “godfather”, and all the friendship and support i continue to receive from my blogging friends – too many to list here – and particularly my buddies from the vancouver bloggers meetup.

the STORR game

need to shake up your brain a bit? play the STORR game – STOp-Reflect-Realize:

what to do: print out a few copies of this page, and then tuck them away in places where you’ll stumble across them in the next week or so. whenever you come across this sheet:

stop – reflect – realize

you can do this in your head, or you can do it in writing. you’ll find a spot for writing down some notes at the end of this post.

rules of the game:
1) anything goes
2) try to be as honest as you can


when i stopped, i was doing/thinking/feeling/seeing/hearing/ smelling/tasting/sensing this:

that friggin car down the alley again, with its mufler of.

we’re applying the “anything goes” rule: it doesn’t have to be “important”; it’s only for you so swearing etc. is perfectly fine if you feel like it; nobody cares if there are spelling or grammar mistakes.

then i thought about this for a while, and these are my thoughts:

i always get so angry when i hear lowd noises like that even as a child i did that. i wish i was like marcy she doesn’t give a hoot about stuff like that, she’ll sleep through anything. i hate this noice, and i hate feeling so angry about it.

then i mulled it around for a bit and then it occurred to me that

hey, wait a second, maybe i get so angry about this because my grandmother and my uncle always fought when i was little, and i couldn’t sleep, but they always, always hushed me up. i’m still angry about that, too! to be honest, i wanna scream and shout too! betty said the other day that i don’t have to reackt anymore the way i did when i was a child so maybe one day i won’t have to get so angry anymore when i hear lowd noises. wouldn’t that be awsom!

note: we’re applying the rule about honesty.

okay, so now it’s your turn.

oh, and let us know if you came up with anything interesting!


STOP – when i stopped, i was doing, thinking, feeling, seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting or sensing this:



REFLECT – these thoughts and emotions came up as i reflected on it:



REALIZE – then i mulled this around for a bit and it occurred to me that



(and if you want to, you can add this:) and from now on, i am going to



(that’s the last “R” – for renovate)

(this post appears in the 29th total mind and body fitness carnival

creating community

helping handsresearching for an article, i came across a number of interesting resources on building community, and i thought i’d share them with you. at the beginning of next year i’ll tell you what this is all about …

(image courtesy of whatnot)

the soup oracle

from my tea table book of poetry, here’s a poem i wrote many years ago. it’s neat to see that eventually i did ask the oracle what it meant …

full moon over bolinas

read the soup last night
12 midnight
was good
good hot soup in the fall
few days before new moon

read the soup and the soup said
“i’m your noodle oracle –
mamma mamma,
hear you cry mamma”,
the noodle soople oracle said to me
“mamma mamma,
hear you cry mamma”
and i nodded to the noodles –
reluctantly, i dare say,
but i noddled, yes,
covered in lavender sports coat over beige lady outfit
cause it was starting to get cold
12 midnight
a few days into fall –
but the soup was good and hot.

a few days before new moon
the noodle pasta ooracle said
– as i slurped –
“listen, between those wafts
of monosodium glutamate fogs
rising up from my steaming body,
listen, i can feel
the eater of my noodle essence
longing for more warmth
than my hot liquid can ever give you.
i can see you yearn
for softer softness
than my white dough even though
it caresses, traverses, mushingly, over your lips and tongue –
and no one noodle, gliding down inner throat into
the depths of your sad, weeping stomach
can fathom the ravine of your soul
– needing more, needing more -”

there i stopped.
i stop now.
do i want to hear more, noodle oracle?
do i want?
do i?

and yes
the moreness of my hungry, driven soul
lifts its arms and says
“give me, soup, more of your nasty, disturbing
give me
as more is that which i always

so the soup says,
“see –
there’s more of me …
in other forms and other words …
i hear you cry mamma
pasta mamma pasta mamma
but mamma is gone
there is more of me …
in other forms and other words …”

and i pretend
not to stand
not to under-stand
pasta oracle noodle words
i pretend
to be hungry for food …

until i can’t stand
i can’t stand
it no more.

that day
i will ask the pesky pasta oracle
what it is that it meant
and where it is that i can get
because i need more.

but not now.
my coat is warm.
my bed, waiting, soft.
and noodles, for now, cover that hungry soul within me.

(this poem was listed in december’s creative carnival)


there’s a new web site, prayer 2.0, with an interesting discussion regarding different ideas about prayer. my reply turned out to be quite long so i figured i’d simply post it here. one contributor said this, among other things:

in my mind, “pray” is something you do when you don’t want to do anything yourself. it is a way of unshouldering responsibilities …

another problem with prayer is that it is not about conversation: prayer is one way. it is an odd sort of monologue, in that it is subservient, but it is still soliloquy. it has none of the back and forth that characterize reason.

here are my thoughts:

prayer, as it is conceived in various traditions, is very multifaceted. at its most basic level, it is engagement with a benevolent other-than-ego, non-corporeal other. (how’s that for theological mumbo-jumbo? i hope the next words will shed a bit of light).

what form that engagement takes and who that other-than-ego is – well, that’s an interesting question.

let’s take two extremes. feeding monkeys on your birthday to ensure prosperity is a form of prayer: “hey big power, i need/want more money, i’m doing what your priests have told me, so let’s make it happen!”

on the other extreme, there is work as prayer and the buddhist metta or loving-kindness meditation, in which we ask, among other things, for good things to happen to our adversaries.

in the first instance, we have a desire for something that is not essential, and we try to persuade whatever forces “out there” to get it for us. that would come close to what you described as shirking responsibility.

mother teresa saw her work as prayer. few people would call that unshouldering responsibility.

whether there is a god or not, prayer focuses. for example, when i make an effort to ask for good things for my enemy, next time i meet that person, i will be more inclined to act kindly towards that person.

deep prayer is often more like a conversation. it is engagement with god – whatever/whoever god is/stands for. and there is absolutely nothing that says that prayer has to be without reason. i think that’s a misconception by people who are under the mistaken assumption that god is only the the very limited god that is being talked about in some christian churches.

but god, or the concept of god, is much, much bigger than that. he/she/it/they ranges/range from the very human gods as, for example, envisioned by the hindu gods, to the immanent human goodness envisioned by some unitarian universalists – and anything in between. i don’t think it’s useful to judge spiritual practices only by what happens in one form of practice of one religion.

(this post can be found on the carnival of life, happiness and meaning)