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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.
There are lots of things that people say about how to overcome food cravings, but I have a sure-fire way that anyone can use, with guaranteed results. There are three steps to overcoming your food cravings, and you'll need to do all three if you want to succeed.
The one thing I realize now is being beautiful isn't about being skinny or size zero. It's loving every inch and curve of your body and embracing everything about you. If you don't love yourself, the number means nothing. Telling the world my story was the final stage.
"[There's] a great sense of unhappiness and unease with their own body."
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Veganism isn't about deprivation or being extreme. It's about leaving animals off our plates. I see too many people -- vegans and not -- who have become obsessed with eating their version of a perfectly clean diet. They eliminate soy, gluten, corn, carbs and so on for no clear reason -- often needlessly.
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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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Fighting an eating disorder is lifelong. And I realize this every time I think my mind is finally free. This week when I was navigating Twitter, I came across a tweet claiming a product which guaranteed weight loss of 20 lbs in 24 days. As someone who has valiantly tried to accomplish this, I finally realized that an eating disorder, although a mental illness, is aggravated by the bacteria in the environment disguised in the shape of advertising.
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.
At a recent function, a young woman takes me aside, and complains bitterly about the holidays. She finds them stressful, but not for the reason we might think. She explains that, like thousands across Canada, she had waited for the Status of Women report on eating disorders, and that she was praying that it might offer some hope for 2015, a plan to help struggling families. But these hopes have been dashed. She continued to say that many Canadians are so sick that they need urgent help, and that long wait times, few hospital beds and lack of help in the community are killing people needlessly in our communities.
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The stories have not changed in 25 years. Canadians with eating disorders and their families still struggle. Boys and girls, young men and women are still told they have a choice and they should just eat. Parents continue to be blamed, and families still complain: where is the education that allows frontline health practitioners to recognize eating disorders, where is the early intervention, and where is the access to care?
Here's the thing: eating disorders are not about a fear of getting fat. The weight gain is not fueled by the number on the scale, but by the feeling of perfection at having maintained self-control.
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As I was reading through Twitter accounts and bios of people advocating for the recognition of eating disorders as real and dangerous, I came across the words "ex-anorexic." I was jealous. I am able to eat a meal with my family, and quietly endure the self-loathing afterwards with no physiological consequences; but the mental battle drags me through such an obstacle course, that by the time I've reached the finish line, I am no longer certain of whether or not I want to get better. Unfortunately, part of me is convinced that there is no such thing as getting better from this
The image of what often comes to mind, and what is often publicized for people with eating disorders is a younger female who is skeletal in frame. In my case, I was a young man who was albeit thin, also quite muscular. I worked in health in fitness. I helped people get fit. I was supposed to be the voice of healthy living.