To treatment providers:
Give us sufferers some real respect- especially when you tell us our "target weights." People with eating disorders tend to fixate on numbers, so consider it an occupational hazard. Whatever number you tell us, chances are, we won't like.
It's the nature of the disease. Any weight is too high.
You can fall back on formulas (the stereotypical 100 lbs for someone 5 ft tall, and 5 lbs for every inch over 5 feet), but those are imprecise and were originally used for target weights for runway models. It's not uncommon to find that weight a lowball target.
Instead, look at our growth charts, our behaviors and thoughts as time passes. Be honest that this is a guess, that things may change. That health is more important than a number. That we're not silly little girls and boys who need to be coddled and treated with kid gloves. We're sick, yes, but we're not stupid and we're not as frail as you might think.
And don't lowball a weight to make us "comfortable." Because that comfort will be short-lived, and the disease will continue to torture us. As someone who has been there, I can honestly say that you are doing us no favors. If we're going to freak out about weight gain, we may as well freak out on the road to ultimate health, rather than that precarious road between recovery and relapse.
If you were a surgeon, you wouldn't take out 90% of a tumor because removing the other 10% would cause an uglier scar. You'd take out the tumor and refer us to a therapist if it really bugged us. So why do you so often settle for 85% ideal body weight? Or 90%? Or 95%?
Our health and lives are at stake.
We can handle the truth.
To treatment providers:
- binge eating disorder
- biology of EDs
- body image
- disordered eating
- eating disorder
- Grand Theory of Eating Disorders
- narrating anorexia
- normal eating
- obesity hysteria
- weight gain
- weight loss
- Carrie Arnold
- 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!
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
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