Zelophehad’s Daughters

Mormonism and Eating Disorders, Part I: Life with an ED

Posted by Lynnette

In commenting, please respect the sensitive nature of this issue. And as is standard for eating disorder recovery discussion, do not use numbers in your comments (weight, calories, etc.)—any such numbers will be edited.

Note: I originally posted this under the name “Tirzah.”

I’m never been afraid of airplanes. Spiders aren’t my favorite, but I can grit my teeth and squash them. I can deal with heights. I’m a little jumpy around dogs I don’t know, but am fine once we get acquainted. I once randomly looked up a list of phobias, and realized how many things I am not afraid of: cats, fog, writing.

But mirrors. Mirrors are a problem. Not so much in the sense of a phobia. More like a substance that might be deadly, but that you still find yourself poking, to see if it is still dangerous. A bad experience with a mirror can leave me reeling, sap my energy, plunge me into a sick despair. And even when I do my best to avoid obsessing over my reflection, in a world in which cell phone cameras are everywhere, I can still find myself unexpectedly confronted with a picture that reminds me that I take up far too much space. Sometimes I wonder what it would be like to live in a premodern society in which mirrors were less ubiquitous and photographs did not exist.

This all sounds very narcissistic, I am realizing. But my obsession is not born out of self-love, but out of terror. That might sound like hyperbole. All I can say is that I have been working on recovery for over two years now, and almost all my relapses along the way have been tied to seeing myself, and feeling horrified.

I’m also obsessed with food, of course. I suppose that goes without saying once you see the title of this post. If I am confronted with damnation in the form of unbearable weight, the careful control of food is my hope of salvation. It’s a demanding religion, one that will require all your time, your energy, possibly your life. But it whispers seductively to you of something better, some hope of deliverance from the burden of being yourself, and so you cling to it even if it is killing you.

The DSM-IV, the psychology bible, lists eating disorders as if they were discrete things: anorexia, bulimia. I learned about them in health class in junior high (and, like far too many young teenage girls, saw anorexia not as a disease but as a desirable state). But my experience from being in treatment, and knowing many other women in treatment, is that the categories are more blurred than such tidy labels suggest, and that people with eating disorders can be all over the map. The most common diagnosis, in fact, is the vague “eating disorder not otherwise specified,” for people who do not quite fit the criteria for one of the specific conditions—a fact which raises serious questions, I think, about the categorizations in the first place.

In any case, my own history involves years and years of veering between various dysfunctional relationships with food and my body. I’ve binged without purging. I’ve binged and purged. I’ve just purged. I’ve restricted. I’ve manically exercised. Anything to quiet the demons that tell me that eating and/or weight gain is the ultimate sign of weakness, of lack of control.

I want to talk about what this is like without romanticizing it. It’s not an easy thing to do—not only because of a culture that simultaneously expresses both concern and admiration for women who starve themselves—but because part of me still believes in the mythology. I want to be thin and therefore virtuous; I also want to be a tragic victim in need of rescue. In theory, not eating can get you both. It can magically make up for everything that is wrong with your life.

But before I head back down that path, I have to remind myself what is is actually like to live in this kind of prison. It is no kind of life. If you are restricting, you think about food all the time, from waking to sleeping. How much dare you eat? When will you do it? How will you keep yourself safe? You are irritable. You are depressed, possibly suicidal. You rage at people. You cannot sit still. You cry. You are obsessed with numbers. You are driven mad by fear. You engage in continuing self-recrimination for not having gotten it right. You tell yourself tomorrow you will do better. If you have shifted back to bingeing, your life is constituted by shame, and by hiding. You eat, and eat more, and the self-contempt is so deep that you think you would rather admit to being a drug dealer than admit to this behavior. You purge and feel light-headed and awful, and yet know that you will be back soon to do it again.

The odd thing is that despite all this, you might tell yourself that you are happy. Or at least that this is worth it. You might cling to a sense of self-righteousness, of having broken free from the masses that do not have your control, the lesser people who indulge in eating. You are different. You are special. You have an identity. And if it involves sacrifice, isn’t that a part of all worthwhile projects? Or you might simply cling to the sense of safety, believing that you have found a way to navigate such a complex world, believing you can escape the judgments constantly being made about women’s bodies. Even after all this time, it can be hard for me to really appreciate that when I am engaged in eating disordered behavior, it is a sign that I have lost control. Because it feels so much like having it—don’t we admire an ascetic who can fast for days, see that as a feat of remarkable self-discipline?

But you have no idea what you have lost. Because you start to forget what else there is. Or maybe you never knew in the first place. You might think that it’s not really affecting you that much. In my worst phases, I kept the misery of it far from me; it was like I lived my life on parallel tracks that rarely intersected. There was the me that was going about my life, my studies, my work. And then there was the me that fought a war with food. I knew that I was doing it, of course, and yet in some way I didn’t entirely believe it, because it was so separate from the rest of my life. I questioned whether it was really that serious of a problem, and quickly pushed aside those biting moments of clarity when I knew I could not stop. And the truth was, I was not sure I wanted to. I did not know who I would be.

As I said, I’ve been working on recovery for over two years, with some relapses, but also significant periods of normal eating. Sometimes that feels like a long time, but sometimes I feel I am barely out of a life dominated by an eating disorder. I know I can live without it. That is still remarkable to me. But at times I hate that knowledge, and I want to go back.

Things have been hard in different ways than I imagined. By the time I got into recovery, much of my life had become dominated by bingeing and purging. And I thought if I stopped, I would spend my days longing to binge, thinking about food but always having to be careful. Somehow, even with all my experience and history, I did not realize that that is actually a pretty accurate description of the life of someone who is not eating enough. Being obsessed with food is not a moral failing, but—surprise!—a consequence of being malnourished. I’m not sure why it took me so many years to figure that out. It was only in working with a nutritionist that I realized that I had no idea how to eat in any kind of normal fashion. Perhaps the most amazing thing for me was to realize that when I ate enough, when I was in a fed state, I could manage the urges to binge, that they lost a great deal of their potency. The first eating disorder therapist I saw told me that she saw an eating disorder as a kind of phobia—fear of food. I said that was crazy; my problem was that I wasn’t scared enough of food. She said, if you knew how many times I’d heard that line. It took a long time to realize that she might be on to something. Because I thought my fundamental problem was too much hunger, too much wanting. I did not anticipate that eating regularly could be so incredibly hard. That it would mean ignoring voices that told me this was evidence of failure, of weakness—that I would have to re-think my assumptions not only about food but about what it means to be strong.

And the weight gain involved in recovery has been emotionally brutal, enough that I have periodically gone back to eating disordered behavior out of utter desperation, even knowing that it will backfire. At times it has reduced me to a bleak hopelessness, a defeated sense that I have lost the one thing that mattered most to me for so long, an erosion of a carefully protected identity. A voice in my head still asks me, was it worth it? I find myself feeling lost, disoriented, terrified. I do not know how to be this person, who is no longer thin. I do not know if there is anything good enough about me to compensate for what I have lost.

On the other hand, I have also been surprised to realize how much eating has contributed to my emotional stability. I had read extensively about eating disorders long before I got into treatment. I knew that my behavior was affecting me physically. I considered myself reasonably bright. But somehow I never put the pieces together that it was taking a psychological toll, to an extent that I only realized when I started eating regularly. Somehow it never occurred to me that depression and anxiety could be profoundly influenced by something as mundane as food. (This isn’t to say that I’m in the camp that wants to solve all psychological problems through various nutritional strategies. Like just about every other person I know in eating disorder treatment, I’m on meds, and they’ve made a real difference. But they work a whole lot better when I’m eating.)

I am still figuring out who I am without the eating disorder. It is scary to engage a life no longer centered around food and weight, to look for other sources of identity. To learn to work through painful emotions, rather than jump immediately to self-destruction. To find my own voice, my own sense of things, my own experience. Sometimes it is amazing. Sometimes my life is different, better, than I ever imagined it could be. And yet sometimes I miss being in a prison which may be confining, but which is reassuringly familiar. And so I linger on the premises—venturing out, and then slipping back. But I am slowly coming to believe that there is a world outside.

22 Responses to “Mormonism and Eating Disorders, Part I: Life with an ED”

  1. 1.

    This is very brave, to talk about this openly and honestly, and I applaud you for doing so. Like most well people, I used to think that eating disorders were something that couldn’t happen to me, because my appetite is always good, and because I just would not ever not be in control of myself. Hah!

    It’s an illness. That means it can happen to anyone. In my thirties my weight had crept up, so I went on a healthy diet (I thought), under a doctor’s care, and lost a lot of weight, became quite slender, though muscular. At the time I was running distance (since I’m so slow), and was in the best shape of my life. Then as I reached the low end of my desired weight range, the doctor wanted me to reintroduce carbs into my diet. Up until then I had been eating only meat and non-starchy vegetables for a good while.

    When I tried to do that, tried to eat a measured amount of carbs, I found I couldn’t. I’d sit down to eat my single bowl of rice chex, for example, and then I’d continue to eat until I’d eaten the whole box. I had maintained perfect control of my eating for months. I knew I had willpower, was not a slob nor a slacker. For a while I had looked on all overweight people with sympathy, wondering if they knew they could be thin if they only would learn how. Wishing to help them. I knew I didn’t want to be overweight ever again. Knowing that’s not who I was. So I would stop eating carbs, go back to my meat and non-starchy veggies, regain the feeling of control and lose that awful, horrible, feeling of being out of control, of not knowing how I was going to act.

    And in a few days everything was better. I felt like myself again, but I was losing too much weight. So I needed to eat a little bit of carb again, just a few grams. The same situation would happen again. I tried just eating carbs once a day right before bedtime, but it didn’t help. Every single time I went to eat one serving of carbs I would end up eating the whole package. Then I would go to the store and buy more, and eat all of it too. The next morning I would cry in shame. There were mood effects of the carbs too. Eating them after so long without made me feel literally high, like drinking alcohol. The next morning I would feel terrible, with a dry mouth and headache and deeply depressed.

    After multiple iterations of this cycle, my brain started breaking up. I can’t describe what it felt like except to say the world was crumbling literally. I would lie still and reality would be cracking wide open around me. I was unable to think or move or do anything. I wanted to die. I was terrified. I realized that whether I was thin or fat meant nothing if I didn’t have a brain.

    I found that to keep my brain working, I had to eat some carbs all day long. I took to keeping a loaf of bread with me and eating one slice each hour. I was gaining weight but I couldn’t worry about that. I had to have a brain to be able to live.

    When I ate my one slice of bread per hour, I found I didn’t have the cravings anymore. I was able to maintain a more reasonable way of eating. I did gradually gain weight back, despite my distance running. That made me sad, but my brain stayed normal and my moods improved, and I was able to function and didn’t wish to die all the time. I quit looking at overweight people with pity, and realized a lot of things.

    First, we all have to make trade-offs and compromises, and being thin is not more important than being alive, or than having a brain. Also, that an eating disorder is an illness, and nobody is immune to illnesses due to character strength, we’re just lucky if we don’t have them. Third, that I do have willpower, possibly more so than people who haven’t had the experience of being overweight. I was able to completely change how I ate, and resist multitudinous temptations daily for months.

    Fourth, that there are more people inside a person’s brain than the one we know and think of as ourselves. Our brain has layers of operations laid down by evolution over millions of years. Some of the really important functions like eating and breathing aren’t under the control of the frontal lobe, the evolutionary latecomers who only took so much control recently, say in the last 100 million years. That new part, let’s face it, gets some crazy ideas that are counter survival and sometimes must be overridden by the older more basic areas of the control system. When the new part decides to starve the body, then the older part steps in and overrules it by binging. Then once satiated, the old part eases up and lets the new part take back over.

    I studied electrical engineering about control systems. One of the things they do is get into wild cycles, slamming against the limits on either end, as happens when a sound system feeds back and squeals. It’s quite a common thing that happens in many different situations. It also happens in our eating control systems. Our bodies are machines, though they are fine tuned and marvelous machines, they’re still physical and subject to physical laws. If we drive our bodies into severe states, we can expect them to react in severe ways. It’s nothing to do with us as people, as individuals. It’s everything to do with the laws of physics and physiology.

    By subtracting the shame factor, by understanding the underlying mechanisms, and by subtle and intelligent manipulation of the input factors, we can reach the desired result without harming ourselves. I found that if I change the amount of carbs I eat by no more than a small percent per day, I could regulate myself down to a steady state, low-ish level. If I tried to go too fast I would fail.

    So that’s my eating disorder story. I was lucky that it lasted only a short time and never took over my life. I’m not as thin as I’d like to be now, but I continue to plug away at the problem, and keep working to find a good solution.

    So my message about eating disorders is to subtract the shame factor, entirely. Sure, people will think they’re better than you if they don’t have the same struggles, but they’re mistaken! It’s a natural human thing for young people to think they’re better than old people, beautiful people to think they’re better than ugly ones, rich people ditto poor ones, and healthy people feel the same about sick ones. Until they find out it’s not a virtue; it can happen to everyone; it’s just the luck of the draw. Don’t anyone ever feel ashamed ever again of being sick or old or thin or fat or depressed or whatever. Everyone has their particular struggles. You can rock yours and overcome them! Because you’re awesome that way!

  2. 2.

    Tirzah, this is incredible. I have never been really close to someone with an eating disorder, and it is really chililng to hear the details. My, the tricks our brains can play on us!

    Your honesty here is amazing. Thanks for sharing.

    I’m just so angry and sad that our society’s treatment of women is such that these kinds of problems exist so abundantly. I have a feeling our Heavenly Mother is quite angry about it as well, and will hopefully have quite a bit to say about it when we meet her.

  3. 3.

    Thank you for sharing this. Eating disorders are such a taboo topic and it’s essential to talk about it.

    I had mild anorexia in my early teens and I was fortunate to recover quickly. What scares me now is that due to a medical condition that I developed last year, I’ve gained some weight that I legitimately need to lose. I’ve been putting it off because I’m terrified that if I try to lose weight I’ll end up relapsing into anorexia.

  4. 4.

    Thanks, Tatiana, nat, Keri. I totally agree that it’s important to talk about this stuff honestly. I actually debated for a while about my decision to use a different name to blog about this, because in the past few years I’ve become pretty open about it. I ultimately ended up deciding I didn’t want to share something this personal with the entire internet, but it nonetheless feels good to talk candidly about it.

    Tatiana, I think your story highlight a lot of important points. In the course of recovery, I’ve had to learn a lot about nutrition–real nutritional info, as opposed to the strange tips that eating disordered people like to collect. And as you say, if you starve yourself, at some point your brain will simply rebel. It’s not about willpower–it’s a biological reaction.

    And I really like this comment:

    I did gradually gain weight back, despite my distance running. That made me sad, but my brain stayed normal and my moods improved, and I was able to function and didn’t wish to die all the time.

    That’s the kind of thing I try to hold on to. As hard as the weight gain has been, there’s certainly something to be said for not feeling crazy all the time!

    nat, I want to blog more about this, but eating disorder recovery is something that’s made me feel an acute need for Heavenly Mother.

    Keri, that makes sense that that would be a real concern. The people who treat me are of the strong opinion that however much I think I need to lose weight, it’s really risky to attempt it. I’m not saying I’ve completely accepted that. ;) But it does sound like something that at the very least you’d want to do under the supervision of a doctor who’s familiar with ed’s.

  5. 5.

    Thanks for this, Tirzah. I imagine a lot of people will be helped by reading, even if they don’t have lots of comments.

  6. 6.

    tirzah – thank you so much for sharing this (and tatiana, you too). it’s really fascinating to read your thought processes, and rather frightening to realize that, to a lesser degree, i think this kind of thinking is incredibly common. i recognize myself and i recognize many of my friends, both older and younger women, in everything you’re talking about.

    few of us have ever shown physical symptoms of ED (i experimented with purging in high school but it, and the binging that followed, scared me too much to go on with it, luckily i guess, although again part of me equates it with weakness). but i wonder just how common this sort of ‘disordered’ thinking really is among women. i am guessing it’s much more widespread than we’d like to think. thanks for posting this and raising awareness.

  7. 7.

    I’ve never had an ED, but like nobodyputsbabyinacorner said, I relate to much of what you say. Since I was a preteen I recognized this and would relate to stories about those suffering EDs but then I thought I didn’t have the self-control to ever go through with it. Surprisingly, high school was probably the time I had the best body image, meaning I thought little about food and never restricted myself. Then after my first year of college I decided to eat healthier and start exercising and I lost some weight and then some more weight (without changing much actually) but never went into the unhealthy range. Daily I go back and forth between wanting to be thinner and wanting to be healthier. I don’t need to gain weight to be healthier and I know I’m at an ideal weight right now, but I still want to step on the scale and see progress (meaning lost weight). I won’t go into more detail as not to trigger anyone, but I really appreciate your story because it’s good for someone like me who has a high risk of falling into an ED to know the true reality and torture of it.

  8. 8.

    Thanks for posting this, Tirzah. Your descriptions are vivid and frightening. I’m so glad to hear you’re recovering. What a terrible thing to have gone through–and how terrible that so many women go through it!

    nobodyputsbabyinacorner:

    i wonder just how common this sort of ‘disordered’ thinking really is among women. i am guessing it’s much more widespread than we’d like to think

    I think you’re right. A few years ago, I read a book titled Perfect Girls, Starving Daughters that made this very argument. Even when it’s not to diagnosable levels, women’s eating very often leans in the direction of eating disorders. Very depressing.

  9. 9.

    it is, ziff. i was thinking more about this post last night (very thought provoking!), and i started thinking about the DSM-IV and attitudes toward disorders, which Tirzah questions in her article. i used to work with autistic kids, and it was eye-opening to see just how much of a ‘spectrum’ disorder it is – in other words, you can have autistic tendencies, even a lot of them, without actually being diagnosed. there are scientific ways to get an actual diagnosis, but i was always told that something is a disorder to the degree that it inhibits your ability to function in normal life. so if you have to turn the lights on and off ten times before you leave home, you’re probably ok as long as you can get to work on time and pay your rent. it’s only when you stay home all day turning them on and off that you have a problem.

    but what happens if some degree, even an extreme or dangerous degree, of ED tendencies are viewed as ‘normal’ for women? what if ordering a salad for every meal is praised and valued by society? what if girlfriends engage in not-eating contests with each others’ help and support? and of course, whether society condones the actions required to obtain it, society always praises and values a thin body.

    how do you diagnose (and treat!) a disease whose symptoms and effects are seen as praiseworthy by a large segment of society? what if turning the lights on and off all day got you praise and attention? if the unhealthy behavior is socially enforced, it becomes very difficult to treat indeed.

  10. 10.

    I like what you said about diagnosing “not otherwise specified”.

  11. 11.

    I believe my mom has an eating disorder but I have never been successful at getting her to realize it. And I’m a professional health educator. I do that sort of thing for a living. It drives me crazy how everyone praises her when she starves herself. How can I help her stop believing she needs to “diet” when she gets so much reinforcement?

  12. 12.

    Thanks, Kristine. I know these kinds of posts can be hard to comment on, but I appreciate people reading them; it feels good to have a place to talk about some of this.

    nobodyputsbabyinacorner, I really appreciate your comments. I definitely agree that it’s a spectrum–as you and Ziff and agalya noted, what might be called disordered eating (if not an eating disorder per se) is so common in our culture, especially among women, as to appear pretty much normal. I hit a point where I was diagnosed with an illness, and clearly in need of treatment–but I think the difference between my behaviors and what is generally considered normal dieting behavior is one of degree, not of kind. I imagine that plenty of people who haven’t ever developed eating disorders can recognize the dynamics I describe, both in terms of the thinking, and the relationship between restricting and bingeing.

    And I can definitely relate to what both you and agalya said about thinking in terms of this of weakness, of self-control. That’s one of the things I find so hard–to turn that around, to realize that having worries about food and weight run your life is not in fact being in control but rather the opposite, that resisting that voice that tells you to restrict or to purge is a sign of health, not of weakness. I’m glad the post was helpful, aglaya; it’s something I have to keep reminding myself, that no matter how loud that siren song is, life with an eating disorder is really just lousy.

    Thanks, Ziff. I’m glad to be in recovery, too. I think I might have run across that book at some point–the argument certainly sounds plausible to me.

    cchrissy, yeah, I have a lot of concerns about the constructs in the DSM-IV anyway, and I think the predominance of the NOS category calls for some real re-thinking.

    That’s tough, April. That’s definitely one of the things that makes this so hard: you get a ton of social reinforcement for losing weight. If you announce that you’re going on a diet, people will cheer you on. You rarely get the kind of reinforcement for coming out of an eating disorder that you do for going into it. Pretty crazy.

  13. 13.

    Yes. Yes. This:

    “Even after all this time, it can be hard for me to really appreciate that when I am engaged in eating disordered behavior, it is a sign that I have lost control. Because it feels so much like having it ”

    Wow, this has given me a lot to think about. I never thought of myself as somebody who has experienced eating disorder. However, I can strongly identify with so many of the thought patterns you describe here regarding control and loss of control. I think my asceticism exhibits itself usually in realms other than food, but the emotions and thought patterns are chillingly similar. And the kind of melancholy, confused, bemused feeling I have when I receive effusive praise for doing things that I think it should be self-evident to others are deeply harming me. Looking back on high school, I had several teachers and leaders approach me about concern with my weight and that I might be anorexic. I just rolled my eyes, irritated that they were hassling me about something that I definitely, definitely didn’t have a problem with. In retrospect, they were right to be concerned, even if I never got to the point of requiring medical treatment.

  14. 14.

    but what happens if some degree, even an extreme or dangerous degree, of ED tendencies are viewed as ‘normal’ for women? what if ordering a salad for every meal is praised and valued by society? what if girlfriends engage in not-eating contests with each others’ help and support? and of course, whether society condones the actions required to obtain it, society always praises and values a thin body.

    I was very struck by this comment, and I started imagining a society that institutionally valued other kinds of disorders. What if we gave the same kind of praise to people with OCD? (“You washed your hands 400 times yesterday? I only washed mine 200 times. You’re so much better than I am.”)

  15. 15.

    Along those same lines, Katya, I’m reminded of John Dehlin’s Mormon Stories interview with a guest who had suffered from scrupulosity (roughly, religious-themed OCD). It sounded like one of the biggest problems was that he was typically reinforced for his compulsive behavior in church and related environments because people saw him as just trying to be ultra-righteous.

  16. 16.

    Tirzah, thank you for sharing your story! I’m excited to read your series.

    There were several pieces of your story that I relate to. It makes me I wonder how prevelant food issues are in our society (both LDS and US cultures).

  17. 17.

    Thank you for sharing this. This is such a sensitive topic I’m afraid to comment because I’m nearly certain to say something stupid. I’ve heard what people talk about individuals with disordered eating patterns, but I’ve never before heard what a person dealing with ED had to say about it.

    I have to agree with others who have mentioned the link between food and control. Logically, I know what kind of eating and exercise patterns will lead to my optimal health and happiness (but not necessarily to a “perfect” physique). Emotionally, I see those who are ultra thin as having better control over themselves than I do–as having achieved something I have failed at. I’d never realized that until now. It’s just such a natural part of being a female in our society that I never considered that as anything but a given. Thank you for making me more aware of my faulty programming.

  18. 18.

    anon for this, thanks for the comment. I really relate to this:

    And the kind of melancholy, confused, bemused feeling I have when I receive effusive praise for doing things that I think it should be self-evident to others are deeply harming me.

    It’s a strange disconnect to be praised and affirmed for behaviors you know at some level are actually hurting you. And in my experience of having an eating disorder, I think that disconnect reinforced the secrecy and shame that already accompanied the behaviors. If people laud you for hurting yourself, you have to wonder whether they’re going to think less of you if you stop, or if you admit that you have a problem.

    Katya, I love that thought experiment! It nicely highlights the absurdity of so much of the conversation about weight loss.

    Ziff, that’s a really interesting connection, that if you’re OCD and religious, you’d be likely to link the two. I can see how in some situations that could lead to social reinforcement, if your OCD behavior fell into the category of “righteous behavior.”(A bit tangentially, if you have an ED you can’t get diagnosed with OCD, because they interpret the compulsive behavior in light of the eating disorder, but starving yourself often has the effect of making you act in very OCD ways. And I think all of this can be complicated by a religion that has a lot of guilt and perfectionism.)

    Thanks, EmilyCC! I think it would be difficult to grow up female in this culture and not have some issues related to food and body image, even if you’re generally healthy. I’ve run across such people, but I think they’re rare.

    Moniker Challenged, I really appreciate your commenting despite the worry of stepping on toes. (That makes sense to me; I know I’m hesitant to comment on posts when I don’t know much about the topic and worry about offending someone, so I’m glad you said something anyway.) The control issue is fascinating to me, because it’s so taken for granted in our culture that our bodies are the site where we display control, competence, etc. The attitude that the body is something to be tamed, subdued, carefully shaped–there are some odd values at work there. It’s as if the body is no longer the place you live, but a project in your life.

  19. 19.

    I can’t quite figure out what to say, that’s why I put up that one line about NOS.

    I have really disordered eating patterns. That’s for sure. I am easily the pickiest person I know and I eat on a really weird schedule (no breakfast or lunch). I repeat the same food day after day for months. Always have.

    However, I don’t fit any ED criteria and I don’t relate much to reading about ED. I mean, other than the above. I don’t care about weight or calories, I don’t wish I could eat less, I don’t excercise much or wish I excercised more. I don’t even know what to call what I have going on. It’s not ED but it sure is limiting and it sure is an eating/health issue. Maybe it’s part of the odd cultural pressures, even though my experience isn’t commonplace. Anyway, thanks for the post.

  20. 20.

    I’d appreciate any resources or “me too” replies, but just FYI if this helps anybody, the most relevant stuff I’ve come across that I do relate to is in the sensory processing / autism world, which I am well aquainted with due to my kiddo.

  21. 21.

    cchrissy, I can’t say I relate in that my issues are obviously very different ones. But I wanted to at least say, yeah, that sounds pretty frustrating, especially if you can’t figure it out. I agree with you that it doesn’t sound like an ED–I think ED’s are as much an orientation toward food and the body as behavioral, and that doesn’t sound like what you’re describing. The sensory processing question is interesting. Obviously you know a lot more about that than I do, but I can imagine that for people who are easily stimulated (I’d put myself in that category, at least to some extent), there could be something grounding in sticking with the same thing? I don’t know. But I wish you the best in sorting it out.

  22. 22.

    [...] our friends with ED I hope you will read this excellent post from Zelophehad’s Daughters, particularly the comments about [...]

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