Monthly Archives: January 2008

carnival of eating disorders #13

welcome to this month’s carnival of eating disorders, a monthly collection of interesting posts on eating disorders and related issues such as anorexia, bulimia, orthorexia, cumpulsive exercising and overeating.

it’s interesting that this carnival is right after the progressive dinner carnival, isn’t it? lots of stuff about food …

because we were so inclusive with yesterday’s carnival, for this edition of the carnival of eating disorders i’ve been quite strict with the selection of contributions. if a post wasn’t directly related to eating disorders, if it was something that we’ve all read about many times already, or if it simply didn’t strike my fancy, i didn’t include it.

the good thing is that with that approach, we have a real nice distillation of articles. here we go:

in eating disorders and the net, the writer muses about what it was like when she was anorexic pre-internet:

my experience often leads me to wonder if i would have hung onto my relationship with anorexia (or “ana” as “she” is often referred to on message boards and blogs) if i had been exposed to other anorexics via the world wide web.

today, there are plenty of sites out there espousing the “positives” of being “pro-ana and mia”. (for the uninitiated, “mia” is an abbreviation for bulimia.) and given my personality, i know without a doubt i would have eagerly traded secrets and ideals and warped body image views with disordered eaters across the globe.

that would have been very, very destructive. in fact, i might still be too thin(or dead) today.

now, don’t get me wrong ” the internet isn’t all bad or all good. and i’m not demonizing it; i’m simply offering my opinion.

like any tool, the web is what you make of it.

another article on anorexia: laura collins talks about a 20/20 piece about an older anorexic woman that laura feels did not take into account more recent findings about anorexia.

body image
elastic waist points to a questionable quizno’s commercial:

once again, you have two possibilities in this world–you get to eat, or you can be hot. there is no in between! also, sandwiches are messy and therefore somehow defeminizing. and if you’re in one camp, you must hate/envy/not relate to the other side.

taking a more compassionate and realistic perspective on dress sizes, beauty is a commodity talks about tv actress rebecca field:

in an industry ruled by an obsession with the coveted size zero, the full-figured rebecca field is a welcome addition as a regular on october road. the actress plays plump barmaid janet “the planet” meadows in the abc series now on its second real life, field has had her own experience tending bar at the olde heritage tavern in lenox, massachusetts. more importantly however, she recently took on the responsibility of spokesperson for a timely health cause that is also made evident by her role in october road.

in the fall of 2007, field signed on as spokeswoman for the non-profit group, multi-service eating disorders association or meda. the outfit endeavors to educate, prevent and help treat eating disorders, something the actress considers especially relevant.

seventh hippo offers a little bit of information about diabulimia saying “it’s a little known eating disorder that has a mortality rate of 34.8% per year. this needs to be talked about!”

diabulimia is a new phrase for a phenomenon that is not very well-known. it is another form of bulimia, an eating disorder that typically strikes teens and young adults who are type 1 diabetics.1

it seems as though there are diabetic teens who would much rather go blind and be skinny than be healthy and potentially overweight. what they do to achieve this goal is to wilfully ignore their bodies’ need for insulin. this sends the body into a state of starvation, resulting in unhealthy weight loss.

and here is a song by a man (“we want to be pretty, too”) who is dealing with bulimia.

steve oliphant gives an interesting anecdote about parenting his little son who has an aversion to swallowing. of course one might wonder whether there are people whose aversion to swallowing is less developed and who then develop anorexia later in life but according to at least one report, this is not the case.

samuel bryson muses about why diets don’t work

diets themselves go against human nature, they are in themselves rather counter intuitive. yet the fact remains that even if someone really knows what their doing nutritionally and on a physical level and constructs a very healthy and reasonable diet to yield slow consistent fat loss (not just weight loss) with the inclusion of exercise and so forth that they can still fail. why is this? it’s largely got to do with the approach to the diet. here again psychology is the key word. dieting is a flawed concept.

other posts on overeating included
four reasons to eat your food slower
project weight loss
handling cravings
wish exercise wasn’t so hard?

what did you think of this carnival? did you learn something new? did it help you to think differently about eating disorders? let me know!

if you have or know of an interesting article on eating disorders, please submit it here. the next edition will be out on february 28, 2008.

progressive dinner is served!

ok, here we go! the long awaited progressive dinner blog carnival!appetizer, image by

what’s a progressive dinner? you start out at one house or restaurant to have hors d’oeuvres and cocktails, then move on to a different one for appetizers, and continue moving from place to place all the way through dessert. our good man kilroy figured we might as well do something like this with a blog carnival. today, ladies and gentleman, we are serving six “courses” of delicious blog posts from all around the world, each with a different host.

six hosts, six different ways of presentation.

here at this table, we have three attractions – yes, bloggers and bloggerettes, gentlies and ladies’ men, count ’em: 3 – and they are:

  1. the blog posts themselves, of course, gathered from the blogosphere far and wide – and believe me: this is a carnival! everything from politics to weight loss to poetry to money management, it’s all here, that and more!
  2. each post is coupled with a quote about food. the coupling, my friends, is entirely random, just like in the carnival, you never know who’s going to sit beside you in the food tent.
  3. … and … this evening, at 6pm pacific standard time until 8pm, we will have a dinner conversation here in the comment area! come one, come all, we’ll talk about everything under the sun, we’ll laugh and maybe shed a tear and laugh some more and enjoy each others’ company.

you will see each entry starting with the name of the blog, followed by the title of the article, and then paired (kind of like wine pairings) with a quote.

here, then, is our most delicious spread. have your fill!

one for your success: for your success supports stopping the war in iraq

what garlic is to food, insanity is to art. (augustus saint-gaudens)

your dose of lunacy: ‘your shivering is our way of saying “we care” ‘

food is an important part of a balanced diet. (fran lebowitz quotes)

nancy zimmermann, the canadian money coach:can i spare some change

americans have more food to eat than any other people and more diets to keep them from eating it

myopic broadcast: glamorous

beer is good food

flooring the consumer: 20 year relationships

my body is a temple where junk food goes to worship

jobmob: the daniel scocco approach to setting job search goals

the political and commercial morals of the united states are not merely food for laughter, they are an entire banquet (mark twain)

kilroy’s the gonzo papers: when splatters matter

news is like food: it is the cooking and serving that makes it acceptable, not the material itself (rose mccaulay)

things i’ve found in the blogosphere: stop the war in iraq!

any healthy man can go without food for two days, but not without poetry (charles baudelaire)

inspirationbit: dos and don’ts: colour

i have noticed that what cats most appreciate in a human being is not the ability to produce food, which they take for granted – but his or her entertainment value (geoffrey household)

riehl life: village wisdom for the 21st century: 13 longevity and healthy living secrets gleaned from my-92-year-old-pop erwin a. thompson

good talk saves the food

the lives and times: a belated two year blogiversary

dinner at the huntercombes possessed only two dramatic features: the wine was a farce and the food a tragedy (anthony powell)

urban monk: the life that has gone on before: the perils of compassion, part 2

looks are so deceptive that people should be done up like food packages with the ingredients clearly labeled (helen hudson)

are you eating with your anorexic?: adults with eating disorders

the murals in restaurants are on par with the food in museums (peter de vries, american comic visionary, editor, novelist, satirist and linguist)

all tips and tricks: online, offline, what difference does it make for the bear?

mosquitoes remind us that we are not as high up on the food chain as we think (tom wilson)

ali gator: news of the weird: qur’anic ringtones

ever since eve started it all by offering adam the apple, woman’s punishment has been to supply a man with food then suffer the consequences when it disagrees with him (helen rowland, english-american writer)

tales of ladies, goddesses and bitches: my thoughts exactly

i am not a glutton – i am an explorer of food (erma bombeck)’s total mind and body fitness: average men – how do you measure up?

a cabin with plenty of food is better than a hungry castle (irish sayings)

religion, politics and the great pumpkin: “immigants! i knew it was them! even when it was the bears, i knew it was them.”

god gives all birds their food but does not drop it into their nests (danish proverb) 5 tips for speeding up your pc

facts are to the mind what food is to the body (edmund burke, british statesman and philosopher)

telling it like it is: how to teach your children about money and money management

part of the secret of success in life is to eat what you like and let the food fight it out inside (mark twain)

my simple trading system: stock market 2008 – third worst opening day

he looked about as inconspicuous as a tarantula on a slice of angel food (raymond chandler, american writer)

the agonist: american parallels

the lion is most handsome when looking for food (jalal ad-din rumi, persian poet and mystic)

hyperhydrosis: hyperhydrosis: what is it?

the disparity between a restaurant’s price and food quality rises in direct proportion to the size of the pepper mill. (bryan miller)

weight loss dude: five gifts for those losing weight

there is no question that rumanian-jewish food is heavy. one meal is equal in heaviness, i would guess, to eight or nine years of steady mung-bean eating. (calvin trillin, american writer)

the sporadical: birdbeast in flight

a nuclear power plant is infinitely safer than eating, because 300 people choke to death on food every year.

diary of a second life courtesan: communication rules: the trouble with text or what i have learned the hard way

justice requires that everyone should have enough to eat. it also requires that everyone should contribute to the production of food. (elias canetti, bulgarian playwright and novelist)

poetic leanings: poem: silence

maybe a person’s time would be as well spent raising food as raising money to buy food (frank a. clark)

enhance life: if you want to be understood….

it was not so very long ago that people thought that semiconductors were part-time orchestra leaders and microchips were very, very small snack foods. (geraldine a. ferraro)

undercover black man: remember kennedy? (wish you didn’t?)

it is not necessary to advertise food to hungry people, fuel to cold people, or houses to the homeless. (john kenneth galbraith)

dr. martin russell: reverse your but

when poets write about food it is usually celebratory. food as the thing-in-itself, but also the thoughtful preparation of meals, the serving of meals, meals communally shared: a sense of the sacred in the profane. (joyce carol oates)

the ominous comma: writing prompts for the not-so-prompt

food is our common ground, a universal experience. (james beard)

balanced success: become a pioneer

a food is not necessarily essential just because your child hates it. (katherine whitehorn)

the simple nickle: what does it mean to be financially secure?

i believe that if ever i had to practice cannibalism, i might manage if there were enough tarragon around. (james beard)

paradigm shifted: just cause you got the monkey off your back doesn’t mean the circus has left town

i’m at the age where food has taken the place of sex in my life. in fact, i’ve just had a mirror put over my kitchen table. (rodney dangerfield, american comedian)

this wasted monologue: mike huckabee monologue

when i gave food to the poor, they called me a saint. when i asked why the poor were hungry, they called me a communist. (dom helder camara)

a voice crying in the wilderness: how convenient

god comes to the hungry in the form of food. (mahatma gandhi)

blog-blond: memed again!

i hate a man who swallows his food, affecting not to know what he is eating. i suspect his taste in higher matters. (charles lamb)

discover. inspiring. media. : pushing the limits of creativity for personal development and business innovation

to be engaged in a desperate struggle for food and shelter is to be wholly free from a sense of futility. (eric hoffer)

the digerati life: the brand new world of peer to peer lending

if more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world. (j. r. r. tolkien)

jon swift: journalism 101

the trouble with eating italian food is that five or six days later you’re hungry again. (george miller)


so, my friends, what do you think? ready to move on to the first course at fallen words

and if you liked this carnival idea, here are a few more:

  • you’re invited to the originator of this idea, kilroy at the gonzo papers on february 15th, for the gonzo gratitude! carnival
  • JM is hosting the scribes carnival, on february 4th, at fiction scribe
  • anthony is hosting the surfer’s paradise hullabaloo! carnival at the lives and times… on february 18th
  • anja has two carnivals coming up at anja merret – chatting to my generation: the observations of life carnival on february 17th and on february 23rd, the personal power carnival
  • here at change therapy, i am hosting two carnivals in february. the buddhist carnival runs february 15th and the carnival of eating disorders runs february 28th. at alphablogs, i’m running canada 9-5, a showcase for canadian business blogs, on february 28th.

is overeating a problem for you? 22 questions to help you find an answer.

it’s january 29, and you’ve had a hand at trying your new years resolutions. i sincerely hope they’re going well.

one of the three most common new years resolutions concerns dieting or just generally changing the way you eat. if that something you’ve decided to do and it’s going well, good for you.

if dieting is something you tried and it doesn’t seem to work, it’s possible that you have a compulsive or addictive relationship with food. here are a few questions that may help you reflect on whether that’s the case.

(is this something you’d like to discuss in private? give me a shout.)

  1. do you often tell yourself “i won’t eat” and then you do it anyway?
  2. do you go on eating binges for no apparent reason?
  3. do you have feelings of guilt and remorse after overeating?
  4. do you give too much time and thought to food?
  5. do you look forward with pleasure and anticipation to the time when you can eat alone?
  6. do you plan secret binges ahead of time?
  7. do you eat sensibly before others and make up for it alone?
  8. is your weight affecting the way you live your life?
  9. have you tried to diet for a certain period of time, only to fall short of your goal?
  10. do you have a history of yoyo dieting?
  11. do you resent others telling you to “use a little willpower” to stop overeating?
  12. despite evidence to the contrary, have you continued to assert that you can diet “on your own” whenever you wish?
  13. do you have persistent food cravings?
  14. have you forgotten what it’s like to be hungry?
  15. are you at a loss to understand why someone would refuse a tasty morsel of food with the words, “no thanks, i’m full”?
  16. do you eat to escape from worries or trouble?
  17. have you ever been treated for obesity or a food-related condition?
  18. does your eating behavior make you or others unhappy?
  19. are you ashamed of how, when or how much you eat?
  20. do you avoid looking into the mirror because you can’t stand to see how you look?
  21. does it often feel that food is one of the few things in your life you can control?
  22. does it sometimes feel that food is your best friend?

(these questions were adapted from and inspired by OA)

(thanks to therepeutic reiki for including this post in the carnival of healing #124

neurons and chocolate

the text under this beautiful image – which you can watch in animation – goes like this

a complete understanding of neurovascular coupling is crucial for interpreting functional imaging data and normal brain function. neurons have an intimate relationship with astrocytes, smooth muscle, endothelial cells, pericytes, and erythrocytes. neuronal chemoelectrical activity is speculated to be linked to several metabolic cascades, collectively known as neurovascular coupling. neurovascular coupling includes the followed events: glucose is metabolized to lactate in astrocytes, the lactate is then shuttled to neurons and metabolized with oxygen to form carbon dioxide and atp. arteries deliver oxyhemoglobin to neurons, and oxygen is then released in the presence of carbon dioxide, thus converting oxyhemoglobin into deoxyhemoglobin. nitric oxide or neurotransmitters such as acetylcholine released by active neurons cause relaxation of smooth muscle in arterioles, thus increasing blood flow and volume. functional brain imaging techniques such as EEG, PET, FMRI, or OIS detect the changes during one or more of these events during neurovascular coupling.


i think this is about how blood vessels in the brain, neurons and their helper cells interact with each other. there seems to be some sort of relay going on (the “metabolic cascade”), much like in a restaurant kitchen. one cook brings the milk, the next one adds the chocolate, a third one pours the mixture into flour, etc. and eventually we end up with chocolate cake. (i know, i just can’t get my mind out of the chocolate gutter these days. it’s all director tom’s fault.) the end result is the “increased blood flow and volume”.

anyway, go see the animation. it’s really quite beautiful and helps make some sense of the text.  it’s not a bad idea to have a bit of a clue of what’s going on in our brains.

and if anyone wants to enlighten us further as to what this is about, please go ahead!

recovering from bad work experiences: after the job offer

welcome to my last instalment of jacob share’s and my conversation on leaving bad work experiences behind. we started this in november and discovered the six stages of recovery from bad work experiences:

we’ve already covered

  1. resign: get the hell out of dodge!
  2. recover: get your bearings before you throw yourself back into the job search
  3. resources: make an inventory of your values, skills, knowledge and experience
  4. research: get the skinny on the people you’re next going to work with
  5. reapply: put yourself on an even foot with the employer
  6. results

so today we’re on to the “results” phase. usually this is:

get a job offer, accept it, phew.

this is how we usually do it, right? but if we’re smart it’s more involved – so involved that i’m thinking that “what happens after you get the job offer” could be a whole different series of posts …

however, i digress.

let me tell you a better sequence than get – accept – phew:

  • negotiate: once you get the offer, don’t say yes right away. this is the time for questions and negotiations: they want you and you are in the power seat. discuss benefits, vacation, work hours, start date and similar topics.
  • time off: when discussing the start date, unless you are totally strapped for money, build in some free time. you just left a difficult job, went through unemployment and a job search – one of the most stressful events in a person’s life – and you need to reward yourself with a day or so where you can take a breather. either take some time off now, before the job starts, or get a day or so right at the beginning of the first few weeks. you can tell your prospective employer that you had already booked day X and it would be difficult for you to reschedule. i’ve never seen an employer refuse that.
  • make a considered decision: unless you are 100% percent sure that you want the job and the chances of regretting it later are minute, give yourself some time. a graceful way of doing that that i have always seen work is saying something like, “thank you, this is marvellous! i have a policy of making important decisions within 24 hours. can i call you tomorrow at 10?” (by the way, that is a good policy!) if you have a feeling that this isn’t the right job, i urge you not to give in to panic and keep on looking.
  • stay alert: once you start your new job, don’t ditch your job search completely. there is a reason why the first 3-6 months are a probationary period. obviously, you won’t continue a full-fledged search – but keep your eyes open.
  • keep that resume fresh: even after the probationary period, never stop updating your resume.

why do this? of course, you want to be prepared. but more than that, doing this will remind you that you are in charge of your job and your job search. with that frame of mind, chances are you’ll never find yourself in a bad employment situation again.

(this post was included in the “i want to change my family tree” carnival) 

loving kindness for our unknown neighbours

our meditation meetup meeting on wednesday was at the buddhist peace fellowship here in vancouver. a great big thanks to my friend jennifer for arranging this!

at the end, we did a bit of metta practice. metta is a buddhist loving kindness practice directed literally at everyone in this world, starting with oneself.

i was astonished and pleased to hear that something similar to what i have been practicing on and off was also recommended there as metta practice. you see, part of the magic of metta is that one extends good will to people one does not really know. however, there can be a bit of a difficulty with this because opening one’s heart to someone who you don’t know can feel a little flat and academic.

so here’s something that i’ve been doing that helps to overcome that. i usually do it at the end of the day. i go through my day and look for feelings, events and thoughts that catch my attention. the other day i was riveted by an image of chocolate, for example! today i am thinking of the people in gaza whose power has been cut off. and a little while ago i was browsing through some research on shyness, so that’s been on my mind a bit.

chocolate, gaza, shyness: things that have held my attention today, things that are emotionally charged for me today.

for metta, then, i might do something like this:

i might imagine someone in my neighbourhood who is struggling with chocolate addiction. i conjure up an image. perhaps a woman sitting in the kitchen, the table littered with chocolate bar wrappers.

may this neighbour of mine who is struggling with her food addiction be healthy, happy, peaceful and free.

then i think, there’s probably someone not too far from here who has relatives in the gaza strip. they must be worried. i imagine them sitting in front of the TV, sighing.

may this brother of mine who is worried about his relatives, may he and his relatives be happy, healthy, peaceful and free.

i can also imagine that someone not too far from here, probably even somewhere in my block, is painfully shy. i imagine that person – you know what, i’ll even give her a name: cindy – sitting in front of her computer, surfing the net, trying to distract herself from the terrifying thought of the meeting she has to attend tomorrow.

may cindy be happy, healthy, peaceful and free.

dear abby! no, i mean, dear nettie

nettie, the bloggers' dear abbynettie has arrived! she’s “your emotional blog adviser“. is she going to become the bloggers’ dear abby? the dan savage of web 2.0? the dr. phil of social media?

only time will tell …

but you gotta love her handsome little 60’s picture.

visit her for her first column: what to do when you’re too shy to blog.

robbie burns and robbie laing: teachings on blind spots

suspicion is a heavy armour and with its weight it impedes more than it protects
robert burns

the range of what we think and do is limited by what we fail to notice. and because we fail to notice that we fail to notice, there is little we can do to change; until we notice how failing to notice shapes our thoughts and deeds.
rd laing

this coming friday, january 25, is robbie burns day. this made me think of one of my favourite scotsmen, the rebellious, compassionate, thoughtful, cranky rd laing, the psychiatrist who initiated the anti-psychiatrist movement. i think his politics of experience may have been the first book on psychology i ever read.

so let’s see, do these two scotsmen have something to teach us?

rd laing’s quote is very, very important. we need to always be on our toes for our blind spots, and the first thing to do is to emphatically acknowledge that we do have them. then we can go on a hunt for them. i try to do that on a regular basis. here are a few things that can alert us to possible blind spots:

  • a strong urge to criticize someone. if you can’t help yourself, go ahead, but then ask yourself: do you do something similar? and where does the desire to criticize come from?
  • a strong “negative” emotional reaction to something or someone. fear, anger, disgust are good tip-offs. these emotions almost always arise because there’s something we’re saying no to. if we say no to something, we don’t want to see it, so it’ll automatically be in our blind spot or at least tucked away somewhere in our emotional basement (something that can cause depression, as i pointed out in this post.)
  • a strong non-reaction can be a sign of a blind spot, too. it’s one thing to notice in passing that we’re not interested in something. that’s normal. but sometimes we just emotionally blank out on something.
  • being overly certain of something. if you feel you are 100% right on something, it might be that you’ve arrived there after quite a while of thought or experience. or you may be one of those people that can honestly rely on your gut feelings. however, if they say that you “doth protest too much”, if you tend to become defensive of your certainties, you might have a blind spot there.
  • suspiciousness is another clue. robbie burns puts it very well: it’s a heavy armour that impedes clear thinking. i had a client once who had a very hard time keeping relationships going, even though she wanted them so much. but she always suspected people of taking advantage of her, of laughing behind her back, of disliking her. and you know what, that brings me back to rd laing. he was a firm believer of the healing powers of a good relationship between a client and a therapist. it was in this relationship, indeed, that my client slowly started softening her suspicious armour.

so let’s thank these two scotsmen for their teachings today.

why don’t we celebrate it with a bit of oatcakes and scotch! while we do this, let’s wave a hello to vancouver’s own todd wong, who’s in the picture up top, and who celebrates his own hilarious brand of robbie burns day.

(cat-and-whiskey image by leff)