What's leptin got to do with it?

I was at my immunology lecture this morning and sitting there, taking notes, half asleep. The professor kept mentioning "leptin".

This is a hormone that has been found to be closely associated with appetite, and there is a lot of really cool research going on out there about leptin and its relation to all types of eating disorders. In my sleep-ridden haze, I remember thinking that this leptin molecule must really get around. Eating disorders, immunity...damn. Not bad for such a little guy.

Then I notice one of the slides. The molecule he was talking about was lectin, not leptin. It's a molecule that allows our body's cells to destroy bacteria (well, roughly). Not the eating disorder-related hormone regulating appetite.


Don't get me wrong- leptin still has a special place in my heart. But the moral of the story is how we hear what is familiar. We hear what we expect to hear.

And, as Mr. H4H pointed out, we see what we expect to see.

I look in the mirror and I see fat. Is this what's really true? Most people would say no, but I still have a hard time agreeing with them. They could offer their firstborn male child, and I would have a hard time agreeing with them.* My body image has improved somewhat, in that I am actually capable of a) looking in the mirror, b) recognizing a person, and c) recognizing that this person is, um, me. I don't cry, though there is the occasional wailing and gnashing of teeth. But I don't expect to see a tall, blonde chick if I get up from my chair and take a little looky-looky right now.

Nope. Still short-ish. Still red haired. And that damn zit is still there!

It's a habit, I think. After a while, my ED behaviors became habits. Of course I flip over the package to read the nutrition label. Give yourself about a decade, and you'd be surprised how quickly you do things like that. Half the time, it's not even conscious. See food, read label. Then decide, then eat. I do that when I pick at my nails. All of a sudden I'll look down and half my nails will be gone. Huh? When did that happen? I didn't mean to, not really. At least not consciously. But there it is, all the same.

They say we're creatures of habit. I get that. I also get that I take it to the extreme. My habits are my habits and sometimes, I really don't want to change them. They're useful, even if they're not always helpful.

I'm trying to learn new habits, but it takes such time and energy. I read some research (who knows where, who knows when...it all starts blending together after a while) that people with OCD, such as myself, have a harder time giving up old behaviors because of the way their brains are wired.

Ding ding ding. We have a winner, kids.

So fine. It's in the scientific literature. There's a temptation to wallow in that, say See? Of course I can't change! I'm STUCK. It's who I am. I can change- I think this last year has shown that. I never thought I would be living out of state at this time last year. Actually, it wasn't even until late December that I thought of applying to writing school. Nice little psych unit, post-suicide attempt conversion there.

But sometimes I just have to say it is what it is, and I am what I am,** and at the end of the day, leptin is leptin and lectin is lectin.

*I could potentially be bought for a large gift certificate to the local bead store, however. Readers, take note.

**I suppose "who" I am would be more grammatically correct. Perhaps this will need to be explored later.

posted under , , , |


disordered girl said...

"I'm trying to learn new habits, but it takes such time and energy."

I hear ya, chica.

lauren said...

Great post sweetie! Keep those new habits coming!! Hey I have to ask if the jewerly on your page is stuff that you make????
I love it~! Let me know
Love Lauren

carrie said...


Sometimes I feel that I wouldn't mind learning new and/or better habits if it weren't so much effort. Sigh.


Yes, that is my stuff. You can go to frenchroast.etsy.com and see the rest of it. I learned when I was IP for depression this past December.


Kirsten said...

Heh, thanks to your title, I now have this image of Tina Turner walking down the street singing, "What's leptin got to do with it, got to do with it, who needs an ED, when a donut's 'round the corner."

Post a Comment

Newer Post Older Post Home

ED Bites on Facebook!

ED Bites is on Twitter!

Search ED Bites

About Me

My photo
I'm a science writer, a jewelry design artist, a bookworm, a complete geek, and mom to a wonderful kitty. I am also recovering from a decade-plus battle with anorexia nervosa. I believe that complete recovery is possible, and that the first step along that path is full nutrition.

Drop me a line!

Have any questions or comments about this blog? Feel free to email me at carrie@edbites.com

nour·ish: (v); to sustain with food or nutriment; supply with what is necessary for life, health, and growth; to cherish, foster, keep alive; to strengthen, build up, or promote


Popular Posts


Recent Comments