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sometimes i wonder that too--if she's normalized it. expects to always be like this....maybe feels like she doesn't deserve to get better, or has let it go on too long to get better. she certainly knows she has an eating disorder, so does everyone else in her life. she's been in and out of clinics, she's actually done volunteer work and charity stuff for other ed sponsorships and funds--which is the crazy thing to me. she knows that's herself, too. one girl that she made friends with in one of the clinics died. from the ed. i think she's well aware of the danger of her situation, i think there's just some irreconcilable block there. and i guess i can kind of understand that....but i wish i could give her a fresh start.

my hope is kind of that moving might give that to her, in time--she misses her old home, but this change in the routine might help her change HER routine, maybe if she starts meeting new people there and wants them to see her differently? this may be wishful thinking on my part.

do you think that's something i could say to her? sort of suggest that maybe having moved to someplace completely new and unfamiliar (which i know she's unhappy about) might be the perfect chance to start fresh?
_octinoxate: yes i do agree. the hard thing is that it's a topic most people dont have much reference for... so they dont know how to approach it. i think that's why professional/experienced help is so important. people have reacted to me with sympathy, confusion, impatience, and indifference. but you know what helped me the most? (besides the fact i was completely ready to move on/let it go/change my habits) .. a friend of mine said i wasnt being very responsible. at first it made me angry... "cant you see i cant help it?" and then it empowered me. "yeah, this thing really is my battle that i have the power to win" so i sought out help, and i stayed dedicated to it, and i realized that no matter what our conditions, we are each responsible for our own well being. if we are not happy (because i have never met a person who suffered from an ED who really truly wanted to do it) then we have to learn what we need to do to make us happy.

grenadine, i like what you said about "intuitive eating".. that's totally what it is.. knowing your body. knowing what you can and cant eat to maintain a healthy weight. and dont forget exercising! we are not sedentary creatures.. we are meant to move, to stay active. not only that, exercise really helps relieve stress and gives you good energy.

hannahmh, you talked about the ED still being a taboo.. and i understand. i have found this 'disorder' to be a way to express ourselves, when we feel no other outlet. i have often equated the binge/purge cycle to a drummer hammering it out on her drums. the fury, the passion, the intensity. i think that ED's may simply be misdirected creative energy. but everyone knows it's different for each of us. so although it is a taboo topic for ED sufferers.. the first step is opening up to it. admitting to it, seeing it for what it is, and then forgiving yourself and moving forward. one day at a time, one step at a time.. there are resources out there to help each person who is suffering.. they just have to be willing to seek it out.

and finally.. (sorry so long)..

hannahmh, you also said you'd be really inspired to hear a recovered EDer say that she feels beautiful after recovery. i'll say for myself.. the idea i have of beautiful now is completely different. what happens when you overcome an eating disorder, is that your perceptions shift. you become more educated, more aware, more at peace. what i used to consider beautiful, is now boring.. it's feels so shallow to me, that i want to distance myself from it because i want people to know now that i am more than just the shape of my body. i would rather people see me for the beauty within, than give into thinking i need to look like someone else in order to meet their standards. and the people who dont *get* Inner Beauty, may never, so it's useless to try to please them.

that's just some of what i've learned. i'm sure there are so many other views and angles that each sufferer has learned from and that's why i love people sharing what they have experienced. because we all become stronger as a result.
i love my body. it's beautiful. in and out.

(and i'm so grateful to it for sticking with me through all those years of mistreatment.)

mouse, i think reminding her (perhaps through an example of someone else, which may not be about EDs at all) that change is possible is always good. but as any ED sufferer knows, you take your problems with you. maybe best to focus on talking about other empowering things...i know that the first trigger for my bulemia was being taken into a counseling room at school for an intervention because my friends thought i was already bulemic (i wasn't). the first time i induced vomiting was the next day.

i find that the more i put my energy in other things, the more healthily i can think and live. that's not ignoring the ED - but sometimes too much focus can reinforce it.

i thought this thread deserved a bump in honour of the occasion. thanksgiving used to be such a trigger for me, and it begins all the holiday.

*dispensing large amounts of courage to ED-affected busties*

that is all.
thanks everyone!!! thanks grenadine.

post thanksgiving musings:

i had a wonderful day of cooking and eating. i feel quite full but not yuckily stuffed. i feel satisfied. it's nice. no guilt. or, trying to convince myself of no guilt. my therapist reccomended i read "intuitive eating" by evelyn tribole and elyse resch, and i find it pretty inspiring. has anyone read it? i also watched the hbo "thin" documentary last night. it was pretty depressing. it made me kind of heartened that i have found and identified and am trying really hard to recover from my disordered eating so early in my life. weird to watch 30 year olds whose entire adult life has been defined by (not) eating. i have such a full, exciting life full of such wonderful people, so much love, opportunity, excitement, and i don't want to spend it/ waste it all worried about feeling fat and obsessing about what goes into my mouth. i've just started to feel like, ok, so i won't do that. i will just refuse to be obsessed. obviously, it is not so simple, or else i would be over all this! but, as grenadine said, there's so much i rather be doing then struggling with this constantly. and sometimes it seems totally doable to just do those other things. and, of course, sometimes not.

it's weird that my standards of beauty for myself are so totally different than those i hold for other women. i don't find absurdly thin girls to be attractive at all, yet i somehow feel that what looks natural and curvy and hot on another person looks gross on me. and even more so, i would never even think to base my value of a woman on her physical appearance. knorl, i hear so much what you say about inner beauty. but i somehow have set up these more superficial standards for is not excusable for me to be less than superthin. it is a "luxury" i am not worthy of. i am terribly ashamed about sounding, or worse, being, shallow. the people who love me value me, i hope, for being who i am: being a good friend, or being smart, or being funny, or whatnot, not for my weight. yet i judge myself on how "good" or "bad" i eat, how much weight i lose or gain. it is, quite frankly, ridiculous.

big sigh.

anyway, happy thanksgiving and thanks for words of wisdom and kindness smile.gif
grenadine, that's so true.. it's beyond helpful to take the focus off the ED and put it into more productive things. also good call about bumping for the holidays. it was obviously an awful trigger for me too, everything looked so good. and the leftovers! but i've learned portion control, i can still try everything in moderation. and i did.. and i wasnt too stuffed.

speaking of which, i just thought of something yesterday.. it's a really simple thought, but a good reminder for me. i used to eat a lot to comfort me, yet after i was done eating being stuffed made me super uncomfortable. i hated that feeling and i am SO GLAD that i dont give into it anymore. i've also found that when i drink adequate amounts of water with or after a meal, it kind of settles my stomach so i dont feel the urge to purge. just a thought*

hannahmh: it's ok to have high standards for yourself.. dont feel guilty about that. it is also ok to be beautiful, we do not need to look like any woman in particular in order to deserve respect - we only need to embrace our own unique selves, i think. this battle is not about what anyone else thinks.. it's just about what you think of yourself. if You feel you are too hard on yourself, or that you are being superficial, that is your opinion, and the only one that matters. the key here is to learn to Stop berating and punishing ourselves. to learn to be forgiving and gentle with ourselves. to nuture and care for ourselves. to be healthy and loving with our bodies. and it all starts with the mind. who ever you are, however you look, whatever you do, is ok as long as you are ok with it. but if you're not, that is the time for change.
OMG reading about all of this made me remember something, and THIS i have to share:
I saw my ex (after more than a year) like 1 month ago. he lives in Cali so he came to visit...and I noticed something..... you could see his chest bones! (yes, a la Nicole Richie) CAN YOU BELIEVE IT? I can't recall seeing another guy's chest bones in my WHOLE LIFE. Isnt it sick or what? Of course me , being me, told him that he was probably anorexic/bulimic, and of course he denied. But I'm worried now! He's thinner than me! He doesn't have an ounze of fat in his body and its so bad, for the first time in my life I've realized that having some fat in your body is not BAD AT ALL. He def has something because we went to eat cheesesteaks (Philly's finest!) and he ate it all, but he left some meat, and believe you me, he, being a frat boy, used to eat EVERYTHING. Not anymore! obviously cali is being a bad influence on him....i just didn't know to what extent this was getting to!
knorl, exactly...we create this cycle of comfort/discomfort that seems to serve as a placebo for dealing with our real issues.

dani, yuck. i had a boyfriend who "tried bulemia" after hearing that i was recovering. i hope your ex comes to his senses.
grenadine. yes, the real issues. i think we all know what they are, we are just not ready to face them yet. i knew that facing my issues would mean i would have to be a grown up, and at the time, i was just not ready to do that.. or maybe i wasnt capable, hence the ED. either way, it is a complex disorder that each one of us must explore for ourselves.

dani. unfortunately, it could be a host of different things.. maybe he's gotten into *drugs* or simply just an unhealthy lifestyle. you never know unless you talk to him.. but he may not even be aware of it, so dont stress yourself over it if he doesnt notice a problem.
It's odd.

Thanksgiving didn't affect me as much as it normally does. It could have been the fact that I spent it with friends instead of family.

It's this week (post holiday) that I'm been really having to deal with it. Really bad food, and feeling like total crap. Also, having a bad cold and a case of depression isn't helping matters much.
sorry sassy sad.gif

i can only offer what seems to help me. moving my body. whether it be situps, butt crunches, leg lifts, pushups, using weights, workout machines, going dancing, going running, yoga.. anything to get me one small step out of the funk and into a better frame of mind. it not only is a healthy distraction, it also gives me something to work with/toward. and it lifts my spirits. and on days i dont really feel like doing it, i do something small, and then let it go. and then the next day start up again. but i am determined because it's not just about looking a certain way, it's about maintaining my overall well being. k, i'm done wink.gif
Maybe I'll try that. Thanks! Although having this bad cold isn't helping matters at all. All I want to do is sleep. Bleh.
just sharing this thought.

being interested in your physical health and appearance is not a bad thing. the problem that comes in is when the relationship we have with food is not healthy. when we abuse our bodies through food or deprive ourselves of the things we need to function.. that is when it is not good.

but wanting to be beautiful is simply an interest in life. it is just like being interested in fashion.. or art.. or sports. the reason we are interested in the things we are interested in is because to some degree we are all self-absorbed. we are all concerned with our own lives. generally when we compare desires, or interests, they do not indicate the intelligence or potential of an individual. what indicates how healthy we are is the relationship we have to these things. if a person is so sports obsessed that she forgoes all responsibility to support the team, well that is not good for her either.

the only point i'm trying to make is that people who are trying to get over an eating disorder do not need to completely change who they are in order to get healthy. all they need to change is how they interact with their interests. take control over your interests, instead of letting them rule your life. allow them to enhance your quality of living, instead of take away from it.
i concur, knorl!

any advice, anyone, on how to change how one interacts with their interests, as you put it? on how to take control over your interests, instead of letting them rule your life and allow them to enhance your quality of living, instead of take away from it? this seems so much easier said than done, when referring to looking good. i seem to be fine and confident one moment and then freaking out about an intense conviction that i am disgustingly, unredeemingly ugly. the truth lies somewhere in the middle, and probably much closer to the to put in perspective, take it with a grain of salt, and all that?
Hannah, I have a couple things to share about that:

1. I realized at one point that my habit was to automatically let my eyes travel to my "worst" (whatever that means) physical features when I looked in the mirror... like I was checking to see if my "fat" stomach was still there, etc. etc. It's funny- I couldn't actually remember just now what other traits I obsessed over to include them in the list... what a good sign! Anyway, the point is, one thing that helped me was to automatically let (or make?) my eyes travel to my favorite features instead. Just that simple act of changing your literal focus helps a ton!

2. My idea of what I look like is always, always, always tied to my general feelings about myself on a given day. If I feel awesome, smart, funny, confident, kind, and so on.... then I feel fucking sexy/cute/pretty too! So while it's harder to shape your insides than your outsides, I think it's the more adequate solution. Or at least, it is for me.

3. I said it before, but: throw away women's magazines! Ugh.

4. It is immensely helpful to me to hang out with people who don't obsess about beauty and such. Conversely, if I hang with people who are critical of their own looks and other peoples' looks, it rubs off and I get back into that. I think it is good to be conscious of the way your friends' (or family, or partners') behaviors affect you and limit time with those people who make you feel a way you don't like feeling.

Great question, hannah, and great point knorlo. Anyone else have ideas about how to put that stuff into practice?
_octinoxate: that is all really great advice independent of the ed battle. i completely agree that girlie mags are pretty much just a waste of time and money (but you still may see me flipping through one from time to time in the grocery store aisle!).

and point #4! it is so true.. hang around people who you want to be more like, or at least respect and look up to. it's so important to have support and understanding in our friendships. smile.gif
thanks for such kind and wise advice!!

how is everyone doing with holidays and such?

it's been hard, for me, being home, but i've been ok!

love and happy new year smile.gif
Hi hannah (and everyone). My holiday was unexpectedly very pleasant. And no eating issues at all, really... which makes me even more confident thinking of myself as "recovered" instead of "recovering" from an ED.

What has been tough for you in your time at home for the holiday?
yes this holiday season has been great. after reading 'the art of mindful living'.. i have been able to be more in the present moment. in this philosophy, you are conscious of what you are doing. you are awake and aware and able to appreciate more. able to slow down and think about what's going on. it was especially wonderful finally being able to spend time with my family and not feel like a total outsider. this book has been the final stage of my recovery, this i know. there is no going back, because back there offers me nothing better than right here. smile.gif i wish everyone well.

i totally admire those who have recovered, and i 100% believe in those who are still struggling.
wow. congrats to you! and to octinoxate! how long did it take for you to feel "recovered" instaed of "recovering?" i think the reason it's been hard at home is i feel very much still recovering, and i think my family is super aware of that too. i feel like there's a bit of that "i am recovering from an ed" lens/magnifying glass over my actions related to food.

i can't wait to read "the art of mindful living." it sounds amazing. i just finished reading "intuitive eating," which my therapist suggested i take a look at. i found it real inspiring. but still kind of scary. i'm still working on trustsing myself.

i had not really a binge last night but a huge huge night of eating. i hosted a wonderful dinner party and cooked an ample feast! i am starting out the new year feeling hopeful, though. and considering it a sort of victory that the night was so much fun precisely because i was in the moment and enjoying my friends and really being there. and that worrying about food was certainly not the theme of the evening in my head! and even knowing that i ate more than a little too much, i am forgiving myself this morning and putting it behind me. there are so much other ways i rather spend my time and energy.

have a very very happy and healthy 2007.

hannah, yay for you!! I'm so happy that you were able to have a wonderful night of food and friends and not beat yourself up about it. I think it's good to ah, overindulge every once in a while, to remind yourself that that's ok and the world won't end. (Oh, and if you need help justifying it: eating a lot every once in a while actually keeps your metabolism speedy... reminds your body that food is available and it doesn't have to store so much energy.) I also think that it's so important and healthy to make that sort of thing a *social* event, so the theme is sharing good times and good food with friends, instead of it being this lonely desperate coping behavior. BTW- What did you make?

I get what you're saying about feeling like people are super aware of your food issues/ recovery. I often felt like I was being watched when eating.. even if the people didn't explicitly know about my ED/ ED in remission. It was soooo uncomfortable when people made comments to me about my eating habits ("that's all you're eating??" "you don't have very normal eating habits, do you?" "you're hungry again??" "are you on a diet?" and so on... the content of the comments changed as my eating habits did). Ick. Anyway, is your family cool about it? I mean, do they basically leave you alone (as long as you're not in need of serious intervention) and not try to tell you how to eat? Also, I have a tip of sorts that might be useful (or you might be well beyond this point, I don't know): if it still feels uncomfortable to have your own plate of food to be responsible for (either to eat all of it, or eat very little of it, or whatever it is you feel you "should" do with that plate of food), do you have a friend/person who can share a plate with you? I found that it took some of the pressure off me. But you know, it actually sounds like you're really pretty far along in your recovery and may not need that at all. It might not feel like it, but I think you have almost Arrived!

Who wants to give me a brief rundown on intuitive eating? I mean, I'm basically familiar with the concept-- and in fact, I think I've actually come to eat that way most of the time-- but I wonder if there's more to it that I haven't heard about.

Hannah, re: recovery time... It's been almost exactly four years since my ED first started, and probably two and a half years since I more or less started on the recovery process. Slow and steady.

Knorlo, I want to thank you for always bringing so much positive energy, support, and info to this thread. And I want to thank everyone in the thread for providing this opportunity for dialogue... I'm finding it really helpful, because even if I've basically recovered, that doesn't mean I understand just what the hell happened yet!

I echo knorlo's words about believing in the folks who are recovering, and hannah's about best wishes for a healthy new year!

octinoxate, my friend and i cooked for 25 people! i made hors'deurves, pear endive romaine gorgonzola walnut salad, beef bourguignonne, and chocolate mousse! she made wild mushrrom polenta, asparagus and eggplant rolotini. a feast indeed!

intuitive eating is very much what it sounds. the book was written by two nutritionists--evelyn tribole and elyse resch--who noticed that what was wrong with their clients: from overweight people, binge eaters, anerexics, was not that they suffered from a lack of knowledge and info about nutrition, but that they had a reliance on rules they heard/believed/told themselves and were wary of trusting themselves and their bodies. intuitive eating then you ultimately become the expert of your own body. here's what they say, verbatum:

1. Reject the Diet Mentality Throw out the diet books and magazine articles that offer you false hope of losing weight quickly, easily, and permanently. Get angry at the lies that have led you to feel as if you were a failure every time a new diet stopped working and you gained back all of the weight. If you allow even one small hope to linger that a new and better diet might be lurking around the corner, it will prevent you from being free to rediscover Intuitive Eating.
2. Honor Your Hunger Keep your body biologically fed with adequate energy and carbohydrates. Otherwise you can trigger a primal drive to overeat. Once you reach the moment of excessive hunger, all intentions of moderate, conscious eating are fleeting and irrelevant. Learning to honor this first biological signal sets the stage for re-building trust with yourself and food.
3. Make Peace with Food Call a truce, stop the food fight! Give yourself unconditional permission to eat. If you tell yourself that you can't or shouldn't have a particular food, it can lead to intense feelings of deprivation that build into uncontrollable cravings and, often, bingeing When you finally “give-in” to your forbidden food, eating will be experienced with such intensity, it usually results in Last Supper overeating, and overwhelming guilt.
4. Challenge the Food Police .Scream a loud "NO" to thoughts in your head that declare you're "good" for eating under 1000 calories or "bad" because you ate a piece of chocolate cake. The Food Police monitor the unreasonable rules that dieting has created . The police station is housed deep in your psyche, and its loud speaker shouts negative barbs, hopeless phrases, and guilt-provoking indictments. Chasing the Food Police away is a critical step in returning to Intuitive Eating.
5. Respect Your Fullness Listen for the body signals that tell you that you are no longer hungry. Observe the signs that show that you're comfortably full. Pause in the middle of a meal or food and ask yourself how the food tastes, and what is your current fullness level?
6. Discover the Satisfaction Factor The Japanese have the wisdom to promote pleasure as one of their goals of healthy living In our fury to be thin and healthy, we often overlook one of the most basic gifts of existence--the pleasure and satisfaction that can be found in the eating experience. When you eat what you really want, in an environment that is inviting and conducive, the pleasure you derive will be a powerful force in helping you feel satisfied and content. By providing this experience for yourself, you will find that it takes much less food to decide you've had "enough".
7. Honor Your Feelings Without Using Food Find ways to comfort , nurture, distract, and resolve your issues without using food. Anxiety, loneliness, boredom, anger are emotions we all experience throughout life. Each has its own trigger, and each has its own appeasement. Food won't fix any of these feelings. It may comfort for the short term, distract from the pain, or even numb you into a food hangover. But food won't solve the problem. If anything, eating for an emotional hunger will only make you feel worse in the long run. You'll ultimately have to deal with the source of the emotion, as well as the discomfort of overeating.
8. Respect Your Body Accept your genetic blueprint. Just as a person with a shoe size of eight would not expect to realistically squeeze into a size six, it is equally as futile (and uncomfortable) to have the same expectation with body size. But mostly, respect your body, so you can feel better about who you are. It's hard to reject the diet mentality if you are unrealistic and overly critical about your body shape.
9. Exercise--Feel the Difference Forget militant exercise. Just get active and feel the difference. Shift your focus to how it feels to move your body, rather than the calorie burning effect of exercise. If you focus on how you feel from working out, such as energized, it can make the difference between rolling out of bed for a brisk morning walk or hitting the snooze alarm. If when you wake up, your only goal is to lose weight, it's usually not a motivating factor in that moment of time.
10 Honor Your Health--Gentle Nutrition Make food choices that honor your health and tastebuds while making you feel well. Remember that you don't have to eat a perfect diet to be healthy. You will not suddenly get a nutrient deficiency or gain weight from one snack, one meal, or one day of eating. It's what you eat consistently over time that matters, progress not perfection is what counts.

It sounds pretty right on to me.
Hannah, your meal sounds amazing! And 25 people-- that's quite the task.

Thanks a lot for posting the principles of intuitive eating. Sounds right on to me, too.
hannahmh: in time, that attention will pass once you begin to have faith in yourself. part of the reason you feel their concern is that you still feel ties to the cycle. once it no longer holds power over you, you will not worry about what your friends or family think, because you will know you have recovered. this is important to remember throughout your recovery, "..forgiving myself this morning and putting it behind me. there are so much other ways i rather spend my time and energy." to be honest, it's taken me about a year to fully realize i am recovered, but i think that's not too long considering i spent 12 years of my life wrapped up in it.

the art of mindful living was a suggestion from my therapist too. smile.gif i actually downloaded the ibook version of it.. i think hearing the author's voice makes the material more Real. hope you n*joi it

_octinoxate: same to you! i love being able to communicate with people who have been there and understand it, even though we may not really understand it. just today, i was wondering.. how could i have gotten so dysfunctional? but there are so many complex emotions and experiences that go into the disorder, that the best we can really do (i think) is make the most sense of right now. and that's so much easier to do when we are healthy!
oh man! am packing for my trip to mexico (yee haw! i leave tomorrow bright and early) and of course many of my clothes from the summer are too tight or don't fit at all. i am trying to leave feeling beautiful and confident, but although i realize i was too thin this summer (at at five foot nine it's allowed that i can't fit into a size two) i am still feeling a little unnerved/scared.

that said, i need to get over it, move on, and have a fabulous and chill time. easier said, though, than done!
Hannah, my clothes have gotten tighter and tighter lately as well (weight gain due to inactivity due to an injury due in part to compulsive exercise...), and I've found that the best and kindest way to deal with it is to just *buy new clothes*. Seriously, I/you don't need a constant reminder of body size/ weight gain. (Even if the weight gain was needed and healthy, you just don't need something to put it on your mind each morning, you know?) If you can, just throw the tighter clothes out... I think that has great symbolic value. Maybe you'll find some fabulous (and cheap!) new clothes in Mexico! (Although beware: last time I was in MX the clothing was all teeny tiny... Mexican women tend to be more petite... don't let it get to you.)

Have a blast on your trip! Oh, and don't forget that confidence itself is beautiful, regardless of other more concrete physical stuff.
**pants in the trash**

it feels kind of good. kind of.

thanks smile.gif smile.gif smile.gif
Yay!!!! Fantastic.

Sometimes I find myself in a mood where it feels good to give a big old middle finger to eating disorder issues, to rebel against that B.S. After all, I wouldn't let any person (boyfriend, friend, family member, whatever) tell me what to eat and not to eat, what my body "should" look like, etc... so why the hell would I let societal norms and an eating disorder tell me what to do? No, sir.

That's part of why I'm getting into weight lifting right now... I will take up space and be strong, whether I'm supposed to or not.
it is entirely empowering to let go of destructive thoughts and habits.. and their reminders. i know i eat healthy and i work out to stay active. no one woman is perfect, she does not eat 'perfectly' or work out exactly what she should. you've just got to do what makes you feel good.. listen to your own body. respect your body, no matter what shape or size. why is it we allow ourselves to feel pain over our bodies? i mean where did that come from? i know it's due to the media.. due to the misconception that the value of a woman is in her appearance. i love it _octi, put your finger up to all of it. it's all bullshit. you have to resist the lies and really know that you are worthy from within.
as the risk of sounding uber-passionate about the topic of self-empowerment. we MUST value ourselves despite all else. no matter how hard it seems to get to a place of believing in who we are, no matter what messages we see in the media, no matter what society wants us to think.. the truth is we all deserve to live the life we wish to lead. "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" has no contingencies.
*not attempting to turn this into my personal blog*

but.. i came to the realization that i have personally never met a woman with an ED who wasnt talented, and/or intelligent. each woman, i've noticed, is very complex, interesting and emotional. for whatever reason, she is denying herself a better life. the ED is a horrible distraction that is causing her to be unhealthy and miserable; to create a life she doesnt *really* want.

although i havent read this book yet, i have read exerpts of it.. it's called 'my life with ED'. from what i've read, it's a very real and honest look at an ED through a young woman's experience. perhaps it can shed some light on this beast that hadnt previously been considered.
Well, I finally "came out" to my boyfriend of over 2 years yesterday.

It was surprisingly difficult to do. I had expected to just be able to say it, but he asked questions like "how did it start?" and "when was the last time you had problems with it?"

I lied and told him that it had been over a year ago since I'd been bulimic, when actually I had purged after lunch that day. I'm just not ready yet for someone to interfere on my behalf, you know? I've been this way for a decade, and I don't think he fully understands the concept of an eating disorder.

He's the first person I've ever told, who hasn't just "found out", like my girl friends. I felt that it was necessary, because he really didn't understand why it upset me so much whenever he joked about anything regarding my wieght, he never knew why I overreacted so badly.

recovery is a slippery slope, and I've been backsliding for 10 years. I think I made the right decision by letting someone who cares know that I have a problem, so if I ever need help, he'll be there.

Has anyone else done this? What was the outcome?

crinoline, that's awesome! Congratulations! It's fucking hard, isn't it?? It sounds like you're right about it being a great decision. I do indeed have experience with "coming out" about an ED and would/will happily share it... but later, as I've got to be somewhere soon. For now, ust wanted to say I'm happy for you.
good for you! that takes a lot of courage!

only my parents and a (very) few of my closest friends know. i feel a lot of shame, still, about dealing with these issues.

fucking hard is right, octinoxate.
Okay, back atcha with a couple of stories about "coming out" with an ED:

First of all, I'll comment that I told NOBODY about my ED when I was really in the thick of it. It was only once I was already recovering/recovered that I 'fessed up.

The first person I told was my best girlfriend. This was back when I first acknowledged that this was an eating disorder and started taking steps to end it. I had noticed many signs of an ED in her, too, though she never had admitted it either. The cool thing was, once I told her about mine, she shared about hers, and it was and is really healing to talk to her about this shit. Sometimes people just need us to be the ones to take the first scary step.

The second person I told was my ex-boyfriend (back when we were together). Initially, he didn't react to it how I would have wanted him to: he was uncomfortable and didn't know what to say, so he sort of tried to diffuse the situation with a joke. Which obviously did not go over well with me. At first I kept quiet and felt bad and also a bit angry with him. An hour later or so I told him how that made me feel, and he apologized and we talked about it more earnestly. He later shared his body/food issues with me. So, one thing I took from this experience was that you've gotta not only have the guts to reveal your ED to someone, but also the ability to take it one step farther and ask them how to deal with that knowledge--or how NOT to deal with it. I think people want to do the right thing, the helpful thing, but often don't have the experience or intuition to know what that thing is.

Most recently, I told the last guy I was involved with. And oh! This is a fun one. This is how the "coming out" can be once you're pretty much recovered, come to terms, not embarrassed anymore... So, this guy and I were having a conversation about the so-called obesity epidemic in America, and somehow it got around to us debating how many calories are in an 8 ounce glass of orange juice. He kept insisting it was like 250; I maintained that it was 120. Finally I said, all fake-exasperated, "Look dude, I was anorectic for two years! Believe me, it's 120!" I got a kick out of it smile.gif Funny when you can use your past troubles as some weird sort of cred in a stupid argument about OJ...

Crin, again, I think it's great that you've been able to confide in your boyfriend about this. Let us know how it's working out. I have a question for you: how do you feel about having told him the basic truth but having needed to lie about the timeframe? I ask because I was always real uncomfortable about the lying I had to do with an ED (nor do I like being on the receiving end of lies), and I know I would definitely prefer to be able to tell someone "Look, I'm actually still struggling with this ED, and I want you to know that truth, but I also am telling you the whole truth because I know that you can respect my wishes about what you do with that information. I'm just not ready to give up my ED yet or to have someone try to make me give it up, even though it's for my own good." Do you think that's an approach that could possibly work with this guy? (I want to make sure you know: I'm not judging you at all for the decision you made about what to tell him and not tell him. You need to do what you need to do, and only you know what that is right now. And I know it's way scary to reveal this stuff. I'm just wondering if there is a way to do this where you feel safe and also don't have to deceive your partner, just so things don't get more complicated down the line--eg, if he finds out about the purging on his own.)
-Crin, again, I think it's great that you've been able to confide in your boyfriend about this. Let us know how it's working out. I have a question for you: how do you feel about having told him the basic truth but having needed to lie about the timeframe?

I feel guilty for only telling him half of the truth, but I also feel that he would not be able to deal with the entire truth in a helpful and supportive fashion. He is overprotective of me, and when he is upset/worried he has a tendency to get "fake angry" and just yell until the problem goes away. In addition, the concept of any eating disorder, let alone one as complicated as bulimia, is entirely alien to him. He comes from a mixed background, his mother is Chinese, and his entire family is rail-thin with no effort. (he is nearly 6 feet and wieghs 130 pounds) he just doesn't understand why everyone can't just lose wieght without trying. I exist in a very fragile state, and I don't think that I could deal with his anger and worry in a healthy way. I do worry about being caught, and I realize that he would be hurt and angry if he found out, but I just don't feel stable enough to reveal all.
The whole thing is so shameful. There seems to be a certain amount of pride that accompanies anorexia. People are praised for their amazing willpower and drive. There is nothing to be proud of in bulimia. The entire process is rather disgusting and self-flagellating. It is a very private thing for me, and it makes me uncomfortable that he knows at all, although he hasn't mentioned it.

My entire life I have held myself to a standard that I would never put on anyone else. Things I find beautiful and compelling on other women are disgusting on myself. I think it is partly that I have never believed that I possess the "raw material" necessary for beauty. That is, no matter how thin I am, I can never be beautiful, because I am an inherently unattractive person. I don't even find really thin women attractive, I just feel that if there is less of me, then there is less of me to be ugly. That goes into my issues with self loathing and self punishment, which I have had years of therapy for and can now control to the point that I am no longer in danger of killing myself. (This is something else I have not told Crinoboy,because I don't want him to feel like he is in a relationship with an insane person) My ED is not always motivated by a desire to be thin, it is sometimes a way of punishing myself or relieving the guilt I feel for enjoying food.

I'll let you know if we ever speak of it again, and I'll be sure to come back in here more often now that I am again actively trying to recover. Thank you for your stories and support!
just want to give a bump to the thread and ask how everyone is doing!

i've been strugging on and off. it's weird how i can have a few perfectly wonderful days followed by ones with so much struggle...i get frustrated because the feelings (of self hatred and body hatred) are still so intense, yet i'm bored of having them...

i'm so ready to be done with this, yet it seems to be lingering insistantly. i guess i just need to try to cultivate a little patience, and go with the flow...

love and such to everyone,
Hey hannah, thanks for checking in! I'm doing fine... although the full truth is, I'm starting to get a little self-conscious about the weight I've gained in the course of the injury I've been dealing with. Now that I've gotten back with the fellow I was seeing, and thus potentially gettin' naked with someone, the way my body looks is on my mind more than it would be otherwise. Still, though, I'm not getting freaky about food or hitting myself with self-loathing or anything, so it's all good.

Also, I'm taking a nutrition class (online format at my uni), which is sort of cool. I think that when us [former/recovering/recovered/active] EDers learn about food, it can be really dangerous (eg, by showing you how to better have an ED) or really healing. Fortunately I can say that I'm at a place now where it's def the latter.

Oh god, Hannah, I know what you mean about being bored about that shit! Having an ED is fucking tedious, ain't it? I found it could be exhausting too, constantly having to do all that math smile.gif But you're so on your way out of it! Trust youself- the wonderful days will come more and more and more often, and the struggle days will get easier and rarer. Think how far you've come already! Also, I wonder if it would be helpful to you to keep a sort of journal , an honest account, of your recovery. That way when you're feeling discouraged, you can look back and see the prorgess you've made. (And it could be helpful to you or others down the road.) Also, you might be able to find patterns in this issue-- eg, what's happening in your life/mind that kicks you into struggle days. I'm doing the same thing for my injury and am finding it helps a lot.

Crinoline, if you know that you can't handle a bad "fake angry" reaction to your ED right now, I think you're right in not revealing the whole truth to your boyfriend. (And I'm not usually an advocate of less-than-honest stuff in relationships, but I do think this is justified.) It's such a complicated issue that I'm not surprised that he/others might not be able to handle it well. Hell, before I had an ED I used to think of it in really simplistic terms, too-- eg, EDs are for vain people who don't have the good sense to just work out and diet.

Are you able to talk about ED stuff with any of your girlfriends who've found out about it?

One thing I notice about your posts, Crinoline, is that you're really self-aware... you have a way of eloquently explaining how you feel. In my eyes, that's such a great asset for recovery, because if you get yourself and you get your ED/why you do it, you can also understand what you need to do to get yourself out of it.

hi octinate,

i'm sorry you're still struggling with injury and post-injury weight, what a downer. i'm impressed that you can be a little self-conscious and skip the overcome with self loathing silliness. that says so much, huh? at my best moments, i can see my body as imperfect without translating that int horrificly hideous. it's just how it is, and i can let myself be ok with that.

how do you go about trying to lose some weight sanely and slowly and and healthily without slipping into eating disorder mode?

a journal always help so much when i make myself write. i should remember that.

hi octinate,

i'm sorry you're still struggling with injury and post-injury weight, what a downer. i'm impressed that you can be a little self-conscious and skip the overcome with self loathing silliness. that says so much, huh? at my best moments, i can see my body as imperfect without translating that int horrificly hideous. it's just how it is, and i can let myself be ok with that.

how do you go about trying to lose some weight sanely and slowly and and healthily without slipping into eating disorder mode?

a journal always help so much when i make myself write. i should remember that.

"i can see my body as imperfect without translating that int horrificly hideous. it's just how it is, and i can let myself be ok with that." ...Right on. Thanks for reminding me of this.

"how do you go about trying to lose some weight sanely and slowly and and healthily without slipping into eating disorder mode?"

That is such a good question. I don't have it entirely figured out. For me, when I gave up my ED I took up compulsive exercising. (Not good!) Over time, the compulsiveness of it (mostly) faded and I was exercising (mostly) because I found I really liked being physically active, I liked active hobbies, etc. And thus I found I was losing weight without focusing on it much. So, if you can find a fun physical activity, go for it... but please please be careful. (Part of the reason I have this injury is because there were still some vestiges of compulsiveness that kept me exercising past the point I should have stopped and taken it easy.)

In general, when reading about anorexia and diets I found that there's really only one difference in the definition of those two things: with anorexia the behaviors are motivated by self-hatred/ control issues/ low self-esteem/other dark stuff (eg, I'm going to restrict food because I'm ugly, I'm worthless, I'm a fat slob, I need to punish myself, etc.)... whereas with a diet those same behaviors (counting calories, limiting food intake, etc.) are motivated by good, healthy things, from a place of self-love (eg, I'm going to lose some weight because it's good for my body, or because even though I'm already awesome and foxy I think I'd look even better with a little less weight). Does that make sense? It did to me when I heard it. So, if we're going with this idea, then it means that we can only "lose some weight sanely and slowly and healthily" if we're already in a good place mentally and have resolved our other issues.

Also, for me, it's not helpful to know much I weigh. Still! Even though I'm generally recovered and fine. I guess that's my next goal: getting okay with the numbers and getting a more realistic sense of how much I weight/what I look like. Even if my ED is gone, the "body dysmorphic" issues are still here somewhat. I wonder if it's normal for that to be the last stuff to go -?

Any other thoughts on this question of how to lose weight healthily, anyone?

Hannah, thanks for your support re: my injury and injury-weight issue!
QUOTE(_octinoxate @ Jan 26 2007, 03:21 AM) *

Crinoline, if you know that you can't handle a bad "fake angry" reaction to your ED right now, I think you're right in not revealing the whole truth to your boyfriend. (And I'm not usually an advocate of less-than-honest stuff in relationships, but I do think this is justified.) It's such a complicated issue that I'm not surprised that he/others might not be able to handle it well. Hell, before I had an ED I used to think of it in really simplistic terms, too-- eg, EDs are for vain people who don't have the good sense to just work out and diet.

Are you able to talk about ED stuff with any of your girlfriends who've found out about it?

One thing I notice about your posts, Crinoline, is that you're really self-aware... you have a way of eloquently explaining how you feel. In my eyes, that's such a great asset for recovery, because if you get yourself and you get your ED/why you do it, you can also understand what you need to do to get yourself out of it.

You put his reaction into words very well, that EDs are for vain people who don't have the good sense to just work out and diet. He told me that if I was so worried about my weight, I should just work out more.

I am not able to talk to any girlfriends about it. My roommate/best friend of twelve years is pro-ana and she is upset that I am changing my behaviors. She doesn't want me to get fat. I don't have any more friends in college that know, although all of my highschool friends did. This (Bust) is really the only place that I can/do talk about it.

I do have a tendency to over analyze everything, which is why I'm a psychology major, which does help me understand some of my own behaviors. I'm glad that you think that's an asset, I need what I can get, lol.

I am currently trying to lose weight healthily, as I am going on a cruise and I bought two tiny bikinis that I am terrified of wearing. I'm not sure what possessed me to buy them. Anyway, the first thing I did was clear out any "trigger" foods. For me, that would be things like ice cream, pizza, candy, and potato chips. I then replace each one with an equally satisfying, but healthier snack. Sugar free jello for ice cream, etc. I find this both easy to maintain with a minimum of temptation, and satisfying because I know I'm doing something good for my body for a change.
To solve the exercise problem, I joined a Bellydance class two years ago. It is such a body-positive form of dance and exercise, and very fulfilling. I would also recommend Ballroom dance.

You sound so together, octinoxate, it's inspiring. Thanks for you support!
Damn, girl, it must be so much harder to try to recover when your best friend--who you live with, no less-- is pro-ana. Wow. Now I have even more respect for you for making the choice to kick the ED. Do come talk about it here! Also, you mentioned you're in college.... does your school have a counseling service? If so, it's fairly likely that they offer a ED support group there (since it's such a common problem among college women). I've been part of a support group for other things and found it really helpful. You could have someone to talk to in person, where you live. That might make a big difference.

I have a question about your decision to lose weight (healthily) for your cruise: are you overweight in some objective sense? I know it can be super hard to say what's true when it comes to that stuff... but I mean, has your doc asked you to lose weight, do you have a high BMI, weigh "a lot", etc?

Belly dance sounds super fun. Maybe I'll try it once I'm back on my feet here.
I'm not overweight in any medical sense. My current BMI is 21. I really just want to look and feel as good as possible on this trip, and as my roommate (J, who is going with us on the trip) is hyper-critical about peoples bodies, including mine, I'd like to offer the least amount of ammunition possible.
I've mostly just stepped up my dancing a bit (which is good because we have a performance soon) and I've really come down hard on my snacking/ binging habits. I've only purged twice in the past week, which is good for me.
I was in therapy for years, but I never brought up my ED as we were focusing on other issues I had at the time. I've never considered a support group, but I must admit that the prospect scares me. I'm painfully shy, and admitting my problem to a roomful of people I might see around campus really intimidates me.

It can be exceedingly difficult at times to stay dedicated to recovery, especially living with J. She worships fashion models and has pictures/magazines of them everywhere. It really isn't her fault that she's pro-ana, as her mother raised her to be that way. She knows I disagree with it, but she still tries to make me see that she is right.

Thank you again for your suggestions about college counselling, I really hadn't considered it (lol, and I want to be a therapist!)
Good job on only purging twice this week! (Didn't you say earlier that you normally do it just about every day?)

Re: support groups: For most groups, they'll be okay with someone joining and just listening at first until they're ready to participate. Once I went to a group meeting where all I did was introduce myself, and then just sat back quietly. I've also facilitated a group and made it very clear that no one has to share more than they're comfortable with. Do you think it might be helpful to go to one to watch and listen like that? If so, it could be worth getting in touch with the person who runs the group to ask about it. But yeah, otherwise maybe just getting counseling. (?)

You know, it's funny, I was in counseling too and never brought up my ED. I guess maybe it had just gotten normal enough that it didn't seem like anything I needed counseling for. Or maybe I wasn't ready to give it up and didn't want someone trying to "take it away" from me. Or maybe I still kind of felt like it was this vain, unfeminist thing that I was ashamed to have. I've seen a counselor a couple of times lately for how I'm dealing with my health issues, and I mentioned to her that I want to talk about ED stuff as well. (If she has any good stuff for me, I'll pass it along to the thread.)

It sounds like your roommate is maybe your biggest obstacle to recovery right now. (Is that so?) I'm wondering how you feel about the possibility of finding a different living situation. That isn't to say you would stop being friends with this girl or just leave her behind, but maybe just put some distance between you until you're in a stronger position to deal with her influence. Is that possible/appealing to you?

Oh, I have one more observation/suggestion: I was thinking about how you want to be a therapist, and how this experience with bulemia could actually be a good asset to you in that profession-- you would know what people are going through if you have clients with EDs. It seems like all the more reason to keep a detailed journal of your recovery, so you can look back on it when you're dealing with a client (patient?) and try to gain new insights into their treatment. Also, maybe it would even be helpful to look at yourself, right now, as your own case study: take some distance so it's not quite as personal and emotional, and just scientifically analyze what you do and why. Also, analyze what's up with your roommate and why. I think that recognizing common social science patterns in ourselves can be so freeing (like you mentioned in an earlier post).
Hey crin, hannah, knorlo, how are you all doing?
Hey! Thanks for checking up on us.

I was doing really well for a while, but for the past week or so I've been purging twice a day. I went home to see my family and they want to cook for me, and none of it is "safe" food. I feel like I've fallen off the wagon, but starting today I'm going back to my healthier routine. It can be difficult, because whenever I have food in my stomach, my body is conditioned to be nauseated, so the urge to purge is underscored by physical nausea.

I don't want to post too often, because I feel like a terrible thread hog. There don't seem to be many Busties with ED problems, which is cause for celebration, but I should probably look for an online ED support group or something.

How are you doing, Octinoxate?
Hey crinoline. Yo, post as much as you want to/need to, no worries about thread hoggery. But if you want, check out the website If I remember right, it's a pretty cool place and they have online message boards/ support groups.

I heard something about recovery from physical illness that has been encouraging for me, and I think it applies well to an ED recovery too: "Progress is not linear." There will be setbacks. There will be weeks you purge a lot (or restrict a lot, or whatever the case may be). There will be times you feel like you're failing. But keep on keeping on, have faith in yourself and the process, and things will shape up with time. Pay attention to the general trajectory of your recovery and not just the small picture of how things are this day/ this week/ etc. ...And it sounds like your general trajectory is great! Lots of progress, yes?

Are you still at your folks' place right now?

As for me, I'm doing okay. (Thanks!) Have been feeling a little bit down, off and on, about my health issues... which reminds me, I better go make a phys therapy appointment right now! As far as body issues go, it's all good, except for this weird little quirk I have about being totally unable to buy clothes that fit me b/c I'm still convinced my body is huge, apparently. Very strange. (I went on about it in becoming healthy yesterday if you wanna know what I'm talking about... maybe you relate??)
good to see communication going on. it's important to get it out and have a support system that understands what you're going through. there is *no reason* to feel guilty. one could speculate the reason we feel guilty is because we know on some subconscious level, that we are in fact, in control of our choices. that if we wanted to quit, we really could. i think that is the guilt associated with any addiction. we know we have the power to change, we just dont know how. and i think it is due to knowing we can control ourselves, yet we do it anyway, that causes us to feel ashamed. we dont feel guilty because we are powerless, we feel guilty because we know all it would take is to say no to the urge. that for whatever reason, we continue to submit to the cycle despite knowing we are better than that. that we really are this amazing person trying to get out, trying to express ourselves, trying to curb our frustration. but that day in and day out we give ourselves over to the torture and self loathing we put ourselves through. and for what?! i mean really..

things are good over here. i'm recovered. period. now it's only a vague memory of a really bad dream.
ps. _octinoxate: sucks you fell off the wagon.. but you yourself know it is almost inevitable. the last time i purged was in august of last year at my cousin's wedding. the reason i remember it so well was because it was one of the times i gave in.

they had a hippie wedding in the park.. they served organic mexican food as the entree and then had this -just ok- blue cake. i was fine up until the cake. i had a slice, and then went to the park bathrooms and threw it up immediately. the cake wasnt even really that good.. and i realized then it wasnt worth it. and then i realized none of it has ever really been worth it. the feelings associated with the aftermath of the cycle are far worse than the temporary elation i'd receive from mindlessly stuffing myself with unhealthy food. sure it's much more complex than that.. but that's what it essentially comes down to. so what has helped me get over it all, is to remember: all the cycle was *really* doing for me was perpetuating my own misery. it was distracting me from my life. i think maybe we wonder, or we fear, that we arent strong enough to face our lives. but the truth is, we are.

i havent read through all the posts yet.. it'll take a minute cos i havent been on here in a while. but i'm just glad to see the communication. _oct, online communities are good as long as you are connecting with people who are dedicated to their recovery. i have found that many people turn to online communities simply as a way to discuss their problems, not as a way to find a solution to them. that's at least been my experience.. so they never really helped me. the most that has helped me has been my own dedication to my recovery. but, it is different for everyone and i am the first person to say exhaust all resources available to you to figure out which works the best for you.
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