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Going Home For The Holidays…And Bingeing. Are You Worried?

December 21, 2010

All the food of the season might be freaking you out now, but there's hope! You can get normal about food—even during the holidays.

For many people with food and body issues, the holiday season can feel like a minefield. Rather than just enjoying being with your family and friends, and nibbling on some of your favorite seasonal foods, you’re stuck in a cycle of bingeing and guilt, or fear about being surrounded by food and emotionally triggering family members. That’s where Jackie, 19, is now. I’d love your help giving her some hope for this holiday. Here’s her email, plus some initial responses from me. Please weigh in at the end!

Q: I have been reading HealthyGirl for several months now and I desperately want to overcome my eating disorder! I am a recovering bulimic and for several months I have been suffering from binge eating disorder. I am so thankful that I no longer purge, but I really want to stop the bingeing. I hate how it makes me feel…I hate that I eat when I’m not hungry, I hate eating in private, I hate hiding my disorder from my friends and family. I have opened up to my parents about my disorder but I am too ashamed to tell them everything. My parents have been very supportive but they don’t understand what it’s like to be a binge-eater! I have asked my mom to help me stop the binges and sometimes she is very helpful but other times she inadvertently makes me feel worse. Read more…


Cabbage Soup, Master Cleanse, Zone, South Beach—How All These Diets Just Led to Binges

December 16, 2010

A big thanks to Nina at Help for Eating Disorder for sharing her Real Story of recovery with us today:

After years of crazy diets—including, yech, the cabbage soup craze—Nina is an intuitive eater and free from bingeing and restricting!

I was always an active and athletic child – heavily involved in sports at school, dancing on the weekends and competing at a national level in rhythmic gymnastics. Food and weight had never been an issue. My weight always stayed within a healthy range, mainly due to all the exercise and at home the meals were always home cooked and un processed. During college, many of the physical activities stopped and I started to face new emotional problems of shyness, isolation and excessive drinking. I turned to drinking and controlling my weight to keep my focus off the things that were really bothering me.

I started my first diet in 2000, a strict Atkins diet that at first was miraculous. I lost a lot of weight but I grew disturbingly obsessed with food and dropping even more weight. Read more…

Body Image Week: A Top Model’s Thoughts on Air Brushing and Body Image

December 10, 2010

I’m on vacation this week in California—my sister’s getting married!—so I’ll be re-publishing a series of body image posts from the archives. This one originally ran in October.

Whitney Thompson and Chenese Lewis for Love Your Body Day 2010

Whitney Thompson has had big success since being the first-ever plus-size winner of “America’s Next Top Model” during cycle 10. But that doesn’t mean she’s a big fan of the business. In fact, Whitney spends most of her time these days speaking to college-aged girls about healthy body image—she’s even a spokesperson for the National Eating Disorders Association, whose annual conference just finished up Monday.

I sat down with her a couple of days ago to talk about fashion, body image, and eating disorders—the full interview is up on the Huffington Post, but the highlights I thought you guys would care most about are right here: Read more…

Body Image Week: Why Weight Ups and Downs Don’t Matter As Much As You Think

December 9, 2010

Weight ups and downs are totally normal, natural, and usually nothing to worry about. So glad I know that now.

I’m on vacation this week in California so I’m re-publishing a series of body image posts from the archives. This one is originally ran in July.

We like to talk about little victories here at—but I’ve realized a victory lately that is anything but little. (At least it seems that way to me!) Here it is: I am 13 pounds heavier now than I was a year ago. And instead of falling into bad body image, feeling unsatisfied, being tempted to go on a crash diet, or being otherwise obsessive, I’m simply…OK with it.In fact, this little weight bump seems totally expected and perfectly natural considering what the last year has held for me. I got married last May, spent nights and weekends writing my book from January through June, and then promptly started a new (very busy) job. All of that means that my husband and I have too busy to cook and have been ordering in constantly; I’ve been giving in to that feeling of “I’m so busy, I deserve this cookie/chocolate/second helping!” And last, but not least, I haven’t been making the time to move my body. Most days, I’d rather just drag myself home from work and park on the couch with a streaming Netflix movie than stop at the gym. Read more…

Body Image Week: 7 Amazing Steps to Loving Your Body More Just the Way It Is

December 8, 2010

I’m on vacation this week in California so I’m re-publishing a series of body image posts from the archives. This one features Tiffany Stewart, Ph.D., of The Body Image Project and originally ran in July 2010.

HealthyGirl: When you’re in the thick of a body crisis, sometimes you wonder if you can in fact come out the other side of a confident and well-balanced person. But people can.

Dr. Stewart: Yes! But make no mistake, it’s a process. It’s a commitment to thriving. It doesn’t just happen; it takes purposeful thought and behavior. However, when we let go of our need to control every part of us and our circumstances surrounding our appearance, things start to fall into place. When we put health as the center point, everything aligns around that…that is the jumping off point to thriving. Read more…

Body Image Week: We Don’t Just Need a Body Image Revolution, We Need An ‘Aging Image’ One!

December 7, 2010

I’m on vacation this week, so I’ll be re-publishing a series of body image posts from the archives. This one originally ran in May of 2010.

As I recovered from binge eating disorder and body obsession, fat days have gotten fewer and farther between. But guess what’s been popping up in their place? Wrinkle days! (This was me the other morning while brushing my teeth: “Mm, this new Aquafresh tastes niACK another crow’s footWHERE’SMYMOISTURIZER?!!!!”) I may have gotten a lot saner about my weight and food obsessions, but now, apparently I’m dealing with this. And, I don’t know about you, but I could use a healthy-aging body-image heroine. In this era of Botox, fillers, cheek implants and completely surgically made-over faces, how are we supposed to know what’s normal? The extreme implants and facial surgeries sought out by aging women have become the West’s version of genital mutilation—only it’s voluntary. Read more…

Body Image Week: Using Food and Weight to Take Yourself ‘Out of the Game’

December 6, 2010

Have you ever used your weight or food issues as an excuse to take yourself out of the game of life?

I’m on vacation this week in California—my sister’s getting married!—so I’ll be re-publishing a series of body image posts from the archives. This one is by Morgan, my old research assistant, and originally ran in February of 2010.

I’ve been watching the Olympics this week, seeing all of the strong, brave athletes and thinking about all sorts of games. Using food and weight as a “distancer” and a way to take myself out of the game has been an idea I have gone back to multiple times in my recovery. When I say “game,” I am referring to a whole lot of things and you can insert your own personal concept of game, but really it’s living your life and letting yourself really have a shot at things without self-handicapping…A few examples: the social game, the relationship game, the employment game, the taking a risk game, the buying pretty new clothes game, and the list goes on and on. Read more…