carnival of eating disorders #1

welcome to the first carnival of eating disorders!

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.

well, enough of the introductions. let’s start with an article by ‘hungry guy’ ryan, a young man from singapore, who chronicles his experience with anorexia and bulimia. if anyone wonders what it’s like to fight with this disease, and wants to know what goes on in the minds of young people suffering from it, this is the inside scoop.

patricia, of a better you talks about her personal experience with overcoming struggles with food.

In my pain and low self-image, I quickly learned to measure my success or failure in life against my ability to deprive my body of its desire for food. … I now live a balanced life … I eat to live, not live to eat. I have learned to enjoy what life has to offer, and I eat nutritiously so that I have the most energy to face the day. I love my body, I love who I am (imperfections and all), and I love seeing my children feel confident about themselves as I demonstrate this healthy attitude.

next, from blogcritics, we have a review of a novel, morbid cravings:

The book offers a feminist approach to the horror genre, in addition to providing a background for discussion of what is considered “normal” – a well-established, successful woman impaired by an eating disorder, or her werewolf persona, which is confident and cares for food to the extent that it must be obtained and eaten without further ado, free of the anguish and suffering associated with anorexia and/or bulimia.

almost a blog carnival by itself, lyrois provides links and quotes around the size zero phenomenon, jeans and beauty, “thinspiration” and anorexia as a lifestyle.

Remember when women aspired to be a perfect size 10? Well, forget that notion because these days a size 10 is seen as positively obese — at least in Hollywood.

A disturbing new phenomenon is heading across the Atlantic that deems the new ideal size an astonishing size zero…

and if you’re interested in a professional point of view of anorexia, visit dawn heather’s blog, where she explains how she assists people with this condition:

My own approach begins with some detective work:
1. Identify the behaviour
2. What is its function i.e. what does it do for the person
3. Identify any actual and potential triggers that cause the behavioural response
4. Identify when the behaviour occurs (frequency, time of day) along with any patterns or cycling
5. Locate the origins of the behaviour – what is the first memory of it
6. Identify the emotional associations – before, during and after

here’s a few more professional views:

another book review at tappingluau, of one of the definitive books on orthorexia, by steven bratman.

what is orthorexia, you ask? it’s an obsession with eating healthy. when i say “obsession”, i’m not just referring to a bit more than a passing interest in health food. orthorexia takes people to places where they are frequently undernourished,
for example by not eating enough fat (yes, that’s possible).

just as badly, orthorexia can consume people’s thoughts the way other eating disorders do, where the day is dominated by planning and talking about food. deviating from a strict (and restricted), “healthy” plan can throw the orthorexic into horrible depths of self-recrimination.

on to the other end of the spectrum: overeating.

diseaseproof gives a link to an interesting podcast that interviews scientists about the evolutionary reasons for humans’ liking/addiction to sweet, salty and fatty food.

“we are born for a liking for sweet and salt, a disliking for bitter. the food industry responds to this.” there is also an evolutionary reason for our need for variety, which used to ensure that that we would get a variety of nutrients. “in our abundant society, however, we keep on eating way beyond our needs.”

craig harper maintains that changing one’s eating habits is a matter of making the decision to DO IT. i personally think that’s a bit simplistic but have to say, i always like a guy who doesn’t mince words and craig sure wears his heart/thoughts on his sleeve!

and here is whatever it takes, someone recovering from overeating with the help of overeaters anonymous.

finally, let’s end on a funny note …

karen murphy, from lion and magic boy, regales us with a very long and very winding but also very funny story about body image – the kind of experience that, unfortunately, most women over 25 have experienced more than once …

Big mistake. BIG mistake. There is a large mirror directly in front of me. I have an excellent view of myself, bouncing up and down. Naked.

that’s it for the first round of carnival of eating disorders. thanks for everyone who participated! stay tuned for the next one, january 31. if you have an article that you’d like to have considered, please use this submission form.

isabella mori
counselling in vancouver

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