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S/O of eating disorder; I don’t understand this


Quill
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I hope it is okay to make my own post about this; I didn’t want to hijack a post. (I am not naming the member in case she decides to delete or whatever.) I have zero experience with eating disorders, so I don’t know what the difference is. 

Here’s what I don’t understand: why are the following things considered “bad”? Is it only bad in the context of disordered eating? Is it generally viewed as bad all around? 

1) Member weighs herself daily and/or desires to weigh herself daily. Therapist or other people have given her rules surrounding how often she is allowed to weigh herself. 

2) If member weighs herself and discovers a four-pound increase, she immediately wishes to restrict or control eating because she does not want to increase.

Ok. So, I don’t understand why either of these things are “bad,” and I do both of these things and consider them a very practical and healthy means of maintaining weight. We all know putting on pounds is easy as we approach menopause, and certainly afterwards, so it seems wise to me to keep a careful eye on things and modify eating accordingly if increasing is occuring. (Side note: I am less stringent in certain circumstances. I’m at my “high weight” now, but I want to keep that while I go through cancer treatments.)

As a little extra note: when I was at TG dinner, I had plenty to eat, and even had a second helping of noodles because they are so yummy. But then, I was done. I did not want anything else to eat. When the pies came out, I was sitting with my BIL, talking, and he was going to get pie and offered to bring me some. I said, “No, thanks.” He acted weirdly about this and said, “Are you restricting?” I said, “No; I have had plenty enough food and I don’t want more now.” He sort of frowned and went to get his pie. 

Is it getting to where anyone turning down a food opportunity is looked upon with suspicion of an ED? 

So - explain to me, please. I don’t get it. 

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It's not that either of those things are inherently wrong. They can be fine a healthy weight management techniques. 

It is that they can become compulsive and take on a life of their own. Daily weigh in can lead some people to obsess all day about their weight or to control food in rigid or compulsive ways. 

Some people see a four pound weight gain and think--oops, time yo be more careful and cut out the ranch dressing and peanuts for a while. Some people start beating themselves up and thinking all day long every minute of the day about the weight gain. Your food rules for dropping the weight may be strict, but theirs may be rigid on a different level.  It's kind of about attitude.

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It's not bad if you don't obsess about it or take it to extremes.

I can weigh daily now and the fluctuations don't bother me. I can use the numbers in a healthy way.

Before I could NOT do it w/o obsessing. If the number was steady or down I was a good person and it was a good day. If the number was up I was a bad person and it was a bad day.

And there is healthy restricting and then there is unhealthy restricting. If you normally eat 1800 calories a day and your weight is up and you cut back to 1200 for awhile that's not necessarily bad. If your normal eating is at a level that barely keeps severe hunger pangs at bay and your weight fluctuates (perhaps because it's that time of the month, not because you ate more than you should have because you do NOT allow yourself to eat enough to cause a fluctuation, ever) and you cut back from your normal 1000 to 500 calories a day . . . that's bad. And that's typical of someone with an ED.

I wouldn't worry about not "getting" it. Those who haven't suffered from an ED might not "get it." And that's a good thing.

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7 minutes ago, freesia said:

It's not that either of those things are inherently wrong. They can be fine a healthy weight management techniques. 

It is that they can become compulsive and take on a life of their own. Daily weigh in can lead some people to obsess all day about their weight or to control food in rigid or compulsive ways. 

Some people see a four pound weight gain and think--oops, time yo be more careful and cut out the ranch dressing and peanuts for a while. Some people start beating themselves up and thinking all day long every minute of the day about the weight gain. Your food rules for dropping the weight may be strict, but theirs may be rigid on a different level.  It's kind of about attitude.

I see. That makes a lot more sense.

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Let's put the analogy backwards. Is it bad to eat a cookie after dinner? Of course not! Is it bad to eat a cookie after dinner every day? Again - of course not!

But if you're a mentally healthy person who is trying to lose weight, and you've found that you'll tend to eat several cookies whenever you're feeling peckish, all the diet books will say "Don't buy any cookies until you're at your desired weight". Because you're not in a situation where you can have just one cookie every day.

People who have eating disorders need to be careful not to do the things that trigger the disordered behavior. That can mean that they need to take the scale out of the house, because the scale itself is tied to a whole bunch of really dangerous mental states.

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As the others said, it isn't the actions that are inherently wrong, the problem comes in when a person has the compulsion to weigh themselves, not just a healthy interest to weigh themselves to keep track of a healthy body weight, and then that compulsion triggers unhealthy habits and an obsession with unhealthy body image.

You weigh yourself daily and take note of what you've eaten recently and then make your decisions on food accordingly.

A person with an eating disorder, weighs themselves daily, or maybe even multiple times a day and then may make rash decisions based on normal body weight fluctuations.

That's the difference.

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I had similar thoughts, Quill. If someone is taking in 1/3 of their calories at bedtime, why is that automatically "bad"?  Maybe it helps them sleep. I mean, yeah I've heard of research about eating before bed, but you can find contradictory dieting research all day long. Different types of fasting seem to be a current trend, so some people are trying to get all their calories in a five hour window anyway. And that doesn't begin to cover the gamut of life circumstances like shift work (nurses, etc.), or seasonally long days (fisherman, ranchers, farmers) that can dictate when a person eats. But like you I chalked it up to not fully understanding eating disorders or that level of compulsiveness.

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Kathy, I think what those of us in the other thread were reacting to with regard to the night eating was that we know the poster has trouble with disordered eating added to the specific list of carb heavy foods which are often binge foods. And the short window in which they were consumed. And the fact she felt unable to stop doing it. We were helping her put a puzzle together. 

Edited by freesia
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46 minutes ago, KathyBC said:

I had similar thoughts, Quill. If someone is taking in 1/3 of their calories at bedtime, why is that automatically "bad"?  Maybe it helps them sleep. I mean, yeah I've heard of research about eating before bed, but you can find contradictory dieting research all day long. Different types of fasting seem to be a current trend, so some people are trying to get all their calories in a five hour window anyway. And that doesn't begin to cover the gamut of life circumstances like shift work (nurses, etc.), or seasonally long days (fisherman, ranchers, farmers) that can dictate when a person eats. But like you I chalked it up to not fully understanding eating disorders or that level of compulsiveness.

The difference is the focus, especially on “bad” foods. I’m familiar with disordered eating, and I, like many on the thread, felt the OP should reach out to an experienced therapist. There’s no one signal that says “seek help” but since I battle my history daily, I know that if I were thinking the same thoughts expressed in all the posts, it would be time to contact experts.

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Maybe think of a common OCD behavior like hand washing. Hand washing isn't bad. Being concerned about germs isn't bad.

When a brain gets stuck in a rut of obsessing about germs and handwashing there is a problem and the handwashing becomes a symptom of the problem.

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8 hours ago, SKL said:

An occasional drink, or even a daily single drink, is not inherently bad.  But it can be bad for someone who has an issue with drinking.

So that is how I would think about it.

TBH, though, I think it is hard to say if someone’s daily drinking is a problem, unless it’s at a grievous, obviously problem level. I do know people who drink some alcohol most every evening who wouldn’t perceive a problem but it looks problematic to me. It is subtle. 

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I’m having a hard time wording this.

Yes there’s a lot of gray area with drinking.

But then there are people will say that they have tried and tried to drink in moderation, and they can’t do it.  The reasons can get really complicated and aren’t just about drinking, sometimes, but that it’s a way they have coped with problems since maybe age 13 or 14.

Its not the same situation.

There are a lot of different ways that people can have poor coping mechanisms and need to work very hard to do coping mechanisms that don’t have a negative effect on their lives.  

If somebody has a certain thing that they know they have a deep history of doing, going back to maybe age 13, maybe something that they grew up around in ways...... and they know it causes problems enough to avoid it..... and they know they have had a lot of trouble moderating it..... then they are not in the same situation as people with no history and no particular issue with moderation.  

There’s a gray area but then there’s also an area that’s not gray, that is someone who may have a lot of history of things going a certain way, and they need to work hard to not have them go that way. 

Edit:  I guess I would say, it doesn’t sound like this is about someone who doesn’t have the equivalent (on some level) of a “problem” level of drinking.  So that IS what is being talked about.  

The discussion isn’t about all the people who are successful with moderation, and don’t have any deeply unhealthy and counterproductive history with drinking, and who can easily pull back when they see “oh I should probably pull back a bit.”  

When people know that it’s not that easy for them, and they also know (often) that certain things are stressful to them and they “used to” handle that by.... whatever.... then it’s just what it is, they need to do what they need to do, and they need to avoid going down certain roads.  

Edited by Lecka
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41 minutes ago, Quill said:

TBH, though, I think it is hard to say if someone’s daily drinking is a problem, unless it’s at a grievous, obviously problem level. I do know people who drink some alcohol most every evening who wouldn’t perceive a problem but it looks problematic to me. It is subtle. 

But if you've been diagnosed / know you're an alcoholic, then you know it's a problem for you.  (And others may be thinking, why is she uptight about something many people do and I do with no problem?)

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5 minutes ago, SKL said:

But if you've been diagnosed / know you're an alcoholic, then you know it's a problem for you.  (And others may be thinking, why is she uptight about something many people do and I do with no problem?)

Yeah. It occurs to me that there are people who either think they have no problem, but do, or are convinced they have a problem, but don’t. Sometimes outside people are looking for a problem where there isn’t one, just like my BIL finding something suspicious or negative in my turning down a slice of pie. 

I worry that a person who has anxiety may accept the perceptions of others and get stuck with a diagnosis they don’t agree with. 

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There is another thing, and that is, a lot of times there are 4 things that often go together, and somebody mentions 3 of those things.  The 4th is not mentioned.  But if it’s something where I know a little about it, I will be thinking, “oh, there is that number 4 thing.”  And I will think it’s possible number 4 is either going on, or maybe it’s a possibility.  It’s in the air, for people aware that “when these 3 things are going on, often there is also that 4th thing.”

But then that 4th thing is often not exactly mentioned.  

But it’s in the air in the conversation.

There are some things like that I am aware of and I will feel concern, and others that I’m not aware of and I don’t notice.  

But there are times when I am aware, and have conversations that are really about the 4th thing but it’s not exactly mentioned, and other people may think we are just talking about the first three things, because it’s not on their radar.

So — there may be some unstated things, I guess, that are part of the conversation for some people and then not part of the conversation for other people.  

Sometimes I can tell I am “not in the know,” too, and I’m just not sure what people are getting at.  

 

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As far as analogies -- Keep in mind that no one has to drink alcohol. Any ingestion at all is purely voluntary. Not so with food. That to my way of thinking is what makes moderating food intake so very incredibly hard for some. We have to deal with it constantly.

And I don't say that to minimize the struggle of those who deal with alcoholism, drug addiction, etc. But it is different.

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Okay, the thing is, let’s say there IS one root problem, but then it leads to a BIG problem.  Just — let’s say that is the case.

Sometimes you have to start with the big problem, and then over time, as that is addressed, you can see the root problem more clearly.

Sometimes you have to address them at the same time for the big, obvious problem to have any improvement. 

I think in practice there can be some triage involved and it’s fair to think “are you just putting a bandaid on one thing.”  But still, that one thing may be what needs to come first.  

Edit:  also just knowing the reason for something or knowing “well the real primary problem is this” doesn’t make the secondary problem any less real.  It can be part of the explanation but it doesn’t negate the presence of the secondary problem. 

Often the secondary problem can be the thing that is signaling the primary problem.  

And yes — the primary problem should be in the picture!  But just having it in the picture doesn’t mean the downstream problem will go away.  

I think it’s not even really “problem” stuff as much as people being prone to some things, and maybe the root cause is “this person is prone to this kind of thing.”  

I do agree it’s not good when some obvious thing is ignored..... like ignoring one problem and focusing on another problem that is a problem, but it’s not the real issue.  The real issue is being ignored..... I do agree that is not a good thing.  

But I think that can be part of the process, too.  There can be a starting place.  

Edited by Lecka
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12 hours ago, Quill said:

I hope it is okay to make my own post about this; I didn’t want to hijack a post. (I am not naming the member in case she decides to delete or whatever.) I have zero experience with eating disorders, so I don’t know what the difference is. 

So - explain to me, please. I don’t get it. 

Hi Quill. I'm positive you're talking about me so I'll answer you. My counselor said the same thing you did about daily weighing and cutting back when one feels a need to do so. She does those things herself. The reason it's bad for me is because I obsess over it. All day! If I weigh in my personally accepted range, I'm doing great and having a good day. I start my day with a smile. If my weight is up beyond my happy range, I feel horrible about myself and start my day off in a bad mood. Then how I eat that day is determined how I did on the scale that morning. If my weight was fine, I'd eat normally, or what I considered normal (I was eating too few calories) and if it was up, I'd restrict myself and eat diet foods like rice cakes and low calorie bread. I wasn't getting in vegetables and fruits either. So I had a lot to change. With counseling, I did improve my disordered eating. I'm eating more now. My mood isn't affected by the scale. I don't worry about the days I'm not weighing in. At first that was so hard to do. If I didn't know how much I weighed, how did I know how much to eat? That's a problem. Does that make sense? I'm happy to say I don't feel that way anymore. My obsession has gone way down. I give myself permission to do certain things, like eat a donut for breakfast, and it's freeing. But it took a long time to get to this point.

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Really — for drinking — if someone starts out going “I need to get a handle on this” and then they start to, and in the process pursue ADHD or anxiety or PTSD, then it could go either way for whether they end up able to drink moderately or not. 

You could have both.  It could be that alcohol is not good for your PTSD management instead of that it’s because you have a drinking problem.  Either way you may not be drinking.  Either way avoiding alcohol and all that it symbolizes may be a high priority.  

And starting to have some drinks and a little more drinks may be a sign of needing to try to do more for the PTSD!  That might be a warning sign.  

Edited by Lecka
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10 minutes ago, Night Elf said:

Hi Quill. I'm positive you're talking about me so I'll answer you. My counselor said the same thing you did about daily weighing and cutting back when one feels a need to do so. She does those things herself. The reason it's bad for me is because I obsess over it. All day! If I weigh in my personally accepted range, I'm doing great and having a good day. I start my day with a smile. If my weight is up beyond my happy range, I feel horrible about myself and start my day off in a bad mood. Then how I eat that day is determined how I did on the scale that morning. If my weight was fine, I'd eat normally, or what I considered normal (I was eating too few calories) and if it was up, I'd restrict myself and eat diet foods like rice cakes and low calorie bread. I wasn't getting in vegetables and fruits either. So I had a lot to change. With counseling, I did improve my disordered eating. I'm eating more now. My mood isn't affected by the scale. I don't worry about the days I'm not weighing in. At first that was so hard to do. If I didn't know how much I weighed, how did I know how much to eat? That's a problem. Does that make sense? I'm happy to say I don't feel that way anymore. My obsession has gone way down. I give myself permission to do certain things, like eat a donut for breakfast, and it's freeing. But it took a long time to get to this point.

Hi, Night Elf. I didn’t want to expose you in case you changed your mind about having the info out there. 

Thanks for the explanation; it makes more sense now. 

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51 minutes ago, Pawz4me said:

As far as analogies -- Keep in mind that no one has to drink alcohol. Any ingestion at all is purely voluntary. Not so with food. That to my way of thinking is what makes moderating food intake so very incredibly hard for some. We have to deal with it constantly.

And I don't say that to minimize the struggle of those who deal with alcoholism, drug addiction, etc. But it is different.

True.  But weighing oneself is voluntary.  The OP was about weighing oneself.

But you do make an important point.  It's harder to try to develop a good relationship with the thing you abuse vs. just avoiding it.

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Hand washing is, to my understanding, a better analogy than alcohol.  Basic hygiene is affirmatively GOOD, for everyone; it is a necessary component of healthy living.  So, too, is eating.  These things are not merely OK; they are both necessary in a way that alcohol consumption is not.  

(I drink wine every Sabbath; I have a beer with dinner at home a couple times a week; I have a glass of wine when I'm at a party or someone's house.  Not necessary, any of these.)

Handwashing specifically, and attention to germs during food prep and hygiene in the bathroom and etc, are affirmatively necessary GOOD HABITS.  Yet those same habits can become disordered and unhealthy.

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53 minutes ago, Quill said:

Hi, Night Elf. I didn’t want to expose you in case you changed your mind about having the info out there. 

Thanks for the explanation; it makes more sense now. 

Oh thanks, but I don't mind. I'm not ashamed of my ED, only frustrated that I have it. I don't say anything on the internet I wouldn't say to a group of strangers IRL, so I don't feel a need to delete my thread.

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I've had ED for pretty much my entire life.  I also can't drink alcohol.  I'm fine if I don't drink but one sip makes me want more and more.  It's the same with food but, obviously, I can't avoid eating.  I think it's a brain chemical issue for me - eating or drinking sets off something in my brain that makes me want to binge.  It's hard.  Not drinking isn't a problem but eating is always a struggle for me.  

 

 

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Another apt comparison might be money. We all have to deal with it, we can see the balance needed between frugality and spending, and realize it can be unhealthy to lean too far in either direction. It's interesting, though, that you don't hear about people who simultaneously have both extremes in this area. Which is maybe? why an ED is mystifying to an outsider, because it looks sort of rational - after you indulge, you budget. I guess it really is the out-of-sight mental rumination that is the problem. I appreciate all the explanations!

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For an average person, it's not a bad thing.  For someone with a history of eating disorders, it can start the whole cycle up again.  Restricting food meaning not eating enough calories to sustain normal brain function rather than skipping dessert or pasta until the 4 pounds go away.  Kind of like it's not a bad thing for me to have a drink after dinner but an after dinner drink could be a very dangerous thing for a recovering addict.  I have a sibling who struggled with ED for a long time.  I get concerned when they start a diet.  Not because they don't need to lose weight but because they need to stay alive more than they need to lose weight.  Having seen them in the hospital for ED, it's easy to worry.  

Edited by LucyStoner
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8 hours ago, KathyBC said:

Another apt comparison might be money. We all have to deal with it, we can see the balance needed between frugality and spending, and realize it can be unhealthy to lean too far in either direction. It's interesting, though, that you don't hear about people who simultaneously have both extremes in this area. Which is maybe? why an ED is mystifying to an outsider, because it looks sort of rational - after you indulge, you budget. I guess it really is the out-of-sight mental rumination that is the problem. I appreciate all the explanations!

 

I think the difference is that money seems like a simple exchange medium, its just an abstraction.  But, it would be pretty bad if you were blowing thousands on Amazon orders of knee socks, and then not buying necessities for your house to make up for it - frezing because you didn't buy oil, say.  Or freaking out about normal in and out of a bank account over the month.

 

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On 11/25/2018 at 7:35 PM, Quill said:

I hope it is okay to make my own post about this; I didn’t want to hijack a post. (I am not naming the member in case she decides to delete or whatever.) I have zero experience with eating disorders, so I don’t know what the difference is. 

Here’s what I don’t understand: why are the following things considered “bad”? Is it only bad in the context of disordered eating? Is it generally viewed as bad all around? 

1) Member weighs herself daily and/or desires to weigh herself daily. Therapist or other people have given her rules surrounding how often she is allowed to weigh herself. 

2) If member weighs herself and discovers a four-pound increase, she immediately wishes to restrict or control eating because she does not want to increase.

Ok. So, I don’t understand why either of these things are “bad,” and I do both of these things and consider them a very practical and healthy means of maintaining weight. We all know putting on pounds is easy as we approach menopause, and certainly afterwards, so it seems wise to me to keep a careful eye on things and modify eating accordingly if increasing is occuring. (Side note: I am less stringent in certain circumstances. I’m at my “high weight” now, but I want to keep that while I go through cancer treatments.)

As a little extra note: when I was at TG dinner, I had plenty to eat, and even had a second helping of noodles because they are so yummy. But then, I was done. I did not want anything else to eat. When the pies came out, I was sitting with my BIL, talking, and he was going to get pie and offered to bring me some. I said, “No, thanks.” He acted weirdly about this and said, “Are you restricting?” I said, “No; I have had plenty enough food and I don’t want more now.” He sort of frowned and went to get his pie. 

Is it getting to where anyone turning down a food opportunity is looked upon with suspicion of an ED? 

So - explain to me, please. I don’t get it. 

In and of themselves they are not bad. I used to do both of those things, then someone convinced me they were bad. I stopped doing them. As of last week, my weight has literally doubled since that time (no, I was not underweight, I was on the lower side of a "normal" range for someone my height). I used to eat healthy, loved to exercise and I had energy. Now I eat junk, sit around and I'm exhausted. Either way, people complained about my food choices - I either eat healthy and they complain I am too thin or I eat poorly and they feel compelled to "educate" me about how I am ruining my body and look down their noses at me. Salespeople in stores either complain about having to find size 6 jeans for me and tell me I just need to gain some weight or they sigh and roll their eyes when I want a size 18.  I am a failure if I'm thin and I'm a failure if I'm fat, I'm a failure if I eat well, I am a failure if I don't, so I might as well enjoy myself and eat whatever the heck I want. I told my dh he can put me in assisted living if I get sick and he can't take care of me. I detest this weight centered culture we have in the US. It's absurd that we make judgements on people's moral worth based upon how much they weigh. In the end, it doesn't matter. We all die.

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11 hours ago, Pawz4me said:

But weighing is just a way of measuring or quantifying ones relationship with food.

I don't understand this.Weight is a measurement of gravity. We don't have relationships with food (well, I don't - guess I shouldn't speak for others). Food is fuel. Many people can choose the quality of fuel they consume. People make different choices.

Edited by TechWife
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15 minutes ago, TechWife said:

In and of themselves they are not bad. I used to do both of those things, then someone convinced me they were bad. I stopped doing them. As of last week, my weight has literally doubled since that time (no, I was not underweight, I was on the lower side of a "normal" range for someone my height). I used to eat healthy, loved to exercise and I had energy. Now I eat junk, sit around and I'm exhausted. Either way, people complained about my food choices - I either eat healthy and they complain I am too thin or I eat poorly and they feel compelled to "educate" me about how I am ruining my body and look down their noses at me. Salespeople in stores either complain about having to find size 6 jeans for me and tell me I just need to gain some weight or they sigh and roll their eyes when I want a size 18.  I am a failure if I'm thin and I'm a failure if I'm fat, I'm a failure if I eat well, I am a failure if I don't, so I might as well enjoy myself and eat whatever the heck I want. I told my dh he can put me in assisted living if I get sick and he can't take care of me. I detest this weight centered culture we have in the US. It's absurd that we make judgements on people's moral worth based upon how much they weigh. In the end, it doesn't matter. We all die.

Well, I agree with you in part and it is getting at one thing that bothers me about @Night Elf‘s story. The therapist and/or Elf’s dh want her to gain weight and increase calories and also dont check her weight often so it can « sneak » up on her better. As far as I recall, Night Elf is not underweight or dangerously thin. (In fact, I remember a weight of hers from the SF thread and it is precisely my current weight.) So, I do wonder what’s so healthy about outside people telling her to weigh more/eat more? How is it any better than if outside people were telling her she’s too big and needs to reduce calories? 

Kind of like my BIL giving me a bit of grief over turning down a slice of pie. I dont think it would be right for me to eat unwanted pie because he harangued me into it, but it would also be wrong if I forswore a piece of pie (or let’s say an extra piece, or a really big piece or a huge dollop of whipped cream on top) because a family member nagged me about eating more pie than necessary. Ideally, I would just eat pie if I wanted some, don’t if I don’t, and neither instance would prompt comment; ideally, it wouldn’t even occur to anyone to attend to my food. 

So honestly, that is one part of Night Elf’s story that doesn’t sit well with me. It still seems controlling; it’s just controlling in a different direction. But, also with the caveat, as I said before, I don’t know anything about eating disorders, although I am quite familiar with OCD-like behaviors. So I don’t know. Maybe there is a method to the madness. 

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15 minutes ago, Quill said:


Ideally, I would just eat pie if I wanted some, don’t if I don’t, and neither instance would prompt comment; ideally, it wouldn’t even occur to anyone to attend to my food. 

 

Exactly.

One day I will let all of the snarky comebacks I think in my head out of my mouth. Then, well, oops.

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26 minutes ago, Quill said:

Well, I agree with you in part and it is getting at one thing that bothers me about @Night Elf‘s story. The therapist and/or Elf’s dh want her to gain weight and increase calories and also dont check her weight often so it can « sneak » up on her better. As far as I recall, Night Elf is not underweight or dangerously thin. (In fact, I remember a weight of hers from the SF thread and it is precisely my current weight.) So, I do wonder what’s so healthy about outside people telling her to weigh more/eat more? How is it any better than if outside people were telling her she’s too big and needs to reduce calories? 

Kind of like my BIL giving me a bit of grief over turning down a slice of pie. I dont think it would be right for me to eat unwanted pie because he harangued me into it, but it would also be wrong if I forswore a piece of pie (or let’s say an extra piece, or a really big piece or a huge dollop of whipped cream on top) because a family member nagged me about eating more pie than necessary. Ideally, I would just eat pie if I wanted some, don’t if I don’t, and neither instance would prompt comment; ideally, it wouldn’t even occur to anyone to attend to my food. 

So honestly, that is one part of Night Elf’s story that doesn’t sit well with me. It still seems controlling; it’s just controlling in a different direction. But, also with the caveat, as I said before, I don’t know anything about eating disorders, although I am quite familiar with OCD-like behaviors. So I don’t know. Maybe there is a method to the madness. 

I don't think you can compare your weight with someone else unless you are also the same height and build. A healthy weight for my 5'1" SiL would not be a healthy weight for me.

I do know that treatment for those with eating disorders who are underweight includes helping them gain weight.

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Weight isn't the only or even the main consideration in extreme dieting.  I think you can still have a serious health incident from yo-yo dieting if you are average or overweight.  Also, dieting statistically leads to more weight gain in the long run, from what I've read.  In other words, you don't want your loved one to do something she will regret.

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7 hours ago, maize said:

I don't think you can compare your weight with someone else unless you are also the same height and build. A healthy weight for my 5'1" SiL would not be a healthy weight for me.

I do know that treatment for those with eating disorders who are underweight includes helping them gain weight.

Of course. But in the first place, I think Night Elf is not much different from me in height, weight or build, given things she reported in the clothing subscription thread. In any case, it stood out because it was my same weight. 

Also, there is a range of weight that is within the range of normal for a big middle-of-the-bell-curve group of people. Some weights are clearly outside of normal almost no matter how tall or tiny your build, such as a grown woman at 72lbs. 

 

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8 hours ago, Quill said:

So honestly, that is one part of Night Elf’s story that doesn’t sit well with me. It still seems controlling; it’s just controlling in a different direction. But, also with the caveat, as I said before, I don’t know anything about eating disorders, although I am quite familiar with OCD-like behaviors. So I don’t know. Maybe there is a method to the madness. 

Well, I agree with you about the controlling part. I can understand professionals in this situation who are looking at me like a statistic and not an individual person. For DH, I think he's acting out of fear. He's scared I will continue to lose weight and get to a dangerous point. I would never do that and that was never my intention but I can understand why he feels that way.

The professionals are using a version of the healthy weight range data. And there are several so I don't know which one my psych doc is using. The one I got from Weight Watchers says my healthy weight range is 128 - 160. I'm 5' 7". So I got down to 128. My original goal weight was 145 and I got there and maintained for quite a while. Then I cut back on my carbs per my general physician's suggestion because my A1C was borderline diabetic. Once I cut carbs, I lost another 10 lbs. in less than 2 months. So I was 135. I didn't intend to lose weight but that was the point that I began to exhibit disordered eating. It felt good to drop that weight so fast that I decided to keep going. I don't remember how long it took but I got down to an average of 128-129. I was happy there and maintained it for years eating the way I was taught by weight watchers, by continuing to count points and eat the daily amount allotted to a person who is trying to lose weight. However, I also began binging and restricting. When it became more frequent, DH commented on it and the fact that I was looking unhealthily thin. My mom, who is also a person I talked with about losing weight, also noticed I was very thin. So both of them told me to contact my doctor to see what she said. That was when I was diagnosed with bulimia and told to go to an eating disorder clinic. SO... sorry for the long drawn out explanation... that began my journey to get back to normal eating. I agreed to gain some weight to get away from that extremely low weight level for me. It took me months to gain a couple of pounds because the amount of calories I was eating was only maintaining my weight. And that was more calories than I was eating before! So I increased them again and I'm gaining weight, albeit slowly. I told DH where I was willing to settle and I'm going to stick to that. 

Look up healthy weight range. I was surprised there were so many. I found one just now that said my range is 121 - 158. So if I go by that one, I was well within my range! Oh, and this data encompasses BMI which from what I understand is controversial. So there you go.

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4 hours ago, SKL said:

Weight isn't the only or even the main consideration in extreme dieting.  I think you can still have a serious health incident from yo-yo dieting if you are average or overweight.  Also, dieting statistically leads to more weight gain in the long run, from what I've read.  In other words, you don't want your loved one to do something she will regret.

Right, but I didn’t see evidence of extreme dieting in Night Elf’s case, at least from anything she posted here. (Which is not to say I have followed everything she has ever posted.) Gaining four pounds and then eating less for a week is not yo-yo-ing. 

In the interest of no longer talking about another poster, I’ll just talk about myself. I am a very health conscious person and I monitor my physical health carefully. Part of this is monitoring my weight, as well as how things look in the mirror*. A protruding belly, for example, doesnt necessarily mean I ate too many Snickers bars, though it might. It could be a sign of unhealthy digestion or weak abdominal muscles or Celiac disease or pregnancy (lol!). 

The thing about dieting statistically leading to more weight gain is one reason I think paying careful attention to weight stability is wise. It’s like fixing your car’s squeaking break before it wears through the break pad and destroys the rotor. 

* I know it needs repeating: I understand how this is dicier if a person has body image distortion or fear of “a number”. 

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11 minutes ago, Night Elf said:

Well, I agree with you about the controlling part. I can understand professionals in this situation who are looking at me like a statistic and not an individual person. For DH, I think he's acting out of fear. He's scared I will continue to lose weight and get to a dangerous point. I would never do that and that was never my intention but I can understand why he feels that way.

The professionals are using a version of the healthy weight range data. And there are several so I don't know which one my psych doc is using. The one I got from Weight Watchers says my healthy weight range is 128 - 160. I'm 5' 7". So I got down to 128. My original goal weight was 145 and I got there and maintained for quite a while. Then I cut back on my carbs per my general physician's suggestion because my A1C was borderline diabetic. Once I cut carbs, I lost another 10 lbs. in less than 2 months. So I was 135. I didn't intend to lose weight but that was the point that I began to exhibit disordered eating. It felt good to drop that weight so fast that I decided to keep going. I don't remember how long it took but I got down to an average of 128-129. I was happy there and maintained it for years eating the way I was taught by weight watchers, by continuing to count points and eat the daily amount allotted to a person who is trying to lose weight. However, I also began binging and restricting. When it became more frequent, DH commented on it and the fact that I was looking unhealthily thin. My mom, who is also a person I talked with about losing weight, also noticed I was very thin. So both of them told me to contact my doctor to see what she said. That was when I was diagnosed with bulimia and told to go to an eating disorder clinic. SO... sorry for the long drawn out explanation... that began my journey to get back to normal eating. I agreed to gain some weight to get away from that extremely low weight level for me. It took me months to gain a couple of pounds because the amount of calories I was eating was only maintaining my weight. And that was more calories than I was eating before! So I increased them again and I'm gaining weight, albeit slowly. I told DH where I was willing to settle and I'm going to stick to that. 

Look up healthy weight range. I was surprised there were so many. I found one just now that said my range is 121 - 158. So if I go by that one, I was well within my range! Oh, and this data encompasses BMI which from what I understand is controversial. So there you go.

Thank you so much for explaining that so thoroughly. I have to say, NE, you are the least defensive person I think I’ve ever talked with about weight.

Firstly, you and I have a very similar build. I am 5’ 7’, with a small frame and currently weigh 135. I consider 135-136 my “high weight”. I consider 126-128 my “low weight.” I have not weighed less than 126 in over a decade (and at that time, I was dealing with personal tragedy and melted away to nothing). I am intentionally staying at my “high weight” currently because of cancer treatments. 

As I see my own weight/health, weighing more would not benefit me. I could increase my weight if I tried, but it would happen by eating ice cream or empty carbs at night. I am also always alert to diabetes because of family history, so simple sugars are not a useful thing to increase. Cancer also loves sugar, too. 

 For me, personally, I don’t care what anybody else says about my weight/size, except maybe my doctor....maybe. I decided on this position years ago, because I clearly see how people can be. For some people, any thinness that is thinner than themselves is “too thin,” while any fatness fatter than themselves is “too fat.” As an ectomorphic person, I have been told a thousand times in my life that I am “too skinny/thin”. This is why I have my own definitions of where I want to be and how I want my body to be. Maybe this is not feasible for you, Night Elf, because your other challenges make it hard for you to trust your own definition of healthy weight. I don’t know. 

Actually, I don’t even know why those charts should be necessary for most people. It seems to me that mentally healthy people can assess for themselves if their weight/size is where they want. 

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27 minutes ago, heartlikealion said:

He probably just thought you should have left room for yummy dessert 🙂 

You would think, but what I know of him and his wife, makes me believe otherwise. They are both obsessed with everyone else’s eating. Why would he even use that term, “restricting”? That is a diet/medical term. 

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49 minutes ago, Quill said:

Of course. But in the first place, I think Night Elf is not much different from me in height, weight or build, given things she reported in the clothing subscription thread. In any case, it stood out because it was my same weight. 

Also, there is a range of weight that is within the range of normal for a big middle-of-the-bell-curve group of people. Some weights are clearly outside of normal almost no matter how tall or tiny your build, such as a grown woman at 72lbs. 

 

Just based on my own personal experience --

One can be in what "they" say is a normal weight range and still be underweight. What matters is the degree to which one has to restrict calorie intake (and/or exercise) to make ones body achieve/maintain a given weight. And of course the mental/emotional stress involved in the effort.

At my lowest weight I was still within what was at the time considered a normal weight for my height. I was at the low end of that range, but above the cut off by a few pounds. And yet my body rebelled in a big way. For over three years I didn't have a period w/o taking Premarin and Provera to induce it. My hair fell out. I would be freezing on a 90 degree, high humidity day. I had to cut my calories to near starvation levels and exercise hard at least four days a week to maintain that weight. A typical day for me would have me up and on an exercise bike from 5:00 to 6:00 a.m., racking up 20-30 miles. Breakfast was a serving of oatmeal cooked in water. Lunch was a bowl of Brussels sprouts. Dinner was a plain baked potato. If I really needed a splurge I might allow myself some steamed broccoli. Other people my height with different genes can maintain that weight w/o much or any effort. We're all different. Thankfully a smart and kind infertility specialist convinced me that my body knew much more about what was healthy for it than any outside source did. Otherwise today would be a very different day for me, since it's oldest DS's birthday. :wink:

I really don't think it's helpful to compare.

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6 minutes ago, Pawz4me said:

Just based on my own personal experience --

One can be in what "they" say is a normal weight range and still be underweight. What matters is the degree to which one has to restrict calorie intake (and/or exercise) to make ones body achieve/maintain a given weight. And of course the mental/emotional stress involved in the effort.

At my lowest weight I was still within what was at the time considered a normal weight for my height. I was at the low end of that range, but above the cut off by a few pounds. And yet my body rebelled in a big way. For over three years I didn't have a period w/o taking Premarin and Provera to induce it. My hair fell out. I would be freezing on a 90 degree, high humidity day. I had to cut my calories to near starvation levels and exercise hard at least four days a week to maintain that weight. A typical day for me would have me up and on an exercise bike from 5:00 to 6:00 a.m., racking up 20-30 miles. Breakfast was a serving of oatmeal cooked in water. Lunch was a bowl of Brussels sprouts. Dinner was a plain baked potato. If I really needed a splurge I might allow myself some steamed broccoli. Other people my height with different genes can maintain that weight w/o much or any effort. We're all different. Thankfully a smart and kind infertility specialist convinced me that my body knew much more about what was healthy for it than any outside source did. Otherwise today would be a very different day for me, since it's oldest DS's birthday. :wink:

I really don't think it's helpful to compare.

I agree. But this is also why it doesn’t make sense for Aunt Betty to assess me as underweight or “too thin.” She has no idea what I do or don’t do to be this size. Even doctors usually don’t know. For me to be 135, I don’t have to “do” anything. I’m not even exercisng right now due to surgery and I haven’t seen half my step goal in over a month. I am trying to “listen to my body” and letting it heal. 135 is my “not doing anything” weight. I eat pie, just not necessarily right then. (In fact, I ate pie for breakfast after TG, which dh thought was nuts, but I wanted a piece before it was gone - wise, since after my boys got up, it disappeared!) 

I’m curious if, during that time, you thought, “How can this be healthy? I don’t cycle and my hair is falling out. I am barely eating enough to keep a chipmunk alive.” 

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10 minutes ago, Quill said:

I’m curious if, during that time, you thought, “How can this be healthy? I don’t cycle and my hair is falling out. I am barely eating enough to keep a chipmunk alive.” 

Sure I did. But I was young(ish) and being thin seemed more important than being healthy. I was constantly getting positive feedback from friends and co-workers on how great I looked. It was the first time in my life I'd ever gotten compliments. It was only when I felt the ticking of the biological clock that health took precedence. And by then I was deeply enough in the throes of disordered eating and exercising that it took a long time to establish a healthy relationship with food.

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1 hour ago, Quill said:

Right, but I didn’t see evidence of extreme dieting in Night Elf’s case, at least from anything she posted here. (Which is not to say I have followed everything she has ever posted.) Gaining four pounds and then eating less for a week is not yo-yo-ing. 

In the interest of no longer talking about another poster, I’ll just talk about myself. I am a very health conscious person and I monitor my physical health carefully. Part of this is monitoring my weight, as well as how things look in the mirror*. A protruding belly, for example, doesnt necessarily mean I ate too many Snickers bars, though it might. It could be a sign of unhealthy digestion or weak abdominal muscles or Celiac disease or pregnancy (lol!). 

The thing about dieting statistically leading to more weight gain is one reason I think paying careful attention to weight stability is wise. It’s like fixing your car’s squeaking break before it wears through the break pad and destroys the rotor. 

* I know it needs repeating: I understand how this is dicier if a person has body image distortion or fear of “a number”. 

She posted that she would cut back to 500 calories a day if she saw too high a number on the scale, even for one day. (she's not doing that now, but she was, and could fall back into it again). Again, it's like an alcoholic who stops drinking after years of binging. Then they start having a single drink here and there, and then several, and then someone steps in and says hey......you need to knock it off before you go back to black out drinking again. it makes sense in that context, but the same worry over say, me, having 2-3 drinks would not make as much sense. 

And yes, having someone else control things is a huge part of treatment for eating disorders. Often the disorder is about control, so being able to give that up a bit is part of the therapy. 

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20 minutes ago, Ktgrok said:

She posted that she would cut back to 500 calories a day if she saw too high a number on the scale, even for one day. (she's not doing that now, but she was, and could fall back into it again). Again, it's like an alcoholic who stops drinking after years of binging. Then they start having a single drink here and there, and then several, and then someone steps in and says hey......you need to knock it off before you go back to black out drinking again. it makes sense in that context, but the same worry over say, me, having 2-3 drinks would not make as much sense. 

And yes, having someone else control things is a huge part of treatment for eating disorders. Often the disorder is about control, so being able to give that up a bit is part of the therapy. 

No no no... I didn't say that. I'd never survive on that! *laugh* When I heavily restricted I ate about 1000-1100 calories. When I wasn't restricting, or what I thought was restricting, I was eating between 1200-1300 calories. That was still low but I didn't think it was. The 500 calories I mentioned is what I increased my calories to. I went from 1200 to 1700 daily calories and that's where I am now. I'm not totally happy with my current weight but I'm still within an acceptable for me range so I'm trying to accept it as my new weight and not try to go back down. I'm still eating around 1700 calories but my OP was about my night eating. That was adding in close to 1000 calories just between 8:00 pm and 9:30 pm. That was what I wanted to stop. 

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11 hours ago, TechWife said:

I don't understand this.Weight is a measurement of gravity. We don't have relationships with food (well, I don't - guess I shouldn't speak for others). Food is fuel. Many people can choose the quality of fuel they consume. People make different choices.

When I was bulimic every food I ate had psychological impact -- there were foods that were good, and foods that were bad, and I was correspondingly good or bad when I ate them.  My best days were days I restricted to around 500 calories and subsisted on special k cereal, apples and Mountain Dew.  If I ate something and felt I had tipped over into too much, I immediately felt horrible, then just binged and binged because I had already lost and it was too late.  Every day was shaped by my eating, my thoughts centered on food and the number on the scale, and my self-worth rose or dropped based on it.  Food was fraught.  

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1 hour ago, Quill said:

Thank you so much for explaining that so thoroughly. I have to say, NE, you are the least defensive person I think I’ve ever talked with about weight.

Firstly, you and I have a very similar build. I am 5’ 7’, with a small frame and currently weigh 135. I consider 135-136 my “high weight”. I consider 126-128 my “low weight.” I have not weighed less than 126 in over a decade (and at that time, I was dealing with personal tragedy and melted away to nothing). I am intentionally staying at my “high weight” currently because of cancer treatments. 

As I see my own weight/health, weighing more would not benefit me. I could increase my weight if I tried, but it would happen by eating ice cream or empty carbs at night. I am also always alert to diabetes because of family history, so simple sugars are not a useful thing to increase. Cancer also loves sugar, too. 

 For me, personally, I don’t care what anybody else says about my weight/size, except maybe my doctor....maybe. I decided on this position years ago, because I clearly see how people can be. For some people, any thinness that is thinner than themselves is “too thin,” while any fatness fatter than themselves is “too fat.” As an ectomorphic person, I have been told a thousand times in my life that I am “too skinny/thin”. This is why I have my own definitions of where I want to be and how I want my body to be. Maybe this is not feasible for you, Night Elf, because your other challenges make it hard for you to trust your own definition of healthy weight. I don’t know. 

Actually, I don’t even know why those charts should be necessary for most people. It seems to me that mentally healthy people can assess for themselves if their weight/size is where they want. 

It is good to have a the information out there of the range of healthy as there are a LOT of people who don't understand what a healthy weight is, or who might have hunger signals that are mixed up.  My daughter is your height but weighs probably 30 pounds more than you do.  She has never understood her hunger signals - she is always hungry (even as a toddler!) which leads her to overeat and then she feels sick.  She's never felt just satiated.   She has recently been diagnosed with ADHD and is wondering if that causes her miss her body's signals. She needs the charts to tell her what a healthy weight was because her body is not telling her anything useful, and now she is attempting to lose weight by calorie counting . -- she needs a strict routine to avoid overeating.  

I, on the other hand, have a natural weight right now-- I am 5'3 and 120-124 and I rarely think anymore about what I eat.  I could be thinner, as I do have a small build, but I am happy that I am not eating disordered any more and can eat without guilt or fear. My other two kids are like me -- they will probably never worry about their weight as they are able to understand and heed their body signals. 

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1 hour ago, SanDiegoMom in VA said:

 Every day was shaped by my eating, my thoughts centered on food and the number on the scale, and my self-worth rose or dropped based on it.  Food was fraught.  

 

Yes - this is it exactly.  

 

 

51 minutes ago, SanDiegoMom in VA said:

.  She has never understood her hunger signals - she is always hungry (even as a toddler!) which leads her to overeat and then she feels sick.  She's never felt just satiated.   She has recently been diagnosed with ADHD and is wondering if that causes her miss her body's signals. She needs the charts to tell her what a healthy weight was because her body is not telling her anything useful, and now she is attempting to lose weight by calorie counting . -- she needs a strict routine to avoid overeating.  

I, on the other hand, have a natural weight right now-- I am 5'3 and 120-124 and I rarely think anymore about what I eat.  I could be thinner, as I do have a small build, but I am happy that I am not eating disordered any more and can eat without guilt or fear. My other two kids are like me -- they will probably never worry about their weight as they are able to understand and heed their body signals. 

 

I have the same issue as your daughter and always have - I just don't feel full ever.  I just try to eat what I think is a normal portion and stop.  Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. It's always baffling to me when people don't finish what's on their plate because they are full.  I've never experienced that.   I am grateful that my kids all eat normally like my DH.  

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3 hours ago, Quill said:

Thank you so much for explaining that so thoroughly. I have to say, NE, you are the least defensive person I think I’ve ever talked with about weight.

Firstly, you and I have a very similar build. I am 5’ 7’, with a small frame and currently weigh 135. I consider 135-136 my “high weight”. I consider 126-128 my “low weight.” I have not weighed less than 126 in over a decade (and at that time, I was dealing with personal tragedy and melted away to nothing). I am intentionally staying at my “high weight” currently because of cancer treatments. 

As I see my own weight/health, weighing more would not benefit me. I could increase my weight if I tried, but it would happen by eating ice cream or empty carbs at night. I am also always alert to diabetes because of family history, so simple sugars are not a useful thing to increase. Cancer also loves sugar, too. 

 For me, personally, I don’t care what anybody else says about my weight/size, except maybe my doctor....maybe. I decided on this position years ago, because I clearly see how people can be. For some people, any thinness that is thinner than themselves is “too thin,” while any fatness fatter than themselves is “too fat.” As an ectomorphic person, I have been told a thousand times in my life that I am “too skinny/thin”. This is why I have my own definitions of where I want to be and how I want my body to be. Maybe this is not feasible for you, Night Elf, because your other challenges make it hard for you to trust your own definition of healthy weight. I don’t know. 

Actually, I don’t even know why those charts should be necessary for most people. It seems to me that mentally healthy people can assess for themselves if their weight/size is where they want. 

 

I think it's much trickier than this.  For one thing, most of the images women have in mind about correct weight are simply wrong.  You mention a protruding belly upthread - most women who have had kids and are in middle age will likely have a protruding belly if they are in healthy physical form.  The image women have of an attractive women is an extreme body type to begin with - and then most models are either very young and don't have their adult weight yet, or they are actually underweight, often due to disordered eating or drugs.  THat's what people are aiming for in their mind's eye, or many of them are.

The other problem is that once people have begun to eat in a disordered way, their body no longer behaves in the way a normal healthy body does.  They do not have normal hunger signals, in fact eating can make them feel physically ill.    There are significant chemical imbalances that develop, and this is why doctors or loved ones start to worry when they see certain patterns, it becomes a sort of feedback loop.  It's a very powerful combination of reinforcement because it is satisfying certain mental compulsions, and physical changes that make that feel right, and then society can give good feedback for weight loss and bad for gain.

One other thing is, I think we are really primed for this stuff because a lot of people are not actually eating in a natural way.  The kind of approach you are describing to me, of having a goal weight and changing diet, is really not a natural way to eat.  Counting calories, restricting food groups, all of this is evidence of a problem with food, in some cases by individual but in many on the level of a society.  You don't notice any of our relatives in the animal world eating in this way, but they aren't usually overweight unless they come to eat human food, or underweight unless they are starving or ill.

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