Eating Disorders and Pregnancy

I recently watched a video from Good Morning America about pregnancy and eating disorders.

This is called Pregorexia.

Expectant mom’s of a healthy weight are supposed to gain between 25-35 pounds throughout their pregnancy. And underweight women should gain closer to forty pounds.

For people who have struggled with eating disorders pregnancy is a scary time. Heck, from what I have read and heard pregnancy is a scary time for all women. You lose control over your body. It becomes a vessel to grow another human being in. Your stomach gets huge.

But for an amazing reason. To make a baby!

In the ABCnews article, Anorexia and Pregnancy Don’t Mix, Docs Say (obviously!) Dr. Robert Zurawin said, “It boils down to an expectant mother putting the needs of her unborn baby first.”

Easier said than done.

But still, important to remember. Kathleen Rasmussen, committee chairwoman at the Institute of Medicine, added, “What we’d like women to know is that what you eat affects how well your baby grows and how healthy your baby is.”

The article also tells the story of a women who struggled with anorexia throughout her pregnancy. As a result of restricted intake, and compulsive exercising, this woman nearly lost her baby, and her baby was born with complications most likely as a result of malnutrition in womb.

The woman says, “It was never my intent to hurt my babies.”

But that is what happens.

Having an eating disorder and deciding to start a family is a difficult choice to make. But with therapy and support, many women have been able to have healthy babies. But it is important to remember that those healthy babies need a mom. Postpartum  eating disorders are also very dangerous not just for the mother, but for the whole family.

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Say NO to Size Zero Campaign

So model Katie Green has a “Say No to Size Zero” campaign. The former Wonderbra model is using her own experiences in the modeling world to help other people, which I think is pretty cool.

In this video she talks a bit more about the campaign:

Green started modeling Wonderbra’s line for fuller chested women (D-G) after winning an audition. However after joining a modeling agency, they asked her to lose weight.

“‘Had I lost the two stone, I would have looked like a bag of bones. I won’t sacrifice my health.” said Green.

Two stone is approximately equal to twenty-eight pounds. A ridiculous amount of weight to lose, especially for someone with a healthy BMI.

The model went public with this information, which resulted in a contract modeling for Ultimo. She stuck up for her health, and still got a modeling contract. And she’s now speaking out against the modeling industry’s obsession with thinness to help girls and women to have better self-esteem.

Here’s the link to her official site, and I think the official site for the campaign.

From that site you can sign a petition for the campaign.

I have to say though, as great as this is, remember that Green’s modeling portrays unrealistic ideals too. Her photo’s, like all modeling pictures are airbrushed and photoshopped, with lighting placed just so to make her look as “perfect” as possible.

She’s a great role model in some ways, but we should still be careful of the influence that her pictures can have. But it really is nice to see someone using their fame and position to actually help make a positive difference.

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Things That Taste Better…

By now, the hype around Kate Moss saying that “nothing tastes as good as skinny feels” has toned down. But the consequences of her poor judgement are yet to come.

The supermodel has power, lots of power, over women. And she serves as a role model to young women. A bad role model, but a role model none the less.

One positive out of all of this, is the outrage being shown by so many people. Kate’s words are not the last word. Other people are speaking out against her.

On a side not, the following is a list of things that taste better than…well, than not tasting them:

  1. Chocolate covered strawberries
  2. Apple Pie
  3. Grilled cheese sandwiches with tomatoes
  4. Molasses Cookies
  5. Salads that have goat cheese on them (yum!)

These are just some personal favorites🙂

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Post-Pro-Ana

There’s pro-ana, there’s anti-ana, and now there’s post-pro-ana.

The lines dividing anti and pro-ana groups are clear-cut, but where exactly does post-pro-ana fit in? What exactly does post-pro-ana even mean??

I recently came across the website webiteback.com. This site calls itself a post-pro-ana site. The site provides an online community and support network for those who are struggling with eating disorders. This sort of community and support is a large part of why pro-ana sites are so popular.

The main difference between webiteback and pro-ana sites is that webiteback is recovery oriented. It is a network of support for recovery, as opposed to support of the disorder itself.

The following is a promo video for webiteback:

This video can also be found on their homepage.

Webiteback is trying to reach out to people who feel alienated, people who miss the social network of people who can be found on pro-ana site. A network of people who understand their disorder. They have a facebook page to reach even more people.

It seems as though this is the only post-pro-ana site out there right now.

In the site’s FAQ question they answered some important questions about what their site’s purpose is, and why they call themselves post-proana (The following passage is taken directly from their FAQ section.)

What is post-proana?

Post-proana is an online subculture made up of people actively working to decrease disordered eating habits. Recognizing that proana communities provided teens and adults alike with an appreciated supportive environment, we have created a community that provides support without encouraging anorexic or bulimic behavior patterns. When the mirror lies, each person must learn to rely on the eyes of those who care about us. Those eyes are reading these pages. Working together as a team, we are overcoming our eating disorders together. Successfully.

Are you an anti-pro-ana site?

Complicated answer: We are all for free speech regarding eating disorders, but we are against the creation of communities with a blatant purpose of normalizing the self-harm. Disclaimers on proana sites do not spare their site creators from moral responsibility. We urge proana site owners to at least acknowledge the sway each owner holds over crowds of well-meaning people who want to lose weight for various misplaced reasons. Readers will copy what they read. We are anti-spreading-negative-behavioral-patterns-as-a-sustainable-lifestyle.

Why not call yourselves anti-ana or anti-proana then?

If you create a self identity based on a negative first thought, it can be easy to put off self-healing by pursuing a witch hunt of those currently dealing with eating disorders.

We are letting go of the need to create a boogeyman out of people who suffer from disordered eating, and instead learning to accept ourselves as we are, as we discover that a lot of negative opinions we had of ourselves just weren’t true.

 

Webiteback.com fills that large void between the supportive community of people who share a disorder, and recovery. It is a progressive site with a community of recovering and recovered people.

I hope it is a sign of things to come.

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You Are Beautiful

Please check out this amazing website: OperationBeautiful.com

you are beautiful

The editor of the website, Caitlin Boyle, writes that Operation Beautiful‘s mission is to:

post anonymous notes in public places for other women to find. The point is that WE ARE ALL BEAUTIFUL. You are enough… just the way you are!

 

It’s such a simple idea…and I love it!

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Video: A Doctor’s Analysis of Anorexia

In this video from CBSNews.com, Dr. Jon LaPook gives a relatively brief (a bit under seven minutes) description of anorexia. He also discusses what he believes are the best forms of treatment and speculates on what might be some causes:

Dr. LaPook

Click on the picture above to go to the Video.

It’s a very traditional sort of interview, but it does provide some good information. He seemed to avoid discussing specific forms of psychotherapies, referring to ‘intensive treatments’ without going into much more detail. He focused more on re-feeding the body and mind as treatment. In that way, it does not seem as comprehensive as I would have liked it to be, but I was still interested in what he had to say.

Some interesting points that come up in the video:

“The crucial first step in the treatment of anorexia nervosa is doing whatever it takes to get weight back to normal.”

“The brain changes…the brains of people with anorexia nervosa are smaller than normal. They get back to normal when they regain the weight.”

Do you disagree with anything Dr. LaPook was saying?

Here’s the bio for Dr. LaPook that is posted on the CBSNews’s website. And these are his blogs for The Huffington Post.

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Orthorexia Nervosa: Eating Disorder? or Conscious Eating?

Vegetarian, vegan, raw food.

There are lots of people who are conscious of how they eat.  They want to eat healthy.  They want to eat organic food, sustainable food, raw food, food that is packaged in an environmentally friendly way.  These are good ideals, and seemingly healthy lifestyle choices…but when does conscious food consumption cross the line?  When does it become disordered eating?

There is a name for obsessively correct eating-Orthorexia Nervosa.  They term was coined by Dr. Steven Bratman in 1997 in an article he published in Yoga Journal, and the concept has since become more relevant, with the increase in going green, and eating ‘right’.

Bratman goes into detail about his own experience with orthorexia nervosa. A time when he lived on a commune, obsessed with eating only organic food, thinking almost constantly about food. This excerpt from his article shows when he realized he had a problem: 

My ability to carry on normal conversations was hindered by intrusive thoughts of food. The need to obtain meals free of meat, fat, and artificial chemicals had put nearly all social forms of eating beyond my reach. I was lonely and obsessed.

Even when I became aware that my scrabbling in the dirt after raw vegetables and wild plants had become an obsession, I found it terribly difficult to free myself. I had been seduced by righteous eating.

The problem of my life’s meaning had been transferred inexorably to food, and I could not reclaim it.

But the line between healthy eating and obsession is hard to draw. In a different article, Orthorexia nervosa: An unhealthy obsession with eating healthy foods, they discussed what that line was:

“‘Especially when there’s a tendency toward the elimination of certain types of food and the conceptualizing of certain foods as being bad’ …It’s a warning flag if a person’s eating patterns begin to interfere with normal life, and he or she starts to forbid more and more types of food from his or her diet”

So basically, the line between eating healthfully, and becoming disordered and obsessive is life interference. When people obsess constantly over what they are eating, and do not eat enough because of that, there is a problem. If someones health begins to suffer because they are trying so hard to eat ‘healthy’ there is a problem.

There is an important distinction between the mindset of someone struggling with an eating disorder such as anorexia, as opposed to someone with orthorexia nervosa. With orthorexia, the person honestly believes that what they are doing is healthy. They belive that they are doing the best possible things for their body, and to convince them that they are being unhealthy, or doing damage to their body is very difficult.

Orthorexia Nervosa is not (yet) recognized in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, published by the American Psychiatric Association.

Whether it is technically a disorder or not, if it is negatively and severely effecting peoples health, it is something to be concerned about.

 

Do you think Orthorexia Nervosa is a disorder?

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