Thursday, May 01, 2008

The Stomach Bug

I got it. Yep, the stomach bug. You know the kind when you eventually resign to taking up residence on the bathroom floor? That's the one. And, in the week-plus of recovery since (accompanied with little appetite and the requisite weight loss), I've been thinking about what the stomach bug means with regard to e.d.'s.

Would you secretly welcome the stomach bug in order to lose weight? Take the EWHAED's first poll (on the right) to let us know. . . .

41 comments:

Palmtreechick said...

My vote is with "sure" but it won't process the request. I had it twice in one year. It wasn't pleasant but I loved not having an appetite for 7 days! Perhaps that is sick and twisted but it's the way it is.

Anonymous said...

I voted "sure," too. It makes me think of the line from "The Devil Wears Prada" about the woman being one stomach flu away from her goal weight. I've actually (half-jokingly) given thought to licking subway poles to get sick for a few days off work and to lose a few pounds. It's funny, but in a sad way.

Lady Jaye said...

My vote is no way. I've had a bad bout of gastroenteritis before (so bad that any liquid intake would provoke vomiting), and it's something I want to experience as little as possible. Then again, I certainly wouldn't become the kind to purge, as I hate vomiting.

azusmom said...

No!

I used to purge. But before that, when I was a kid, I threw up ALL THE TIME!!!! My brother refused to ride in the car with me because, as he put it, "She's always puking!"
Then I had HORRIBLE morning sickness during my second pregnancy.
Recently I was sick, coughing so much it made me vomit. I came to the conclusion that I HATE vomiting!!!!!!

Karen said...

Thanks, been there done that, only it wasn't a stomach bug, it was morning sickness. All I could think about was how hungry I was and how it would all come back up if I ate. I was afraid to not to eat because I was pregnant, and I was afraid to eat because it cost energy to heave it back up and I knew I would be heaving. I was crying about it for weeks. It was absolutely miserable. I practically threw a party the first day that I was really nauseated but managed to keep food down. I thought I was over it. a month later I got to the point where I wasn't nauseated and realized how messed up it was to equate "not throwing up" to "healthy again."

Never, ever, ever do I want to do that again.

Alissa said...

No way. I'd take hunger over stomach pain and no hunger any day. I actually came down with the stomach flu while I was still in treatment. It was horrible. I don't think the therapists believed me that I was truly sick, since being "sick to my stomach" is a common excuse people try to use to get out of eating. I couldn't handle the thought of solid food so I drank the Boost (they wouldn't let you not eat) Needless to say, it didn't stay down. I've never been a purger so throwing up is not normal to me. It was only the 24 hour bug thank god.

mrs.millur said...

For weight loss, no WAY! It'd all be back on me within a week of recovering.

I did, however, develop this elaborate fantasy during SARS in Toronto that I'd get caught up in it, and quarantined, and get a week at home to myself- without the actual being sick part.

There *are* weeks when I would sign up for a stomach bug- but for time alone, away from work, not for weight loss.

And only if the genie could guarantee that my daughter wouldn't get it, too. Cuz cleaning up toddler puke would just suck all the fun out of playing hooky.

Twistie said...

I'm a no way kind of gal. I can't stand throwing up.

Besides, even if there were a way to keep off the weight afterwards, there's no actual guarantee that it would come off in the first place. A friend of mine had dysenterry (sp?) once for over a week and lost a grand total of three freaking pounds. Nobody believed she'd been as sick as she was because they didn't believe you could have that much diarrhea without more weight loss.

But mostly, I just can't cope with throwing up that much if there's ANY way around it.

Besides, as Mrs. Millur said, there's no guaranteed way to keep it off afterward. I think I'll give that one as wide a berth as possible.

I hope you're feeling better soon, though.

vesta44 said...

I also vote no way. Ever since I had my bouts of vomiting after my VBG (which failed), getting sick enough to vomit all the time just to lose weight is not something I want to do. And because of the VBG failure, now when I do happen to get sick and feel nauseated, I can't vomit (I know, TMI). I feel the need, but nothing will come up but bile. No thanks, weight loss isn't worth that hassle.

Becky said...

Hell no, I hate stomach aches, and I hate throwing up. And the thing about losing weight because of illness (or in my case, stress and anxiety)? It comes back. With extra, because your body wants to make sure it has lots of reserves in case this happens again.

AnnieMcPhee said...

No, no, a thousand times no. But I don't think I have an eating disorder at all - if that survey in "Self" was right at all, I didn't square up with a single one.

I was sick enough for a year that I only ate a bite or two of solids per day, some juice (usually puked up) and yet gained a lot of weight. The day I was able to eat again was a cause for great celebration and I wouldn't go back even if it would make me thin, beautiful, and rich.

Melissa said...

Hell yes!
So many times I have thought that... how sick is that?

Marste said...

At this point, I would vote no. But not too long ago, that vote would have been different. I actually don't think I realized how disordered it was until I was sick as a dog one day, and I said to my baby sister, "Well, I've lost 7 pounds. If I stay sick a couple more days, it'll be 10!" She looked at me for a beat, and then pronounced in her solemn, 13-year-old voice, "Marste. That is totally. Fucked. Up."

I think that was the first time I ever really HEARD myself, you know? It was pretty life-changing, actually.

emme219 said...

Not. A. Chance.

I hate throwing up. Hate it. I can't stand to do it when I'm sick, I wouldn't do it on purpose and I would never wish to be sick so I did.

TropicalChrome said...

Count me in as another no. I hate everything about throwing up. I'd rather not be sick at all, but if I have to be ill I'll take just about anything else over a stomach bug. I don't care what else comes of it, it's just not worth it.

Scarlett. said...

Definitely. Before a big event where I need to look good or get photographed I get so stressed that I'm really prone to bingeing, so I always wish someone would infect me so I have an excuse not to eat for a few days and my parents can't complain!
In work as well there was a big outbreak of a bad stomach bug... and two people I work with had it so I (yes, this is pathetic) made a point of being near them a lot or borrowing their stuff.
I didn't actually catch it though, but everyone that didn't want it did!

WeightingGame said...

Wow, this is SUCH an interesting question. I think stomach pain/aches are some of the worst illnesses to deal with. The pain can be so, so bad. But I must admit, there is a certain, almost pleasurable feeling of lightness that comes after an awful trip to the twalette. How sick is that to think of? I am not talking about vomiting - I would not want that ever. And I've never, even when I was sick, used laxatives or anything. I guess it's the mentality of...well, if I'm sick, I might as well enjoy some tiny bit of it and maybe that means feeling lighter. Wow, the more I read my words, the less happy I am with myself. Just being honest.

Fauve said...

I hate to answer this honestly, as it might feed into the already severely disordered mindset around body and weight in this culture, but...in all honesty, I would not *want* a stomach bug for weight loss, but should I contract one (and no, I sure wouldn't try to), the weight loss, if any, would be reassuring to me. That's a rather terrible thing to admit, but it comes from my (increasingly desperate) attempts to control my bingeing and weight. And from being "morbidly obese", w/a BMI of 47 (or thereabouts). This much excess weight (and it is excess weight, for me) is actually difficult to carry around. My answer to this question must be put within the context of my own, personal situation. That said, I'm not sure the weight loss would be healthy, even for a person of my weight. Plus, any such weight loss would be easily regained once I got better. Also, if I were sick I couldn't/wouldn't-even-want-to exercise (the body needs rest when to heal). But, I need exercise on a regular basis to keep my depression at bay. As for bingeing, I find that not fearing a binge so much, and just trying to savor Whatever I'm eating means I actually eat less of it. So....no easy answer here. I don't think illness is a good way to lose weight, but if your pants are killing you and they losen a bit after a week of the flu, well, that's not always bad, I guess. However, your pants-size, pre-stomach illness, had already better be truly plus-sized (and Not "huge" in the sense of a person with anorexia or bulimia, or such tendencies therein). Even then, it's not a model of healthy thinking. Fat people need to care for their bodies as much as anyone else. So: that's my too long of an answer, and kudos to Dr. Stacey for asking what we often do not want to admit to, but which exists within us, never-the-less.

Erin said...

Sure isn't even close to what I was thinking. I'm sure it's painful and it feels awful. But oh gosh...as soon as you posed the question I thought

FUCK YEAH!

Sheila said...

Sure, One of my favorite movie quotes is Romy and Michelle's High School Reunion when she says, 'Mono was the best diet ever.'

Kjirsten said...

Oh for sure, except I have a bug now and it's not bad enough for me to be curled up on a sofa sleeping all day and eating nothing. Which sucks. If I'm gona have it I want to at least lose 5 pounds. Last year I got it so bad I went to the ER, but when I was back at practice the next week a girls said wow you're looking skinny. I had lost 8 pounds in 7 days. It made it all worth it.

OhYeahBabe said...

Hi DrStacey. I tried to send you an email at the email in your blog profile, and it bounced. Would you mind sharing your email address? I have something I want to share with you but it got too long for a blog comment.

I'm a new reader, so if you've posted it often, I apologize. Great blog!

Palmtreechick said...

I always wanted Mono in high school so I wouldn't want to eat for a month. My friend and I always joked that we were going to share our chapstick with the mono people. Our chorus teacher always said "don't share chapstick!" I really wanted mono, but not during a sports season.

Anonymous said...

I, like Alissa, caught the stomach bug in treatment. Ironic, isn't it? The last place you want to be sick uncontrollably is a place where they think you do it on purpose. I then watched it spread like wildfire through the community. It was horrible and yet interesting to watch a group of women with eating disorders who were supposedly trying to get better use the virus to celebrate weight loss and continue to restrict and purge.

..... of course now I'm not so happy with the state of being and would happily take that virus even if its for very eating disordered motivations, because "technically" being physical sick means that you are not using symptoms (i.e. restricting/purging) and you get to sleep a lot ...

violet_yoshi said...

Sorry to hear your sick. In regards to the relation between a stomach bug and E.D.s, I think Romy & Michelle from Romy & Michelle's High School Reunion said it best:

"OMG Like I had the Flu and lost like so much weight!"

Rhiannon said...

I am a first year student going into nursing, I'm also 27 and size 18-20. I recently took a microbiology course and I found my self wishing I would catch certain diseases like cholera just so I could lose weight. I have one of the best most self-accepting body images of all the women I've known in my life, but I still think this way! I still sometimes wish I had a tapeworm, even thoug jI like to look at myself naked in the mirror. How screwed up is that? The dichotomy of these two me's is frightening.

AnnieMcPhee said...

Palmtreechick, I purposely shared a cigarette (I didn't even smoke) with a girl who had mono. I didn't want to lose weight, but I did want to get out of school and get sympathy.

I was desperately sick for one week and then I was fine. I guess I didn't eat that week, I was pretty delirious - but I did accidentally drink pee. (Long story.) But I had a whole month off, got out of reading Pearl Buck, got out of all my homework, and had a kickass 3 weeks at home, watching TV, eating, going out with my boyfriend, drinking, maybe smoking pot - oh yeah. Mono was the best time ever. The doctor even gave me good drugs for the pain which caused cool hallucinations like seeing dancing hot dogs. My friends and I all passed out in my room from it during a blizzard and that rocked. Then my boyfriend got it and didn't get any medicine but he was ok in a week too.

Also, I watch Romy and Michele all the time. Great flick.

Puking though? Nevah. You can give me Ipecac and I'll fight off the puking until it wears off. Bad bad gris-gris. No puking. I didn't even puke up the pee.

AnnieMcPhee said...

For what it's worth, the line from Romy and Michele is "I was so lucky getting Mono. That was like, the best diet ever." If you'd like I can recite the entire movie line for line by heart. But I won't :D

sara said...

As a bulemic who's got a fairly good grip on myself for the last decade, this is one of the signs that helps me stay focused on the fact that I cannot relax on this front. When I get the first signs that I'm getting sick, it's invariable accompanied by a little inner elation of "wonder if I'll lose a few pounds!" This is not a healthy thought.

Barmaid Blog said...

I hate, hate, hate being sick... but I can't pretend I don't love it when my jeans slide on a little more easily after I recover.

Beth said...

I know I'll get yelled at and flamed for this here, but hell yeah, I would love getting a stomach virus or the flu. Then I'd be to tired/sick to binge and purge. Oh, and the added benefit of weight loss.

Fortunately for my health, I have a good immune system or something, and rarely get sick. I am thankful for that. Oh, but weird as it sounds, I hate puking when it's nausea-induced and not bulimia-induced.

Juliet said...

I'd say this poll confirms proof of concept for your book. Yikes.

I was a failed bulimic because I could never figure out how to get myself to throw up. In those days I'd have welcomed a stomach virus weekly.

Not long ago, I'd have said that the side-effects would be nice. Now, though I realize that it's not worth it. A) it's mostly water weight you lose when sick and b) who wants to puke repeatedly to lose a few pounds??? No fun.

I hate throwing up... not a big fan of the other aspect of stomach viruses, either. So I have to say, no. It's SO not worth it.

Anonymous said...

I am truly shocked, and appalled to read all those who said yes! Are you kidding????

But I have an even sadder story. I know a woman who had cancer- CANCER!!!!! and is HAPPY about the weight she lost!!!!If I had cancer, I'd willingly GAIN weight if it would help me recover.

What is wrong with people? The replies to this post are, without a doubt, the most disturbing thing I've ever read on this blog.

i-geek said...

Hells NO! Even if I wanted to lose weight, stomach bugs are not worth it. IMO the only good thing about the stomach flu is how awesome food tastes once I get my appetite back. Ditto for mono. There's two weeks of my life that I'll never get back.

Seriously, the results of this poll are scary.

AnnieMcPhee said...

I was so sick for about a year. I ate about one or two bites of food that my family prepared for me - they would cook sauce or chicken broth with rice. I would choke down one to two bites of it, and then would try to swallow some - God this is hard - like a swallow or two of V8 or tomato juice. Then puke. Involuntarily. I GAINED 80 lbs in spite of this involuntary diet. And believe me it was involuntary. Taking in pretty much nothing and puking out whatever I took in. And it makes me cry my eyes out remembering that. But it was true. I gained like 80 lbs. Probably lots of fluid, doesn't matter. You do NOT want to emulate me there. I was dying. I came to the very edge of death. And you don't want to be there. FUCK NO. I was lucky. They figured it out. They truly did, just after I stopped breathing.

Girls. Don't wish for that death. Please don't. It is NOT what you want. When I got into the hostpital and could eat - it was the grandest prize. I could EAT again. I could order food and eat it. I could be a human again. You can too.

Fauve said...

Anonymous writes: "What is wrong with people? The replies to this post are, without a doubt, the most disturbing thing I've ever read on this blog."

Anonymous - then stop reading, because No One Is Forcing You To Read. People are just being honest. Honesty is not always pretty or nice or healthy. But I'd rather have honesty, myself. Dr. Stacey maintains that Every woman has an eating disorder (of some sort, and/or to some degree). I think she is right, because I think women suffer from a disordered body relationship along with their food issues. The extremes of eds are part of a continuum or spectrum that we are All on.

sarah said...

From my previous experience with stomach flu, it's only (very) temporary weight loss... and it's a downright nasty way to achieve it. I voted "no way."

Palmtreechick said...

Eww Annie, you drank pee? i want to hear about that one...maybe!

AnnieMcPhee said...

Ah, I forget to turn off the puter when I drink wine lol. Well, I was peeing a lot (so sick) and too weak to get out of bed and walk, so I had a paper cup next to me and did it in there. When I woke up again with my throat raging with thirst, I just grabbed it and gulped - thank heavens only a tiny bit went down as I realized; the rest went back in the cup. I even kept a poker face as my grandfather was talking to me at the time in the doorway lol. Anyway I was so sick it was clear - musta been drinking a lot of water or something. Still, ew.

Quick question for those who said yes - do you *really* remember how horrible a stomach bug can be? I had one so bad once I had a high fever, looked like a piece of ash, ached head to toe, and while I was bent over puking (having barely made it) couldn't help sh***ing onto the floor out the other end. The pain inside and out was excruciating, soooo weak, such hideous suffering...I'm just wondering if you've never had it that bad or don't remember so much, because it's really hard to imagine wanting to suffer that badly, no matter what the side effects.

Whiner said...

When I was young, I wished I'd get mono because I knew a girl who'd been in the hospital with it and lost tons of weight.

Even better if I could fall into a coma. Then I'd lose weight and not even have to remember the miserable parts!

Now - ugh. I had a 48-hour stomach bug last year and I don't think I lost any weight, and even if I had, I would not want to go there again. The details are TMI but it was nasty.

Anonymous said...

I know this is an old post I'm responding to, but I can't even begin to tell you how often I've wished- and tried- to catch illnesses that'd keep me from eating. It's something I've secretly, strongly, wished for.. for years. A certain friend of mine had mono off and on for over a year, and I'd purposefully drink and eat from her dishes in the hopes I'd catch it, too. Alas, I never got sick.