You have an eating disorder? You still need to lose weight

Rachel writes…

It’s difficult to find a professional competent in treating eating disorders. It’s even more difficult if the eating disordered person is also fat.

In the early stages of my own eating disorder, I had the benefit of a good friend who urged me towards treatment. But, as I would come to find out, receiving help for an eating disorder is easier said than done…

I first sought out counseling services at my college’s branch campus, only to have the therapist go on maternity leave and decide not to come back. The college never replaced her. I then went to the university’s main campus, which also operates a world-renowned level-5 treatment hospital facility. My therapist had told me before, that if I felt I was a danger to myself at any time, to go to the psychiatric services emergency room. One night I went, only to be dismissed by an unconcerned resident with a prescription I had no intentions on filling.

Under the university’s health plan, to begin seeing a therapist, I first needed to meet with a psychiatrist. The psychiatrist immediately put me on the defensive, questioning superficial things like my body piercings and the way I dressed.

I explained to the “good” doctor that I had an eating disorder. At the time had lost probably about 145 pounds in the previous 10 months, bringing my weight down to 160 pounds from 300 pounds – which technically, is still overweight. But instead of raising alarm signals (an average of almost 15 pounds a month weight loss is NOT healthy), the doctor told me I still had weight to lose.

I left the office and promptly lost another 20 pounds in the next month. I never did hear from the counseling center there.

Later, a therapist in another center encouraged me to have a physical. I explained to yet another medical doctor (at the university’s health clinic) that I had an eating disorder and hadn’t had a period in more than a year, experienced chest pains, and needed a physical.

After nurses did the requisite blood pressure check, all the doctor did was to order a pregnancy test, although I told them I hadn’t been sexually active in a long while.

I later got health insurance through my employer, but the quality of care did not increase. I had:

– A therapist who, when I told her I would allow myself one snack-sized bag of pretzels a day because I considered them to be a safe food (and I wasn’t eating much else), told me to be careful about eating pretzels because they were high in calories and sodium;
– Another psychiatrist (who happens to be renowned for her supposed expertise in EDs) who shamed me after I described a binging episode. The sum of her professional advice was to just “stop it.”
– One counselor who, after six months of weekly sessions, would start out each session with “Now what medications are you on again…?”

Often, the simple fact of seeking out help is the hardest obstacle for an eating disordered person to overcome. Yet, disordered people, especially fat disordered people, face a gauntlet of irresponsible, incompetent medical professionals who can’t see beyond a person’s weight to treat the real problem.

If you have an eating disorder and you are fat, don’t despair. There are competent medical professional out there. Do your homework before making an appointment. Facilities that promote Health at Every Size are usually more friendly and understanding to fat people with eating disorders.

And don’t give up. There are many possible paths to recovery; your journey may lead you down a different route.

Leave a comment


  1. sprinklemouse

     /  November 6, 2007

    I checked myself into a hospital not too long ago, intending to get help for my eating disorder, and the accompanying depression. The doctors focused entirely on the depression, ignoring my claims of anorexia, because I wasn’t thin enough to illicit alarm. One doctor told me with a big smile, that ‘waifism’ was a diet that some subscribed to, and it could be very healthy.

    When I was admitted to a voluntary ward, the admitting nurse took down my information. When he asked me if I had any food-related issues, I replied “Yes, I don’t eat. I’m anorexic. I need help.” It’s really hard to admit you have a problem in the first place, and it’s devestating when the professional in front of you isn’t listening to your admission. He looked me up and down, and circled the negative answer in the eating disorder column. He then weighed me [making sure I knew exactly how much I weighed] and sent me to bed. No one made sure I ate the next day. I checked out a few hours later, feeling mistreated and foolish.

    In short? I feel ya. Keep truckin’.

  2. “Just stop it.” Gah. Who was your therapist, Lucy from Peanuts? I at least hope she didn’t charge you more than 5 cents for the advice.

    Rachel and Sprinklemouse, you both illustrate pretty vividly that fat people are widely expected to adopt the tactics of anorexics in order to lose weight. For us, it’s “healthy” to starve. Even to eat absolutely nothing at all, for months on end. What discipline! What focus! You could totally teach all those greedy fatties who don’t know they have enough fat to live on forever, and that their fat contains every nutrient they will ever need, for the rest of their lives!

    When that attitude comes from some random bozo off the street, it’s one thing. It’s inexcusable from a so-called health care professional. They should know that it’s perfectly possible for a fat person to die from not eating.

  3. spacedcowgirl

     /  November 6, 2007

    These stories (the original post and sprinklemouse’s) are horrible. I feel sick at the harm these so-called medical “professionals” are doing. They are unable to see that their own screwed-up attitudes are so, so wrong. It is disgusting and I am so sorry you guys and other ED sufferers have had to go through these terrible ordeals.

    Is there such a thing as a list of eating disorder professionals recommended for HAES or for normal weight/fat eating-disorder sufferers? The standard doctors and facilities seem to do more damage than good unless you fit their “typical” image of an anorexic.

    In my area, the Center for Eating Disorders in Ann Arbor, MI is a potentially very good option (though it is a regular counseling center; I don’t believe they are affiliated with any inpatient facilities or anything like that). When I visited a therapist there for compulsive eating issues, she seemed impressed that I was familiar with things like Overcoming Overeating and Geneen Roth, and commented that often her patients came in knowing only that they were frustrated because they couldn’t seem to stick to a diet. So I would say this is potentially (again I say potentially because I only went to a few sessions before I changed jobs and had to stop going… so I probably only have a superficial impression of the place; I guess it could actually be a nightmare but I doubt it) a good HAES/intuitive eating-focused option.

  4. Geez, Rachel, I’m so sorry. What shit.

    I recently tried seeing a new therapist, and mentioned one of the things I wanted to discuss was the ways in which my eating is not exactly “ordered” (though my situation is certainly not as serious as yours, I don’t have a full-on eating disorder or anything). My shrink said she understood, and then suggested I take a class the clinic offers, talking about healthy eating and all of that, and the emphasis is “absolutely not” on weight loss, and the woman who teaches it is a bigger woman as well, so apparently that made it okay.

    Afterward, I looked up the class description in the little newsletter they send out, and the FIRST sentence was all about weight loss.

    I thought about just seeing that shrink for other things, but after another meeting I’ve decided that she’s definitely not the right fit for me.

    Good luck, lady. And good luck to Sprinklemouse, too.

  5. CJ

     /  November 6, 2007

    I decided a few months ago that I needed help – I’m a type II diabetic who can’t stop eating. I’m depressed. I have thoughts of harming myself. So I started doing some research and talk to some therapists. I couldn’t find a single one that felt they could deal with issues of compulsive overeating. When I told one that I had an eating disorder she said, “Not anorexia I hope. I don’t deal with anorexics.” What if I had been an anorexic? Good grief!

    I never did go to a therapist. My general practitioner said, “Oh yeah, I have to send my ED patients almost an hour away from here to find help.” She didn’t have any suggestions either. Guess I just need to find a way to heal myself.

  6. littlem

     /  November 6, 2007

    I feel you (I won’t elaborate on the many ways how). OK, just one way.

    Appointment with a university-recommended nutritionist who is anorexic, anyone?

    I read somewhere that, at the end of the day, the “job”/”purpose” of consultations with a mental health professional (psychologist, psychiatrist) is to “guide” the client back into a semblance of compliance with the status quo.

    What I find fascinating (on my lighter-hearted, ironic days) is that NO ONE MENTIONS WHAT TO DO IF THE STATUS QUO ITSELF IS F***ED UP.

    This is just me, but I have found that, after a long internal struggle trying to figure out what the hell I was going to do with myself in this disordered-eating culture, yoga helps. (Possibly, I think on my meta-thinky days, because as a neuroscience it has outlasted our adolescent culture by about 5000 years or so.)

    And I mean yoga modified for your own personal self. The pose conforms to you, you don’t conform to the pose. You find a good teacher and you MAKE them give you a pose sequence that is for YOUR OWN PERSONAL BODY.

    Good luck, everybody.

  7. This is terrifying testimony 😦

    I once lost weight at a rate of 12 pounds a month. No one had anything to say to me but, “Keep it going.” Until reading your post just now, I really had no external confirmation that that was an unhealthy rate of weight loss. (I’m not sure there is a healthy rate of weight loss, but I digress…)

  8. Worthyourweight – For what’s worth (no pun intended), most nutritionists and doctors say a weight loss of 1 – 2 pounds a week is optimal. I don’t know outside of my own experiences that a 15-pounds-a-month weight is unhealthy, but I see kind of as like taking double the recommended dosage of prescription medicine. And for me, that weight loss certainly wasn’t obtained through healthy measures – more like starvation, literally. The month I fasted for about 20 days (complete water fast – no food, no juicing, nada) , and ate very little in between, I lost about 22 pounds. And, like you, I received compliments galore.

    Thanks for the comments, everyone. I was able to seek out recovery via a different, non-therapeutic path and am in a very good, stable position right now. I still have residual issues from my eating disorder days, but they’re not as life-threatening, and I’m continuing to work on them. It is, in fact, one of the primary reasons I blog.

    Sprinklemouse, I’d love to keep your contact information on hand, if you don’t mind. As part of my graduate research on American food culture within a feminist framework, I focus on eating disorders. Most of the scholarship gravitates towards traditional anorexics and bulimics, and I’m seeking to include a wide range of eating disordered people.

  9. This isn’t about a doctor, but it’s about the idiocy of some supposed ED professionals…

    As part of my work towards overcoming a lifetime pattern of disordered eating, and to become more physically active, I signed up for a yoga class at an eating disorder center. The class was taught by a “free-lance” nutritionist who also worked in that capacity in the center and had been teaching yoga for 30-some years. The first day of class, as we stretched our arms high into the air, she remarked that standing up straight made us look five pounds thinner. Odd… The next class she handed out an info sheet about her work as a nutritionist, inviting us to make appointments with her for nutrition counseling. The first item on the list of services she provided was “weight loss and maintenance counseling.” Keep in mind that this was a yoga class attended entirely by women with ED/DE issues. On the third class, she passed out a handout describing the benefits of yoga that included a section entitled “Yoga for Weight Loss and Weight Maintenance” that extolled women to use yoga to rid themselves of the excess fat around their middles that can cause so many health problems.

    When I confronted her after class about the pro-weight loss messages she was handing out to her yoga class AT AN EATING DISORDER CENTER, she acted totally shocked at my reaction and said she would have to work on being more sensitive in the future. I was absolutely stunned. The only way she could be any less sensitive was to be an inanimate object. She later called and left me a long phone message asking me for more clarification on why I wanted to leave the class, because she didn’t understand, and asking me to come back. No thanks, lady. (And yes, I made sure that the center was aware of what this teacher was telling her students, but I left it at that and I don’t know what happened as a result.)

  10. itgirl

     /  November 7, 2007

    You’re all making me realize what a gem I have in the psychiatrist and therapist I have. Both realize that even though I am a larger woman, I am losing weight too quickly, and are concerned about an ED (it’s a health issue, not an ED). My psychiatrist asked a battery of questions and examined me to ansure I was not anorexic – and I am almost 100 pounds overweight. It sounds like I have a unique situation.

  11. Ottermatic – that’s insane. But not surprising. Often centers will contract out to people to teach these kinds of classes, but really, they should exercise more oversight, especially in any classes involving exercise.

    Sad to say, this woman probably has disordered thinking about food of her own, which might explain her vapidity.

  12. I am a psychologist. Please allow me to wholeheartedly apologize for my field. You have been wronged.

    To anyone who experiences food obsession, body hatred, or a compulsion to diet, I beg you to keep seeking help until you are matched with a caring therapist who focuses on truly healthy behaviors instead of just being thin.

  13. sso

     /  November 11, 2007

    I am so, so sorry that happened to you. I’m a longtime sufferer of anorexia (11 years…god), but I was fortunate in that the doctor recommended by my otherwise ED-ignorant pediatrician was an adolescent medicine specialist with a significant ED practice. During my first appointment, she spent much time allaying my concerns that i wasn’t “thin enough” to be sick, and that I indeed had a serious problem.

    It’s the BEHAVIOR that is the issue…it’s fairly ridiculous and unethical to turn someone away simply because they haven’t reached a “low enough” weight yet. That’s akin to telling someone, “Well, we found a cancerous tumor on your lung, but you know, it’s small, so we’re not going to treat it yet. Come back later and we’ll see if it’s gotten bigger. Then you’ll be sick enough for us to do something.” If they want to adhere strictly to the DSM-IV, even though the criteria for anorexia nervosa do include a provision regarding low body weight, ED-NOS provides a diagnosis for people who evidence the symptoms of anorexia absent the low weight. No one should ever be turned away, particularly when they are actively seeking help.

  14. sannanina

     /  November 11, 2007

    I am currently in therapy for chronic depression. I also have binge eating disorder (currently I binge almost every day) and since many negative thoughts I have circle around my supposed “failure” to control my eating I brought that up in my last therapy session. I guess my therapist could have reacted in worse ways, however, at some point she asked me if I had ever tried the Sonja Bakker diet (which is kind of the new favorite here in the Netherlands). Considering that I had just told her that I have tried quite a number of diets and that I have lost up to 90 pounds in six months in the past and that I am aiming at body acceptance and intuitive eating but that I cannot stop feeling guilty whenever I do not restrict my food intake (it does not need a binge for that) I found that comment quite insensitive. Also, when I mentioned that I know from experience that I have to eat about 2500 kcal per day to feel truly satisfied and maintain my weight she said that this was quite a lot – considering that I am 5’7″ and moderately active I don’t really think that’s true. Her comments make me feel as if she does not really believe what I tell her, or that she really, really does not understand that weight loss does not necessarily indicate a victory over my eating disorder. All of this makes me want to not go back to therapy… however, I guess I should give her credit for agreeing that weight gain is/ should not be the worst thing in the world besides all the other things she said. I think I will just not bring up the topic in therapy anymore in the future and try to deal with it on my own.

  15. Time-Machine

     /  November 12, 2007

    The same thing happened to me my freshman year of high school, except I wasn’t anorexic in the typical sense. I had a few conflicting medical issues that were taking away my appetite, and then I was really busy, and I would just plain forget to eat. For a week or more. And then I’d be thinking “Why am I so tired?” and THEN remember “Oh, man! Food! I forgot to eat!”

    And the really sick part was that I was working myself to death and never getting any proper nutrition and everyone kept telling me how great I looked. And how glad they were for me, at fourteen, that I was *finally* getting off that “puberty weight.” At fourteen.

    The next year I got my life more together, gained the weight back, and then felt ashamed that I somehow hadn’t been able to keep it up. You know, the extreme busyness + disease that helped me lose the weight in the first place.

    Also, this isn’t weight related, but-
    “After nurses did the requisite blood pressure check, all the doctor did was to order a pregnancy test, although I told them I hadn’t been sexually active in a long while.”

    What is it with doctors and pregnancy? My friend’s university hospital used pregnancy as a diagnosis for everything. She went in with a sore throat and they tried to tell her she was pregnant and make her take a pregnancy test. She told them time and again that she hadn’t been anywhere near men in a sexual way for over nine months, and they assumed she was lying and tried to make her take one anyway. She finally said, “Look, unless my GIRLFRIEND has a secret penis and she never told me, I’m pretty damn sure I’m not pregnant.”

    Not to mention my other friend who was a VIRGIN and was harassed into coughing up thirty bucks to get a pregnancy test after the medical staff managed to make her cry and claim that she MUST be sleeping with people, because she’s a woman! And at college!

    The sexism on top of the fatism in your story just made it that much more enraging.

  16. I think the “obsessively checking for pregnancy” thing is often a CYA measure, especially lately. No doc wants to get sued for malpractice or tossed in jail because they inadvertently caused a miscarriage.

    That being said, it does get a bit obnoxious at times. At least, as best as i can remember – i haven’t been to a doctor in 3 years or so. 😛

  17. I think the “obsessively checking for pregnancy” thing is often a CYA measure, especially lately.

    Probably true, Lindsay, but the implication there — that so many women are liars (or so out of touch with their own bodies they wouldn’t know if they’re pregnant), it’s necessary to routinely test women who say they haven’t even had sex with men — is so unbelievably offensive, it could just as easily come back to bite them in the ass. I’ve read about studies that say bedside manner, not quality of care, is actually the largest determining factor in the likelihood of a doctor getting sued for malpractice. People won’t sue doctors they like — they’ll write off mistakes as mistakes, because they understand the doc is human. But if the doctor’s a jerk? A mistake will lead to a lawsuit.

    So even for the sake of saving their own butts, if not for the sake of being decent people, doctors should think twice about setting up an adversarial relationship with their patients.

  18. pokeypony

     /  November 12, 2007

    Several years ago, after doing much research, soul-searching and the like, I went to my GP and described the symptoms that I was experiencing: I couldn’t control my eating, I was depressed, I would panic, literally, if I could not have a particular food at that very moment (we’re talking shaking, sweats, etc), to name a few. He listened well, hugged me when I cried, and said, “you shouldn’t feel bad – you’re a binger, a compulsive eater. It’s like alcoholism, only with food. Something you’ll have to deal with, but it CAN be dealt with. Only I don’t know completely how to help you. You’ll need to see a specialist.” So he gave me the name of a new doc in town who had opened an ED clinic at the local hospital, and helped me make the first appointment.

    Enter the Evil Insurance Company, who hemmed and hawed, going back and forth for TWO DAYS (and countless phone calls), “yes, we’ll cover it, no we won’t. We cover the hospital, but not that doctor. Oh, wait, yeah, we cover that doctor.” The last thing I heard before heading to see this doctor for the 2-hour initial consult was that they *would* cover the treatment, at least for the first 10 visits. I reached the outpatient desk of the hospital, and was filling out the forms for the doc when a phone call came in FOR ME. At the hospital admittance desk. It was my insurance company, telling me that this doctor was NOT covered, and that I couldn’t see him. Doc came on the phone in a conference call, reamed out the ins company, and they relented enough to allow me to see the doctor for the consult ONLY. After that, I’d have to go somewhere else. What the??? How is THAT helpful? So I said, no, thanks, apologized to the doc for wasting his time, and went home.

    Weeks later, I screwed up the gumption to ask my GP for other therapists in the area. He was not personally acquainted with any, but found one who listed ED’s as part of his practice….

    Enter Dr. X, a ‘family therapist specializing in eating disorders’. I went to him for about three months. During that time, he questioned why I *thought* I had an ED, as opposed to “just sitting and eating mindlessly”; suggested that when I feel the urge to eat, I chew a piece of gum or eat a bowl of cereal; and held up one of his ANOREXIC PATIENTS alternately as a model that I should follow, and as someone that had a *real* problem, implying that I was just wasting his time with my little pity-party on his couch, and I should just go on a freakin’ diet.

    I left him, and have not been to a therapist since. Looking back, I should have been taking notes, and sought legal advice, but all I wanted at the time was first, to get help, and then to just get away from that moron.

  19. sarah

     /  November 12, 2007

    I want to second what kateharding said re: women not knowing if they are pregnant.

    When I was in grad school, I was required to take several women’s health classes, including obstetrics and “contraceptive technology.” Both of these classes frequently emphasized how possible it is for women to just “not know” – especially those women who are minorities / hailing from pretty much anywhere else in the world. These stories were always told with a touch of patronization for these ‘uninformed’ women who desperately needed westernized health care.

    And whole new crops of health care professionals were taught to believe 1) women always lie about sex, and 2) the doctor/nurse/health professional is always *more* right than the patient – and has a moral obligation to treat the believed diagnosis – regardless of the woman’s preference / *actual* health concerns.

  20. sso

     /  November 12, 2007

    Sannanina, I know how difficult it can be to find a therapist you can trust, but if the person you’re currently seeing has such a poor understanding of eating disorders, maybe it’s time to find a new one? Telling someone with an eating disorder to diet, regardless of their weight, is not only counterproductive but actually harmful. You deserve to be treated by someone who is knowledgeable enough to provide you with appropriate care. It isn’t easy to find a good therapist who is well-versed in treating EDs, but they ARE out there, and it’s really worth finding one.

  21. littlem

     /  November 12, 2007

    I’ve gotten to the point whether I actually ask *gasp* a nutritionist whether they’re currently anorexic and/or have had any experience with a personal eating disorder. (I write it down in a list of initial questions that I have for the practitioner, in order to be “less confrontational”.)

    I usually have to ask again, though, because they usually don’t answer that question even as they go through the sheet and respond to the others.

    But then, I’m a bad patient. *snort*

    Rachel, if you’re doing your research on American food culture within a feminist framework, you may want to collect more interviews from “overweight” women as to whether they’ve struggled personally with anorexia.

    Especially given the fact that so much of current American food culture influences the shrinking of the “ideal ideal” (remember your post on size 8 being the new “plus size” on ANTM?), televised food porn, and general hatred of overweight women.

    Just reading over these comments again, I’ll bet you’d find it more frequently than it might appear at first blush.

  22. LittleM: It’s not my thesis, but one of the areas I focus on is in the area of fat women with eating disorders (and not just BED or COE, either). I’m gathering data now, and I’d love to submit an article for publication somewhere, perhaps an ED-related journal and maybe expand it later to a book.

    Currently, there’s only one book I know of that focuses on non-stereotypical women with eating disorders – Becky Thompson’s A Hunger So Wide and Deep. Although the book interviews fat women with ED, it’s focus is more on women of color with an ED, not fat women who have ED.

  23. Holy shit. Time-Machine, your comment reminded me of my first semester at college. I had a ton of various mental/emotional things going on, all of which combined to leave me pretty fucked up about a bunch of things. So fucked up that I spent most of that first semester of college perpetually nauseated. I counted it a good day if I could get through my morning tooth-brushing without throwing up. If I did throw up, it generally meant that I wouldn’t be able to eat until at least dinner time, sometimes not until later than that, after the cafeteria was closed.

    Suffice to say, I lost a bunch of weight. I’d lost some weight working at a camp that summer, but by the time that first semester was over I’d gone from 190 to 145 in six months, almost all of it because I was generally too nauseous to eat. And like you, all I got was encouragement, and people congratulating me on how great I looked and the whole thing. And while on the one hand I remember being all happy about finally being a societally accepted size, on the other? All I could think about was how much damage all that throwing up could be doing to my teeth and esophagus.

    As far as just about everyone else around me was concerned, though, it was all fine. In fact, only one person – one of my cooler aunts – expressed any sort of concern about how I was losing all that weight so quickly.

  24. Whenever those therapists start with “what medication are you on?” or “and you still have the same insurance?”, or tell the same lame jokes over and over because they forget who I am between appointments, it’s the worst feeling – this person who is supposed to help me and care about me (to some extent) can’t even remember who I am??

  25. Artemis

     /  November 13, 2007

    I am horrified at these stories and feel like giving everyone involved a huge hug or filing lawsuits on their behalf or something. Sharing these experiences is important, thank you for doing that and for providing a safe space for this purpose.

    As for anyone looking for a therapist, I really strongly recommend calling several therapists, and having a (free!) short phone interview with each one. Most therapists have no problem with this, and in fact it is in everyone’s best interest that therapist and client be well matched.

    I called 6 names when I decided to make the leap. One of my questions was “Do you have any experience with binge eating disorder?” One therapist answered that he didn’t do eating disorders. I appreciated his straightforwardness and crossed him off my list (although also felt vaguely “defective” – I had a problem that a therapist wouldn’t treat!). One woman waffled so badly on that question that after asking it twice with no response, I finally realized what was making her uncomfortable. I said, “I’m not asking if you personally have BED, I’m asking if you have any experience *treating* it.” Then she kind of answered, but by then I knew I could never work with her.

    My top two favorites both gave variants of “not really, but I’m willing to help you in any way I can, and can refer you if you need further help.” The person I picked was the sixth and last person I called, and it is one of the best decisions I ever made in my life. It was a terrifying process, but so incredibly worth it. I hope that anyone looking for a therapist, and whose insurance company allows it (that’s often the catch, isn’t it?), will shop around. You’re worth it, and a good therapist is worth it too.

  26. Carol G.

     /  November 15, 2007

    True, true! Most docs look at a fat person & all they can see IS the fat.
    Two years ago, I dropped 105 lbs in just under a year & ended up in the ER in screaming pain. Turned out my gall bladder had gone berserk due to the too-rapid weight loss on a VERY low calorie diet (about 600 calories a day, and sometimes 2 – 4 days without food because I couldn’t afford to buy any). The doc who treated me claimed he had no idea why the gall bladder reacted this way to the weight loss, and said nothing about the fact that such a rapid drop in weight was NOT healthy. He even encouraged me to lose MORE, as he put me on a no fat/low fat nightmare of a regimen to keep that nasty little gall bladder from acting up. Yes, I dropped more weight, bringing the total loss to 135 pounds. No, I didn’t stay with the low-fat nightmare, since all it did was cause my weight to keep dropping.

    The doc SHOULD have told me why the gall bladder goes nuts when you lose too much too quickly: not enough food being processed to keep the bile flowing through the ducts & so the ducts, like sluggish drains, begin to clog. It’s something I’ve yet to hear a doc mention to a fat person who’s in the process of dropping weight, and it’s something that NEEDS to be brought up.

    The other thing was fear: I was so stressed & terrified of ending up with another gall b ladder attack that I was afraid of eating anything.
    I still (even though by that point I could well afford to eat) afraid of any food that might bother me. Days went by where I ate almost nothing. Finally saw a Learning Channel show on anexoria & realized where I was headed & decided it just had to STOP. I found that acupuncture was a BIG help with the gall bladder problem, and, as the acupuncturist advised me, I began TALKING to my body, telling it what was acceptable & healthful, and promising to treat the machinery more carefully as long as it would stay the course.

    After nearly 2 years, I still have moments of panic when faced with certain foods, but things are looking up. Must still remind myself that food is not my enemy and that the body needs a varied & healthful diet in order to maintain health. One of the best things you can do is just LISTEN to what your body tells you & go with it. The wonderful doc I went to for nearly 20 years once reminded me that if you crave a certain food there’s something in it that your body needs, so LISTEN to what it’s telling you. If you think you need a therapist, track one down through other people who have been treated for EDs; first hand kudos or pans are the best way to go.
    For anyone who’s battling a weight-related issue, I can only say keep fighting the good fight, because we can ALL win.

  27. Carol – I had a gall bladder attack once, after I had lost about 175 pounds and the first question the ER doc asked me is if I had lost weight recently. He also told me that eating high-fat foods can trigger it and so, like you, I was afraid to eat anything sugary or fattening for a long, long time. Those of you who have ever had a gall bladder attack will understand, I’m sure. I felt like I was dying. I never, ever want to go through that pain again.

  28. Lauren

     /  November 22, 2007

    This reminded me of one my friends’ mums. I’m seventeen and have chronic asthma- I was recently put in hospital for a few days after becoming very bad, emergency treatment, intensive care on standby, blah. Anyway, my friend’s mum- J- works in the same large company as my mum. She naturally asked them why isn’t [my mum] there: they said I’d been taken into hospital and my mum was with me. J replied along the lines of ‘oh, what did she take?’ – her thoughts immediately jumping to the conclusion that I was in hospital because I’d overdosed on diet pills out of shame that ‘all my friends are thinner than me.’ Logical! Side points: the rest of the workers all told my mum when she got back: I refuse to go to J’s house: J is about 20 stone/280 lbs: I don’t know what I weigh but I’m not fat: J is a bitch.

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  3. The Disordered Times » Eating disorders and mental health on campus
  4. The Disordered Times Archive » Eating disorders and mental health on campus

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