Saturday, April 29, 2006


I'm here to write a book about eating disorders. My contention is that every woman has an eating disorder--not necessarily anorexia or bulimia per se, but a fixation on food/weight/shape that is unhealthy, unwanted, and undying.

This is a forum in which I may present some of my ideas (from the media, personal stories/experiences) that, with a touch of editing, will magically gel into said book. I'm most curious about your reactions and your personal experiences.

Oh, and for what it's worth, I'm a clinical psychologist.


Teacher lady said...

Hi there,

This is a BRILLIANT, brilliant idea and I completely agree with your contention. Also - from my own experience, I developed SOMETHING (not anorexia, but close) when I was married to my crazy, abusive first husband and I have to wonder how many incidences of disordered eating are triggered by violent romantic relationships. I look forward to reading this blog!

JK said...

Not to be contentious, but I really wanted to post my thoughts. I found your blog a long time ago (because someone had clicked from yours to mine in Blogger) and the name of it has bothered me since I found you.

As a woman who doesn't have an eating disorder (or a pre-occupation with food) it bothers me. As a woman who has recently been pregnant 3 times in 4 years and gained 40 pounds each time (and lost it without dieting) it bothers me. Maybe when I was teenager, and very slim, and dancing all the time (ballet) I might have had an eating disorder, or an unhealthy obsession with food, but now, nope. Now I embrace my body. The ability to do what it did was amazing.

One of the interesting things floating around on Mommy blogs is a link to ... You might find this interesting. There are a lot of women who are trying to take on an acceptance of who they are and what motherhood did to them. I wish you luck with your book, but I don't think EVERY woman has an eating disorder, nor an unhealthy fixation with food. I don't. I think that I have enough other things on my plate (no pun intended).

I strive to exercise, eat well (good stuff, organic, and good for you), and keep balance in my life. I make an effort to educate myself and make informed decisions. I think showing people strategies for healthy living are important. I also think modeling healthy thinking e.g., thinking of ourselves as soft and feminine rather than flabby and out of shape is important.

I think Americans don't read enough and try to understand enough about nutrition and the importance of it. Heck, our Western approach to medicine (fix what's broken not strive to keep things healthy) is part of the problem. Most MD doctors don't know much about nutrition... I think they are only required to take a course or two in all their years of medical school.

I think pretty much everyone could exercise a bit more and benefit from it. (Get in better shape and get those endorphins going! That will help create more positive feelings which in turn could help create better more healthy attitudes toward the body.)

And for what it's worth, I am a researcher (cognitive psychologist is what the degree says).

As I said, I am not trying to be contentious, but just offering another point of view.

BarBarA said...

Hi, a friend just pointed me to your site, I love it. I decided to start here at the beginning and add my two cents worth along the way as inspired.

I think you are RIGHT ON about this issue of every woman having an eating disorder. I can't think of one I know that doesn't...

BarBarA said...

P.S. Just read JK's comments and yes, I am sure there are women out there like her - but they are in the minority. Most of us have one type of hang-up or another.

I am glad to know that JK and others like her do not have to struggle, hopefully more of us will find that kind of peace and acceptance as well.

Emily said...

I have just discovered your blog and love the idea behind it. I was diagnosed with anorexia at the age of 26 (weighing 85 lbs). I had only been restricting calories for a year when I was diagnosed, but had always had a troubled relationship with food. Today I'm recovering, but wondering why I didn't get help much sooner, before my "food issues" turned into full-on anorexia. Now that I'm on the other side of it, I see other people's food issues much more clearly, and realize that just about everyone (and not just women) has them.

Anonymous said...

Maybe it's not women who have the disorder. Maybe it's the system/context/culture we live in. I appreciate your point, but find it very pathologizing. Many women have troubled relationships with food and their bodies, but it's also about what those things represent (appetites, desire, power, sexism) in our culture. I would say society has an eating disorder before I would label every woman as having one.

It's an exploration worth doing, for sure, but I wonder if there's a way to approach it that doesn't diagnose all women. As a psychologist I hope you can represent the breadth of experience of women and find a way to not only discuss the pathology of the individual, but the force behind the struggle (if all the energy women devoted to their bodies/diets/eating/appetites could be directed somewhere else...) AND also the pathology of the society we LIVE IN. Every day.

I, too, am a clinical psychologist.

Anonymous said...

I think its kind of offensive to claim that everyone has an eating disorder - that's like saying because everyone has some issue with food or another, that anorexia and bulimia aren't serious illnesses, but rather the norm in our society. The whole concept that no one eats properly or healthy is utterly ridiculous.

As someone who has had an eating disorder for five years, labelling me the same as the people around me who are not fixated on food is so far away from reality that the whole suggestion that every woman has an eating disorder just makes you sound as bad as the people who claim that size zero causes eating disorders. You sound like a spectator on the sidelines, watching people with eating disorders and claiming to know what its like or what goes through our minds.

I can't help but think you seriously don't know what you're talking about. Come like with my disorder for five years, then tell me every woman around me has an ILLNESS as well, because that's what an eating disorder is - an illness.