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We speak in platitudes about the "road to recovery" with eating disorders, like there's an easily-replicable strategy, like winning a board game. My recovery was a hellish game of snakes and ladders: I'd make progress and then have a setback and slide back to start.
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Millennials, those who reached adulthood at the beginning of this century, are said to be particularly discerning in their choices, from where and how they like to work to what they shop for and what they eat. But this insistence on always having one's needs met is sooner or later bound to encounter a reality check, experts warn.
It's Eating Disorders Awareness Week in Canada (Feb.1-7, 2017). It has taken me about 15 years to ADMIT that I had an eating disorder (anorexia nervosa) as a child and teenager. If you know someone with an eating disorder, here are a few things to be aware of.
This yo-yo or extreme dieting may be seen as harmless or even vain but we must recognize it stems from a very dangerous place. Negative body image is the negative self-perception of your body. It is often accompanied by shame; the unworthiness we feel due to our flaws. This combination of negative body image and shame is what leads us to take desperate measures with our bodies.
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In my family, we do our best to be open about it. We share with each other and talk openly about the challenges and struggles surrounding mental health -- challenges that have touched our family directly, and the families of countless Canadians. The conversation can sometimes be uncomfortable or difficult, but it is too important to let that stop us. We work hard every day to try to reduce and eliminate the stigma surrounding mental health. In order to recover, we must be willing to find and accept help. We can have conversations with our family and friends, even when it is difficult to do so. Some of you may not have families who are available or open to conversations about mental health, but that does not mean you are alone.
This month, The FDA approved a device that promises quick weight loss in minimal time and it has many physicians furious. The device is called AspireAssist and it's appalling. a tube is surgically implanted into the patients stomach using a port valve, which is an opening just above the belly button that can be opened or closed to drain food. Let's discuss the implications of all this.
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There's been a lot of visceral (read: ICK) reaction to the stomach-draining device that was just approved by the FDA. An alternative to traditional dieting and more invasive than traditional bariatric surgeries, the AspireAssist system is definitely a new way of preventing calories from being absorbed by the body.
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By and large, we live in a diet-obsessed society, so my health nuttiness went unnoticed. Plus, like most individuals with eating disorders, I was a master at hiding all this dysfunctional behaviour for many years. I was also incredibly successful at outwardly presenting a well put-together front when facing the world. I had been a model student, a star employee, a good friend and doting auntie to my young nephews. Until it all came crashing down on me.
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Eating disorders don't care if you're male or female, under 10 years old or over 50 years old. They'll destroy anyone who's ripe for the picking. When I speak at school or to parents about body image, the issue of media manipulation always comes up and for good reason. We are definitely influenced by what we see and hear in our magazines and TV screens, but does the media CAUSE eating disorders? I say no.
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Eating disorders are more than just "extreme dieting," they are psychological disorders that stem from complex underlying issues. There are many stereotypes and myths surrounding eating disorders, and the resulting stigma can make it more difficult for those affected to seek treatment.
Most eating disorders are focused on food quantity and resulting weight issues. But orthorexic people can be overweight, extremely thin, or everything in between. Their sole concern is the quality of the food they eat and whether it is in accordance with their rules and restrictions.
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There is an association between low BMI and loss of libido, sexual anxiety and sexual relationships. These findings are consistent with the explanation that low body weight impairs the physiological functioning of sexual organs.
A few days ago, I came across a blog post in which the blogger made a comment about how each roll of skin on her tummy represented a happy moment with her family in which she enjoyed that chocolate cake at her child's birthday party or had skipped the Jillian Michael's exercise DVD that morning so she could sit on the floor and colour with her daughter. For the first time in my life, the realization of my sick mindset entrenched in the lost, wasted, hungry hours I chose in order to be the thinnest mom on the block finally beat me over the head with a barbell.
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To be happy not only with the squishy parts of my body but also to simply have so much self-worth that happiness is not directly correlated to my efforts to control my weight is such a foreign concept, and yet, I can't help but feel envy for those who, like Pink, do not rely on their daily caloric intake for their sense of identity.
The absence of visible symptoms is not the most accurate measure of someone's recovery from this disease. Weight is a physical thing, but anorexia also resides firmly in the psyche. Anorexia is like having the person who hates you the most, the most irrational tyrant you can imagine, living in your head rent-free, trying to burn down your physical foundation from the inside out. It's an interminable abusive relationship that's nearly impossible to leave because it transpires in your own mind. Those voices can cause problems before the weight loss starts to show.
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My scale was deweaponized, bedazzled and a thing of beauty, finally. I was using it for the wrong thing -- to reflect my worth as a person. I turned it into wall art so that it finally reflects me, but on the inside. Sparkly. Sassy. Fun. Pretty. Glittery. Girly. Expressive.
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I have an eating disorder. But the moment I am asked, "Do you cut yourself? Please lift your sleeves and your pant legs so I can check," my spot on the treatment totem pole for my eating disorder drops considerably. Because I don't cut myself. I never have.
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Nicole Scherzinger revealed a very painful and difficult phase in her life to the British edition of Cosmopolitan this week: her battle with bulimia while lead singer of The Pussycat Dolls. "I had sta...
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I'm going to eat this muffin. I am. I really am. I'm so useless. I suck. I need to put this muffin down. And just not eat anything for the rest of the day. Nobody likes me anyway so who cares if I even eat this muffin? I can't do anything right.
I've spent these past several months adjusting to the diagnoses of my mental illnesses, redefining who I am as compared to who I thought I was. Sadly though, dependent on how news of my illnesses is viewed by others and based on the fact that my healing is partly based on perseverance and strength, never has the company I've kept been subject to more scrutiny.
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Although my mental illness was recently diagnosed, I've known since I was a teenager that I had an eating disorder. In the case of the eating disorder known as EDNOS (Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified), lack of physically obvious symptoms makes it not only easier for this disorder to persist for years, but it also makes health care providers less willing and/or able to diagnose it.
Thinking of people with eating disorders as crazy or self-destructive is just wrong, says Dr. Steiger. In fact, there are still too many myths attached to eating disorders -- like the following.
It's a rich girl's disease: In fact, eating disorders cut across all economic groups. Goals and values of being upwardly mobile, of being achievement oriented affect all social groups.
Are we doing enough about an illness that is silently eating away at both a mother and daughter?
Twenty years ago, People Magazine headlined one of their covers with, "Princess Di: Struggle with Bulimia Brings a Puzzling Disease Out of the Shadows." Eating disorders still remain a private battle for millions of young women, and the faces of those affected are changing. We'd be downright wrong to frame it as a "rich, white girl's disease." How do you capture the cost of subjecting millions of women to calorie counting or religious scale stepping?
It is with great apprehension that I write this post and confession. Two weeks ago, I reentered a treatment program at the hospital, because I have relapsed into bulimia, and can't fight this alone. The treatment program will last at least seven months, involving multiple weekly visits to the eating disorder clinic at the hospital, where I will participate in supervised meals, various groups and one-on-one therapy. This is my third time going into treatment. The hypocrisy of preaching healthy eating while doing ED treatment fills me with guilt.
I have struggled -- and I mean struggled -- with an eating disorder for over 12 years. No one could have conveyed to me how extremely hard it is to give up severe bulimia. But then, no one told me how easy it could be. Every day, many (up to 10) times a day, bulimia took care of me.
Recently I was asked if I ever worried that I was putting my children at risk for developing eating disorders by being so open and honest about my own. The truth is that they always knew their mom was a bit "different," they just didn't know why. I may have convinced myself that they were oblivious to my disorder, but how could that be true when we'd be walking out the door to go for dinner and one of them would ask, "Are you eating today, Mommy, or just watching?" or they'd shout, "Look, Mommy's a dinosaur!" because the bones of my spine would poke out so sharply from under my skin.
I have tried to disentangle my bulimia from my schizophrenia, but I can't: I was a bulimic schizophrenic. Not a schizophrenic bulimic, though; I had the schizophrenia because my fundamental brain chemistry was abnormal, while my bulimia was more psychological.
I had been toying with the idea of visiting a Naturopathic doctor for a couple of years when the opportunity came up for me to take the plunge. I have been OK with how standard healthcare has treated me thus far. But I have decided that I want answers. Not just band-aid solutions, or easy fixes. Enter Dr. Erin Wiley, ND.
Imagine watching a loved one slowly wither and having no idea what's wrong, or how to save them. Michale Cerswell, an Ontario teen, fell victim to one of Canada's most common mental illnesses -- an eating disorder. The greatest challenge was finding treatment.
Bulimia. That is a word that I used to be so ashamed of saying out loud. But now I use it with ease as it is a part of who I am, was, and will become. It has been a part of my life for so long, and it has taken me up until this point to realize that it is nothing to apologize for. It just is.
With so many misconceptions about anorexia, bulimia and overeating, can you spot fact from fiction? We talked to Julie Notto, the program manager at Sheena's Place in Toronto to help us decipher some...
The lives of thin women revolve around denial, restrictions, guilt, and depression over failing... I know because I'd been hiding my own fat monster and had to appease it with Prozac and talk therapy. Still, I suppose, I'd rather be sad than fat. And so would Kate Middleton, probably. And so would you.