This piece is part of The Frisky’s How To Deal Week, in which we’re tackling mental health issues.
A week before my high school graduation, my doctor told me that I had to go to the hospital.
My weight had fallen too low, my EKG results were scary, and my continued refusal to eat was putting my life in danger. While my classmates went to college orientation, I went to nutrition counseling and group therapy. For two years I had faithfully obeyed the voice in my head that told me that if I ate more than the acceptable amount of food (an amount that kept getting smaller and smaller), I would be weak, my body and the world would spin out of control, and something terrible would happen. And yet something terrible was happening anyway.
I was losing every bit of control over my life, and goals I had spent years working towards — a scholarship to an elite college, freedom from my family and small town — were slipping from my grasp. I realized there was something I feared even more than the voice in my head, and I started to fight back. I obeyed the nutritionist even when my mind told me it couldn’t possibly be okay to eat this much food. I started to gain weight. And in the fall I enrolled in college. Keep reading »
Most days, I just throw on whatever’s comfortable and cute, and whatever doesn’t make me feel self-conscious or overly-critical of my new thirtysomething gut. But according to some psychologists, my clothing choices — and yours — are actually much more deep-seated and pressing. Says Liz Jones (pictured), a writer for the Daily Mail UK (I know, I know), clothing choices actually express your inner neuroses, passions and subconscious fears.
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It’s been seven years since I owned a scale. Back then, I was 19, and obsessively chronicling my calories, workouts, and incremental weight changes. 105 one day. 106 would send me into a panic attack. 106.5 put me over the edge. When a handful of months later, I’d find out I was 121, my world would turn upside-down.
Yes, I was one of those young women who, by all clinical definitions, had an eating disorder. I can’t exactly tell you how I came out of it. I tend to think I just outgrew it. But if eating disorders are about extreme method and control, then my exodus was something of a doodled roadmap, an attempt to stop thinking so much. Which I guess is why I can’t really remember the progress. But I can remember one thing: the women’s magazine article voice in my head telling me, “Beauty is not a number. Throw out your scale, Scary Spice! Fill your fridge with broccoli and Yoplait non-fat yogurts! Write down daily affirmations! Buy some self-tanner! This is how you’ll be a better you!” Keep reading »
“I have been every single size in women’s fashion. I really don’t think anyone can say that. I’ve been a double-zero, children’s clothes, at 95 pounds, and I’ve been all the way up to a size 16 and everything in between. So to come to this place of being a 6, 8, sometimes a 10 depending on what designer I’m wearing. And that’s an interesting place to be in fashion, where extremes are the norm.”
– Crystal Renn talks to “Entertainment Tonight” about her weight. It seems like nobody can believe that a woman who works in fashion — and struggled with anorexia in the past — could be completely comfortable in her body and be okay with being somewhere in the middle. Pretty crazy, right? It’s like the media wants her to be as fixated on how much she weighs as they are. Gross. [ET Online]
Dear Thinspiration Blogs,
At first I didn’t really understand you. I mean, I’d heard of the “pro-ana” blogs that lurked in dark corners of the internet, encouraging starvation and promoting anorexia. But thinspiration blogs are more mainstream. You show up on the Pinterest homepage in the form of “diet plans” that allow nothing but lemon water for a week. You show up on my Tumblr dashboard in the form of photos of concave stomachs and protruding rib cages, or food diaries with 500-calorie totals. The phrase “thigh gap” is actually a popular blog tag now, shorthand for pictures of skinny legs that don’t touch. The gist of it? You are getting harder and harder to avoid.
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It was my worst fear. I recovered from anorexia/bulimia and became morbidly obese. I lost and regained weight in a furious and uncontrollable cycle. I didn’t think I had it in me to try again.
But I couldn’t ignore how my health was deteriorating. My right knee constantly hurt and buckled, making walking difficult. I had osteoarthritis. While my knee couldn’t be fixed, I could slow down the deterioration and stave off knee surgery.
Enter my thoughts of weight loss surgery. Even if I could lose the weight on my own, it would take well over a year. I read that gastric bypass surgery (“GBS”) patients lost most of their excess weight within 6 months. That’s a no brainer, I decided. Keep reading »
Writing about eating disorders feels like an exercise in vulnerability, not because I am ashamed to share my story, but due to the extremely emotional nature of the topic for countless women. In an era of Kate Moss, skinny jeans, and “she’s too skinny!” tabloid fodder, eating disorders run rampant like a cultural epidemic, continuing to fester alongside a never-ending preoccupation with body image. Although the majority of the media narrows the scope of the issue to models and celebrities, eating disorders are actually most prevalent amongst us everyday girls. Simultaneously, the reality of EDs extends beyond the teenage anecdotes of starving ourselves to be popular; these serious diseases have lifetime physical and psychological ramifications and are far more multifarious than extreme dieting. Weight is a sensitive subject to say the least, one I am going to handle diplomatically. The objective of sharing my story is not to be controversial, blame Hollywood, or spark debate on how to confront eating disorders, but to reflect on the complexities of a ghost that has haunted me and so many others for over a decade.
Keep reading »