Articles On Eating Disorders

The Mind/ Body Dialogues Teach UNH Students TO Love The Genes They Were Born With

Alexis Macarchuk

Student volunteers took to the stage Monday night in the University of New Hampshire's second production of the Mind/Body Dialogues, which celebrated Love Everybody Day.
The cast of 11 assembled to perform the scripted dialogue, which tackles a number of body image issues ranging from anorexia, bulimia and obesity to drug addiction.

Kathleen Grace Bishop, the director of Education Promotion, said, "This dialogue is important because everyone could use some help related to their body image. This is a lifelong struggle for people."

Hosted by the Office of Health Education and Promotion, the play was intended to spark discussion on campus about how people view themselves and treat their bodies.

The event illuminated some startling statistics while sharing a number of poignant experiences related to body issues.
In a survey conducted at UNH in 2001 aimed at finding where UNH stands on body issues, 25 percent of students had symptoms of eating disorders and over half the people surveyed said they knew people with eating disorders.
Linda Hayden, who oversees the fitness and wellness program at UNH, believes this unhealthy behavior related to diet and exercise on college campus happens for a number of reasons.
Hayden believes the media, advertising, and peer pressure influences students. These sources try to tell students how they should look and what their bodies should look like.

The Mind/Body Dialogues try to dispel the myth that there is only one set image of beauty and health.

"A healthy body image is when you appreciate your body for what it is, when you realize that you don't have to change it," Bishop explained. "Love the genes that you were born with. Try to remember that everyone is beautiful in their own way."
Kayleigh, a sophomore who attended the play and requested anonymity, said she liked the story about a mother of four who likes her body most when she's in the grocery store.

Read in full here.

Judge Approves Settlement Of Suit Against Aetna Over Coverage For Eating Disorders.

Healthy Habits: Eating Disorder Warning Signs


Eating disorders are serious conditions that cause physical and emotional damage. I know you can't force a person with an eating disorder to change their behaviors or beliefs, but you can make a difference by showing that you care, offering your support and encouraging the person to seek professional help. While people with eating disorders usually try to hide the problem, there are warning signs you can watch for. My heart goes out to the families of those with this disorder. If you're looking for a good reference site, check out It's a great site that deals with eating disorder issues and offers some of the signs that might be present.

Note: Any combination of these symptoms can be present in any eating disorder, and not all signs are always present in every person who engages in these behaviors.

Signs of food restriction:

  • Wearing baggy clothing (to hide weight loss)
  • Making excuses for not eating
  • Obsessively measuring/weighing food
  • Looks pale
  • Constantly feeling cold at normal room temperatures

  • Read in full here.

    Eating Right for Bone Health

    By Jovanda Biston

    Osteoporosis is normally associated with older women. That is because this disease of the skeleton, in which bones become brittle and are prone to fracture, usually occurs in women over 55 years of age.

    But it can also affect men and younger women.

    What may be even less well-known is that steps to prevent primary osteoporosis, which commonly occurs after menopause or develops due to age-related bone loss, should ideally be taken from as early as childhood.

    The World Health Organisation said bone formation is most active during childhood and adolescence and that bone length and girth increase as the teenager grows, ending at early adulthood when peak bone mass is attained.

    Dr Manju Chandran, a consultant endocrinologist at Singapore General Hospital (SGH), said: "It has often been said that osteoporosis is a paediatric disease that manifests in geriatric times."

    Dr Chandran is director of SGH's osteoporosis and bone metabolism unit, the country's first and only unit that caters specifically to the management of patients with osteoporosis and other bone disorders. He explained that getting your bones in peak shape during the growth period from puberty to the early 20s is extremely important. It will pay off in your later years.

    The attainment of peak bone density or mass is heavily influenced by nutrition, hereditary factors, hormonal effects and the environment. The growth years are thus crucial to averting the risk of osteoporosis in later life.

    Dr Chandran said that people who have a history of an eating disorder in their growing years can develop secondary osteoporosis. This type of osteoporosis occurs as a result of the treatment of another disease or condition, or as a result of the condition itself.

    Read in full here.

    sources: picture

    Recovery Quote Of The Week: October 25th

    "Beauty is being in harmony with what you are."
    Peter Nivio Zarlenga

    Please see:
    *sidebar "Inspirational Quotes" and "Recovery Quotes of the Week" for links to more recovery quotes.

    picture source:

    Poll: What Was The Inspiration That Caused You To Seek Recovery From Your Eating Disorder?

    Please see sidebar for the poll, "What Was The Inspiration That Caused You To Seek Recovery From Your ED?"

    The poll options are limited so if you have chosen "other," would like to add answers, elaborate on your answers, and/or discuss what led you to seek recovery please feel free to do so in the comment section of this post.

    Thank you.

    Completed Poll Results:

    What Was The Inspiration That Caused You To Seek Recovery From Your ED? (choose all that apply)

    ED treatment center
    4 (11%)
    7 (19%)
    Support of family
    8 (22%)
    Support of friend(s)
    9 (25%)
    Loss of friend(s) to ED
    2 (5%)
    Loss of family member to ED
    1 (2%)
    Fear of consequences
    10 (27%)
    Health issues
    12 (33%)
    Health concerns
    13 (36%)
    Severe illness
    4 (11%)
    Helping another with recovery
    3 (8%)
    Following the recovery of another
    2 (5%)
    Alternative medicine/methods
    2 (5%)
    3 (8%)
    Art Therapy
    1 (2%)
    2 (5%)
    Hair loss
    5 (13%)
    Fear of dying
    6 (16%)
    10 (27%)
    ED awareness
    8 (22%)
    Support group
    2 (5%)
    5 (13%)
    I cant remember
    0 (0%)
    I'm trying but not inspired
    4 (11%)
    Other (please see below poll)
    2 (5%)
    I'm not in recovery
    5 (13%)
    I don't want recovery
    4 (11%)

    Votes: 36

    More Poll Results


    Eating Disorders In The News: October

    Anorexic Teen Challenges NI Care

    A 16-year-old girl with anorexia has won the right to challenge the lack of specialist treatment available for her in Northern Ireland.

    She brought the High Court action in a bid to make the health service provide in-patient medical facilities for adolescents with eating disorders.

    The girl, who cannot be named, is being treated at a London hospital, where her mother visits her once a week.

    The girl's lawyers said the arrangement was causing family upheaval.

    Granting leave to apply for a judicial review in the case, Mr Justice Weatherup ruled there was an arguable case that the public authorities had not taken into account the particular combination of circumstances.

    The judge said: "When one reaches the stage that in-patient treatment is required for someone with anorexia nervosa it's easy to see that a life-threatening point has been reached.

    Read in full here.

    Depression, Appearance Concerns Predicted Disturbed Eating Behaviors In Girls With Diabetes

    Early interventions that stress self-worth and personal image may help adolescent girls with diabetes develop positive feelings about themselves.

    Researchers in Toronto identified predictors of the onset of disturbed eating behavior in 126 girls with type 1 diabetes aged 9 to 13 years. Each girl completed the Children’s Eating Disorder Examination Survey interview and four follow-up assessments during five years. The researchers defined disturbed eating behavior as “dieting for weight control, binge eating, self-induced vomiting or the use of diuretics, laxatives, insulin omission or intense exercise for weight control,” according to the abstract.

    Read in full here.

    Three Web Pages Promoting Anorexia Closed Down In Spain

    The three pages were hosted on servers in the Basque Country.
    The Prosecutor in Guip├║zcoa has ordered the closure of three web pages which were promoting anorexia.

    The pages concerned told children how to hide what they were doing from their parents and all were reported to have ‘a high number of visits’, with 60% of those reading the pages at the early stages of the disease.

    The pages gave details on how to lose weight and...

    Read in full here.

    Eating Disorder Clinic Opens in Northampton
    NORTHAMPTON - Walden Behavioral Care, the first clinic focused on the treatment of eating disorders in the five-college area, held an open house for its new facility yesterday.

    The clinic, located at 109 Main St. Northampton, is a new branch of the Walden Behavioral Care of Waltham, Mass.

    The company's decision to open the clinic in Northampton was largely based upon the realization that there was a lack of treatment options in the area, said Jennifer Smith, Director of Outpatient Programs at the Northampton location.

    "We were getting a lot of patients from western Massachusetts, but when it came time to follow up on them, there were no programs out there for them," Smith said.

    Northampton's proximity to many colleges, including the University of Massachusetts, also contributed to the decision. According to the company's Web site, college students, especially women, are at a great risk for developing eating disorders, such as Anorexia, Bulimia, Binge-eating Disorder and EDNOS (Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified).

    Read in full here.

    Former Actress Gives Lecture On Media's Effects On Women

    Camille Copper spoke to a predominantly female crowd Monday night in a presentation titled "Discovering the truth about 'beauty' in popular culture," which was created to educate her audience about the problems with the media's portrayal of women in our society.

    "From the time we're small kids in this culture the media tells us our roles," Cooper said.

    For instance, doctor costumes used for dressing up are marketed exclusively to boys, while princess costumes are geared toward girls, she said.

    Cooper put the spotlight on magazines such as "Cosmopolitan" and "Seventeen," which claim to help women be better versions of themselves. But Cooper said she is skeptical of these magazines and their real effects on women today.

    Read in full here.

    Parents Should Pick Their Battles With Picky Eaters
    It’s a parent’s job to establish a regular mealtime routine, provide nutritious food and model good eating habits. The child gets to decide how much or even if he or she will eat, said Jodi Drake, a mother of two young daughters and a family and consumer science agent for K-State Research and Extension in Pratt County.

    “Routine is important for kids; keeping regular mealtimes helps keep them in sync,” Drake said. “Whether they eat or not is not always important. Kids will eat when they’re hungry.”

    Read in full here.

    Autobiography Shatters Marcia Brady Image

    With the release of her autobiography, Maureen McCormick doesn't just shake up her picture-perfect image as Marcia Brady. She detonates it.

    "Marcia Brady was pretty much a perfect person," the actress said from her home in Westlake Village, Calif. "I'm so far from being that person. My life was so opposite. It's interesting that people have related to me as being like that character, but nothing could be further from the truth."

    Read in full here.


    Anorexia and Osteoporosis

    Osteoporosis is a disease that causes bones to become fragile, increasing the risk of breaking. It can progress painlessly if not prevented or if left untreated.

    "Any bone can be affected, but of special concern are fractures of the hip and spine. A hip fracture almost always requires hospitalization and major surgery. It can impair a person's ability to walk unassisted and may cause prolonged or permanent disability or even death. Spinal or vertebral fractures also have serious consequences, including loss of height, severe back pain, and deformity."
    Women are four times more likely to develop osteoporosis than men.

    Risk Factors
    • Certain people are more likely to develop osteoporosis than others. Factors that increase the likelihood of developing osteoporosis and broken bones are called "risk factors." Many of these risk factors include:
      • Being female
      • Older age
      • Family history of osteoporosis or broken bones
      • Being small and thin
      • Certain race/ethnicities such as Caucasian, Asian, or Hispanic/Latino although African Americans are also at risk
      • History of broken bones
      • Low sex hormones
        • Low estrogen levels in women, including menopause
        • Missing periods (amenorrhea)
        • Low levels of testosterone and estrogen in men
      • Diet
        • Low calcium intake
        • Low vitamin D intake
        • Excessive intake of protein, sodium and caffeine
      • Inactive lifestyle
      • Smoking
      • Alcohol abuse
      • Certain medications such as steroid medications, some anticonvulsants and others
      • Certain diseases and conditions such as anorexia nervosa, rheumatoid arthritis, gastrointestinal diseases and others.

    The Anorexia Nervosa-Osteoporosis Link

    From the National Institutes of Health's Osteoporosis and Related Bone Diseases - National Resource Center

    Anorexia nervosa has significant physical consequences. Affected individuals can experience nutritional and hormonal problems that negatively impact bone density. Low body weight in females causes the body to stop producing estrogen, resulting in a condition known as amenorrhea, or absent menstrual periods. Low estrogen levels contribute to significant losses in bone density.

    In addition, individuals with anorexia often produce excessive amounts of the adrenal hormone cortisol, which is known to trigger bone loss. Other problems — such as a decrease in the production of growth hormone and other growth factors, low body weight (apart from the estrogen loss it causes), calcium deficiency, and malnutrition — contribute to bone loss in girls and women with anorexia. Weight loss, restricted dietary intake, and testosterone deficiency may be responsible for the low bone density found in males with the disorder.

    Studies suggest that low bone mass (osteopenia) is common in people with anorexia and that it occurs early in the course of the disease. Girls with anorexia are less likely to reach their peak bone density and therefore may be at increased risk for osteoporosis and fracture throughout life.

    Helpful links:
    What People With Anorexia Nervosa Need To Know About Osteoporosis
    National Osteoporosis Foundation (
    Bone Density Test

    Sources: linked in post.

    Recovery Quote Of The Week: October 17th

    "Don't shirk away from challenges ... keep reaching for that star, that sky."
    Rick Moore

    Please see:
    *sidebar "Inspirational Quotes" and "Recovery Quotes of the Week" for links to more recovery quotes.


    Fat Talk Free Week: October 13th-17th

    10 million women are dealing with eating disorders in this country, which is more than are suffering from breast cancer. It’s time we take control over our own destinies, our own bodies, and our own inner dialogues. We’re changing the conversation to create a more positive body image for ourselves, our mothers, our sisters, our daughters, and our friends.
    It’s time to free ourselves from fat talk, and focus on the healthy ideal–which looks different for every woman–and focuses on health, NOT weight or size."

    It starts with you. It starts today!

    Sign the Fat Talk Free Promise.

    “The Top 5 Things You Can Do Now to Promote Positive Body Image”


    Shame And Eating Disorders: Readers Share Their Experience

    Based on the recent poll, My Eating Disorder: One Word At A Time, "Shame" was the word most selected out of all the choices. Here, in an effort to help others better understand and/or relate, readers share their experience with shame in relation to their eating disorder:
    I am too much
    and not enough.

    I feel conspicuous
    as if everyone
    can see
    that there's
    something inherently
    wrong with me.

    I am too much -
    too much anger
    flowing to the
    too loud
    and too raw
    in my expression.
    You lock me
    in my room
    and all I see
    is a closed door
    reflecting my anger
    back toward me.

    I am not enough.
    I am not neat enough
    I cannot compose
    myself or
    colour strictly
    between the lines.

    I am not loud enough
    I cannot put myself
    out there
    I feel shame burning
    my insides
    as you all see
    my pitiful core...
    the wrong
    parts of me.

    I am too much
    I don't deserve
    to take up so much space...
    I am selfish
    or so you say,
    so I learn to deny
    my needs.
    I learn to starve
    my feelings away.

    I am too much
    but I am shrinking...
    I am not enough
    so endlessly
    I pursue an ideal
    hoping it will
    transform...or destroy me.

    ~My Claim to Shame~

    Shame. It's a word that trembles with negative feeling. It's a word that has a lot of power. It's a word that I used to associate with my eating disorder. I felt shame when I restricted, when I counted calories, when I fit into tiny clothes, when I threw away food that I couldn't bring myself to eat, when I worried my friends and family. But most of all, I felt shame when I cried. When I cried, I felt so weak and so helpless and so out of control that I was absolutely disgusted with myself. I couldn't fathom someone being as stupid as I was. I couldn't understand how a girl with a brain could hurt her entire family and all her dear friends by continuing on a path of self destruction. It wasn't rational. It was shameful. At least in the eyes of a girl struggling with anorexia. My shame when I cried overpowered me. I took to crying in private, waiting until doors were locked and my dorm room/apartment/bathroom where empty and I was the sole occupant. I cried in the shower. I cried in bed at night, in the dark, silently, when my room mate was but feet away in her own bed. But sometimes--when my life and my emotions and my pain became too much--I cried in front of someone. And that was when the shame flooded my face with heat and made me wish I were dead. If I cried in front of a friend, I would instantly apologize over and over again. I would shake my head and cover my face as though to say, "Don't look at me!" If I cried in front of my parents, it was worse still. I had to walk--no, run--away; the shame was just too great. Once, I cried in front of my eating disorder therapy group. All eyes were on me. I was explaining something or telling some weekly tale, and out came the tears in a torrential cascade. I was mortified. And the therapists and participants alike were stunned--because they'd never seen me cry before. I couldn't SPEAK for the rest of the group session; I was so overcome with shame. Shame had in me in a fierce and unyielding grasp. I'll never forget the time I cried in front of my former therapist. I had been going to her for about 2 years. One particular day, she was prodding me about something that was a tender point. I was getting angry. I was getting upset. I was getting... overwrought. I was becoming a mess. I let go. I cried. I bawled. I couldn't stop and I couldn't speak for a moment or two. I played my old game of covering my tear-sodden face with my hands and apologizing. When I looked at my therapist again, she was smiling. No, grinning. I was dumbstruck. But I'll never forget what she said to me: "I can finally see YOU. The real you." I questioned her with my disbelieving eyes and she said, "Finally you are giving me something. You're not closing off or holding it in. You're crying. Sometimes you need to cry." It had a real effect on me. I've since transformed her words to mean: "Sometimes you need to cry in order to get better." I've learned that being ashamed of something real serves no purpose and will only keep you from gaining ground. I've also learned that by crying, you can get out some of the bad that's inside and make room for the good. I apply this whole concept and attitude to my eating disorder in general. So much shame enveloped me that I couldn't get past what was going on inside me. I had to come to terms with the shameful behaviors and feelings in order to move forward. Shame is a dirty word. An anagram for shame is: has me. And have me it did. I think of that when I feel shame about something. I don't want to be had by anything. I want to turn it around. If eating disorder = shame, then it stands to reason that if you get rid of the shame, you are that much closer to getting rid of the eating disorder. It certainly was an important step for me.
    ~Arielle, 24

    ~A Leap Of Faith~

    Another early morning, and the battle between my mind and my body begins. Again. I have every intention of giving up some of the behaviors that just fuel my downward spiral. I am too ashamed to even say what those behaviors are, and I'm definitely not proud of the things that I have done in order to hide from myself.
    I spent almost my entire life with the secret shame of being raped. When I let go of that secret, I almost felt as if I were mourning the loss of something that I held very dear. I felt so exposed that I began to find other secrets that I could keep. A way to keep something for just myself, and a way to distance myself from the very people that I trusted enough to tell. Who will be there to catch me when I fall? I want to believe and trust that I won't be abandoned, but I haven't been able to take that leap of faith. The secrets must end if I am to survive, and I do believe that I can let go of them.
    I am going to be honest in saying that right now I am actively restricting my food intake, and I just don't feel safe in letting go of that. I did promise my nutritionist that if I couldn't get back on track in a few days, then I would reach out for more help and support. I'm not even sure what that would be at this point, so I will have to figure that out. I just want to try to find my way back on my own first.
    ~Angie, 42

    When I was six years old my best friend caught the stomach flu. For a week, the virus made her existence miserable and kept me from being able to see her. At the end of that week, she had lost almost ten pounds and was suddenly much smaller than me. I had put on some weight recently and could no longer wear some of the clothes that I had before. My mother and I bagged those clothes up to give away. She didn't specify to who until I had already helped her carry them downstairs. Then she told me that we were giving them to my best friend, that same friend who had just had the flu for a week. She said, "when she got sick, she lost weight. Granted that's not the best way to do it, but you could do to lose some." I was six years old and it was the first time that anyone had ever made me feel that I was fat and disgusting. It had to be my own mother and I had to watch those clothes on my skinny, beautiful best friend for almost another year before she moved away.
    ~Female, 17

    *I'd like to thank these women for their amazing contributions and for sharing their experiences so openly and so eloquently. I feel honored to be able to share them here. Thank You.

    *See sidebar menu for more ED poetry and writings

    *Click here to have your Eating Disorders/Body Image poetry/writings featured on Weighing The Facts

    Recovery Quote Of The Week: October 9th

    "Jump and you will find out how to unfold your wings as you fall."
    Ray Bradbury

    Please see:
    *sidebar "Inspirational Quotes" and "Recovery Quotes of the Week" for links to more recovery quotes.


    Mental Health Parity Signed Into Law

    President Bush has signed the Mental Health Parity into law, a victory for millions of Americans who, due to insurance discrimination, have been unable to obtain the mental health care they have needed.

    It is estimated that 67 percent of adults and 80 percent of children requiring mental health/addiction services have been affected by limitations in health insurance coverage. Insurance companies have for years set higher copays and deductibles with stricter limitations for mental health and addiction treatment resulting in many going untreated or not receiving the treatment they need.

    "The mental parity law, one of many amendments included in the legislation to broaden legislative support for the bailout package, requires health insurance companies to charge the same deductibles, co payments, and out-of-pocket expenses for mental health treatments as for all other illnesses."

    "Federal officials said the law would improve coverage for 113 million people, including 82 million in employer-sponsored plans that are not subject to state regulation. The effective date, for most health plans, will be Jan. 1, 2010."
    Businesses of 50 employees or fewer are exempt.

    For more information:
    Mental Health America
    The New York Times
    Patricia E. Bauer


    Recovering From An Eating Disorder: In Their Own Words

    "Recovery One Day At A Time." Another wonderful video by Holdingon.
    See more of her videos here.

    Recovery Quote Of The Week: October 2nd

    "Happiness is like a butterfly. The more you chase it, the more it eludes you. But if you turn your attention to other things, it comes and sits softly on your shoulder."

    Please see:
    *sidebar "Inspirational Quotes" and "Recovery Quotes of the Week" for links to more recovery quotes.

    butterfly picture