Monday, December 31, 2012

New Years Resolutions and Goals of the Week 24

December 31st is here! Tomorrow is next year, which means it's time to resolve things. 

New Years Resolutions:
1. Purge less than half the days of the year
2. Binge less than half the days of the year
3. Learn the 3rd movement of Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata
4. Make 3 new friends

So. Onto goals of the week. 
I didn't have any goals last week, because I was too busy and they wouldn't have been useful anyway. 
This week, my binge/purge goal will be to binge no more than 2 days this week, starting after I publish this (which means my breakfast binge and purge doesn't count towards today).
And my non b/p goal will be to not weigh myself this week. It's going to be so hard because I just want to focus on losing this extra weight I put on over the holidays. But I can do it. 

What are your resolutions? And goals?

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Failure that was Christmas

If you're like me you had a fun Christmas but a horrible one in terms of behaviors. 
I tried so hard not to binge! 
We went to a relative's house for the holidays and of course there was tons of food. Plus the added stress of being around lots of relatives and trying to do all sorts of things at once. I threw up about three times every day after feeling pressured into eating, even though I was perpetually worried that someone would hear me. The bathroom at my relative's house doesn't have a lock on it either, so anyone could have come into the bathroom and seen me. 
But that didn't happen. And I was able to enjoy the holidays despite having no voice whatsoever. 
By the time I got home, I had gained merely two pounds (I always expect five), so to me the throwing up did pay off. And now I can hopefully start anew and try to eat less and not throw up. 

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Christmas Foods

Here are all the things I will be trying hard to avoid during this delightful season:

Apple pie
Pumpkin pie
Sticky buns
Mashed potatoes
Yule log
Nutmeg cookie logs
Sugar cookies
Green bean casserole
Cranberry salad
Santa shaped chocolates
Ice cream
Figgy pudding
Honey glazed ham
Apple cider
Candy canes

Am I missing any? What foods make you uncomfortable during Christmas?

Friday, December 21, 2012

Fighting Stigma: Eating Disorders are Not Easy to Cure

I have no idea why anyone would think this, but apparently there is a belief that eating disorders can be cured quickly and easily. In fact before there was much research on EDs the fix was to send a child away to an eating camp for a week or two where she would be forced to eat proper portions. This was supposed to give the kid a kick in the pants and normalize them to normal eating.
Obviously, since eating disorders are not all about food, this kind of treatment doesn’t work. In fact, eating disorders take very very long times to cure. The average length of treatment is six years, plus six months before the person feels fully recovered.
Six years is kind of a long time. It can be shorter for some people but if you expect that your recovery will take a few months think again. These are addictions we’re fighting against, and they are addictions that we and our culture are telling us are good. We also can’t separate ourselves from food to stave off binging and purging. And we can’t separate ourselves from restricting because restricting isn’t a physical thing to separate from.
There’s good news though: even though it takes a long time to recover, most people do recover. So there’s a high chance that someday you’ll make it out.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Fighting Stigma: ED are Real Problems

What I mean by this is that EDs tend to be seen as rich white girl problems- problems that arise from a lack of other problems. People assume that those who are starving in Africa don’t have any eating disorders because they have more important things to worry about. People who are schizophrenic or are paralyzed from the waist down are suffering in more important ways, so they would never succumb to an eating disorder.
I used to think this too, mainly because I’m a reasonably well-off white girl with really no other problems. I thought maybe my subconscious had created my eating disorder because I was psychologically in need of suffering.
Even if that’s what happened, this is not a trend in the world of EDs. The fact is that EDs in other populations are underreported because of the rich white girl stereotype. New research being done shows that across industrialized nations race or amount of money made does not play a role in the development of an eating disorder. What seems to have an effect is westernized culture, which is the only thing in common among everyone. Someone could argue that anyone, poor or rich, that lives in a westernized culture is rich compared to those in other countries. To combat this, I cite another study which looked at those in a very poor nation (or was it an isolated tribe?). The people were isolated from western culture, and then suddenly they received TVs. More eating disorders appeared. I would also guess that while there are less eating disorders in non-westernized countries, there are still some. After all, EDs are not caused solely by culture or the influence of those around us. 
As for people with EDs not having other problems, that’s completely ridiculous. Most people with EDs have additional mental illnesses or other stressors in their lives. EDs are coping mechanisms or ways to gain control- well, something has to need to be coped with or put back in control then. I think that a lot of people use eating disorders as ways to deal with problems that most of the world would gasp upon hearing.
Besides, if someone has an eating disorder and afterwards a new problem arises, the person isn’t suddenly going to be cured- most likely he or she will get worse. This is proof that eating disorders are actual problems, not substitutes for them. 

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Fighting Stigma: We do not Choose to be Disordered

No one in their right mind wants to develop an eating disorder. Those that say they do already have disordered thoughts and beliefs. Eating disorders are acts of desperation for a variety of reasons. People are driven to them and they are controlled by them from the very beginning, not the other way around.
There are people out there who like being as skinny as an eating disorder will take them. Or rather, they feel more comfortable being that skinny versus a little bigger. This doesn’t mean they chose the disorder. It means they’re already controlled by the disorder and they’re acting on beliefs ingrained in them by what the disorder has taught them.
There are people who like their eating disorders. That does not mean those people chose them. EDs are coping mechanisms, so it makes sense that people would have some affinity for them. Again, they are controlled by the beliefs their ED has taught them instead of choosing for themselves.
There are people who might even say that they chose an ED as a lifestyle. I’m sorry but no. People are scammed, tricked, and forced into eating disorders by beliefs, circumstances, and feelings. Even if someone feels like she’s in control, she’s not. And no one, not even herself, can do anything about it.

One more thing: I have a real problem with people saying that eating disordered individuals choose their disorders because this puts the blame on the ones with the illness. And blame just makes everything worse. It makes you feel bad, and then guilty, which drives you to cope through eating disordered behaviors, which just compounds itself over and over and over again. If you want people to get better, you can’t blame them. 

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Fighting Stigma: We are Not Vain

A lot of people have done posts about this (Ruby did a brilliant one some time ago) so I guess it’s my turn to add something to the mix.
For everyone out there who thinks people with eating disorders are shallow and vain and care only about losing weight, you’re wrong. Individuals with eating disorders can be vain, but they’re vain independent of their ED. Being vain is not a part of having an ED. In fact, usually, it’s the opposite. Most of us care more about others than we do ourselves, and when we’re complimented on weight loss we smile on the outside and on the inside smack ourselves. Most people I’ve met with eating disorders are very kind, shy, and have very low opinions of themselves. A few people have even said that low self esteem, rather than being vain, is a characteristic of the disorder. I agree with this, although I do think that some people can mask their low self esteem by being big and bravado- maybe something that gives rise to the stereotype of vain people with EDs?
Someone else mentioned that when people are depressed or in the depths of a torturing mental illness all they can focus on is their struggle. I would buy that. That someone with anorexia or bulimia is so consumed with his/her illness that they can’t focus on anyone else and so appear vain. (in fact I buy this so much that I make sure to talk about myself as little as possible to others in order to ensure they know I care about them) But I haven’t met anyone like that yet. I think people tend to be focused on their illnesses when alone, but once they’re with other people they turn their attention outward.
Even if people are so caught up in their struggle that they can’t imagine anyone else having problems, I don’t know if I would call that being vain. That’s just another product of low self esteem.
I don’t know if this added anything new to the old rebuttal to all the stigmatization. But maybe someone new will read this and their opinion will be changed. Fingers crossed.