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Tuesday, December 20, 2005

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Comments

James

Wow, good post, v. relevant.

Tama

Josie, thanks for that very thoughtful post. You might be interested in the Retouch website which uses a simple Flash interface to show how very, very artificial the images in glossy mgazines are in relation to body images!

Emma

Very relevant ... thanks.

Rob Wall

Wow - this is scary stuff. I work with adolescents, and I've known some students who've fallen into this mind trap about body image - it is very scary to watch someone from the outside, and I'm sure that it is just as scary for the people on the inside of the trap.

I have a 5 year old daughter. She is not and never will live up to the idealized body image (at least not the stick-thin supermodel look) as perpretated by media. Of all the things that she might run into on the internet, this scares me the most. This is also why she will never have a computer in her bedroom where I can't be there when she is online.

You're right, Josie. We need to be talking about this a lot more. And I'm going to show the retouch website to the media studies teacher at my school - thanks for that link, Tama.

chem

Just started low-carb and did a quick blogring search on Xanga to see if I could find some other people into the same thing... I was also shocked by the number of young girls (they seem to be the majority into this sort of thing) starving themselves in an effort to reach an unhealthy weight. "I ate a muffin yesterday and now I feel so fat and ugly". Scary that these girls think like this, even scarier that no adults in their lives seem to notice, and their friends aren't concerned enough (if they do notice) to try to do anything to help them. (I guess a lot of them are pretty crafty at making it seem like they're eating more than they really are.)

By the way, came across this site when I Googled "ana mia" (fifth result listed). I thought Ana Mia was actually a person, the way these girls talked about it.

chole

This is extremely sad, you poor people need help. You have such a warped view of yourself and of life. So obsessed with only you,so self absorbed, life isnt only about you and your looks. Can you think about something else besides appearances? People look and think your sick, or that you've got AIDS, they dont envy you, or think your pretty, they pitty you. And you should be pittied, and get professional help.

Josie

I don’t have an eating disorder, but probably like the majority of women in the western world I've had an adolescence and adulthood permeated by these kinds of issues and anxieties. I don't think it's helpful to regard these blog sites or eating disorders as individual problems of self obsession - I really see these girls and women existing (rather miserably, but then, for some people staying alive is a daily triumph) on the social continuums of conformity and heterosexism - about women's value being in how they appear rather than what they think and do, and normative judgements about how women are supposed to look. It's hard not to see their hyper conformity as some kind of protest, however futile and self-destructive.

So my pretty clumsy post is kind of about the intersection of what the internet enables - maybe it is better to be encouraged and accepted by your peers, rather than just suffer in isolation - I'm certainly not going to be the kind of person who judges that - but at the same time, blog communities are valuable precisely because they are effective at not just reflecting identity and identification, but reinforcing and recasting them as well.

One point to remember is that these blog rings certainly do foster recovery stories, support and information. Looking through any random selection of posts, you can almost certainly also find defiant posts from women fighting eating disorders, along with some pretty astute social commentary, argument and analysis of ana/mia communities.


hana gallichan

i had annorexia when i was 15.went down to 7 stone and my periods stopped.im now 20 years old and a healthy weight of 10 stone.im atually 5 months pregnant, but terrified of putting on anymore weight.any advice?

Josie Fraser

Well done for all you've acheived so far, and congratulations on your pregnancy!

I'm not a medical professional or a specialist in eating disorders, but you may find the following information useful. The most important thing is to make sure you have a good support network in place during and after the pregnancy, and that the professionals involved in your care know about previous problems with eating.

The American Pregnancy Association offers the following guidelines:

http://www.americanpregnancy.org/pregnancyhealth/eatingdisorders.html

Prior to Pregnancy:

Achieve and maintain a normal and healthy weight

Avoid purging activities

Consult your physician and receive a medical check up

Meet with a nutritionist and start a healthy pregnancy diet supplementing with prenatal vitamins

Seek counseling to address your eating disorder and any underlying concerns;
seek both individual and group therapy

During Pregnancy:

Seek a prenatal visit early in your pregnancy and inform your doctor that you have been struggling with an eating disorder

Achieving normal weight gain is essential; the closer you are to normal weight, the better the chance of having a healthy baby

Eating a well-balance meal with all the appropriate nutrients is a necessity

Avoid purging activities

Seek counseling to address your eating disorder and any underlying concerns; seek both individual and group therapy

After Pregnancy:

The physical and emotional changes of pregnancy may trigger depression and/or a relapse of eating disorder symptoms

You are more susceptible to postpartum depression

Continue counseling through individual and group sessions

Inform your safe network (doctor, spouse, and friends) of your eating disorder and the increased risk of postpartum depression; ask them to look out for you. (Ideally, they will know of your disorder before the baby is delivered.)

Eating disorder behaviors can hamper your breastfeeding efforts, so don't allow yourself to fall back into unhealthy patterns.

Additional resources:

Anorexia: Can you recover from it? Audio file from BBC Radio 4 Women's Hour
http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/womanshour/2005_37_wed_02.shtml

Eating Disorder's section from BBC's Womens' Health series
http://www.bbc.co.uk/health/womens_health/mind_eatingdisorders.shtml

USA: National Eating Disorders Association
http://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org

UK: Eating Disorders Association
http://www.edauk.com/

National Centre for Eating Disorders
http://www.eating-disorders.org.uk/

Canada:National Eating Disorder Information Centre
http://www.nedic.ca/index.shtml

Australia: Eating Disorders Foundation
http://www.eatingdisorders.org.au/

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