A Word from the Wellness Committee
Submitted by Kim Anderson
January 14, 1999
After wailing and gnashing my teeth over this assignment on "nutrition". I am offering the skewed opinion of someone who survived the traps of eating disorders earlier in life.
As a "mature" adult, I find that the side effects of the teenage and "20 something" years are not completely behind me. Were I at an "AA" type meeting for eating disorder, I's introduce myself as an anorexic "in recovery".
I believed for the longest time that I was some sort of anomaly. Years into adulthood, I am still finding myself plagued with "skinny dreams," anorexic thought patterns, and questionable eating habits. I feel on nearly a daily basis, the need to negatively evaluate everything I eat. I scrutinize my body and not with disgust the shifts in, and additions of body fat.
MOST of the woman I know fight these same demons-regardless of height and weight. These are not obsessions saved for the young (or the obese). We still (even with our advance in years), spend a huge amount of thought and dialogue on body image - to the point of wearing obsession.
The cause of this middle aged phenomenon is, I believe, a combination of brain chemistry that contributes to compulsive perfectionistic behavior, added to a world that caters to, and admires the sleek.
The anorexic mind set is not limited to the young. I believe that those of us with a history of eating disorders (on any scale) are not ever really cured, but can only hope to recognize our challenge, and learn for ourselves, the best way of managing our obsession. For many, this mean staying clear of bathroom scales, and keeping health and fitness crazes in personal perspective.
An individual with a tendency toward compulsion of any kind will tell you that we are masters of fanaticism. It is better to relax and keep the rules simple, as in "moderation in all things". If we don't meet some arbitrary standard of fitness - it doesn't really matter. We should acknowledge our strengths and weakness' and realize that we are terrific people!
The battle will go on the rest of our lives. We will fight the urge to overeat and to overcompensate. We will always be somewhat distorted in our thinking, but as long as we can avoid the fanaticism of the eating/exercise disorders and remain asymptomatic, then I say we are just fine.
Now, six months into a pregnancy, I'll excuse myself to go eat another hot fudge sundae, and relish in my expanding belly.