Why not?

A thought experiment.

Everyone acknowledges (okay, not everyone, but some people also believe the world is flat) that nutritional rehabilitation and maintenance is the cornerstone of eating disorder recovery. We argue about how, how fast, and who should be in charge, but the goal is clear.

What if: once diagnosed with an eating disorder the patient was thereafter monitored for 100% nutrition and optimal body composition as if that was the minimum standard. Like blood sugar for a diabetic, any drop in status was reason for alarm. Like asthma, which is factored into health status thereafter. No more 90% or "out of immediate danger."

What if: when we brought our child to the doctor ANY weight loss or failure to meet appropriate growth goals would be reason for alarm and a plan.

What if: no one ever had to lose weight before assertive intervention.

What if: a patient not maintaining or gaining according to medical need was assumed to be unable, and not considered unwilling, and loving intervention was immediate and compassionate.

What if: medical, therapeutic, educational, athletic, and personal supports all held full nutrition as a no-compromise zone.

What if: no one diagnosed with an eating disorder was ever allowed by society, clinicians, or loved ones to sink one missed meal, one new diet plan, one pound below their optimal nutrition ever again?


  1. what if when doing a google search for "eating with your anorexic" the first pop up wasn't "lose 18 in 4 days"

  2. Ok, so while reading this post, my internal musical score came up with Gene Wilder, sitting in a room where everything is edible.

    "If you want to view paradise
    Simply look around and view it
    Anything you want to, do it
    Want to change the world, there's nothing to it."

    One of my all-time favs.

  3. Same goes for sudden weight gain. Sometimes bulimia did that to me. Usually maintained then suddenly put on 3 stone in 2 month. That shouldn't be ignored or just washed away with 'heres a calerie controlled diet you can go on' either.
    The treatment of eating disorders, particualy to do with weight is lunacy.

  4. (Btw i forgot to say above that I really liked ur post. I've been a lurker for ages but I think your perspective is always ... wise.)

  5. Thank you! It is an honor to have you as a reader.

  6. Here's another one:

    What if families weren't automatically considered the enemy or the cause? And what if time weren't frittered away trying to find the cause while a sufferer, well, suffers?

    Sigh. I admire you, Laura. I'm way too cynical for my own good. :)

  7. Laura, I know that I'm a couple of days late to comment on this one, but I think that this post is just great. I've always been disappointed in long-term ED follow-up treatment. Cutting corners with food, losing a couple of pounds, taking up a new exercise routine... none of that is taken very seriously (in my experience). It seems as though you have to fall far for the ED to start to matter. I think that so many relapses could be prevented just by having treatment professionals and loved ones refuse to let the ED gain any ground.

  8. There's a long way to go on this, but at least we know what direction to go - that's a start.


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