Tag Archives: overeating

overeating – a neglected eating disorder

unhealthy habits and demographic changes are combining to place an unprecedented burden on the health-care system that may not be manageable, the heart and stroke foundation said in its 2010 annual report on canadians’ health.

so says the CBC about an alarming increase in heart disease and the potential for heart disease, adding `most of this is preventable.” the solution is

encouraging canadians to be more physically active, eat a healthy diet and be aware of their risk factors for heart disease.

“we all eat from stress, or because we don’t have time to prepare things,” said cheryl shapiro, a heart patient in toronto who was diagnosed with high blood pressure eight years ago.

she encourages people to read labels. “we don’t realize what we’re putting in our bodies.”

it is difficult to fit in the recommended minimum of 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise at least three times a week, shapiro said, but she does walk her dog regularly.

part of the solution is to create infrastructure to make it easier for people to walk to the store rather than driving everywhere to avoid exercise, abramson said.

“it’s easy to take shortcuts,” abramson said. “but in the long run, those shortcuts will be disastrous for our health.

there was a bit more about this on the radio but the gist was the same. what i found interesting – always find interesting about such news stories – is that obesity and being overweight is almost exclusively seen as a lifestyle choice. the equation of overweight = fat = out of control, unattractive, lazy, weak-willed etc. is not made explicitly but it’s really just three letters away. indeed, when i looked at the first five or six pages of the comments, i saw the word “lazy” six times. neither in the story nor in the comment pages did i see the word “eating disorder” or “addiction”.

i often get the feeling that in the world of psychiatric diagnoses, anorexia is much more noble than overeating. the overly thin person who uses her will power to deny herself a piece of broccoli is so much more appealing in our culture than the slob who sits in front of his TV, gobbling ice cream. of course both are caricatures and tell only a very, very thin slice of reality (for example, you could have two very similar looking people side by side, one of them struggling with undereating, the other with overeating. it doesn’t always show in the body size.)

there is controversy in the psych community over whether overeating is an addiction. i must say that i find NEDIC‘s approach in can i be addicted to food? just as naive as the above article. it ends up saying “once we begin eating in a normal, healthy way again, we won’t have the same desire to eat as much high-calorie, high-carbohydrate food, or foods we think are “bad”.” that sounds really easy, doesn’t it?

now of course “addiction” is just a label, so let’s not split hairs here (although personally i am firmly on the side of gabor mate’s definition of addiction, which would agree with the use of the word in connection with overeating). rather, let’s be clear on this:

there are many people who eat much more than they want to and are unhappy about it. they try and try and try and nothing seems to work. they experience things like this: they cry during binges because they hate that they are eating non-stop. they go to bed night after night with terrible stomach pains because they have eaten too much. they eat out of garbage bins, eat frozen and spoiled food. they go to great pains to hide their eating from others, often ordering nothing but a little salad when they go out with others. they go from macdonald’s to burger king to wendy’s, pretending they are buying for a family. they spend thousands of dollars on diets that work for a while and then go back to bingeing. they commit suicide over the shame they feel over their out-of-control eating.

this is not a little lifestyle problem that will go away with a bit of education and an admonishment to use more willpower. many people who overeat know a lot about nutrition already and know they should exercise more, just like many people who smoke know what their lungs look like. they are deeply unhappy that willpower doesn’t seem to work. my best friend’s mother, an astonishingly intelligent woman, died of lung cancer, greedily sucking on a cigarette just before she went into her last coma. while not every person who is overweight suffers with such intensity, there are nevertheless similarities. overeating, for many, is a disfiguring, depressing, despairing dis-ease that is difficult to fight. i wish that this will be acknowledged more in the coming years. come to think of it, MentalHealthCamp, our second conference on the intersection between social media and mental health, will be a great way to address this.

(this is another post for national eating disorders week)

self esteem: the thread in the quilt of recovery

a quilt in the makinghere is another interview with someone recovering from an eating disorder. this person used to eat too much, and has been and still is dealing with it by going to overeaters anonymous.

isabella: “you’ve come a long way, baby” – how long HAVE you come? what’s changed?

OA person: how long have i come? i would say the longest i have come is out of isolation. i am very aware of the benefits of talking/writing/meeting with others to discuss what is a core weakness in my life with people who understand. i carried the burden alone in my childhood. i am no longer a silent-suffering victim. i am an active participant in my recovery. so i am greatly empowered.

isabella: what’s the most important thing in your recovery?

OA person: the most important thing in my recovery is: hmm…self love

isabella: how would you characterize your relationship with your body?

OA person: my relationship with my body is greatly healed but there is still some ‘disconnect’ and i still need to ‘care more’ for self (especially losing weight). i am grateful for my body. it is relatively healthy. again, it is an improved relationship, big time.

isabella: self esteem – how does it fit into the quilt of your recovery?

OA person: self esteem is like the threads in the quilt of my recovery. i have to think i am worthy of a better life before i can embark on one. the more i use and grow the threads, the bigger and stronger the quilt!

isabella: any other comments or suggestions for someone with a story similar to yours?

OA person: just keep coming back. don’t give up. try something new in recovery. allow yourself to feel like crap if you do. but then move on. feel the feelings and then let them go. break out of isolation and start talking to people, sharing at meetings, phoning or emailing or whatever you can do today to get out of yourself. my biggest ‘trap’ is self.

——–

a note from isabella: “keep coming back” is a phrase often used in 12-step meetings. it means don’t give up, keep trying. it can also carry the meaning of “keep remembering who you truly are, in all your beauty and health.”

image by open threads

eating disorders week

interviewi have an amazing talent for missing national eating disorders week in canada, which was february 1-7.  and i was even reminded by a number of people!  fortunately, clinically clueless, who has been posting about national eating disorders week in the US, has also sent me a reminder – so i’m getting in here under the wire.  phew!

here’s my idea:

i’d like to do some email (or perhaps chat/phone) interviews with people who have experience with eating disorders and issues around body image.

  • do you have anorexia?
  • have you overcome bulimia?
  • are you a yoyo dieter?
  • have you gone through periods in your life when you loathed your body?
  • have you ever had a strange relationship with food?
  • are you recovering from exercise anorexia?
  • do you have a relative who is struggling, or has struggled, with an eating disorder?
  • are you a professional who helps people with eating disorders?

if you’d like to be interviewed, please let me know.  you can leave a message here, use my contact form, or email me at moritherapy (at) shaw [dot] ca.  the interview will be treated as anonymously as you would like.

best of carnival of eating disorders

welcome to the 24th edition of the carnival of eating disorders! blog carnival has been really problematic for the last few months. so instead of struggling with the blog carnival site, i just went back and looked at some posts from the past that i really enjoyed. here they are:

a poem

for the buddhist carnival, i always start with a poem.  let’s do that here today, too, with an excerpt from a poem by clinically clueless, expressing the challenge of wanting to talk and at the same time wanting to hide the struggles with an eating disorder:

don’t touch this subject because it is mine
i have control and will be just fine

i’ve surrounded it with good defenses
no one will know the self-hatred and the rages

i’m really okay and can handle it on my own
with this i just want to be left alone

finally talking after all these years
makes me feel all my fears

yet, comfort in finally sharing
with someone loving and caring

no matter my weight the feelings and thoughts always there
i think, all i ever wanted was someone just to hear

no one really knows what goes on in my head
starting to talk is what i know i need to do instead

body image, men and women

hugo schwyzer talks about male and female body anxiety in glorious me:

it’s a classically masculine anxiety: the sense that the body is a “performance machine” threatened by sloth and by ageing, always in need of vigilant monitoring.

here’s a LOUD contribution. i won’t comment on it because, well, nancy hayssen says it all:

today at the gym, i was noticing how many women love to tear themselves apart.

too fat, too old, too big, too much cellulite, butts too big . . . and the best one of all is: “if only i could get FLAT ABS” …

WHO CARES!
women are NOT made to have flat stomachs!
it’s NOT truly feminine.
women’s bodies are made to have babies.
women are not naturally supposed to have:
* barbie doll fake breasts
* rock hard anything
* plastic injections of God knows what
* fake boobs, fake butts, fake ANYTHING

. . . . INCLUDING rock hard flat abs which serve NO purpose whatsoever!! except to feed into the media hype, sell more ab machines, make plastic surgeons money and fuel the economy some more!

get over it!

a real woman has full hips to give birth to babies, nurtures and comforts others with her soft skin (and YES! some FAT on her body), feeds her young milk from her breasts . . .

and isn’t so self-absorbed that the only thing that matters the most in life is getting her stomach to look like someone flat ironed it to death!

maybe it’s time for women to wake up and know it’s OKAY to be a real woman. fat butts and all.

read the rest here, at the flat ab gym rant!

in this powerful post, dr. susan gregg talks about the difference between domination and dominion:

society is based on domination. the way our mind thinks is most often based on domination: black and white, right and wrong, good and evil, positive emotions and negative ones. symbolically this is represented as a line. as we deepen our connection with our spirit, with our true nature we move into dominion. symbolically dominion is represented as a sphere.

after explaining this concept a little more, she then posts a video that illustrates her thoughts in a deeply moving way. everyone who has ever had any issues with body image or any other feelings of “otherness” will know what susan is talking about. please visit her post, judgment, domination and the line.

and here is a video clip of the film shredded submitted by daniel lafleche. it provides an unusual glimpse into the problem of body image for teenage males, and warns about steroid use.

overeating

sacha brings us body hate at her blog that is so queer… she talks about the dieting experience, something that many of my readers will be very familiar with:

a room full of women that got fat, not because they’re stupid, not because they like chocolate and not because they have no willpower. it is a room full of women who are doing everything they can to get through each day. … and sometimes that means 15 oreos.

therapydoc, witty as always, has a very good suggestion for what to do when overcome by cravings or assaulted by the mounds of food we’re dealing with this time of year

the problem: tis the season to eat like crazy. i understand that starting october 31, eating season begins. most of humankind gains a few to a thousand pounds by january 2. in the northern climes it’s fatten up to melt the snow …

the solution: let us consider the nap. the nap is perhaps the most under-rated, yet effective way to stop a binge,napping away a binge and it need not be a cat nap (short) or a sexual nap (preferably long). it can just be a nap. and you can reach for the sack in a minute, seriously, crawl right under that afghan and close those baby blues, refresh your rhodopsin and reboot your head. and it costs nothing.

overexercising

jenna, in her post i remember running, muses

i remember listening to lectures about anorexia athletica and the “female athlete triad.” i remember seeing team-mates sneak back to the gym after practice to do extra elliptical workouts. i remember looking on their plates and seeing only peas and sprouts there. i remember diagnoses of anemia, bulimia, and stress fractures.

food addiction

jolynn braley from the fit shack talks about some interesting research conducted by dr. theron g. randolph:

his article correlates to what i have been writing about sugar (that it is a drug), and he specifically points out that corn is the leading cause of chronic food addiction in this century. high fructose corn syrup, crystalline fructose, corn syrup, corn syrup solids, these are all sugars made from corn and are main ingredients in most processed food and fast food.

i also learned that corn is the most prevalent ingredient in alcohol manufacturing, and that it is corn sugar that is used in cigarettes (i thought it was cane sugar)

fascinating stuff! read on in her article can food addiction lead to drug addiction?. i’m not sure that i would 100% subscribe to the “one addiction leads to another” theory but randolph’s research is most definitely worth pondering. he also talks about the connection between food allergies and food addiction, a topic much discussed by the 12-step recovery community.

research

let’s follow this with a post from sizenet, a fat acceptance site, which looks at BMI (body mass index) as a measure of fat distribution across the body. it does this from an engineer’s point of view. a great fan of interdisciplinary research, i’m happy to post this here.

BMI is weight in kilograms divided by the square of height in meters. a person five feet tall and weighing 128 pounds is 1.52 meters tall and masses 58 kilograms, yielding a BMI of 25. according to the BMI charts, this person just misses being “normal” and is at the bottom end of the “overweight” range.

if we scale that same person up to six feet tall and keep all proportions the same, then height increases by a factor of 1.2 (20% higher), and so does waist, arm length, inseam, and every other linear measure. so volume and mass increase by 1.2 cubed, or 1.728. the six-foot tall (1.83 m tall) person of the same proportions weighs 221 pounds (masses 100 kg), and so has a BMI of 30. so, this person just misses being “overweight” and is at the bottom end of the “obese” range.

something’s not right; the taller person comes out “fatter” even though he/she has the same proportions as the shorter one.

for the rest of the article, go here.

in second generation of nutrigenomics products – what to expect? at eye on DNA, rachel c. dechenne states that these products are “going to change the face of the functional food industry, providing it with the “scientific foundations” for its wider ambitions.” she adds that her concern

is that almost no research has been done on the broad societal implications of this type of nutrigenomics-developed products including their impacts on consumer’s perception of official dietary patterns. what about its impact on captive audience in lower socio-economic population in the north and in emerging countries? will they being able to buy these new superfoods? would this bring a more fatalistic attitude towards eating unhealthy food?

spirituality

bad buddhist vs. the sixth precept is the title of a blog post by marie that was submitted to the last carnival of eating disorders. i was quite intrigued by it and would like to talk a bit more about it.

buddhist precepts, says diane esshin rizzetto in waking up to what you do

can be thought of as a beacon of light, much like a lighthouse beacon that warns sailors that they are entering dangerous waters and guides them on course … pay attention! look! listen! … the precepts are offered and received as tools to help free us from domination by the ever-changing stream of thoughts, feelings and sensations.

there is a varying number of precepts (5, 10, 227 …). marie talks about the precept to abstain from taking untimely meals.

in observing the sixth precept, the lay buddhist eats one or two simple meals between dawn and noon and avoids taking food beyond that. this cuts down the time spent on meals and allows him more time to spend on meditation.

yes, what do you want to spend your time on? no matter how we look at time, we only have a limited supply of it. come to think of it, do we want to “spend” it or do we want to “use” it?

watching TV and mindlessly crunching potato chips would definitely fall under the “spending” category. it goes into the “expenses” column – and not an expense in the form of investment. actually, it’s an investment in liabilities.

anorexia

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.

and a very controversial issue: pro-anorexia mothers. ex-model, ex-anorexic “mamavision” refers to a group of mothers on livejournal who are practicing anorexics:

there is no way in hell a mother can be pro ana, and be a healthy positive influence on her child. it’s impossible. these women who are are choosing this selfish, dangerous, vain lifestyle shouldn’t be parents. i believe if a social worker were to see their online behavior, their parental ability would be in jeopardy.

since i see eating disorders as a mental health issue, i have a hard time thinking of these mothers as “choosing a lifestyle”. just like people who are living with obsessive-compulsive disorder, depression and even addictions don’t choose to live like that. in many situations they might tell themselves that it is a choice; it makes us feel more powerful if we think we choose something. – but i digress; that’s material for another post.

at any rate, mamavision’s opinion is worth noting. at the other end of the spectrum, we find a very well put-together video by laura collins, who interviewed a number of eating disorder specialists on the question of whether parents are the cause of eating disorders.

orthorexia
the article on orthorexia at every woman has an eating disorder is interesting because of the many comments contributed to it – from people who suffer from it, from health professionals, etc. definitely worth a read.

a book

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.

anorexia and 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

other interesting stuff

i also enjoyed reading henry bagdasarian’s interesting observations in food and credit products are not very different from each other posted at free identity theft prevention, detection and fraud solutions.

i recently observed how food and credit products are similar to each other as i was watching a paid weight loss program on TV. it also reminded me how lucrative it must be for companies to sell us more of both food and credit products and then come to our rescue by offering us other products like diet and debt consolidation programs to resolve the problems that resulted from over consuming their products in the fist place.

tiernan o faolain from american red tory has an interesting list on the connection between obesity and poverty, another issue that is often overlooked. here are some points:

# supermarkets and grocery stores move out of poor neighborhoods; “convenience” stores and liquor stores move in.
# sometimes when you’re down on your luck, you just say, “screw it,” and indulge.
# for those of us working two or three jobs to stay afloat, whole foods and PCC aren’t open 24/7, while 7-11 is.
# and even if they were, who can afford them?! health food is more expensive than the crap.
# as the salon article points out, high fructose corn syrup and other bad things are federally subsidized, holding down their cost. (talk about gummint programs!)
# historically speaking, before the enclosure of the commons forced many of the poor to work for wages in the cities’ industries (owned or invested-in by their rural landlords!), they had family farms they worked, with all that physical exertion and relative self-sufficiency to boot. here in america we never even had a chance!

read here for tiernan’s complete article on what makes poor americans overweight.

***

so here you have it.

because of the difficulties with the blog carnival site, i’ll have to rethink hosting carnivals. maybe i’ll keep going, maybe i’ll do something else. if any of you have any ideas, let me know. perhaps a group writing project a few times a year instead?

addiction and creativity

i’m back from kelowna, after a somewhat tense 6-hour drive (some stretches were a bit treacherous), followed by one hour’s worth of snow shovelling.  so i’m going to go to bed now and will cede this space to someone else, creativity coach eric maisel.  here he talks about his new book, creative recovery:

creative recovery, the book that susan raeburn and i recently wrote describing a complete addiction recovery program for creative people, just received a very nice library journal review. here is the review in its entirety.

“therapist and creativity coach maisel (fearless creating; the creativity book) and clinical psychologist raeburn illustrate how creativity both contributes to addiction and is a tool for recovery. in the first of three sections, entitled ‘preparing,’ the authors begin by expanding upon the biological and other risks for addiction and explore the abuse continuum. the next section, ‘working,’ is devoted to the foundation of recovery, awareness, which can be enhanced through creative talents, and addiction challenges, including an acceptance of the need to change. finally, in ‘living,’ the authors emphasize that recovery is an ongoing, lifelong process, and they expand upon and reinforce the role played by creativity, which provides an artistic outlet to express the hope, strength, and wholeness of continued recovery. including an extensive list of resources, this informative, insightful, and valuable book is recommended for large public and academic library collections focusing on addiction and addiction recovery.”

here is a brief excerpt from the book:

the short story “the bound man,” by the german author ilse aichinger, is a beautiful piece in the existential tradition. it goes as follows. a man awakens one morning to find himself inexplicably bound by rope.

instead of removing the rope at his first opportunity, as we might expect him to do, he decides to remain bound and to become a circus attraction, turning his accidental bondage into his trademark work. how strange! why would a person happily accept such bondage? it is similar to the question that franz kafka poses in “the hunger artist,” where a man, who also chooses to become a circus attraction, starves himself to death because he can’t find food that interests him. these authors are asking variations of the following vital question: “why do people carelessly, inexplicably, and even happily do things that harm them so much?”

one of the things that people do that harms them, but that they nevertheless hold on to as if they were benefiting from it, is to get addicted and to stay addicted. not for anything can you pry them away from their alcohol, cocaine, tobacco, internet surfing, video-game playing, overeating, shopping, or sexual escapades. tell them that they are dying: no matter. tell them that they are wasting half their life in front of a computer screen or in the aisles of department stores: no matter. remind them that they can’t have love or a real life if they use sex as a drug: no matter. point out that their liver is already not functioning, that their nasal lining is already perforated, or that their lungs are already black: no matter. what you experience as you talk to an addicted individual is that he or she is completely indifferent to your good arguments.

creative people, our best and our brightest, squarely fall into the category of people at high risk for addiction-people who accept the “happy bondage” of an addiction even though they might be expected to know better. it isn’t just romantic mythology that creative people are more prone than their peers to succumb to the lure of an addiction. it is a fact, and there are many reasons for this. as we proceed we will explain these reasons: why, in addition to the biological, social, psychological, and developmental risk factors that confront many people, extra risk factors confront the creative person. for now we just want to get on the table that the risk is significantly greater for you if you are creative. that is a fact.

if you are creative, at how high a risk for an addiction are you? consider what tom dardis has to say in the **thirsty muse: “of the seven native-born americans awarded the nobel prize in literature, five were alcoholic. the list of other twentieth-century american writers similarly afflicted is very long; only a few of the major talents have been spared.

in addition to the five nobel laureates–sinclair lewis, eugene o’neill, william faulkner, ernest hemingway and john steinbeck–the roster includes edward arlington robinson, jack london, edna st. vincent millay, f. scott fitzgerald, hart crane, conrad aiken, thomas wolfe, dashiell hammett, dorothy parker, ring lardner, djuna barnes, john o’hara, james gould cozzens, tennessee williams, john berryman, carson mccullers, james jones, john cheever, jean stafford, truman capote, raymond carver, robert lowell and james agee.”

you don’t have to be a creative superstar to run extra risks for addiction. our clients and patients fall everywhere along the spectrum from unknown to established, from “sunday painter” to world-famous, from someone who manifests her creativity by knitting to someone who manifests her creativity by fabricating monumental public sculptures. we work with individuals who don’t know what they want to create and who can’t seem to access their creativity and with individuals who know exactly what they want to create and who work obsessively to manifest their ideas and their intentions. what links all of these people and makes them more alike than different is their felt sense that creativity matters to them, that it is a part of who they are. if you can say that about yourself, then you are a member of this family-and run added risks for addiction.

here is the site of eric maisel’s books and services, and one of his blogs, the eric maisel creativity central blog.

disfigured: anorexia, obesity and a friendship

reviews seem to be the theme these days. here’s a video i was sent – disfigured. i wonder who shouldn’t watch it. one-track-mind rambo fans, perhaps. people who can’t stand delving into other people’s psyches. those who don’t like sex scenes on screen, no matter how elegantly presented. and if you don’t like watching people who are overweight, it’s not for you, either.

if you don’t count yourself among any of these, watch it. it’s well done, it’s interesting, you’ll learn something.

disfigured is about a friendship between two women – one anorexic (darcy), one overweight (lydia), neither of them extremely so. which makes me like the movie right off the bat – it’s good to remember that most of “those” people are actually quite normal (whatever that means, but that’s material for another blog post).

here are some tidbits:

on using anorexia to deal with conflicts:

someone pisses you off, you count how many calories you can cut the next day – YOU’re the one in control … now it becomes a blood sport

both, overweight and underweight, get the “we-have-to-talk-about-your-health talk” from well-meaning people, or people who can’t resist the temptation to stick their noses into other people’s business:

they let me know that i am fat … they always have some great system or plan … “you have such a pretty face if you only – ” (ate more; ate less; exercised more; exercised less – pick appropriate advice)

part of the plot is a half-hearted relationship between lydia and bob. bob weighs a bit too much, as well and – shoot, i’d love to tell you about that but i’d spoil it for you.

on the secrecy of overeating: “you eat at home, alone, when no one’s looking.”

which again, isn’t so much different from being anorexic. when you’re anorexic, you pretend to eat to distract people who are watching you.

on the addictive quality of overeating when lydia, after trying to “learn how to be anorexic” in order to lose weight, caves in an brings home bags full of goodies:

i just want to really get it over with? what – life? i already feel crappy but i have to eat what i bought, i just want to get it over with

then the tables are turned – well, maybe, that’s for you to find out if (when!) you watch the movie:

bingeing: you should try it … it’s better than sex … cross over to the dark side

many psychologists and therapists would say that part of the reason for eating disorders are disjointed feelings around what it means to be cared for and about. this meets with flippancy (“you hate me? no, i’m fine”), eating (“this is me taking care of myself. at least somebody is. – who takes care of you?”), and isolation (“you don’t understand!” “i do understand!” “i won’t let you!”). finally “if anyone is going to try and care me into getting healthy, i’ll scream.” and then … well, as i said, see for yourself.

the film ends with a moving, inspiring monologue by lydia.

these bodies – they’re us. how can we live in them every day and find them so strange? how can we hate them? they’re beautiful, and miraculous and sad – everything we experience, we experience through them. sooner or later we’ll just have to find a way to love them for what they are.

i’m not a big movie buff, actually more of a movie scrooge. if there were more movies like disfigured, though, i’d watch way more.

carnival of eating disorders, august 2008 edition – part 2

okay, here we are with part 2 of the 19th carnival of eating disorders. part 1 was about anorexia; this one contains articles on overeating and body image.

overeating

cravings

cravings – your biggest motivator is the title of FitNChic’s article:

most people give up their efforts after a while because they feel they are depriving themselves of all the good things in life without significant results or because they have cheated once (read: ate a piece of cake!) and don’t want to start the process all over again.

but, by using cravings to motivate you, you are consciously eating (not cheating) whatever you really like once a week. there is no doubt you are going to stick to your routine the rest of the week.

well, i don’t know about “no doubt” but it’s certainly worth trying; moderation usually works much better than deprivation.

reframing

sandra ahten from reasonable diet talks about the use of reframing in dealing with weight issues:

“my doctor says i better drop 15 pounds if i want to avoid having to take a medication.”

reframed: “my doctor says i get to drop fifteen pounds in order to avoid taking a medication.” with this statement, my mind is also able to say, “whew! i caught it in time that i don’t have to treat it with medication; thank goodness it is a condition i can do something about.” i might even add: “it is only 15 pounds!”

reframing shines a light of positive attitude. reframing enables us to look for what we are willing to do instead of just rebelling against what someone or some circumstance is forcing us to do.

obesity and poverty

tiernan o faolain from american red tory has an interesting list on the connection between obesity and poverty, another issue that is often overlooked. here are some points:

# supermarkets and grocery stores move out of poor neighborhoods; “convenience” stores and liquor stores move in.
# sometimes when you’re down on your luck, you just say, “screw it,” and indulge.
# for those of us working two or three jobs to stay afloat, whole foods and PCC aren’t open 24/7, while 7-11 is.
# and even if they were, who can afford them?! health food is more expensive than the crap.
# as the salon article points out, high fructose corn syrup and other bad things are federally subsidized, holding down their cost. (talk about gummint programs!)
# historically speaking, before the enclosure of the commons forced many of the poor to work for wages in the cities’ industries (owned or invested-in by their rural landlords!), they had family farms they worked, with all that physical exertion and relative self-sufficiency to boot. here in america we never even had a chance!

read here for tiernan’s complete article on what makes poor americans overweight.

the political psychology of fat

in a similar vein, erin and philip have a series on “political psychology”. here is an excerpt:

a 2006 washington post article conservatively estimated that producing the foods that generate so much of america’s obesity, then treating that obesity, would be a $315 billion enterprise by the end of that year. in 2004 alone, americans spent $37 billion on soft drinks, $3.9 billion on cookies, and $6.2 billion on potato chips.

… the citizen is someone who fully inhabits her or his life-starting with what and how much we eat and exercise. to put it bluntly, we-our bodies, to include our brains and the minds and souls they house-do not exist to consume garbage for the sake of corporate profits. we exist to live as strong, intelligent individuals at home in our bodies. the consumer-whose normal human emotions, insecurities and weaknesses are manipulated into eating vast quantities of processed foods and chemicals, then buying a host of gadgets in an almost inevitably futile quest to lose the weight overnight (when it was not so gained)-is antithetical to the citizen. …

and there is a simple way to start acting as citizens. we have ourselves sufficient power to bring all those who want us fat-and so lazy, stupid, hurt and sick-to their knees. all we have to do is eat less-and eat more local, unprocessed foods, especially fruits and vegetables-and exercise more. …

when george bush told us to go to the mall, he no doubt also meant the food court. we did. so the next time you’re at the food court in the mall, spend a moment as a citizen, looking around. and if you see it with new eyes…that’s a start.

body image

body dysmorphic disorder

sandra has an informative video on body dysmorphic disorder. (not only is it informative but also very well done technically, and even my cranky laptop, which often gets hiccups from video providers such as youtube, likes it)

olympics and the body

this is an interesting collection of links about how olympic athletes and the general public view and treat athletic bodies. laura’s final observations are that about the paralympics and special olympics. you may have noticed that i did not write a thing about the olympics. i did, however, have an article that related to the special olympics, and am looking forward to writing about the paralympics.

that’s it for this time. the next carnival will take place on september 30 – and it will be hosted by the very laura collins i just mentioned. laura is the mother of a someone struggling with an eating disorder and feels passionate about involving parents as much as possible.

in the meantime, if you have an article you’d like to see here, please let me know, using this submission form.

carnival of eating disorders, august 2008 edition

welcome to the august 2008 edition of the carnival of eating disorders! there is a lot of interesting material, so i’ll do the same that i do with the buddhist carnival and present the articles in two different posts. this first post will deal with anorexia. the second will deal with body image and overeating.

exorcism for anorexia?
good news – a religious cult which was curing anorexia with exorcism is in serious trouble. here are some of the strange goings-on at mercy ministries:

“the counsellor gave me a list of different demons – demon of anger, demon of unforgiveness, demon of pride, there were lots of them and i was told to go away and circle the demons i had in me or around me,” said smith.”i was really scared… they cast demons out of me, one by one, and they became quite excited and animated during the process, and spoke in tongues.

“it was the counsellors and myself and they put their hands on me and started praying one by one for each of the demons that were on the list to be cast out of me.

“after each demon was cast out i had to say ‘i confirm the demon of x has been cast out of me in the name of jesus and is unwelcome to return.’

“the whole time i was there, all i heard was that i’m demonic.

“even after the exorcism, when i had the next anxiety attack, i was told that they had already cast the demons out, so therefore i was obviously either faking it, or i had chosen to let the demons come back, in which case i was not serious about getting better.

anorexia and bulimia on social media
this post refers to an article that appeared last year but it’s probably even more important today than 12 months ago. eating disorders are rampant on social media, it says. that’s true. but so is the opposite. here on this blog, for example, we have the anorexia recovery forum where people speak actively against “the voice of ana”. for those of you unfamiliar with the term, “ana” is a sort of pet name for anorexia, as is “mia” for bulimia).

a drug for anorexia?
medusa reports on canadian research on a drug that might help some people with anorexia

a drug used to treat schizophrenia may be a new tool to help patients with anorexia gain weight and control their obsessive thoughts about food.

new canadian research has found that when anorexia patients take olanzapine, they gain weight, feel calmer and do not have the obsessive thoughts about weight and food that characterize the debilitating condition.

recovery milestones
angel has a beautiful post where she envisions recovery from eating disorders:

we have binged, starved, purged, and obsessed in an effort to manage unwelcome emotions. the solution to an eating disorder has to do with accepting our thoughts and feelings, and finding safe and responsible ways to express them. there is no magic about recovery. recovery means rebuilding trust with ourselves and others, taking careful risks to learn what is safe and good for us. when we can take responsibility for understanding our needs, and getting them met, then we will walk free.

from overeating to anorexia
in his article paul mckenna owes courtney love an apology, joshua seth says, “yes, it is possible to lose too much weight. there is such a thing as a healthy range. and unfortunately singer courtney love seems to have taken weight loss hypnosis a bit too far.” this is interesting because it brings up a host of misconceptions about eating disorders and specifically about anorexia. this is such an important topic that i’ll talk about that in a future article, some time before the next carnival of eating disorders.

i’ll post part 2 tomorrow, september 1. in the meantime, if you have an article you’d like to see here, please let me know, using this submission form.