Tag Archives: weight loss

carnival of eating disorders on hallowe’en

isabella mori on hallowe'en: a fashion mistakeit’s hallowe’en! i’m busy being a fashion mistake – that’s my costume for this year. this picture gives you a bit of a taste of but it doesn’t show the real nice touches – the smeared rouge, the bags under the eyes, the wool socks over the leopard pyjamas under the fancy black skirt – oh well.

oh, and it’s the last of the month and therefore carnival of eating disorders time! i guess i should get serious.


(desparately trashing around trying to find a segue)

{giving up; but if you can think of a good segue, let me know, alright?}

i’ll just start now.

body image – a video that will make you cry
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.

body image – a striking difference between men and women
kelly turner presents the difference between boys and girls at grounded fitness. an excerpt:

it would futile to try and explain that if a girl asked another girl if she was going to try and lose weight to get a guy, without said girl ever mentioning a dissatisfaction with her current weight, that it would be enough to send her into a downward spiral of self hatred, body image issues and gallons and gallons of ben and jerry’s.

body image and anorexia
lola snow has a post about a mirror in a changing room:

the revelation occurred in the middle of the river island changing rooms.
i tried on nine or ten different outfits, on the final pair of jeans (which i actually had to buy because all my other clothes hang off me in various ways liable to get me arrested for exposure) i noticed. i look like a bag of bones. i look ill. my cheeks are actually sunken in. my hipbones and ribs are more obvious than my boobs. my collarbones protrude far enough to hook a coat hanger on. i actually felt a bit sick, because i feel so breakable. like one of my bones could shatter from a knock or a jar. my skin is patchy, i have an eye infection, my veins in my arms pop out like grey earthworms, my teeth are chipped and yellowed. all in all, standing under the yellow tinted fluorescent hell lighting, shivering in my too-big underwear, wasn’t a good look for me.

i looked like i am pretty close to dying.

what i found really interesting about this is that it looks like she actually saw herself in real life, not as still-too-fat as so many anorexic women do. a small victory, perhaps?

read the whole article on women’s changing rooms here

food and the sound of silence
laura collins, who was so good and hosted the carnival of eating disorders last month muses on the question of what to talk about when not talking about food and eating. what would happen if these topics were taken out of the conversation anywhere and everywhere?

well, a marvellous silence would blanket the land, certainly. there’d be a lot more eye contact, i think. the TV and radio channels would be silent much of the day and night without talk shows and news spots and commercials selling dieting and the necessity of altering our appearance. parties would be odd for a while, but we’d adjust. class reunions… well, no one would go any more because the whole point was to compare notes on aging and diets.

here is the rest of the post.

exercise: fit and fat
carrie arnold (who, incidentally, was the person who first asked the question of what to talk about if not about food) is the owner of one of the best blogs on eating disorders. check it out. her new blog header is really cool. she points out that you can be fit and fat.

a study found that half of adults classified as “overweight” and one third of adults classified as “obese” were metabolically healthy. one in four of “normal weight” adults were not.

exercise and weight loss
pretty much a companion article to the one above is dr. martin russell’s exercise for weight loss. hold on to your seats, i won’t reveal the story. read it for yourself.

that’s it for october! i really enjoyed all these posts and encourage you to go on and read them all. 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 november 30.

overeating and anorexia: a dialogue

“yes, it is possible to lose too much weight,” said joshua seth in one of his submissions to the carnival of eating disorders, talking about courtney love’s unfortunate adventures with all kinds of eating disorders.

my first reaction to this was, “well, yes, duh!” but then it got me to thinking. while we read and hear about anorexia in the media, like with many mental health issues, unless it’s in our face all the time, it’s actually not “duh”. it’s not self-explanatory.

there is an interesting dynamic that can take place between people who undereat and those who overeat.

“oh i wish i was skinny like you!” is something that people whose anorexia does not manifest in radical or overly visible weight loss often hear. hearing this can be crazy-making, because the cognitive-emotional reaction often goes in two opposite direction at once. one is a wistful, almost helpless “if only you knew that i’m not skinny-beautiful, that i’m skinny-sick”. the other is a prideful, judgmental, “it’s because i have discipline, you fat cow!”

once in a while it happens that two people at the opposite spectrum of eating disorders sit down and talk and realize that they have a lot in common: a constant preoccupation with food, body image and weight. not infrequently, it plays itself out in similar ways, for example, going to great lengths to avoid situations where certain types of clothing are worn (e.g. weddings, beach); not eating in public; excessive weighing; crushing feelings of guilt over every morsel that is eaten; an obsession with diets; an intense craving for junk food, etc.

and every once in a while, these conversations reveal that eating disorders are precisely not about what the preoccupations are about. a significant proportion of people with eating disorders suffer from depression and anxiety. somehow, at some level, food – eating or not eating it to excess – turned out to be a useful tool for coping with overwhelming thoughts and feelings. granted, at some point the coping mechanism doesn’t work anymore and then a person is burdened with the eating disorder on top of everything else. but that’s usually some time – even years – down the road because another common denominator of eating disorders, similar to drug use, often start out quite pleasant. for the person who eats too much, chocolate tastes good, and the one who doesn’t eat enough, knowing that a lowly feeling such as hunger can be beaten down and ignored can give a heady feeling for control.

“yes, it’s possible to lose too much weight” – and let’s add, it’s dangerous to do too much of a lot of things. one thing that we rarely do enough of, though, is talk to each other and share our experiences. and dialogues between overeaters and anorexics – there’s definitely not enough of that, and i honestly believe it would help everyone.

p.s. there is a movie about this topic, disfigured. i haven’t been able to get it yet but am looking forward to seeing it. anyone been to it yet?

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.



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.


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.

blogathon: weight loss dude’s 5 diets

this is an entry for my participation in the 2008 blogathon, a 24-hour marathon of blogging. please support the cause and donate – however much, however little – to the canadian mental health association (vancouver/burnaby branch). to donate, use this URL: www.canadahelps.org/CharityProfilePage.aspx?CharityID=d2252. you should be able to get there by clicking the link;if not, just copy and paste the link into your browser. it will take you to the appropriate location at canada helps. thank you!

and here is another entry to the carnival of eating disorders, which happens on this blog every last day of the month. a blog carnival is a sort of readers digest of blog entries on a specific topic. because of the blogathon, i’ve decided to feature three entries that i thought were interesting. this is the last one, by the weight loss dude, entitled five lifestyles that do lead to weight loss

there have been at least five times in my life where my lifestyle did lead to an ideal weight or weight loss at a rate that would lead to my ideal weight.  i’ll cover each in more detail in the future, but i thought i would list them for you to ponder:

his list includes

  1. running and eating well.
  2. the high fat experimental diet i mentioned in a prior post … it apparently leads to poor overall health based on how i felt during that diet.
  3. methamphetamine addiction. this is not recommended for obvious reasons.
  4. the carbohydrate addicts diet.
  5. atkins style low carb dieting.

he goes into a bit of detail of how these diets worked for him. read the rest here.

i usually don’t feature a lot of “how to lose weight” articles here because that’s not what eating disorders are about. they’re about behaviours around food, food addictions, and often enough about obsessing over diets (which is one of the reasons there are similarities between overeating and anorexia).  so talking a lot about diets would be a bit counterproductive.

having said that, i have to confess that i find the weight loss dude’s approach amusing and engaging. his idea is to try a new diet every week or so. by doing this, he says, he won’t get bored. he has lost weight and, what i find more interesting, he gains a lot of insights along the way. there’s also a certain down-to-earth feel to his blog that i like. i guess when you try one diet after the other, you can’t really keep up the i-have-found-the-diet-of-a-lifetime hype that comes with a lot of other diet blogs.

carnival of eating disorders #15

ladies and gentlemen, i present to you: the 15th carnival of eating disorders!
blog carnival archive - carnival of eating disorders

an x-ray technician talks about three generations of women with eating disorders. she describes anorexia as an addiction:

unlike other addictions, anorexia is something you don’t do. to be an alcoholic you have to find alcohol to drink. drug addicts have to buy drugs. anorexics just stop eating. you can stop giving your body nourishment and get high.

body image
the body image project is an online project searching for women and girls of all ages to share their individual experiences and feelings about their own body image perceptions. the goal of the project is “to have women and girls take that brave step to share their stories, break the hold these perceptions have and ultimately reveal to those who share and to those who view this site – you are not alone. to share your story, simply email your words to bodyprojectsubmission@gmail.com. an example of such an entry is that of a 51-year-old woman who says

gravity and hot flashes have begun to take their toll, but i still love my body. it is strong and healthy, hasn’t failed me yet and has given life and nourishment to three wonderful children.

this here is an interview with virginia deberry and donna grant, authors of gotta keep on tryin’. one of their protagonists has bulimia.

Q: bulimia is not something often discussed in the african american community, at least to my limited knowledge. what was your purpose in having gayle afflicted with this disorder?

A: we are always interested in exploring health issues, particularly those that supposedly don’t affect “us””the african american community. also, eating disorders are typically thought of as affecting teens and young women, but there are a growing number of more mature women, dealing with the pressures of family, career and staying youthful and slim, who are affected. whether it is bulimia, or binge eating, there are a lot of us who use food emotionally. food abuse is an issue that donna has struggled with during her life”at least since fifth grade, when she started hiding boxes of drake’s cakes in her desk drawer at home so she could eat them without anyone knowing. our aim is always to get people talking, particularly about issues that make us ashamed. shame keeps us silent, and silence makes us powerless.

in gotta keep on tryin’ we had gayle use food to “choke back” her emotions, to stay in control. but she had always been slim”she used to tease pat about her weight. she has no interest in appearing fat, so the binge and purge cycle began. bulimia fit the character, so we went with it.

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.

eating disorders – a cultural view
the graham menzies foundation presents an article with very strong feelings about the cultural aspect of eating disorders. (i’d be interested in hearing what therapydoc and laura think about it).

because of their remote location, the fiji islands did not have access to television until 1995, when a single station was introduced it broadcasts programs from the united states, great britain, and australia. until that time, fiji had no reported cases of eating disorders, and a study conducted by anthropologist anne becker showed that most fijian girls and women, no matter how large, were comfortable with their bodies. in 1998, just three years after the station began broadcasting, 11 percent of girls reported vomiting to control weight, and 62 percent of the girls surveyed reported dieting during the previous months.

eating disorder bloggers survey
are you actively eating disordered or eating disordered recovered? do you have a blog in which you address your struggles with an eating disorder? then rachel from the f-word wants to hear from you.

yo-yo dieting
in the pleasures and perils of enchantment!, laurayn bellamy asks

what prompts people to be “yoyo” dieters? yoyo dieters are successful dieters; they can lose weight on just about any diet you can throw at them! but at some point in the weight loss process, they begin the process of undermining their protocol. most recognize the earliest signs that the process of sabotaging their diets has begun; those in therapy may have gained insights that explain why they’re defeating themselves; yet – once triggered – it’s as if some kind of “doomsday” machine has been turned on. this article (part 1 of 2) suggests that the reason persons repeatedly embark on diets with hope and enthusiasm has to do with the attraction to entering a state of enchantment.

and while we’re on the topic, the weight loss dude has a perfect rant, entitled why don’t you just eat less? as is so often the case, this rant applies to all eating disorders. why don’t you just eat? why don’t you stop purging? you don’t need to exercise 5 hours a day! as james says, geesh, if it was that simple, we would have done it a long time ago! at any rate, his post is a great description of what happens with yoyo dieting.

that, my friends, concludes this edition of the carnival of eating disorders. if you have or know of an interesting article on eating disorders, please send it in, using this submission form. the next edition will be out on april 30, 2008.

3 interactive health projects: weight loss, women’s health and body image

sunny image james jordan on flickrhey, friends … just a quick note today, to tell you about three interesting health interactive health projects here in the blogosphere (btw, that’s where blogospherians hang out, as anthony informed me the other day).

  1. the first one ends on february 4 so you better run. you could win a $50 gift certificate at target. all you have to do is leave a comment about 5 things you’d like to do this year for your physical or mental health. for women only, sorry!
  2. okay, now let’s move over to a guy. patrick weighs 500lb. he wants to lose a lot of this, partly because it might help him and his wife have a child that they desperately want. this is a project where you give something. how can we support patrick? blogging mogul john chow has decided to give him $1 per pound for the first 100 pounds he loses, and $2 per pound afterwards. john himself strikes quite a slim pose (how does he to that with all the hamburger eating???) but as we all know, his wallet is pretty fat. i can’t compete with that so i’ll have to think of how i’ll support patrick my own unique way.
  3. at breaking the mirror there is a contest about body image. what do you like about your body? definitely for both men and women. you have the chance to win a book.

that’s it for today. i’m off the computer in a minute. it’s nice and sunny outside, and my daughter, my grandson and i are going out for a walk. talk to you soon!

(this post was included in the dieting and health carnival at middle age shed)

carnival of eating disorders #11

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

a week later we find this entry:

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

so maybe this blogging is helping?

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

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

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

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

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

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

that’s it for this edition.

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

oh, and here are my questions again:

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

isabella mori
counselling in vancouver