Could I have an Eating Disorder? Women Over 50

I originally posted this on my Niume.com blog (now edited) and received the most readers of any of my posts (4.4K).  Eating disorders may occur at any age, and it’s awfully difficult to accept when you are middle-aged and over 50+.

Two years ago, I was 58 years old and struggled with an eating disorder called anorexia.  That was extremely outrageous to me recalling a time when I had ballooned to a whopping 285 lbs.

During the late 1990’s I had been hospitalized too many times for major depression and on a cocktail of too many medications.  Countless meds with their side effects increased my weight, and the heaviness remained that way for many years.  But, before the gallbladder illness in November 2012, I had slimmed down to 185 lbs.

Yes, the gallbladder fiasco. Long story short, surgeons operated twice to finally remove this painfully unusable organ, and throughout this time,  my diet was:  “No fried food and no rich desserts or you will irritate your gallbladder.”

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BINGE EATING DISORDER ~ Different from Anorexia and Bulimia

binge eating

I was searching for information on bingeing and came across this article on (News-Medical.net), where they wrote that binge eating disorder is different from anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa.

It was stated that food addiction is not yet recognized as a mental disorder but certain obese individuals clearly display addictive-like behavior towards food.  To achieve a formal diagnostic status, ‘food addiction’ requires a stronger evidence base to support the claim that certain ingredients have addictive properties identical to addictive drugs of abuse.  This topic is up for debate in the session, ‘Binge eating obesity is a food addiction’.

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NIGHT EATING DISORDER

A fairly rare eating disorder whose signature is excessive eating – though not necessarily bingeing – at night needs further study since it may signal other mental health issues, researchers say.

They analyzed eating disorders and mental health history in more than 1,600 university students and found about 4 percent met night eating disorder criteria, with about a third of those also engaging in binge eating.

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Why Was I A Disappointment?

Image source: differentdream.com

WHY WAS I A DISAPPOINTMENT?

why was I such a big disappointment
and what age did you start loathing me
your son wasn’t treated like that
and I tried everything in me to please

the sexual abuse wasn’t my fault
yet you made it and believed it to be
to save face in the neighborhood was so important
keeping the secret didn’t destroy you as it did me

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Obesity & Bipolar Disorder

This article was on PsychCentral.com. 

If you’re like half the population of the United States, you’ve been worried about your weight at some point recently. That stands to reason as 39% of adults in the U.S. are overweight and 13% are obese. I am one of those people. In fact, when I came across the research on bipolar disorder and obesity, I didn’t want to write about it. It’s too personal.

I spend a lot of time worried about my weight. It’s not just vanity. Let’s be real, vanity is at least one factor for most of us who want to lose weight. I tell myself that if I were thinner people would respect me more, that my weight makes them think I have no self-control or self-worth. Well, the latter happens to be true sometimes because I have bipolar disorder; so there’s that. My focus is also on my health. I just want to feel better overall.

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Women ~ We criticize ourselves 8 times per day? Why?

Health experts warn of dangerous trend as survey finds women self-criticise eight times a day

I’m guilty of this, perhaps not to the degree of eight times per day, but more than I would like.  When my eating disorder was at its worse a few years ago, I was fanatical with my body image, pausing in front of store windows, any type of mirror accessible, weighing myself two or three times per day.  I knew this wasn’t normal, but I was ill and anorexic.

While focusing on my body image at the Eating Disorder Program, I became more mindful about why this obsession was so essential to me, who was I striving to please and was I more contented now that I dropped all of the weight? 

No, I was fucking miserable now! Thinner, yet depressed. Who was I trying to please? My mother ~ I could never have pleased her anyways.  It was an eye-opener, yet it has taken years and I’m still in therapy trying to deal with the impact of her harsh abuse.  I have recovered from the eating disorder, yet I still have setbacks with “looking fat” and glancing in mirrors, but less often.  The lack of self-confidence/self-esteem I still struggle with and it still follows me.

An article appearing on News.com.au written by Sophie Aubrey, (News Corp Australia Network) writes:

HEALTH experts warn women’s impulse to criticise their own bodies is dangerously intensifying after a new study found the average woman puts herself down at least eight times each day.

Social media has been blamed for driving a widespread increase in self-judgment as the survey of 2000 British women revealed one in seven were slagging themselves off frequently through the day. And many are berating themselves first thing in the morning, with half of those quizzed confessing to doing so by 9.30am.

Criticisms around appearance and weight are most prevalent, encompassing 13 of the 20 most common put-downs in the Weight Watchers study.

Being negative about one’s earnings, creativity and organisation skills, as well as deflecting compliments, also made the list.

Sydney psychologist and founder of Treat Yourself Well Louise Adams said women’s dissatisfaction with their looks acted like a constant nagging voice “from the minute they open our eyes and think about what they’re going to wear”. To make matters worse, most women were not even aware they were thinking such damaging thoughts, Ms Adams said.

“Lots of my clients are really familiar (with the narrative) but had never thought of it as self-judgment. They thought of it as the truth, and that’s really scary,” she said.

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EATING DISORDERS: CHEWING AND SPITTING

When I had my assessment for the Eating Disorders Program, I was asked do you ‘chew and spit’ your food?”.  I considered this an odd question, answered NO, yet after researching I came to realize that is a serious ‘eating behavior’.

On Scienceofeds.org they describe the behavior and provide comments to their article.  A TV programme had an entire program dedicated to this eating behavior.

Related Articles:

Chewing and spitting: an eating disorder of its own (Examiner.com)

The Silent Secret Eating Disorder – Chew and Spit (Anorexic to Athletic)

Obesity & Bipolar Disorder

This article was on PsychCentral.com via Twitter this morning:

If you’re like half the population of the United States, you’ve been worried about your weight at some point recently. That stands to reason as 39% of adults in the U.S. are overweight and 13% are obese. I am one of those people. In fact, when I came across the research on bipolar disorder and obesity, I didn’t want to write about it. It’s too personal.

I spend a lot of time worried about my weight. It’s not just vanity. Let’s be real, vanity is at least one factor for most of us who want to lose weight. I tell myself that if I were thinner people would respect me more, that my weight makes them think I have no self-control or self-worth. Well, the latter happens to be true sometimes because I have bipolar disorder; so there’s that. My focus is also on my health. I just want to feel better overall.

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Eating Disorders: Would you restrict food for this meal, just to be a model?

THIS POST WAS NOT INTENDED AS A JOKE.  My purpose was to show what lengths women will go, starving themselves, just to be a model.  Eating disorders such as anorexia are a slow way to death.

Who’s perfect?

I posted this fantastic video last year, and it’s one of my favorites.  Hope you will view it until the very end; it really sends a message. It brought tears to my eyes, yet huge smiles at the end when the models saw and were proud of their mannequin image.  We are all precious human beings despite our body image.   And who’s perfect?

Would you choose Beautiful?

This is another Dove PR experiment to observe how women see themselves.  What door would you choose – honestly?  Would you feel embarrassed choosing the door “beautiful” in front of other people, or do you honestly feel that door reflects you?  Why do you think most people have chosen ‘average’?

Work burnout tied to “Emotional Eating” in women

Women who are fed up with their jobs may be more likely to turn to food for comfort in times of stress, according to a Finnish study.   The study, reported in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, found that those who reported work burnout were also more likely to have a habit of “emotional” eating, or eating when stressed, anxious or down, rather than just hungry.

What’s more, they were more prone to “uncontrolled” eating — the feeling that you’re always hungry or can’t stop eating until all the food’s gone.

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Perfectionism

I strived to be a perfectionist.  In my career, I was thorough and dependable with a very strong work ethic.   I seethed inside watching some of my colleagues leisurely stroll into work at 8:02 a.m., late as usual, while forever giving a feeble excuse for their tardiness.  I was always early; how dare they not be on time for work.

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Anorexia: not a body type

Recollecting this time last year when I was diagnosed as anorexic; I definitlely didn’t look anorexic.  However, at the Eating Disorder Program,  the pdoc said “you don’t have to look anorexic, to be diagnosed as anorexic”.  She went on to explain, “Some people are very depressed, but you wouldn’t know it, because they don’t “look” depressed”.

Obesity: Considered a Disability in Europe

(Reuters) – December 18, 2014 – Europe’s top court ruled on Thursday that obese people can be considered as disabled, but stopped short of saying that obesity was a condition that needed specific protection under European anti-discrimination laws.

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Eating Disorders: Anorexia: Not eating? What’s the problem….

I used to think like that in my very, very obese days.  You would see women under 100 lbs, unwell, thin as a stick, in hospital, their parents troubled, and question, why don’t they just eat, what’s the problem, it doesn’t make sense and so simple to solve?  Eating Disorders, anorexia, bulimia and there are others.

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Who’s perfect?

I viewed this fantastic video while at the Eating Disorder programme and just wanted to share it.  It brought tears to my eyes, yet huge smiles at the end when the models saw and were proud of their mannequin image.  We are all human beings despite our body image.

This “Everything Happens for a Reason” crap

I think about this statement often and it pisses me to no end.  What precisely does it mean, and why do people say it?  Does it mean when there is a world disaster, a school shooting, childhood sexual abuse, serial murderers and rapists, riots, war veterans killed or any other horrible occurrence, it happened for a reason?  Please explain.

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One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

Deciding to leave the eating disorder programme was the correct decision, and at the time I felt optimistic, however things have gone a tad sour.  I haven’t been on my blog much, for this has been the reason.

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EATING DISORDERS: ENDING THE PROGRAMME

I gave it my all, however, I ‘threw in the towel’ so to speak at the 4th week point of the 12 week Day Eating Disorder Treatment Programme.  It was demanding and rough on this old gal, a true commitment and not for the weak.

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Anorexia: Day Treatment

 

As you’ve perhaps noticed, I haven’t posted much on my blog lately.   The Eating Disorder Program is consuming most of my time and the next step is the Day Treatment Program entailing an intense 12 weeks as I really begin my recovery from this ED crap.  I have decided to go the inpatient route and move in next week, so my blog will be on “suspend” for awhile.   They do have computer access, however, posting from somewhere other than home I may find difficult but will still be able to keep in contact.  Till then…

 

~~Deb

 

 

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EATING DISORDERS: I GAVE AWAY MY SCALE

That’s right ~ my scale.  The metal thing, the one with the dial and numbers that has controlled my life for too long.

Didn’t seem to matter what the weather was, a beautiful warm sunny day, with the birds chirping outside, but that number shifting up instead of down sets the tone for the day and at times makes me believe I am  worthless and such a failure. I realize life shouldn’t be this way; yet it has been.

So this morning, as with every morning, I hopped on the scale and I was up 3 pounds.  I fell to my knees, so distraught and began to cry.  Then I thought, this is not the way to live.  Hubby just looked at me, and I said “hide this fucking thing, I don’t want to look at it anymore”.  And he did.

~~~ Deb

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EATING DISORDERS: Me and my Scale

I believe I have a love/hate relationship with my scale; sounds bizarre doesn’t it.  I depend on this ridiculous thing in the morning, which allows me to feel wonderful for the day or worthless and a failure.  I’d honestly wish to throw it out the window, yet I can’t, it’s become an addiction to weigh in every morning.  Mind-boggling how an object made of metal with a dial and numbers can take control of your life.

Still struggling with this eating disorder, and I suppose you could say…”You really have an eating disorder when your scale is…..”

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ANOREXIA: 1ST EATING DISORDER GROUP A DISASTER

After my diagnosis:  Anorexia, it was mandatory to attend four (2 hr.) Psych Eating Disorder groups to proceed with the program. The first group was a disaster.

Eight people were seated in a circle. (This was the group?  All young girls?).  First off, no one except me was over 20 and here I am in my late 50’s’; I felt awkward to say the least, also, each one was ‘pencil thin’.  Me, the fattest (140 lbs.), and sensing everyone thinking, “why is she here?”

I recognize this is an ED group, and do recall the intake interview phrase “you don’t have to look anorexic to have anorexia” however, it made it unpleasant.  I just couldn’t concentrate on the group’s subject: nutrition.

At break time, I conveyed my feelings to the group leader who said she would try and place me in another four week group with people around my own age.  I chose not to remain for the next hour and went home.

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‘Recovering , anorexia is like losing a lover’

A very profound statement and one that instantly caught my eye.

Telegraph.co.UK, reports on Caroline Horton, whose powerful play is currently touring theatres and schools throughout the UK.

She isn’t afraid to confront the aspects of anorexia and plays Josephine, in her semi-autobiographical play “Mess”, which centers around battling anorexia.

“The illness is so good at being hushed up. The people look fragile; everyone is terrified of them getting worse, terrified of them dying, desperate to say the wrong thing, desperate to help, so we all tiptoe around it.”

Catch the full story here written by reporter Alice Vincent.