In my earnest and prosaic teens I prepared New Year's Resolutions. In my late 40s, I wake up to an electronic "to do" list and queue of actionable email. My success rate on both methods of controlling my life are equally imperfect.

On the topic of self control and food, then, comes interesting work on glucose levels and impulse control. What is interesting about this study, discussed here as well, is that we know that the opposite ability seems to be seen in anorexia.

Dr. Shan Guisinger believes some percentage of the gene pool responds paradoxically to malnutrition - as a survival mechanism for the larger society.

They GET focused self control when hungry. The rest of us lose it.

Guisinger thinks of people with eating disorders as heroes, as "the descendants of Joan of Arc." She also thinks that heroes, on achieving their goals, are supposed to be nurtured back to health by a grateful society. Picture little Joan at your dinner table, or in Intensive Outpatient group therapy.

That ability to focus is also lauded by Dr. Walter Kaye, whose years of research into the biology of EDs has led him to conclude: "There are some positive aspects to this kind of temperament,” he said. “Paying attention to detail and making sure things are done as correctly as possible are constructive traits in careers such as medicine or engineering."


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