The other way around

Let's get these basic misunderstandings of eating disorders cleared up:

Feeling fat makes you diet. (For people with certain kinds of brains, dieting makes you feel fat.)

Bingeing is a way to cope with intolerable feelings. (Bingeing is a natural physiological response to dieting.)

Anorexics are dissatisfied with their weight because they want to be thin. (Anorexics are usually already thin. No amount of weight loss will satisfy.)

Purging doesn't feel good. (Bulimics get a temporary good feeling - a relief - after purging.)

Once you are a 'normal' weight the mental symptoms go away. (It takes 6-12 months of stability for the brain to normalize. A lot of habit-forming, skills-building, and cognitive reinforcement has to be done during those months to ward off relapse.)

It's not about the food. (It is if you're not eating enough.)

It's only about the food. (It is a brain disorder that makes lack of food into a self-perpetuating condition.)

You have to choose to be well before you can change your behaviors. (No, you have to change the behaviors and be physically healed to truly choose to be well.)


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  2. i just stumbled across your blog and find it very interesting. i was never classified as having full blown AN or BN, because my weight was never dangerously low and my bingeing/purging mostly didn't amount to more than 5 times a week and is better now (though it adds up after 10 years..). at the same time i've studied neuroscience so obviously am a big proponent of EDs being brain disorders. my parents were in denial for a long time, all my mum did was tell me i wasn't allowed to weigh less than X. which i stuck to since she's a very dominant person. they're wisened up throughout the years but now i feel like i don't want their support anymore. i'm almost 25, at a healthy weight, i function normally - who cares if i still make myself sick every couple of days as long as it doesn't interfere with my studies? it certainly feels like it's none of my parents business anymore.

    i have to disagree with you when it comes to "bingeing is a way to cope with intolerable feelings" being a myth. for one, i don't thing the article you link to is very relevant to what an eating disordered person experiences; two, personal experience tells me otherwise.

    but basically i just wanted to say hi! from a new reader.

  3. "who cares if i still make myself sick every couple of days as long as it doesn't interfere with my studies?"

    Well, for starters, I do!

    You are more important than your studies.

    And until you are entirely well - NO PURGING, comfortable in your relationship with eating, living stably - you won't know how your brain really operates as a well person. You may think differently on a lot of things - even your parents and the nature of your illness.

    Your mother cares about more than your weight, too. When you are well you may discover how very deeply you are loved and how frightening your illness is to the ones who love you. No parent knows intuitively how to understand and deal with an ED in their child - we need information and training. Please, please come together as a family to heal this - for your sake and theirs?


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