Random Thoughts of a Disordered Mind


4 Comments

Facing Anorexia

Lean or Anorexic?

Tonight I watched a profoundly disturbing intervention on A&E with a stick-thin woman suffering from anorexia. She is 5’8″ tall, weighs 94 lbs, and eats 800 calories or less a day, and thinks her belly is distended when you can see her bones. They look so sharp and angular that you could use them to cut things.

She is a twin and seeing her on screen in contrast with her healthy sister was particularly hard to watch. It was so obvious to me and my friend watching with me (and 99% of other people) that someone so skeletal looked scary and unhealthy. It was really hard to watch her talk about how she doesn’t deserve to eat, how she has rituals around stretching out the food as long as possible. Her clothes were baggy but they still didn’t disguise her true body shape. Her hair looked awful and her eyes were haunted. Her family was afraid that she would die soon.

Part of me watched in appalled discomfort as she justified her not eating, her appearance, her self control, her right to do what she wanted with her body. Because I know I say some of the same things, only I’m challenged by my obesity, not my anorexia. I’ve had fears that my family would stage an intervention with me — we love you, we need you to live and be healthy, we need you to see that you are killing yourself with food.

I’m afraid that I would not deal with it well. However true it is, there is nothing I haven’t told myself. So instead of allowing myself to be carted off to a treatment center to eat bread and water and have counseling for 90 days, I would probably stuff my face and cry.

The show was sobering and left me with much to think about. I can still see her face.

Advertisements


3 Comments

Be It Resolved?

It’s All About Me

I know, I know – another post about resolutions? Well, yes and no. I don’t sit down and write out a list of things I resolve for the new year because I’ve done it so many times before and failed miserably at accomplishing any of them. And then, having failed, I managed to work myself into self-loathing and resentment that I needed to accomplish those resolutions in the first place.

Losing weight and working out more are naturally two of those failed resolutions. Been there, done that, more times than I care to count. So instead of resolving things this time, I’m looking at what I want my winning outcomes to be. Yeah, I know, WW talk. But for me, it works.

There are really two big things on my mind and heart as I go into 2008. To be healthier and to live with grace.

To be healthier is the stuff I already know about but am, for whatever reason, not doing. Living with grace includes not beating myself up for who I am and the choice I make, and also making better choices because they are the right ones. It means accepting failure without whining and success without gloating. Living with balance.

And yes, it means doing the things I know I should be doing to be healthy. To eat less and move more, without complaining or trying to find ways to cheat and be lazy.

I read on someone else’s blog today about looking back over the year, finding herself 60 lbs lighter than when the year started, and I was hit by a wave of sadness that I wasn’t the one to say that. Not jealousy, just sadness, because I haven’t done anything to deserve being 60 lbs lighter. I do have the power to do something and my fresh start begins tomorrow.

My mom came home from the hospital late today and starts the new year in her own house, much to everyone’s relief. She will have her little vacuum bag and pump with her 24/7 for the next 6-8 weeks but can get out and do things as she has energy to do them. Just being home is big medicine and I’ll see her for myself next week. Good for all of us.

I have my food planned out for tomorrow and activities lined up to keep me out of trouble. Though if I wake up to snow … ah, well. It’s winter and some things just come with the territory.

May your new year get off to a happy, healthy start.


7 Comments

Watching My Mother Eat

My parents are visiting and I’ve been paying particularly close attention to the way they handle their food. My dad has always been a little plump and has battled his weight ever since I can remember. My mom, on the other hand, is a tiny size 8, down from the size 10 she wore when she got married. Dad says that in the 56 years they’ve been married, she’s only varied about 4 pounds from her current weight except during pregnancy.

I, on the other hand, can vary 4 pounds in a week if I’m not careful. So I’ve been observing how she eats and approaches her food, not to judge or complain that we’re different, but almost as an anthropologist would study a different culture. It’s been interesting.

Balanced PlateShe eats a small breakfast with dairy (usually yogurt), fruit and natural fiber. Usually Mom makes her own bran muffins and has one with a little carton of yogurt. But at my house she’s having steelcut oatmeal with half a banana and a little milk, eating slowly from a small bowl that’s full and putting her spoon down between bites. I don’t know if she’s always done this but I can see that it’s a factor that lets her eat less and spread it out until she’s really satisfied.

Lunch is usually a half a sandwich on low-cal wheat bread and about 2 oz of protein, with a sliced apple and maybe a cookie for dessert. She eats slowly, the food nicely arranged on a small plate, while seated at the table. Unlike her daughter, she eats all her meals at the table with an occasional sandwich outside on the patio. I, on the other hand, eat mine in the recliner with my feet up.

For dinner, she mostly prepares simple meals balanced with unfussy protein, vegetables, and half a potato or sweet potato. And maybe there a small ramekin of low-fat ice cream for dessert, eaten with a small spoon.

That’s it. Simple food, small portions, served on smaller dishes and eaten slowly at a table with almost no snacking. Mom drinks water and her evening glasses of wine but no soda, goes for regular short walks, and gets plenty of sleep. When she eats out for one meal, she cuts back on what she has for the next so they balance out.

She doesn’t sit around and obsess or lament about the things she cannot eat; she can eat anything she wants but makes choices that let her enjoy flavors and foods in a sensible way. And she doesn’t act or talk as though she’s deprived, she simply does the next thing.

Mom does the things that we talk about in Weight Watchers and I’ve heard about for years in behavior modification programs. She doesn’t talk or complain, she just does it and moves on. I think there is a lot for me to learn and emulate here.