carnival of eating disorders #4

welcome to this month’s carnival of eating disorders, where we look at blogs that help us understand the various forms of eating disorders, and point ways to recovery.


this time around, the biggest category is on overeating. we have marsha hudnall who discusses a finding that has been making the rounds lately: binge eating overtakes other eating disorders posted at a weight lifted.

surveys show at least 1/3 of women who seek weight loss are binge eaters. many of these women think they’re alone in their problem. they don’t realize that many other women are binge eaters, too. that simple realization can be a huge step forward.

lorraine roach talks about anxiety eating in her article weight adds up at coping with anxiety. she recommends journal writing as a tool – certainly something that i, too, find to be very helpful with my clients.

at north star mental fitness blog, hal sommerschield, ph.d. discusses what he calls “adult pacifiers”. he argues that food is an adult pacifier that some use to deal with a feeling of emptiness.

people are empty, when they are alienated from their higher power. people are empty, when they violate their values. people are empty, when they have not learned how to take care of themselves.

jolynn braley addresses a similar topic: if you’re not hungry, why are you eating at her blog the fit shack. this post, she says, is about emotional eating, the abundance of addictive food available in current society, and a technique to overcome eating in an attempt to change how we feel.


the next two articles are particularly interesting. kristen, of mama’s so-called life, describes her experience with anorexia in where i was then. then, her mother, at call me grandma dawn follows it up with what it was like for her to be with her daughter during that difficult time: from mom’s point of view. says kristen,

week after week, i continued to lose weight. i could no longer go to restaurants without carrying my precious cheat book that showed me how many carbs, proteins, etc….each potential food item contained. if what i wanted to order was not listed, or i couldn’t figure it out with certainty, i wouldn’t order it. eating out became a chore rather than a pleasure. something to fear, rather than enjoy.

in a teleological exploration of anorexia nervosa, a psychology student explores the experience of anorexia in the blog amygda7a. the article ends with the sentence that “strength and freedom cannot be sustained in a body too frail to hold itself up”. truly understanding this might be the beginning of healing.

ANOREXIA ATHLETICA or compulsive exercising

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.

this can be found at jennarosity.

the people at get fit explain to their readers how exercise can be taken to far. in too much of a good thing, they say

if someone starts using exercise to purge or compensate for eating binges (or just regular eating), the person could be suffering from exercise bulimia. a CNN story about exercise bulimia talked with one woman who ate a rice cake in the morning and punished herself by exercising an extra hour, on top of her regular two hour workout

by the way, you’ve probably noticed how they called it exercise bulimia. compulsive exercising has a few different names; exercise anorexia is another one. there is no official name for it (yet), partly because it has not been classified in the psychiatric “bible”, the diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders. whether that’s good or bad is anyone’s guess.

bulimia, the “sister” of anorexia, isn’t working out the way you wanted it to, according to back in skinny jeans. to people who are having trouble with bulimia she suggests:

accept the help. take their love and support. tell them what you need. you know what you need but have been so afraid to ask. you are not alone, and even if you are alone in your own house or family, there are others in the world who do care. that’s why places like the national eating disorders association exist. they have information, resources, and most importantly non-judgment. all you have to do is ask.

sobreviva (that means “survivor” in spanish) shares her experience:

when i accomplish something bulimia whispers ” you just got lucky” and when i fail at something bulimia whispers “see, i told you you couldn’t do it” bulimia says; ” trust me, i am the only one who will tell you the truth, i am your only friend, your only confidant” bulimia has become so powerful over me….and i am made of stronger stuff than that.

this is an excerpt from whisperings in my head at sobreviva-my war against bulimia.


for no real reason: the truth is brought to us by kelly at narcissism in its highest form:

there were many instances of bulimia, exercise bulimia, and, in my case, anorexia. our coaching staff did not make us this way, let me be clear about that. however, we were expected to look a certain way and weigh a certain weight”both of which are impossible for 18- to 22-year-olds”without resorting to unhealthy measures. this was the unspoken catch-22 that made many of us “do what we had to do.”

this is similar to what hugo schwyzer, a college professor who has dealt with eating disorders himself, found while working with a group of young women. at fourteen marthas, not one mary, he writes about the pressure that these young women experience, which often results in/coincides with eating disorders:

the desperate “people-pleasing” of so many of these young women troubles me. many of them acknowledge carrying the double burden familiar to so many modern women: these girls know that they are expected to live up to traditional feminine standards of behaviour and looks, at least much of the time. (three girls talked quietly about their struggles with disordered eating and body self-loathing.) but in addition to the cultural expectation to be bright-eyed, cheerful, virginal and pleasing, they also feel pressured to be intellectually, athletically, and professionally successful. they all volunteer (often as part of school-mandated community service). their parents have told them all their lives that they can “be anything they want to be”, which sounds great ” until the girls are forced to excel at virtually everything they do in every facet of their lives so as “not to miss out” on any opportunity to succeed. the superwomen complex is alive and well in girls so young that some were born after bill clinton became president! that breaks my heart.

ok, that’s it for this round. if you have an eating disorder or a friend who is struggling with it, i hope you’ve found some useful resources here. if you know of some blogs or have a blog that you think might be fit here for our next edition on april 30, 2007, please submit it using our submission form.

past posts can be found on this blog carnival index page. this also links to other fascinating blog carnivals, from blogmandu, a round-up of buddhist blogs, to the carnival of knitting to who is that?, where people are encouraged to write the story of unknown people and then to share their own: “don’t be a forgotten someone standing next to someone’s uncle.”

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