Please stop

When I see headlines like this: "What some students will do to achieve a skinny figure," I want to throw things at my laptop. Please, stop with the stereotypes. Stop making an eating disorder out to be something so seemingly trivial.

An eating disorder is NOT about being thin. It's not about anything. It's an illness, not a choice.

Parts of the article were actually quite good- there was a decent amount of good, factual information in there, based on science and research. I also know several of the people, as this high school was right near where I grew up (though I did not attend this school). However, despite the statements that a lot of the illness was genetically based, there was also plenty of beliefs that it was "about" control, and needing to know why you got sick in order to get better.

Knowing your vulnerabilities will help you stay better, but they won't really help you get there.

I did like, however, that the article had a good focus on bulimia without being gory, and it didn't glamorize any of the symptoms.

I wish the article had said: "What an illness will drive someone to do."

I wish the article had said: Don't wait for the person to get sicker while they try and help themselves. Tell an adult NOW.

But I'm glad it ended with the real hope of recovery.

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MelissaS said...

can you explain the whole brain-related theory? my mother wanted me super-skinny, then i wanted me super skinny and so i starved and binged and purged and obsessed. when i was truly starving all the time, i know i was too hungry to think straight but otherwise, my brain and i heard everything my mother said and really listened. it really feels programmed, not organic. i don't think i came this way. but maybe you can explain it to me?

Jane said...

First of all, I'm sorry you went through that with your mother. Carrie could write a book on this topic (and I hope she will soon!) but in the meantime here's an article you might want to look at. It's not especially current but gives an overview.

Carrie Arnold said...


I'm taking an uneducated stab in the dark, but it sounds as if your mom had an ED, too. And I'm sorry you got wrapped up in her behaviors.

Yes, some of the behaviors of an ED can be "learned," but why they stick is a result of biology. A good overview is here:

This is also a good one:

If you go down the list titled "Eating disorders: what you should know" on the right hand side of my blog, there are more links.

People with AN are hungry, just like you were. But I was too terrified of what might happen to pick up the fork and eat.

Hope this helps.

Kyla said...

ugh on the article headline. I despise those headlines that trivialize, simplify, and sensationalize EDs

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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.

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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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