Other members of the Academy for Eating Disorders alerted me to this upsetting/appalling/annoying article in Bicycling Magazine. It's so awful that I'm not going to link to it for any number of reasons: lots of height/weight stats, weight loss stats, and I also don't want to give the article any more traffic than it's already getting.
Studies have shown that simply chewing your food longer--as many as 100 times per bite, in some research--results in reduced caloric intake. Hold also began chewing gum at the first craving for food. She says it gives her time to decide, "Am I really hungry or am I bored, nervous or stressed? I find in many cases, I just chew some gum and I don't really need food."
"As soon as I notice that I've gained a couple pounds, I immediately adjust what I'm eating and increase my exercise," he says.
Like I said, it sounds a lot like eating disordered behaviors to me.
Reading things like this really raises my hackles, even above and beyond the distribution of dangerous and potentially deadly advice. It irritates me because other people's eating disordered behaviors are given the green light whereas mine are practically illegal. Somehow, my psychiatric stamp of "ANOREXIC" makes a massive difference?
I get that these behaviors aren't healthy whether your psychiatric passport has an eating disorder stamp or not. But I find our culture's very paradoxical attitude towards eating disorders frustrating. On the one hand, the public is fascinated and horrified about people who spend their lives with their heads in the toilets or become emaciated. And yet there's a general endorsement of the behaviors that result from an eating disorder.
So what gives?
The ED part of my brain is, I confess, a little jealous. Why didn't my exercise regime get lauded? Why can't I do these "wonderful" things that these cyclists are doing? What makes them so different from me?
The answer is: not much.
Ultimately, these cyclists are playing with fire. These regimes are dangerous, and promoting them even more so. I hate that our society approves of so many disordered eating behaviors. And not just approves, but encourages and promotes. Then everyone wonders why eating disorders are so difficult to treat. No, culture isn't the whole reason, but it is one massive hurdle.
What do you think? How do you counter society's messed-up messages about food and weight?