From an Eating Disorder’s Half-life to Your Full Life

What happens to people with anorexia or bulimia who don’t get treatment–or who don’t get enough of the right treatment? This is an important question because, according to the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders, only ten percent of people with eating disorders are ever treated. It’s also a tough question, because data […]

The Wisdom of Recovery From Eating Disorders

Full recovery turns ED into a slice of history and, perhaps, a window into your past, but it’s no longer a malevolent force with the immediate power to destroy you.

If You’re Facing an Eating Disorder, Don’t Face it Alone

This week is National Eating Disorders Awareness Week. Take the opportunity to learn the truth about eating disorders, or to play an important role in fighting them. Here is one major truth about these pervasive illnesses: Eating disorders lie. They deceive us into believing that whatever and however much we eat is wrong. They insist that […]

The Weight of Words

Some years ago I nearly lost one of my writing students over the word “glutton.” Jay had submitted a short story with a female character described as large and middle aged, generally dressed in overalls, who binged on candy bars when stressed the way others might chain-smoke. Jay himself was large and middle-aged, generally wore […]

The 24-Hour Treatment for Anorexia

For years now, eating disorders patients and their families been watching and waiting for clinical trials to verify what treatment experts have been observing in practice: that the family-based Maudsley method really is the most effective treatment for many young anorexia patients. Last week The New York Times reported a new study by Maudsley pioneer […]

All Walks Beyond the Catwalk

At the National Eating Disorders Association conference last Saturday in New York, I had the delight of attending Susan Ringwood’s presentation [PDF] on “All Walks Beyond the Catwalk.” Susan is the chief executive of beat, the leading UK charity for people with eating disorders. As I know from serving with her on the Academy for […]

Thinness is No Panacea

Whether the overvalued ideal is a “perfect” size, diet, faith, or political belief, the undercurrent that drives us toward that ideal is our own inchoate and multifaceted distress. Feeling overwhelmed and helpless makes us more inclined to elevate simplistic ideals in ways that can end up doing us harm.

Climb Every Mountain–A Metaphor for Eating Disorders?

I’m just back from the annual Academy for Eating Disorders conference, this year in beautiful Salzburg in the Austrian Alps. Perhaps that location helps to explain why keynote speaker Kelly Vitousek raised a provocative comparison between eating disorders and extreme mountain climbing. The spark for Vitousek’s talk was a search of eating disorder (ED) websites […]

Are Eating Disorders an “Important” Cause?

The other day I was talking on the phone to a friend in Los Angeles, an Episcopal priest who founded and runs a school and daycare center near Skid Row for the children of garment workers. Alice is one of the most inspiring, generous and down-to-earth people I’ve ever met, and her ability to embrace […]

The Pretty Paradox

She was trapped in the pretty paradox: how could she address her problems if she wasn’t allowed to have any problems?