Monday, August 6, 2012

careless words can hurt me

My stepmom is a lucky person who has never had to worry about her weight a day in her life.  She’s naturally thin, has been as long as I’ve known her (about 20 years now).  She eats well, works out, and generally enjoys exercise.

However, I have come to know her increasingly as a person who unapologetically gives free reign to her thoughts, which more often than not seem to tumble forth before much consideration for tact (or for nearly anyone else) has been given.

I think it’s fine for people to have their opinions, even to speak their opinions, but as I try very hard to be mindful of my company, I expect at least that much courtesy from others as well.  It disturbs me that people speak without thought, saying things that may harm or insult, and then when confronted with their lack of discretion, they hide behind a blustering, “Well, I’m free to say what I please—it’s your fault you’re letting it get to you.  I can’t control your emotions, that’s your problem.”

I have very strong opinions, and I give free range to those online.  I rarely vocalize for fear that I may insult, and I don’t wish to start fights; however, in the digital arena, I feel safe to say what I want.  Of course I’m still measured to an extent, but any one of my Facebook friends or blog followers knows how rigid my convictions can be.

My whole point here is that people should watch their words a little more carefully, practice some economy.

I had dinner with my parents last night.  It was like a mid-year Thanksgiving—we had turkey, stuffing, and smashed potatoes.  Don’t ask why—it was some wild hair my dad had.  I claimed a leg for myself, loving the thought of biting right in (which I didn’t), and preferring dark meat over white any day.  Dad had a thigh, Michelle three thin slices of breast meat.

I don’t care about the breast meat—she always eats the least-fatty thing she can.  What got me was that she “couldn’t finish” her last slice.  She had “two-and-a-half-slices too many!”  Are you kidding me?  After I’d eaten a whole leg, you’re gonna claim to be full after a paltry couple of slices of breast meat?  And then later, we had chocolate pudding for dessert (again, another wild hair), and I was just about to polish mine off (totally engrossed in reading The Bourne Identity), she proclaims that she’s not sure she should finish hers.  It was a tiny bowl of pudding, and she’s acting like it’s a 20lb triple-chocolate cake!  This woman, who has never strayed above a size 2…..she does this all the time.  Always claiming that she’s not hungry, even though all she ate the whole day was a granola bar.  Or claiming that she’s stuffed after eating half a salad.  Or that id she eats X, she’ll have to go to the gym TWICE tomorrow, LOL.  Now, she may truly not be hungry—some people just don’t have strong appetites.  Some don’t care for sweets.  But in the presence of someone who has struggled her whole life with insecurities about her weight, who once starved and punished her body to a skeletal 97lbs, and who suffers every day with the knowledge that it all came back and then some and it just won’t come off—in the presence of that person, she can’t think to be a little more considerate?  Because what I hear is that voice in my head telling me how disgusting I am, that I ate too much, that it’s no wonder I got fat.  Thin people don’t eat so much.  Thin people make themselves go to the gym every day, not every other day.

I don’t ask people to change themselves because of my insecurities.  All I ask is the same consideration I show them.

Ever analyzing and ever yours,

Thursday, August 2, 2012

standard seeking

Sometimes I just want to know what happens to people, in a broad sense, when they “recover” from anorexia, or go into recovery?  Is there any clinical evidence?  They have these books for pregnant women, What to Expect When You’re Expecting—I would like something like that for current and former anorexia sufferers.  I don’t say former anorexics, because I don’t believe there is such a thing.  But a guideline of sorts, to let us know what we’re going to have to go through.  And so I’ll find myself of an evening searching the interwebs for…..something.  Something beyond anecdotes and individual stories.  And ever y time, I come up with nada.  Maybe I’m not looking in the right places, but I wouldn’t think the answers would be so elusive.  I found something on, “the consequences of eating disorders (, with its laundry list of adverse health effects as a direct result of the disease, but not of the recovery
But on my hunt tonight, I did stumble upon a gem of an article from the New York Times, “In Fighting Anorexia, Recovery Is Elusive” (  It doesn’t have what I’m looking for; it doesn’t have the cut-and-dry of “this is what recovery form anorexia looks like; this is what is going to happen.” 


The article asks if anorexics can ever be fully recovered, and the popular response seems to be, no one knows.  Recovery form anorexia can be likened to that of alcoholism: “the disease may be in remission, but the potential for relapse always lurks in the background.”  Dr. Katharine Halmi, a psychiatry professor at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City, says, “About 50 percent of people with anorexia will be able to reach and maintain a normal weight, but most of them are very preoccupied with the calorie content of food.”

This is why I reiterate my stance on anorexia recovery being a myth, a nice story but not something real or obtainable.  Not for most of us.  Because anorexia is a disease of the mind as well as the body (or even, the body because of the mind), it’s up to the individual to determine what her normal is, how recovered she is.  One good day will not necessarily lead to other good days; likewise, one bad day will not result in total relapse.  I wish I could unlearn the calorie content of every food I eat, but that’s like trying to unlearn 1st grade addition or how to spell my name.

I keep chasing that rainbow,