Tag Archives: bulimia

eating disorders, depression and perfectionism

by now you must have cottoned on to the fact that i really like therese borchard’s beyond blue: surviving depression and anxiety and making the most of bad genes.

one of the things she talks about in that book is her run-ins with eating disorders. in the chapter BMI (body mass issues) – depression in my thighs she mentions a number of writers in the field. for example cherry boone o’neill and her book starving for attention

in my early years i equated my worth as a person with the level of my performance and i felt that the love and approval of other people would be conditioned upon my perfection. therefore, i expended every effort to be the best i could possibly be in any given area of endeavour, only to repeatedly fall short of my goals and risk losing value in the eyes of others. trying even harder, only to miss the mark again, resulted in compounded guilt and self hatred.

therese then draws the connection between eating disorders and depression, citing dr. raymond depaulo from johns hopkins who observes that young women with eating disorders also tend to suffer from depression. it’s interesting to hear therese compare the two experiences:

i asked a veteran nurse which illness – an eating disorder or a mood disorder – is harder to overcome.

“an eating disorder, hands down,” he said. “because you have to eat to stay alive, and so it’s always there. you are always confronting your behaviour.” butter, flour, and friends are always at the table sprouting horns.

depression has bullied me much more than an eating disorder, and i’d take anorexia or bulimia any day over the intense suicidal thoughts i experienced for eighteen months later in life. but before giving birth and whacking out my brain chemistry, i did get to enjoy several years symptom-free of depression. there were many days i didn’t even think about my mood! but to this day the eating disorder is still there. at every meal.

in the next chapter, she talks about the perfectionism that we mentioned earlier.

like practically every other depressive i know, perfectionism can cripple my efforts to live freely and happily, not to mention plague me with writer’s block. left unattended, perfectionism will build a prison around me so that every shot at expressing myself is thwarted by the fear of not getting it right.

one of the people who helps her with that is her editor. she reminds her of something that goes for all of us, whether we’re depressed, deal with eating disorders, are writers, or whatever else. she constantly reminds her to

to write from wherever i am, not from where i want to be, because the journey – full of backward steps – is what makes material real and most helpful.

finally, she quotes anna quindlen:

perfection is static, even boring. your unvarnished self is what is wanted.

beating ANA – one relationship at a time

women singingrelationships replace eating disorders. period. the end.”

this is the central message of beating ANA – how to outsmart year eating disorder and take your life back by shannon cutts. it’s a book i’d recommend to anyone who wants to work their way out of an eating disorder.

the more loving, supportive, therapeutic relationships that exist in your life, the more the odds of recovery shift in favour of a return to health.

what kind of relationships are these? for shannon cutts, these are mostly mentoring relationships.

a mentor is a trusted guide who has knowledge and experience in a certain area, and is willing and able to share it.

a mentee is a person in need of guidance and instruction, and is willing to receive it.

shannon describes how being mentored made a huge difference in her life, helping her turn away from anorexia and bulimia to a place where she says

i sing again
and i speak
i speak out against some
but mostly towards all of us
who have splintered off our hearts and souls
from our minds and bodies …
who have forgotten that we are all whole by design
and that whole is the only way.

whole is beautiful.
whole is worth living
and loving.
whole is exquisite – utterly unique.
whole is believable – the only believable you and me.

and most of all, whole is the only thing worth dying,
living and fighting for … do we ever really realize –

you are the only you who ever was, is, or ever will be.
and i am the only me.

TRUST. HOPE. FAITH. LOVE. LIVE. TRIUMPH. BELIEVE.

more at her web site, key to life.

this is a great book, and i’m hoping to speak more about it in the coming months.

image by thomas hawk

eating disorders: learning to let go

this is the second interview for this blog’s very own eating disorder’s week month spring. the first one was a three-part series on eating disorders and relationships. here is an interview with a vancouver woman who has struggled with recurring eating disorders, including anorexia, orthorexia and bulimia, and is currently maintaining a healthy weight with a healthy diet.

isabella: you say you’ve learned to stop obsessing about food. do you find that stopping that obsession is absolutely crucial for recovery, or does it just happen to be a tool you find useful for yourself?

vancouver woman: i’ve not been witness to anyone who’s recovered the same way i did. most people i knew who were in recovery were as obsessive as me about their diets; they were being told to eat more calories but they were still being tallied.

for me, letting go was critical. my ED phased between bulimia and anorexia with orthorexia; the orthorexia was very obsessive because it wasn’t just thinking of fat and calories but also the quality of the food and pesticides and additives, etc. i was vegan for a time too, which added yet another layer of concern and guilt. (now there’s the carbon footprint to worry about too!) it got so extreme that when i went into market there would be barely a half dozen items i was “allowed” to buy. that restrictiveness spiralled, i was vegan too and there was hardly anything i “could eat.” so i had to eliminate all restrictions and learn to get over the guilt and self-monitoring and calculating. to eat naturally again i had to start letting myself eat *anything* and not measure consequences.

do other people need to do that? i would say it depends how deeply obsessed they are.

isabella: can you give a “before and after” example of a particular type of food or behaviour around food?

vancouver woman: i had a small handful of recipes i made all the time because i knew what the calories and fat were thanks to online calorie counters; tally up the ingredients then divide and plan meals. that meant fewer and fewer convenience foods. might sound great, right? ultimately i was eating only homemade vegan soup with few ingredients because otherfood was too hard to make, to control and justify with all my rules. i never ate out, either. the more spartan and virtuous my diet became, the more rewarding it was (so was the weight loss) which kept it going.

now i don’t consult calorie counters at all, and don’t follow diets that require it. i admit i still look at labels when shopping but it’s for general quality info (like avoiding MSG).

isabella: “letting go” sounds so simple – and can be so difficult to do. do you have some tips about how to let go of the obsession about food?

vancouver woman: i had to stop all forms of restricting. all at the same time i stopped counting calories, stopped being vegan, stopped buying organic-only food. all the rules and barriers i’d created to keep myself from eating.

but the disorder wasn’t just about food, it was obsessing over my body too, so i also stopped weighing and measuring myself. all the numbers, conditions and pre-requisites had to go.

from there it was a matter of being mindful of having chosen to remove those restrictions. reminding myself again and again not to feel guilt or fear about food. “no guilt” became a mantra.

isabella: having learned how to let go of the obsession with food, do you find that this letting go is helpful in other areas of your life, as well?

vancouver woman: i can’t think of anything, no. my mindfulness skills were acquired before my recovery (independently of it; i never had a therapist work with me on my ED, nobody covered by insurance had special training) so i was already practicing.

isabella: is there anything else you would like to add?

vancouver woman: i do have a small regret about giving up veganism, because i support it in principle and have friends who are vegan (some people judge me for it now, not knowing my history). i don’t often eat meat beyond seafood, but fear that if i relabel myself i’d go back to scanning ingredients for reasons to put food back on the shelf (eggs are in so many things) and it could be a slippery slope.

i do choose healthy food a lot anyway. i genuinely prefer the taste of tofu!

eating disorders and relationships

remember last week i asked people to be interviewed about eating disorders? well, some people volunteered. today i am happy to introduce you to joanna poppink, MFT, a long time private practice psychotherapist in los angeles specializing in eating disorder recovery. her blog is at stop eating disorders.

joanna will talk about how eating disorders affect relationships. she has a lot of very interesting things to say, so we’ve decided to present her wisdom in two parts. i’ll be posting part two by sunday.

isabella: i am often contacted by people whose boyfriends or girlfriends suffer from anorexia or bulimia. they want to help and have no idea where to start. what advice do you have?

joanna: i’m a trained licensed psychotherapist in practice since 1980. i’ve specialized in treating people with eating disorders since about 1984 and have attended countless 12 step meetings. and, helping someone with an eating disorder is still challenging for me.

so, then, what can a loving friend or family member or caring colleague do to help?

first is to separate the person from the illness. you support the person you care about, but not the eating disorder. you make no special arrangements to defer to the demands of the eating disorder, don’t make special foods, avoid certain restaurants, keep secrets for the person or go against your own values and principles to help them feel better.

the best thing you can do is let them know you care about them while you continue to live a healthy life yourself. let them meet you in health. let them be inspired to find their way to recovery so they can join you in a healthy life. let them see what they are missing when you don’t compromise your values to accommodate the eating disorder.

you can’t force a person into recovery. but you can show them the benefits of living a healthy life and perhaps, by so doing, inspire them into recovery.

isabella: once a person starts on the road to recovery from anorexia or bulimia, how does that impact on their relationships – romantic and otherwise?

joanna: anorexia and bulimia are illnesses that affect a person’s body, mind, heart and soul. a person with an eating disorder often believes her perception of herself, her values, her strengths and weaknesses, her intelligence and even her loves and hates are her own. she doesn’t realize that all these aspects of her lived experience are powerfully influenced by her eating disorder. her dreams and visions for herself are limited and distorted. she doesn’t know who she is, and she thinks she does.

everyone, and i mean everyone, in her life is present in a relationship with her based on who they think she is. many are in relationship with her because of who they need her to be.

when she moves into recovery mode, her genuine personhood begins to appear. her taste and preferences become clearer. she is surprised by her strengths, and often, so is everybody else. instead of trying to please or deferring out of fear, she finds herself saying, ‘no,’ where she used to say, ‘yes.’

some people benefited from the gifts she has but never used for herself, like intelligence, creativity, education and various skills. some needed to be with a dependent and frightened person so they could be in the powerful, rescuer/savior role.

the people who can grow themselves, who can live a mature and responsible life with respect for another’s boundaries, goals and lived talents as she follows her heart can remain in relationship with the recovering person. the relationship will become more equal.

but it’s difficult for people to grow and change if they are set in their ways and committed to a particular way of life and sense of themselves. many will not be able to tolerate the recovering person’s emerging self and her self respect.

a challenging part of recovery involves dealing with the shock and pain of discovering how vested others were in the eating disorder symptoms. when the symptoms fall away and the true person emerges, many old relationships fall away.

the new relationships are based on who the recovering person is now. people who are attracted to a sick person are different from people who are attracted to a healthy person.

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.

carnival of eating disorders, november 2008 edition

here is the november edition of the carnival of eating disorders!

anorexia and “becoming unspecial”
lola snow has a thoughtful post on the notion of being special, something very important for a lot of people who are in the throes of anorexia. some would say that being anorexic is about being special, about showing the control that results in standing out. in 12-step circles, this attitude is referred to as “terminal uniqueness”, a sometimes literally life-threatening attitude of being different: needing to be different, suffering from being different and the “no-one understands me” syndrome. there are a lot of interesting conversations about what it means to become less terminally unique and still remain the unique one-of-a-kind specimen that each and every one of us is. here’s lola’s contribution to that conversation: becoming unspecial.

anorexia, bulimia, NaNoWriMo
since i’ve participated again in NaNoWriMo this year, of course we have to have an entry here from someone who worked on a novel in november, too. here is a novel excerpt by someone who actually made it and wrote the 50,000 words (not something i can say about myself, unfortunately):

in the eighties, i saw an article in a magazine about a man who eats and then takes 50 laxatives. he weighs 5 stone (about 70 pounds) and looks like he’s going to die any minute. these pictures repulsed me and i thought to myself, ‘how can a person be so foolish? how can he lose control like that? how can he take all those laxatives? doesn’t anyone know what he is doing?’

of course, i didn’t see myself.

read more of soulbrush’s story here.

pro-anas on facebook
there was quite a bit of fanfare last week about pro-anorexia sites on facebook. one of the more intelligent treatments of this topic comes from my friends at PsychCentral:

so what does all of this do for people? isn’t allowing people to discuss their pro-ana needs just plain harmful and potentially dangerous? not necessarily:

marcia herrin, a dartmouth professor who has written several books on eating disorders, finds the public nature of the discussions of anorexia on facebook encouraging, because it shows that teens are less afraid of confronting eating disorders.

the more “out in the open” these kinds of concerns become, the more society learns and can answer the kinds of information (or mis-information) they promote.

insurance companies pay to help with eating disorders
this november edition seems to be the “news” edition. good news, then, from new jersey, where eating disorder treatments were recognized to be treatments for a mental illness, and therefore “worthy” of being covered by insurance. we have similar successes with that here in canada. here is ED bite’s article about it.

anorexic girl expelled from school
all is not well, though. the F-word discusses the case of a girl who was expelled from school because of her anorexia.  i know nothing about the particular circumstances of this case but two things that the post mentions are worth thinking about:

unless a client is extremely disabled, kincaid said, “it’s hard to prove you’re qualified. the more i make it negative, the more i pile on about how ill you are, the more the other side argues, ‘well, you’re not otherwise qualified to be here.

and

at the pinnacle of my eating disorder, i was carrying a 15-18-credit hour course load. school was my saving grace – if i didn’t have the structure and support of my studies to rely upon and motivate me just to get up each day, i might be just another eating disorder suicide statistic. in fact, it was my education and the accompanying encouragement to self-examine both the world and myself that factored greatly into my own recovery.
would the school expel a student undergoing chemotherapy to treat cancer or lymphoma? are new hampton students suffering from depression or who are obese up for expulsion, also? eating disorders are a certifiable mental illness and in some anorexia cases, represent a disease of the brain. it’s time that they receive the same respect that any other medical condition would receive.

big people in the air
another piece of news was the court ruling here in canada that overweight people can ask for two seats on airplanes. here are two reactions, one from the big fat blog, who endorses the ruling, and another one here, symptomatic of how some people who don’t understand eating disorders think about people with weight issues:

the courts in the great white north have ruled that the human chunks eh must be allowed to have 2 seats for the price of 1 on flights within canada. as if airlines don’t have enough problems nibbling at their bottom lines they now have to have to allow the big bottoms to chomp on the airline profits.i have to say i earnestly hope this idiocy doesn’t come to the states since i don’t believe in fat rights. about the only right i think tubbies have is the right to either stuff their faces or not.

body beautiful
wilhelmina has a lovely, inspiring post about looking at our bodies:

all of a sudden, you catch sight of yourself in the full-length mirror. and you look. for once, you aren’t staring because you’re thinking of all the things you don’t like, and all the things you want to change. you’re staring because you notice curves, and tapering lines, and grace.

read here for the rest.

mindful eating – thinking about buddhism
the word “mindful” is often connected to buddhist ideas. it’s interesting, then, to read “exceptionally fat” ‘s post about mindful eating because it demonstrates how to put the “middle way” (an important buddhist concept) into practice.

intuitive eating was absolutely invaluable when it came to ‘legalizing’ those foods i had once completely banished from my house. i couldn’t bake because i wasn’t to be trusted around baked goods. i couldn’t order packages of liz lovely cookies because i would eat them all in a week and then feel terrible *and* have no cookies. i saw complete avoidance of these foods as the only option. don’t get me wrong, i could have a cookie or a brownie, but only when i could go out and buy just one. this was less problematic when i lived in atlanta and had easy access to all sorts of vegan goodies. here, it involves an hour long drive which would make it completely ridiculous to just buy one treat.

so i took the advice in this book and filled my kitchen to the brim with all kinds of formerly forbidden foods. it was honestly terrifying at first, but eventually it worked and those foods ceased haunting me with their very presence. i now keep ‘bad’ foods in the house with no problem.

disciplined eating – christian thoughts
these two attitudes – disciplined and mindful eating – came together quite by accident, and so did the fact that there are connections to buddhist and christian thoughts. healthymahma mentions a book by elyse fitzpatrick, author of love to eat, hate to eat, who uses the acronym D_I_S_C_I_P_L_I_N_E_D E_ating to “remember whether your eating is sinful or not”. as you might imagine, i find the idea of sin not overly useful. however, if we can free ourselves from the fundamentalist tone, some of fitzpatrick’s points could serve as interesting models, for example:

11. D_istract: will preparing or eating this food distract me from something better that god has for me to do? for instance, would i do better by ministering to the lord or my guests rather than spending excessive amounts of time cooking some elaborate meal and being frustrated that others aren’t as impressed about my cooking as i am? (does it really matter if the gravy is lumpy? will anyone remember that you spent hours cooking, or will they remember that you loved them and spent time ministering to them in conversation, prayer, and fellowship?)

a few months ago, i wrote a guest post on my friend alexander’s blog, transcending the murmur, where i talk about “translating” such texts. for example, “ministering to the lord” could be translated into “remembering my values”, and “ministering to them in conversation, etc.” could be “being present to them”.

emotions and recovery
the “E” in fitzpatrick’s acronym stands for emotions. jen talks about this in her post more on anger and recovery, which, the way i read it, is mostly about negativity and recovery from unhelpful eating. (anger, in my book, is not necessarily synonymous with negativity). i really appreciate this image:

there’s a difference between looking for the hidden reasons we do things and clinging to them as some sort of badge of honor and excuse. as easwaran said in the yoga journal article, “can you imagine a sculptor scurrying to pick up the slivers that fall from his chisel, hoarding them, treasuring them, ignoring the statue altogether?”

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 december 31.

carrnival of eating disorders #17

welcome to the 17th carnival of eating disorders, where we look at blog posts that deal with anorexia, bulimia, exercise bulimia, overeating, orthorexia, EDNOS, body image and other related topics.

i have to confess that after all this time, the name “carnival” of eating disorders still rings funny in my ears. thesaurus.com suggests these alternative words for carnival:

“carny, celebration, circus, fair, feast, festival, fete, fiesta, holiday, jamboree, mardi gras, merrymaking, revelry, show, sideshow”

hm. “the mardi gras of eating disorders”? how about “the feast of eating disorders”?

well, maybe not quite. what do you think? should we get a new name? if so, what do you suggest?

in the meantime, this is what we have on the roster for this month:

obesity and breast cancer
like every friday, something on cancer:

obese women tend to have a much more aggressive disease and that means a lower survival rate. in a study, dr. massimo cristofanilli at the university of texas m.d. anderson cancer center, observed 606 women with advanced breast cancer … they classified the women by body mass index into three groups, normal, overweight and obese. obese women had a 56.8 percent survival rate after five years, 56.3 for overweight women and 67.4 for normal weight women. reportedly the fat tissues are to blame for the more aggressive form of the disease and for the likelihood of recurrence.

read here for the rest.

children with eating disorders

australian children as young as six are presenting at hospitals with eating disorders so advanced that almost half require forced feeding to save their lives, a study has found. new data has confirmed that anorexia and starvation are becoming increasingly common among children, with a third of cases seen in under 18-year-olds now occurring in kids under 13.

overexercising

when my mental health started declining in 2004, i used exercise to cope. actually, i over-used exercise and became addicted to it, compelled to engage in it. my passion for exercise began quite innocently, with the occasional short run or trip to the gym. before long, running to and from the gym became the routine.gradually, however, i began challenging myself and soon enough created a network of people who enjoyed physical fitness and fed my growing preoccupation. i pushed myself to keep up with this athletic crowd. eventually i came to rely on the thrill and escape from the feelings of unworthiness that physical fitness offered.

blondbombchelle talks about her realization that she is dealing with an eating disorder, which also includes exercising too much:

after years of yo-yo dieting and struggling with weight and poor body image i finally recognized early this year, with the help of books, a health coach and other medical professionals, that i suffered from a binge eating disorder complete with a side of exercise bulimia and super-sized diet obsession.

… and gives us these insightful words:

i have been consuming solids for over 32 years now, but am really just beginning to learn how to eat.

anorexia and suicide
josh hill discusses a new study in australia about suicides by people suffering from anorexia. it is a well-researched article that also points to a previous finding:

a previous study of about 250 women suffering from anorexia in 2003 at harvard university showed that the risk of death by suicide among anorexic women was 57 times what would be expected from a healthy woman.

the blessings of bulimia

you think i’m kidding, right? well, i’m not. there are blessings to be found, if one is willing to look. first of all, right at the start, bulimia is a loud warning signal. something is very wrong and we are trying to cope. it is a call for help, and some are fortunate enough to have it heard early on. deep inside, you know something isn’t right. you are looking out for yourself, but you’re not in a position to do it all alone. you’re doing the best you can.

food and body image – when you’re not so young anymore
adventures in reading reviews a book about – well, about women like me, i guess

the day i ate whatever i wanted and other small acts of liberation [is] the latest collection from elizabeth berg. this was my first time reading anything by berg and i found the collection humorous, thoughtful, and nice.

the thirteen stories scrutinize mostly middle-aged-women’s relationships with food, body image, aging and family.

guilt and eating
at small steps to health (which has the great tag line, “we do not take orders from a cookie!”), asithi has some good ideas about moving away from guilt after a mistake:

there is no need to feel guilt for a mistake. we do not need to double our workout time today because we miss our workout yesterday. after all, it is not as if we are going eat 10 pounds of spinach today because we have not been eating them for the last year. instead focus your energy on how to not make that mistake again.

and more: barbara goes into the medical/scientific explanation of being overweight and in a post that is not directly related to our topic but is nevertheless of interest to us here, d. singh asks whether google healthy is health for us. can we entrust our health to google? finally, the middle man presents man flu, a story about a strange disease that left “middle-aged, midland-born, middle manager from the UK” with a phobia of eating in public for years.

that’s what i have to report for this edition of the carnival of eating disorders.

i’m going to take a short hiatus from this carnival and will be back with the next carnival of eating disorders on july 31. once again, i’d like to invite anyone interested to host this carnival – and of course to submit any and all interesting articles here!

carnival of eating disorders #16

hello people! this is the new edition of the carnival of eating disorders. unfortunately, i’ve been having problems with the blog carnival site (the site that administers all the carnivals) so i have had only a few submissions this month, two of which i’ll be including.

to substitute for the slim pickins, i’ll feature this time a poem – last day of poetry month! – and two topics that twitter friends of mine have suggested.

a bulimia poem

imagine yourself in a room of people eating.
jaws break down and digest tiny nutrients
absorbed by miniscule pores, countless internal mouths
in the stomach lining, fissures in nerve tissue.
by the window, there is a girl frozen with fork raised,
distanced from the herd”a cautious lone zebra
crouching in the reeds, spying lions at the waterhole
and hiding her stripes.

go here for the rest.

anorexia promotion to be outlawed in france
the first topic suggekeira knightley, super skinnysted is by jan, who thought it would be useful to talk about a bill adopted by france’s lower house of parliament this month which could be the catalyst for the worldwide fight against eating disorders. the bill still needs to be approved by the senate but if that occurs, it would make it illegal for anyone — including magazines, web sites and advertisers — to publicly promote extreme thinness or unhealthy methods of dropping a few dress sizes.

here are three views on that.

girl – woman – beauty – brains says

with the jury still out on the cause of eating disorders, i can’t condone france’s hard line approach to dealing with the media. you know what happens when the government gets involved in free capital issues. not only does corruption loopholes or other means to circumvent the system arise, but usually the legislation and ensuing laws are ineffective.

looking at how this might play out in the courts, particularly in the US, carrie from ed bites takes a more favourable view, citing the ideas of a father of a person with anorexia who also happens to be a lawyer:

while the first amendment probably protects pro-dieting and pro-ed speech from government censorship, it does not protect that kind of speech from civil liability. the tobacco industry, for example, was nailed for huge money damages for failing to disclose the dangers of smoking and for evil practices like marketing cigarettes to children. those practices violated general tort law and consumer protection statutes and were found by the courts not to be protected by the constitutional right to free speech. it would be interesting to look at the marketing practices of the diet industry for examples of where it crosses the line. like failing to warn of the dangers of dieting.

finally, the people at 5 resolutions are pretty clear on their positive take on this and urge others to go along:

if you think the u.s. government should play an active role in eating disorders research, treatment, and prevention, go to the eating disorder coalition’s website and sign up for their newsletter. we just did.

what do you think? should any form of favourable communication about anorexia and bulimia be banned? or is that a form of censorship? what kind of effect would such a law have on people with anorexia or bulimia, and on the population as a whole?

anorexia and exercise
the second alert i got from my twitter friend rob cottingham, who pointed out that the april/may edition of the running room’s magazine has an article about eating disorders. i tried my best to find anything on the internet about that but wasn’t able to. going onto the running room’s forum, there is a small section on anorexia. interestingly, it has a poll asking whether anyone on the forum knows a runner with an eating disorder. 25% said they did. i think the idea of a sporting goods company talking about eating disorders is fascinating, and if any of you know anything more about this, please let me know!

and here are the two submissions that made the cut.

obesity and overeating
the weight loss continues to report on his particular way of losing weight – trying a new diet every week or so. here he talks about eating raw.

at small steps to health, people who are struggling with their weight are encouraged to

take a few days (at least one weekday and one weekend) to write down any emotion related eating. on a sheet of paper, put in four columns: triggers, behaviors, consequences, and action plan.

she then goes into a bit of detail for each one of these. this is a method that works well for people who are really ready to beat their demons. it works for any habit, and i highly recommend it.

so, people, that’s it for this month. if you have written an article on any of these topics or have seen one you like, please, submit it to the next edition of carnival of eating disorders, to come out on may 31. please use the carnival submission form.

(image by jo salmon