Saturday, June 30, 2007

One more reason why I'm a fan of family-based treatment

There are very few follow-up studies (or heck, any studies at all) of anorexia treatment, so I was glad to see this one, done in Norway a couple of years ago. I wasn't so glad of its outcomes.

The study was a one-year followup of adult anorexics who'd been treated on an inpatient unit. Of the 24 patients they followed up with, 10 (42%) had improved one year later, while 14 (58%) had "poor outcomes."

I'm grateful that they did the study, frankly, because most of the numbers on inpatient anorexia treatment come straight from the clinics and units, which often stand to make a tidy sum on treatment. Their followups are usually done at discharge, so they don't take into account what almost always happens after that: relapse and rehospitalization.

So bravo to the researchers in Vikersund. And chalk up another reason why family-based (Maudsley) treatment is an excellent option for anorexia.

Friday, June 29, 2007

"Who *doesn't* want to lose 20 pounds?"

That's what ex-supermodel Rachel Hunter said in New York magazine about her new gig as spokeswoman for Slim-Fast. She was admitting that she'd never tried it.

This kind of fat trash talk is my least favorite. It's the equivalent of the air kiss, the baring of the throat by the subordinate animal. It's a social custom denoting (supposedly) good taste and submissive femininity. The words themselves aren't the point; it's the intention behind them. And the intension is to erase the self, to make yourself as small and thin and weak as possible.

20 pounds = the weight of 7 brains
20 pounds = the weight of my older daughter at age 11 months
20 pounds = the number of pounds I lost on my first diet, age 15
20 pounds = the number of pounds I lost on my last diet, age 29
20 pounds = the amount of weight lost by my mother in law in the month before she died of cancer

But who doesn't want to lose 20 pounds?

**Thanks to Maggie! for sending this item my way

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Another book the world doesn't need--gulp!

Thanks to Kate Harding for posting about the latest entry in the fat hatred sweepstakes--a joint project from two of my former favorite children's book authors. The book is The Gulps, and it features a lazy, gluttonous family who are constantly eating junk food and watching TV. Just like all the fat people I know in real life!

The Gulps was written by Rosemary Wells and illustrated by Marc Brown (of Arthur fame). May it die a speedy, painful death and be remaindered as quickly as possible.

This is what dieting can lead to

This excerpt from a brave, honest livejournal entry, addressed to the "pro-ana" contingent, made me cry. Of course not everyone who diets will become anorexic. But everyone who becomes anorexic goes through this. It's heartbreaking. It's lifebreaking.

"I have anorexia.

Not 'pro-anorexia,'
Not a strict weight loss obsession.

The last 6 months of my life have been hell.

I have watched everything I love slowly deteriorate around me, my own little world be turned completely on its head. I have damaged myself beyond repair and hurt those i love time and time and time again.
And I cannot control it.
Because it is a disease.
It is a condition.

And right now, it's very very bad for me.

I cannot express my frustration with those people who exploit the anorexic condition by using it to starve themselves as a weightloss strategy.
I want to eat.
I want my life back.
Anorexia stops me.
I'm fighting it, but it's hard. the hardest thing I've ever done.
How dare you all, sit there and wish for this.
Get out now while you can.
Please. I wish I could."

Sunday, June 24, 2007

More research on anorexia . . . I think

I'm a big supporter of more research about anorexia. If you've read my blog or articles you know I think one of the reasons we don't have better treatments is lack of good research. So I'm always excited to see a new study come out.

I have to admit, though, that the title of this one--"What is worse for your sex life: Starving, being depressed, or a new baby?"--reminded me of the kinds of questions you ask your friends when you're in middle school, like "Which would you rather do, burn to death or freeze to death?"

Still, I guess it's a good thing to have the redoubtable Cynthia Bulik involved in a new study, whatever the topic. After all, she's at the forefront of the research on the genetics and biology of anorexia.

Oh, and if you're wondering, the answer to the question the study poses is that it's better to have a new baby.