Eating Disorders In the News: Aug 2008

Size Zero: Here We Go Again
Super-skinny models dominate the autumn fashion shows, and now MTV is actively promoting competitive dieting. Jonathan Owen and John Sunyer report Sunday, 31 August 200

"As the New York fashion industry prepares to launch new collections starting on Friday, followed by London on 14 September, attention is again drawn to models and their weight.

After the furore at London Fashion Week last spring, with calls for a ban on size-zero models, not only has nothing been done, but the unrealistic super-skinny image is now being positively promoted again internationally.

MTV is under fire for promoting competitive dieting and fuelling the damaging size-zero catwalk culture, following the announcement that it is to launch a controversial new TV show in which girls must lose between 30 and 80lb in the hope of becoming a model. The channel is advertising the show Model Maker with a request for "girls willing to shed the pounds" in a three-month boot camp in a quest to become a "self-confident, high-profile fashion model".

Recruitment adverts – featuring the statement "Women come in all shapes and sizes, but models don't. Skinny, no body fat and size zero are the words and phrases associated with models. Chubby, well-fed, and big-boned are not ..." – have been condemned by eating-disorder charities as promoting extreme dieting."

Read in full here.


Eating Disorders Aren't Cool

Windsor Star. Published: Saturday, August 30, 2008

"A Quebec retailer of women's clothes is justifiably being praised for pulling from shelves a run of 450,000 catalogues featuring images of borderline anorexic models. Peter Simons of La Maison Simons acted quickly to recall the catalogues because he felt the images were "unsuitable" and "destructive to a more vulnerable portion of the population which is exposed to anorexia.'

Read in full here.

Binge Eaters Not Getting Help
By Siobhan Courtney BBC News Fenella Lemonsky is a compulsive over eater.

"The 40-year-old from London said she has had issues with food from childhood.

"When things used to go wrong, the food was there," she said.

"I would turn to it and it would make me feel better. I have been trapped in a destructive cycle of binge and over-eating all my life."

Whilst stroking her dog Simbur, Fenella talks openly about her ritual of binge eating.

"It would be secretive, I would eat in private, all binge eaters do.

"It doesn't matter where you are, as long as there is space to put the food in front of you and then just get the food down, that's the most important thing."

Read in full here.


The Dark Side of a Midnight Feast

"Nocturnal eaters who wake up to devour calories are suffering from a recognised illness, says Tamsin Kelly. Nigella Lawson may have made the midnight munchies look glamorous as she crept downstairs to whip up feasts in her clinging black satin dressing-gown.

But for sufferers of night eating syndrome, excessive and uncontrollable feasting during the night can cause misery. In typical cases, people who suffer from night eating syndrome are prone to stress and disrupted sleep.

Each time they wake, they head for the kitchen to eat food high in carbohydrates, such as chocolate, cake, bread and biscuits. Night eaters may consume half their daily calorie intake after their evening meal and this frequently leads to weight gain. Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania found typical nocturnal eaters consumed 500 calories more than those whose sleep was undisturbed."

Read in full here.


Skill Based Therapy May Curb Eating Disorders

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - "Women who suffer from bulimia or binge-eating disorder and who have borderline personality may be helped with "dialectical behavior therapy," results of a pilot study suggest.

Dialectical behavior therapy, or DBT, is a form of cognitive-behavior therapy originally developed for women with borderline personality disorder -- a disorder characterized by recurrent suicidal behavior and multiple problem behaviors.

Standard DBT is a comprehensive, multi-component "life skills-based" treatment targeting behaviors that threaten a person's life and interfere with therapy and overall quality of life. DBT helps people be mindful of their emotions and regulate their emotions and tolerate life's ups and downs."

Read in full here.



"Understanding is the first step to acceptance and only with acceptance can there be recovery."
Joanne Kathleen Rowling

Please see sidebar "Inspirational Quotes" for links to more recovery quotes.

BDD: Body Dysmorphic Disorder

Characterized by an excessive preoccupation with defects in physical appearance, real or imagined, people with Body Dysmorphic Disorder have an exaggerated view of how they look. They are obsessed with perceived flaws and often see themselves as ugly, and even disfigured. Even when reassured by others that their perceived flaws are not noticeable and that they look fine, those with BDD generally find it very difficult to control negative thoughts about their appearance.

People with this disorder commonly focus their obsessions on the face or head. They may be preoccupied with thinning hair, wrinkles, the color/shade of their skin, size and shape of their ears, nose, eyes, and jaw but may also include other body parts such as arms, legs, stomach, hips, genitals, and overall body size. Suffers may endure repeated plastic surgery procedures in an attempt to rectify these imagined defects. It is not uncommon for those with BDD to shun the company of others, whether at work or socially.

BDD usually beings in adolescence and affects both males and females. It often goes undiagnosed or is misdiagnosed due to the symptoms being similar to other disorders such as panic disorder, social phobia, agoraphobia, OCD, and depression. Testing is done by a psychiatrist or psychologist and will include administering the BDDQ (Body Dysmorphic Disorder Questionnaire).


  • Frequently comparing appearance with that of others
  • Repeatedly checking the appearance of the specific body part in mirrors or other reflective surfaces
  • Refusing to have pictures taken
  • Wearing excessive clothing, makeup and hats to camouflage the perceived flaw
  • Using hands or posture to hide the imagined defect
  • Frequently touching the perceived flaw
  • Picking at one's skin
  • Frequently measuring the imagined or exaggerated defect
  • Elaborate grooming rituals
  • Excessive researching about the perceived defective body part
  • Seeking surgery or other medical treatment despite contrary opinions or medical recommendations
  • Seeking reassurance about the perceived defect or trying to convince others that it's abnormal or excessive
  • Avoiding social situations in which the perceived flaw might be noticed
  • Feeling anxious and self-conscious around others (social phobia) because of the imagined defect. (mayo clinic)

The Cause of Body Dysmorphic Disorder is unclear. There are a number of factors that may be involved and may occur in combination, according to researchers. These include:
  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
  • Eating Disorders
  • Anxiety Disorder
  • Chemical Imbalances of the Brain

"Treatment for body dysmorphic disorder may involve a combined approach involving medication and talk therapy (psychotherapy). Antidepressant medications used along with cognitive behavior therapy can help people with body dysmorphic disorder manage the obsession and anxiety about their appearance, increase confidence in how they look, and obtain normalcy in their social and work lives."

See also: Body Dysmorphic Disorder(BDD):Self-Assessment Tests


Shame and Eating Disorders: Would You Like To Share Your Experience?

Based on the recent poll, My Eating Disorder: One Word At A Time, one of the highest ranking choices was the word "Shame."

In hopes of helping others to understand and/or relate, Weighing The Facts is looking for your experience with shame and it's connection to your eating disorder. Submissions that are received will be included in an upcoming post. All submissions will be anonymous, listing only your gender and your age. You may include your first (or a fictitious) name if you so choose.

It can be whatever you need for it to be; one word, one or several paragraphs, or a poem. It is totally up to you.

If you are interested in sharing your experience and having it posted here, please email me at

Thank you.

Poll results can be found here.

Writings on the shame and eating disorders can be found here.

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New Feature: Recovery Quote of The Week

"It's not what you go through that defines you; you can't help that. It's what you do after you've gone through it that really tests who you are."
Kwame Floyd

Please see sidebar "Inspirational Quotes" for links to more recovery quotes.

Poll: My Eating Disorder, One Word At A Time

What words help define your experience with your Eating Disorder? In the sidebar you will find an anonymous poll, My Eating Disorder, One Word At A time, where you can share your words with others who also suffer with an ED, and help those that don't to better understand.

If the list is missing words that are important to you and your experience please feel free to share them in the comment section.

If you are in recovery or seeking recovery, please check back. Upon the completion of this poll will be a similar poll about your recovery.

Participation is always greatly appreciated. Thank You.

Completed Poll Results:

My Eating Disorder, One Word At A Time (choose as many words as you feel fit your views, feelings, and experience, with your ED, excluding recovery).

Votes: 65

43 (66%)
47 (72%)
39 (60%)
42 (64%)
52 (80%)
42 (64%)
44 (67%)
25 (38%)
33 (50%)
47 (72%)
19 (29%)
40 (61%)
24 (36%)
15 (23%)
10 (15%)
22 (33%)
31 (47%)
38 (58%)
21 (32%)
42 (64%)
15 (23%)
15 (23%)
9 (13%)
23 (35%)
22 (33%)
29 (44%)
29 (44%)
50 (76%)
41 (63%)

Would you like to share your experience with how shame relates to your eating disorder to be included in an upcoming post here at Weighing The Facts?

click here for more poll results.

Petition for Change in Diagnostic Criteria For Eating Disorders

An online petition requesting a change in the current diagnostic criteria for eating disorders is looking for signatures.

Many with eating disorders find themselves not meeting the criteria as defined by the "American Psychological Association in their Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV)." Due to this treatment is often delayed until the patient progresses in her/his disorder. In addition due to the current criteria many are finding themselves diagnosed with EDNOS (Eating Disorders Not Otherwise Specified) which is often viewed as a less severe diagnosis, limiting treatment options.

The criteria stated in the petition is as follows:
• Refusal to maintain body weight at or above a minimally normal weight for age and height (e.g. weight loss leading to maintenance of body weight less than 85% of that expected; or failure to make expected weight gain during period of growth, leading to body weight less than 85% of that expected).
• Intense fear of gaining weight or becoming fat, even though underweight.
• Disturbance in the way in which one’s body weight or shape is experienced, undue influence of body weight or shape on self-evaluation, or denial of the seriousness of the current low body weight.
• In postmenarcheal females, amenorrhea, i.e., the absence of at least three consecutive menstrual cycles. (A woman is considered to have amenorrhea if her periods occur only following hormone, e.g. estrogen, administration).

The diagnosis of anorexia is additionally identified as either Restricting Type or Binge-Eating/Purging Type.
The petition seeks to have the weight and amenorrhea requirements deleted, and more focus put on the mental state of patients so that treatment can be sought earlier, increasing the patient's chance of recovery.

You can read the petition in full and/or sign the petition here.

*Special thanks to XAL_84 of LCF for posting the link in the forums.

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Self-Harm: Hotlines and Resources

  • SAFE (Self Abuse Finally Ends): 800-DONT CUT (366-8288)
  • Bristol Crisis Center For Women (UK): +44 (0) 117 925 1119
  • ZEST (N. Ireland): 0287 126 6999
  • Childline: O800-1111
  • Get Connected: 0808 808 4994
  • Mind Info Line: 0845 766 0163
  • Samaritans: 08457 90 90 90
  • Saneline: 0845 767 8000
  • Supportline: (020) 8554 9004
  • Befrienders Org (US Hotline listings by state)

Resources: Organizations / Websites

*If you know of any hotlines, websites, or resources for self-injury that should be added to this list please let me know in the comments section of this post. Thank you. *

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Sexual Abuse: Hotlines, Organizations, Websites

  • National Sexual Assault Hotline: 800-656-HOPE (4673)
  • Sexual Assault Hotline: 800-656-4673
  • Darkness To Light: 866-FOR-LIGHT (1-866-367-5444)
  • Stop it Now!: 888-PREVENT (773-8368)
  • National Victim Center: 800-FYI-Call (394-2255)
  • Untied Way Crisis Helpline: 800-233-HELP (4357)
  • Society's League Against Molestation (SLAM): 800-491-WATCH
  • People Against Rape: 800-877-7252
  • National Child Abuse Hotline: 800-4-A-CHILD (422-4453)
  • National Domestic Violence Hotline: 800-799-SAFE (7233)
  • Girls and Boys Town: 800-448-3000
  • Adolescent Crisis Intervention and Counseling Nineline: 800-999-9999
  • Teen Helpline: 800-400-0900
  • Working Against Violence Everywhere (WAVE): 888-960-9600
  • United States Elder Abuse Hotline: 866-363-4276
  • Center Against Sexual Assault (Australia): 1800 806 292
  • Colchester Rape Crisis Line UK : 01206 769795
  • Survivors UK: 0845 122 1201
  • Dublin Rape Crisis Center Ireland: 1 800 778 888
  • London Rape Crisis Hotline: 020-7837 1600
  • Nottelefon Zurick (Help Phone) - Switzerland: 01 291 46 46


Additional Links:

National Sex Offender Search
State Sex Offender Registry

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Pregnancy and Eating Disorders: Important Information

If you suffer from an eating disorder and have discovered that you are pregnant (or if you are planning on becoming pregnant), it is extremely important for your health and the health of your baby that you speak with your doctor and receive proper medical care.

Informative Links:

Eating Disorders and Pregnancy: ANRED

Eating Disorders During Pregnancy: American Pregnancy Association

Pregnancy and Eating Disorders: Something Fishy

Eating Disorders and Pregnancy. Some Facts About the Risk: NEDA

Eating Disorders in Pregnancy: Epigee Org

Pregnancy and Eating Disorders:

Eating Disorders and Pregnancy: Eating Disorders Online

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