A Weighty Issue

Obsty

copyright © 2009 Betsy L. Angert.  BeThink.org

On February 15th, Barry boarded the plane.  He was deep in thought and noticed few of the people around him.  The prior evening had been exceptional.  This sensitive man celebrated Valentine’s Day with friends, with family, and best of all with himself, a person he had grown to love and respect, an individual he barely knew for all of his life, himself.  

More recently, Barry had become a more balanced individual.  He is now constantly on the move, not merely in a physical sense, but in a more real manner.  The successful businessman, the sensational father, the phenomenal friend, the scholar who climbed the career ladder well, in the not so distant past, never felt truly fulfilled.  Now, he thought of himself as a work in progress, a being who has transitioned beyond his wildest dreams.  Yet, he trusted there were still many roads to travel.  He wondered; would he make it.  On this day, unbeknownst to him, Barry would find his answer.  Yet, he would also be prompted to ask more questions.

Before the plane left the gate, Barry marveled; he had grown, and not in width.  No longer was his priority to please others, even at his own expense.  Barry believes now, as he always did.  It is best never to cause harm, not to others or to himself.  Self-sacrifice was once the way Barry barricaded himself.  He hid his emotions, his feelings, in truth, his fears.  When with others, he acted as though he was empathetic.  The people pleaser wanted to be identified as benevolent.  In a desire to avoid more authentic associations, Barry binged on food.  Early in his life, he grew fat.  Better to blame his weight for what he could not do, then place the onus on others.

As he approached the plank, Barry became aware of those near him.  He began to ponder the persons in his presence.  He observed, in appearance, many of the passengers, were as he once was. Only two short years ago, he was among them.  He was an obese American, one of the almost 90 million exceptionally overweight citizens.  Then, when he thought of his weight, and all the ill effects his bulk caused he felt hopeless. Over time Barry has lost most of his bulge, today he again felt the pain of excessive pounds.  The plane full of people was too heavy to fly out as scheduled.  The weight of the aircraft dictated a necessary change.  

The flight pattern would need to be altered.  Customarily, jets left to the East.  Aircraft passed over a power plant before the highest speed and preferred altitude was reached.  As a precautionary measure, a plane as heavy as the one Barry now sat on could not be allowed to soar low over an electrical grid.  Were the airbus to crash, surely, it would explode.  Sparks would set off fires.  Everyone on the plane would be killed.  Over the intercom, the pilot proclaimed, excessive weight could be a deadly issue.

The crew and air traffic controllers would do what was needed to ensure safe travel. The plump passengers would not be publicly embarrassed.  Nor would any commuter be forced to feel responsible for the situation.  No one person or his or her poundage would be singled out.  Politely, the pilot presented the problem and assured all abroad, he and the tower had taken great care to secure a suitable solution.  The plane would take an alternative route over water, and all would be well.

Barry reflected on what the aviators feared might be the future of those persons anxious to depart from south Florida.  He thought of how similar this situation was to his past.  The once rotund man understood.  In his own life, when he carried extra pounds, there was much he could not do safely.  Then, just as he did now, Barry accepted what was an awkward truth.

In the initial moments, while on the taxiway, Barry was patient.  He endured as he had for most of his years.  Adjustments would be made.  Hours later, he, and the others would move forward, albeit a little more slowly than they would have was the plane not redirected.  Barry and the more bulbous passengers were comforted by the care and attention to detail.  A safe runway for departure, given its current weight, was all those on the aircraft wanted.

Had the plane or more accurately the people on it, been a bit lighter the whole adjustment and delay would never have happened.  Nonetheless, what was, was, and that was alright for those aboard this plane, or at least it had been

Nearly forty minutes earlier, the formerly corpulent Barry was among the hordes of people who boarded the aircraft.  Barry noticed a family, or three persons familiar with each other, were as he once was.  Each weighed over 275 pounds.  He thought; “There but for the grace of G-d go I.”  Barry noticed others of various sizes and shapes, all large.  Yet, he thought nothing of their conditions or circumstances at the time they entered the plane.  He had other thoughts on his mind.  He wanted to return home.  Cuddle with the kitties.  Clean his house, Prepare for a busy workweek.  Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness were his only concern as the Valentine’s Day holiday week ended.

The more he had learned to accept himself as a unique and complete person, the less he allowed food sand drink to be his distraction.  He felt no need to dive into the free chips or cocktails the airlines offered.  Barry realized other sought solace in these complimentary sweets.

People seemed pacified by food and the opportunity for greater folly.  Funny, Barry thought, in the past, if a plane were stuck on the ground, during last night’s Valentine’s Day festivities, or on any other occasion he too would have ingested chocolates as he suspected most on this plane would do.  On a day devoted to travel, as this one was, or on an evening dedicated to love, as last night was, Barry, his beloved, or the big woman who sat beside him on a 737, might have exchanged, “Sweets for the sweet.”

Thoughts of his blood-sugar and the adult onset diabetes that became his life long ago would have been ignored. A meal, a chance to steal a bit of snack time, life might be an excuse to celebrate togetherness.  One little innocent confection could do no harm.

Not too long ago, Barry may have sipped an alcoholic nectar with those he cares for and who are fond of him.  Intoxicating beverages that build blubber certainly would have passed his lips.  He might have believed as many he knows still do.  People are less inhibited when drunk with delight.  Intimacy is more possible when the fruit from the vine imbibed.

Many courses of flavorful fattening foods, a meal fit for royalty, surely would have graced a Valentine’s Day table.  Today, on his tray table, condiments would have collected.  The best way to the heart is through the stomach.  The airlines knew that.  Perhaps, that is why the flight attendants walked through the cabin with baskets of peanuts and crackers.  No one would be upset by the delay if hunger was staved.  Surely, 24 months earlier, Barry would have been content to wait as long as the food kept coming.  He too might not have thought of a potential crash or the hazards of a weighty plane.  

Barry pondered.  Possibly, for most of this crowd on the plane, his past habits were their present reality.

Up until recently, Barry believed the pounds poured on to him as if by osmosis.   He did not deliberately seek out sweets, starches, or saturated fats.  They found him.  His refrigerator was full with what he saw in the markets.  Grocery stores were stocked with gooey goodies.  Restaurants served sumptuous delicacies.  Friends and family feasted upon fodder, all of it filling.  Wherever Barry went, it seemed he needed to only look at food, and the weight gain would follow.  

Today, while on an airplane immobilized by the load it carried, he thought of his earlier bulk and that of others.

Barry empathized.  He felt the pain of those who carry unwanted pounds.  He understood the challenges.  It is difficult to develop new habits or to think you can rise above the clouds when you are fat and forlorn.  Barry recalled how he had accepted much that was dealt to him when he was flabby.  What else could he do?  Not long ago, his options were limited, or so he believed.

With much encouragement from the one he shared his Valentine’s Day with this year, last year, and on the February 14th before that, he learned to believe in possibilities, in his own ability to eat, drink, and move through life differently.  His best friend had also faced weighty issues in her lifetime.  His life-partner’s lengthy struggle with food, folly, and an inability to move forward was one he witnessed firsthand.  Barry watched the woman he knew so well work through her inertia.  She languished, anguished, and ultimately left her hefty sense of helplessness behind.  Her efforts helped Barry to believe that his life could be better.

It was not so long ago, Barry began to exercise, to eat healthy foods, to free himself from the habits that hurt him.  Were he a plane, in the past, Barry’s weight would have grounded him.

Today, Barry knew he could not do as he had done years earlier.  He would not stay motionless.  Nor would he say nothing of the circumstances.  He would not resign himself as the load of commuters had.  He wondered whether his own history taught him that extra weight need not be a reality.  A heavier load need not be a burden to be endured.

Unlike the 100 plus others, who seemed settled with the fact that they could not leave the ground, at least not for another two hours, Barry was not.  Just as he had decided not to settle for a life in which he battled his bulge, Barry concluded he would speak to the Captain.  He would ask the pilot to invite ten to fifteen passengers to leave the aircraft.  If this number deplaned, the usual traffic pattern could be put in place.  The persons who remained on the vehicle could travel safely and in a timely manner.  Those who voluntarily exited would not only receive recompense, they would also be assured a safer travel on a lighter plane.

Once Barry voiced his willingness to make a change, to lighten the load, and to leave the aircraft, he was able to garner support from other travelers.  The pleased pilot said he would return to the terminal and allow the few to exit.  The crew was grateful for the diversion. They knew how the temperature and the tempers of those stuck on a plane, still, on the tarmac could rise.  The persons who stayed on the plane were elated.  Fat though most of these may have been, at least they would be able to move a bit more freely through the air with thanks to the benevolence of one who used to be as they were.

Barry pondered the parallels as he walked through the airport.  He had hours to wander and muse as he waited for the next flight.  Determined not to be idle; a circumstance he disdained since he lost his own excessive weight, Barry walked.  As he strolled, he realized he would need to find nourishment.  His breakfast would not hold him through the day and into the evening when he would again board a plane.

As he unsuccessfully searched for other than starchy, fatty, sugary foods in the airport, he became frustrated.  Barry realized there was not a restaurant in the building that carried healthy victuals.  He rented a handcart, placed his luggage on it, and briskly sauntered to another terminal.  He had time.  Besides, it was good to be able to move about and enjoy the sunlight.

As he ambled about, Barry thought of how obesity affects the life of a plane or person.  He saw the many who sat stationary in the terminal.  Most of these individuals were chubby just as those on the plane were.  Barry realized he had been so concerned with his own weight issues he had not noticed what now seemed obvious.  In America, overweight was the new normal.  This point became more real as a security guard approached him.

The officer told Barry he appeared suspicious.  Who was he to walk around the airport, to move about so freely?  People did not do that, not today, and certainly not in a terminal.  Barry shared the story of the plane too heavy to fly the normally prescribed route.  He explained it would be hours before he could board the next flight.  Barry said he last ate very early in the morning.  He was desirous of fruit, or some healthy food to eat.  The sentinel said, Barry was to do as the others, more weighty passengers had.  Sit.  Be still.  Pack on the pounds.  Build the bulge, and be satisfied with confections, soda filled with high fructose corn syrup, and starchy foods.  The security guard assured Barry, there was no fresh produce to be had on the premises.  “I have some Valentine’s Day candy,” the official said.  “Here, have a piece.”  Barry smiled.  He said, “No thank you.”  He walked on and wondered.  When is weight an issue for an individual, a culture, a country, or better still, why is it not?

References for a weighty reality . . .

How Did I Let This Happen?

copyright © 2008 Betsy L. Angert.  BeThink.org

As the calendar pages were torn away, with few left to view before the New Year, she would ask herself, “How did I let this happen?”  She knew.  Yet, she did not wish to speak to what had occurred.  It was easier, more socially acceptable to assume that she just overate.  Thus, she would look at her body and study the bulges.  There were more lumps and bumps than there had been before.  As the months passed, her bulk increased.  She could just as well have watched her frame dwindle to nothingness and asked the same question.  However, were she to be thinner the thought might not have occurred to her.  As many are, she would have been blissful to be skinny.  That definition was not hers to hold.  This woman was fat.  

Embarrassed, disappointed in herself, this daughter of Eve inquired of what, for all of her life, seemed to be the inevitable.  “How could I have let this happen again?”  She dieted in the past.  She did well, often.  During the lean times, the foods once inhaled and the drinks she imbibed were healthier.  Then, sooner, or later, she would return to her old habits.  Fodder for her was fun.  It filled her soul or seemed to for a while.

Frequently, as another year closed and the thoughts of what might be overwhelmed her she would evaluate her expanse.  Once more, the query gnawed at her very being.  “Why; why had she not maintained her healthy weight?”

The answer seemed obvious, at least to others.  She too accepted what most believed to be true.  She ate herself into oblivion.  Food was her addiction of choice.  She reflected on the past.  There it was, her problem.  It was easy to understand why she had developed as she had.

It began in November of another year, long ago.  Then, as now, it twas the season to be jolly.  Yet, for a person such as she, the winter solstice was a time of folly.  Whilst visions of sugarplums dance in the heads of children, as the holidays approach, she dreamt of deep dark chocolate, devils food cake, and a fudge so gooey it would give most a toothache with but a single bite.  Tasty temptations tantalize her, just as they did when she was a tot and a teen.

As an adult, she anticipates a table full of delicacies.  Days prior to the Thanksgiving feast, she begins to delight in reveries of turkey, dressing, potatoes, and pumpkin pie.  Peach cobbler, butter pecan ice cream, and the cashew nougat cookies, baked only in the months of November and December are never far from her mind.  The fantasies flow as she thinks of the foods she yearns for most fervently.  Oh, yes, family was part of the celebration.  Good times for all.  However, she did not savor the people in the same way she did the food.

Indeed, it seemed no matter her age, or the time of the year, this lovely lady thought fondly and frequently of what soon would enter her stomach.

It was during the holidays, decades ago, that she began her excursion, her entrée, into the world of wondrous carte du jour, and then, what occurred when more than enough was ingested.  A festival did not invite her or inspire her to overeat.  Banquet spreads did not, later, bring her to the prink of what would become her preferred habit,  binge and purge.  Daily delights were presented to her for as long as she could recall.  In her childhood home, menus were prepared a month before a meal.  

Mommy cooked, baked, broiled, boiled, and sautéed.  When no specific fodder was needed, ingredients for whatever one wanted were still available.  The pantry was always well-stocked.  She could have her fill, although she never was truly satiated.  No one would ever go hungry in her household.  Certainly, she would not.  Unless she chose to waste away, she could fill her face endlessly.

In her family, every day was a special occasion.  Food was a symbol, a celebration of life.  

If you felt, thought, did, or were alive, you ate.  The relations dined when they were gleeful.  They consumed chow rather than cry.  Sisters, father, and friends who visited chomped on candy, gobbled goodies, and snacked on syrupy noshes.  Hence, the hour when her personal travel first began was not an unusual one.  It was just another moment in a myriad of minutes filled with food.

On that winter day, her Mommy baked beautiful cookies.  The biscuits were large and soft.  The frosty centers were sweeter than the crusts, which were covered in confectioners sugar.  The flat crisp cakes were laid out to cool.  The young women came into the kitchen and saw a solution to what had never been a problem.  She would partake.  The particulars that preoccupied her mind would disappear.  After all, she had learned in childhood, food could cure what did or did not ail her.

Indeed, she was scared.  School was a source of stress.  A graduation date might be near; she wanted no more responsibility.  Relationships had realized a point of no return.  Talk of nuptials was more frequent, although she had no desire to wed.  Financial woes had become very real.  They did not exist in that second.  However, she feared, if she finished her education she would have to search for a job.  No, a vocation.  Those in her life did not expect her to secure a viable prospect.  Nor did they think she could not.  Acquaintances, associates, and close relatives were not concerned.  The pressure came from within her.  

In truth, she was not certain that her educational pursuits, for a supposed “chosen” profession were of interest to her.  The man she loved, while wondrous was not necessarily the person she wished to spend her life with.  No one was or would be.  After twenty-plus years of marriage, her parents divorced when she was young.  She did had no desire to chance that she might do the same.

While most would be excited by the probability of commencement, a career, and a wedding ceremony, she was not.  She was happy, sort of.  Life was good.  It truly was.  Nonetheless, important decisions, milestones, dominated her every thought.  Her very existence was overwhelmed with what might be.  A distraction would be welcome.  She indulged.  

For the next twenty-five years and three months, she swallowed and spit out quantities of food that could have fed hundreds, perhaps thousands of hungry people.  Sixteen hours a day could be consumed with consumption.  

Frenzied, poised, inspired, uninterested, enthusiastic, inert, empathetic, or numb all were reasons to relate to her best friend, food.  Many mused of her condition.  

Those who knew of her habit and persons who only observed that she was selective when she ate in public, supposed she was worried about her weight.  She did think about the pounds, slightly, although not obsessively.  Unlike friends who watched the scale and dieted.  She did neither.  A machine that calculates the body’s mass did not exist in her home.  

Over the course of her lifetime, she saw her shape shrink.  Just as quickly, it grew.  The pounds fell off.  They added up.  She never knew what might occur.  To think of her heaviness would be but an unpleasant burden.  She would rather enjoy herself.  Thus, she ate.

However, each day, as she filled her plates and her stomach, she realized she depleted her soul.  She was never able to avoid the truth.  While she might separate herself from the world, and steal a few moments away from worries, woes, and the world, she was not able to fully hide.  Never could she escape what really hurt her heart, herself.

For far more than one-hundred thousand plus hours of her life, she had to face herself in a manner that was weightier than most ever do.  Alone in a room with a stove and a sink, intentionally closed off from those who might care about her more than she cared for herself, this woman, who might have been labeled with any of many “eating disorders,” learned a lesson that she recalled as she read of Oprah Winfrey’s own recent realization.

Here’s another thing this past year has been trying to teach me: I don’t have a weight problem-I have a self-care problem that manifests through weight.  As my friend Marianne Williamson shared with me, “Your overweight self doesn’t stand before you craving food.  She’s craving love.”  Falling off the wagon isn’t a weight issue; it’s a love issue.

When I stop and ask myself, “What am I really hungry for?” the answer is always “I’m hungry for balance, I’m hungry to do something other than work.”  If you look at your overscheduled routine and realize, like I did, that you’re just going and going and that your work and obligations have become a substitute for life, then you have no one else to blame.  Only you can take the reins back.

The female who binged and purged for more than a quarter of a century, the one who starved herself in earlier times, and who, as a child accepted obesity as her path, the person whose story is shared in this treatise would say, “How true.”  She might also attest to her own awareness; “Be it a person who is a bulimic, an anorexic, or an individual self-described as “addicted” to food, the cuisine is not a cause for deep distress.  Nor is a thin or fat figure the consequence.”  Groceries are sought when the spirit of a being is sorrowful.

She learned, not sooner, but far later, superficially, anyone can appear to be joyous.  Many even believe they are, that is, except maybe when they are quiet and alone with only themselves.  Still, without a sense of inner serenity, a sanity that cannot be seen, a person will continue to be ravenous.  Oh, how she knew this to be true for herself.

The adage is, “Money does not buy happiness.”  It may also be said, a successful career cannot calm a craving.  Marriage will not alleviate an appetite.  A novelty, a nicety, a gem, or a grand gesture will not fill an emotional emptiness; nor will food.  She discovered for herself, as Oprah might contend, while all these are fine, they cannot replace an authentic fondness felt within.

In her own life, the former overeater, anorexic, and bulimic, the person who no longer stuffs her face, starves, or binges and purges, has faith.  She trusts Miss Winfrey will experience as she finally did; to taste the sweetness of a life in balance, and love in a way that is other than romantic whimsy, is far more sensational than food.

References and reality for many . . .

  • “How Did I Let This Happen Again?” By Oprah Winfrey.  O, The Oprah Magazine. January 2009
  • Bulimia; Science of the Holiday Season and Food

    copyright © 2007 Betsy L. Angert

    The holiday season is the best and worst of times.  It always was.  The food is phenomenal.  The feelings that fill a heart, mind, or is it my stomach can cause enormous misery.  For a person immersed in the rituals of bulimia the latter weeks of the year are better than all others.  Opportunities to indulge are ample during the holy days.  The selection of food fare is far superior.  Scientific research on food reaps ample rewards.  The secretive practice of self-imposed solitary confinement causes much angst, or could, if one were not able to find an escape in food.

    Fortunately, a bulimic can and does take flight.  She or he can sprint to the stores.  There selves are filled with cashew nougat cookies.  Boxes of these white wonders melted in her mouth.  Delicate doughy dinner rolls lined every end display.  These delicious buns were strategically placed in case a customer forgot to grab them when in the bread aisle.  Buns sold for pennies.  Christians, Jews, Gentiles, those who worship Jehovah, Muslims, Agnostics, Atheists, and more must love these doughy delights.  While stuffing was a staple, in the winter, the cost was nominal, and the supply was grand.  She could fill her shopping cart with boxes a plenty.

    In the dairy section, sweet and savory eggnog was available.  This liquid ambrosia did not appear before or after the national celebrations.  She could hardly wait for the New Year.  Grocers would reduce the price on this stock and she would buy all she could.  She would place the excess in the freezer and save these for another day.  As America celebrated, so too did she.  However, her festivity was a bit less conventional.

    She needed no lights, no tinsel, or tree.  A menorah, or a Kinara were not necessary.  An image of the crescent moon, or the five-pointed star, was not important parts of her ceremonial gala.  All she needed was food.  She no longer required family to enjoy.  Food was her kin, her kind of company.

    When Bethany was a child, Thanksgiving Day brought songs of the good cheer.  Merriment filled the house.  Mommy and the little lass would sing all the traditional carols.  Dradle, dradle, dradle, I made it out of clay.  O Tannenbaum, oh Christmas tree, Sleigh bells ring on a silent night.  As December 25th approached, the family dashed through the snow, roasted chestnuts, and pa rum pum pum pumed with the Little Drummer Boy.  Her Daddy said the gaiety made no sense to him.  Yet, he laughed aloud and reveled in the expressions of glee.  Daddy tried not to croon and carol; however, at times he joined in the caroling.

    Times were good.  The late November dinner was usually turkey.  Mashed potatoes and gravy made from scratch graced the table.  Home-baked breads also adorned the setting.  Daddy carved the meat with studied finesse.  Mom dished out the stuffing.  Homemade pies and cookies sat in wait.  There were many choices.  Mommy baked for days on end.  Lemon meringue was for Lisa.  Bethany preferred pecan pie.  Dad did not decide until he was ready for desert.  Would he dive into a traditional pumpkin pie or save that slice for another occasion?

    In her family, food was considered the means to celebrate life.  Mom, Lisa, and Bethany ate when they were happy, dined when they were sad.  Each of the ladies filled lonely days and nights with chow.  Fodder brought thought; it stimulated reflection.  Realizations occurred over a bowl of soup, cereal, salad, or stew.  Daddy was not as dependent on victuals.  However, Bethany’s first father was a glutton, for punishment and pleasure over a plate of steak, veal, lamb, or lobster.  That man customarily consumed as though there was no tomorrow.

    Bethany recalled every New Years Day, Michael sat on the bathroom floor slumped over the toilet bowl.  He puked and purged until he could do no more.  When his stomach was empty, then he would stop, only to await the time when he would fill up again.

    For Michael, bingeing and ridding himself of all he ingested was not habitual.  However, it occurred often enough.  The activity was a vivid memory for Bethany.  Perhaps she learned to adopt bulimic behaviors.  After all, aspects of the conduct were part of her experience.

    For her natural father Michael, life was an adventure.  He thought it fun to be spontaneous.  Bethany was more of a scientist just as her Grandfather had been and as her Dad trained her to be.  The little bit of a girl questioned everything.  Studious as she was she researched the minutia.  There was nothing in her life that did not involve great thought.

    When she first chose to relieve herself of food, it was a calculated decision.  Early one evening, during dinner Bethany ate so much.  After the meal she could barely move.  Consumed with a sense of discomfort she sought relief.  It occurred to her, if she simply flushed out the food, all would be well.  However, she discovered as all scientists do, it is never possible to truly control the environment, or the outcome of any experiment.  Indeed, in an investigation, what seemed a solution to a problem, could, and did control the researcher.

    Physiology and psychological components are more powerful than mere mortals might wish themselves to be.  Addictions may begin with a conscious decision as all actions do.  Nonetheless, there are forces that preclude logic and rational thinking.  The body is more than a reasonable brain.

    Quickly, what was meant to be a moment became a lifestyle.  Hence, Bethany concluded she must learn to cope.  To survive this young being would have to learn the science of intake and surrender.  She measured her moves.  What edibles went down smoothly, and which released themselves from the stomach walls smoothly.

    While cottage cheese is often considered the finest pabulum for those who wish to lose weight, for a bulimic, this provision is a nightmare.  The tiny curds stick to the innards.  The amount of acidic bile needed to breakdown this dairy product is ample.  It seems a single soul cannot produce enough enzymes to eliminate this compound within a reasonable amount of time.  Most cheeses clump once in the digestive system.  

    All through the holidays, cups of cheese spreads fill the grocers delicatessen cases.  Spreads are smooth to the taste, and smoother on the tongue as they slide in and out of the most central orifice.

    Milk will cuddle if it sits on the kitchen counter for too long.  It does the same if left for any length of time in the stomach.  Eggnog, however, glides through the system.  She knows not if the egg, sugar, or other additives make the difference.  Bethany only understands that this is a delight.

    Summer potato salads may be flavorful.  However, a boiled and particularly pulverized tuber does not travel as well as the mashed perennial plant does.  The moist breadcrumbs that we call stuffing are an interesting delicacy.  The ingredients within the mixture matter more than the actual entrée.

    Hard cookies can crumble into bits in the outside world.  They do the same once digested.  Miniscule particles spilled on the floor can be difficult to clean up.  When in the body cavity these small pieces scatter.  The fragments of food do not gather in as a group, and exit as one.  Flat crisp baked goods do not easily escape; yet, the holiday goodies cashew nuggets, goes down and comes up as a silk scarf might.

    Indeed, the holidays are wondrous.  The food is more fun than time with family might be, or so Bethany hoped as another year approached.  Sadly, in truth, during the winter solstice she felt more alone than she ever did.  No matter the trials and tribulations, the gift of a shared experience means more than any other event might.

    Science and food could not, did not, and would never suffice for what she sacrificed.  Those the little bit of a being was closest to were a greater source of solace than what she, a bulimic labeled nourishment.  Nature, in the form of ingested plant or animal products, does not nurture a starved soul.  A satiated stomach could not compare to a heart filled with joy.

    Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, a Joyous Kwanzaa, a regal Ramadan, none would be as long as Bethany remained bulimic.  If only emotions, epidemiology, and the effects of these could be as easily understood as the study of food.

    Overweight Children – Adults Face Widespread Stigma and Strain

    copyright © 2007 Betsy L. Angert

    In America and the European Union Overweight Kids Face [a] Widespread Stigma.  Only days ago, I contemplated this truth.  As I watched a family shop, I was struck.  She was young, perhaps ten years old.  She was very heavy.  I wondered how could one little girl carry so much weight on such a small frame. 

    The lass was sweet, quite petite, although clearly troubled.  She had been shopping with her Mom, her grandmother, and her younger brother.  From appearances, it seemed this family was in Target gathering wares for Grandmamma.  They did not give the impression of being poor; nor did they look to be wealthy.  They were average folks; they could have been you or me. 

    This family did not dress well.  Their clothes were clean, just not stylish.  Were this group more fashion conscious pants, shirts, and shoes would have been color-coordinated.  Patterns might have blended in a manner that was more appealing.  However, I guess they were comfortable in casual apparel.  After all, making purchases in a discount department store does not require a person to dress with finesse.  Simply covering your body is sufficient for such a chore.

    The family of four entered the checkout line.  I was standing behind them.  Their exchanges were pleasant.  The children each chose to purchase an item for themselves.  Grandmother and Mom paid for their goods, as did the boy.  Then the young woman did her transaction.  The cashier rang up the sale.  Dollars passed from one hand to another.  There was change.  The school age girl went to place her pennies, nickels, quarters, and dimes into her tiny purse.  A single nickel fell to the ground.  The coin made a sound as it plunked to the floor.  The girl heard the noise and saw the shiny nickel.

    She looked at the currency longingly.  Then, this lass turned and glanced at her family.  They were walking away.  Her brother, mother, and grandmother had not noticed what occurred.  The group was not far and yet, not near to the girl.  It would only take a moment to pick up the coin and move towards the others.  Pensively, the female child considered the nickel.  She looked down and then up and down again.  Finally, she fled in haste, leaving the lonely coin behind.  She never bothered to pick it up, although she did think too.

    It did not seem to me that this little lady thought a five-cent piece was not worth much.  From appearances, or perhaps I am projecting, recalling my own struggle with excessive weight, her greater concern was the effort involved in bending over to retrieve a small piece of anything.  I remember the days, and not too fondly.  My heart went out to this child.  There, but for the grace of G-d, go I.

    I am reminded of the time when I was obese, not pleasing plump, chubby, or fat; I was corpulent.  I grew into a size that was twice that of normal quickly.  I did not consume gross quantities of food.  The portions on my plate, or in hand were not large.  It was actually quite startling to see the weight pile on.  Pound after pound was added to my body mass.  There was no index to guide me.  Indeed, I was eating less than I had for years before this gain.

    However, my weight gain was not an anomaly.  For me, fighting with my body mass was normal.  My family was substantial mentally and physically.  Many of my relatives are big people, not tall, just wide.  The little girl and I seem to share a family shaping, or might I say out of shape.  Her mother and Grandmother were large.  Her brother was not as rotund; however, he seemed to be ready to tip the scale.

    In my family, some were fit.  My Grandpop walked for miles, each and every day.  He was active and agile; a  few relatives are.  However, it seems on average, the propensity toward plump was prominent in my world.  The younger generations in my own family might have mirrored their elders, or perhaps more accurately did as their parents had.  This is true in most families, even the thin ones.  However, patterns change.  In recent years, Americans are shorter and more stout.  For generations, Americans were taller than those in other nations; however, this is changing.

    [H]eight has been stagnating in the US for a decade, and Americans are now shorter on average than many Europeans, including not only the very tall Dutch and Scandinavians, but even the citizens of the former East Germany, see John Komlos and Marieluise Baur (2004).

    While Americans are not expanding upwards, they continue to expand outwards, and the average American, like the average Briton, is now heavier than the weight that would minimize mortality risk given average height.

    This is troubling for many reasons.  Not only is our health and life expectancy effected, so too is our income.  For years, Economists told us tall persons earn more money than the diminutive do.  An inch can increase your net worth by at least a thousand dollars per year.  However, recent research reveals the height you achieve in adulthood may not determine your income.  Stature may not be the key to financial success.

    Tall men who were short in high school earn like short men, while short men who were tall in high school earn like tall men.

    That pretty much rules out discrimination.  It’s hard to imagine how or why employers could discriminate in favor of past height.  If tall adolescents?even those who stop growing prematurely?grow up to be highly paid workers, it’s got to be because they’ve got some other trait that employers value.  [Nicola Persico, Andy Postlewaite, and Dan Silverman of the University of Pennsylvania] believe that trait is self-esteem.  Tall high-school kids learn to think of themselves as leaders, and that habit of thought persists even when the kids stop growing.

    If, during our younger years we do not think we are worthy, excellent, brilliant, or outstanding than likely we will not believe we are the best later in life.  Often, we trust we are admirable when others act as if we are. 

    For the fatter child, the need for approval weighs on their minds.  Much embarrassment is felt, and experienced early on.

    Overweight children are stigmatized by their peers as early as age 3 and even face bias from their parents and teachers, giving them a quality of life comparable to people with cancer, a new analysis concludes.

    At the age of two, nearly three, I recall sitting in the den with a ballpoint pen in hand.  I drew lines on my thighs designating exactly where I wanted the excess meat removed.  I do not recall being ridiculed at home; nor do I remember peers speaking of my weight. 

    I did attend summer camp at that age.  At two and one half years, I was the youngest camper.  Perhaps, being four years younger than all other campers had an effect on me.  Indeed, I was left out of much.  The counselors were not willing to teach me to swim.  My bunkmates did not wish to include me in games.  Being a person that loathes and avoids competition, and always did, I had no desire to participate.  I was somewhat sedentary. 

    Possibly the situation demanded it.  I could not go off and play on my own.  I needed to stay with the group.  Yet, I was separate.  I sat still for hours while my bunkmates engaged in recreational activities.  My situation, although different, mirrors much of what occurs today.

    Lack of exercise is a major factor in the growing problem of obesity, both for children and adults, according to Dennis Styne, a UC Davis Medical Center pediatric endocrinologist who is a recognized authority on issues of childhood obesity.  “Obesity has become a serious health risk in America, and it is reaching epidemic proportions, even in the pediatric population,” Styne says. “Close to 25 percent of America’s children and adolescents are now considered overweight, and the numbers are increasing.”

    I developed habits that hurt my already hurting heart.  The children ran, jumped, laughed, and enjoyed each other’s company.  I could not join in.  They thought me too young.  At an early age, my less active life took its toll.  The pounds piled on.  Later, as the years passed, I was just lethargic.

    They say obese children are victim to teasing, rejection, bullying, and other types of abuse because of their weight.  I was fortunate, I did not experience much, if any of this in my youth.  However, when I reached the age of sixteen, and added a few more pounds, a phrase was used by a loved one to describe me, “butterball.”  To this day, every year from Thanksgiving to Easter when the company with the same name advertises their turkeys, I cringe.

    “The stigmatization directed at obese children by their peers, parents, educators and others is pervasive and often unrelenting,” researchers with Yale University and the University of Hawaii at Manatoa wrote in the July issue of Psychological Bulletin.

    The paper was based on a review of all research on youth weight bias over the past 40 years, said lead author Rebecca M. Puhl of Yale’s Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity.

    Research determined the heavier child exposed to such pressure is two to three times more likely to report suicidal thoughts.  Frequently, the young and hefty suffer from other health issues.  High blood pressure and eating disorders are not uncommon.  Yikes, there I am.  I was anorexic, then bulimic.  My eating was out of order.

    I have long been certain that my bingeing and purging was not related to my weight.  Indeed, doing as I did, did not help me maintain a stable mass.  The process stressed my body and my mind.  Anorexia and bulimia are burdensome.  They are as obesity in many ways.  There is great shame associated with starving oneself.  Over-eating and puking do not leave one feeling proud.  People judge those that do not appear perfect or act in a manner that pleases others.  We all criticize ourselves.

    “The quality of life for kids who are obese is comparable to the quality of life of kids who have cancer,” Puhl said, citing one study.  “These kids are facing stigma from everywhere they look in society, whether it’s media, school or at home.”

    Even with a growing percentage of overweight people, the stigma shows no signs of subsiding, according to Puhl.  She said television and other media continue to reinforce negative stereotypes.

    “This is a form of bias that is very socially acceptable,” Puhl said.  “It is rarely challenged; it’s often ignored.”

    In a time when children are growing fatter, we can no longer avoid an issue that is pervasive.  We must consider that they way people treat us when we are young has an effect throughout our lives.  Height and weight evoke a response.  That reaction stays with us.  At a time when childhood obesity overwhelms the planet, we must consider the effect of this epidemic.

    By 2010, almost 50 percent of children in North America and 38 percent of children in the European Union will be overweight, the researchers said.

    While programs to prevent childhood obesity are growing, more efforts are needed to protect overweight children from abuse, Puhl said.

    At times, we as a society must shield children from those that love them most, us.  Sadly, parents, teachers, and friends do not realize how they hurt a fragile heart and soul.  Teasing is thought to be just in fun.  Expecting less of a fat child is considered realistic.  Reacting to personal guilt for not caring for a child as you thought best, in a moment, might seem reasonable.  However, the harm we do is immeasurable.  Children internalize their pain.

    A growing body of research shows that parents and educators are also biased against heavy children.  In a 1999 study of 115 middle and high school teachers, 20 percent said they believed obese people are untidy, less likely to succeed and more emotional.

    “Perhaps the most surprising source of weight stigma toward youths is parents,” the report says.

    Several studies showed that overweight girls got less college financial support from their parents than average weight girls.  Other studies showed teasing by parents was common.

    “It is possible that parents may take out their frustration, anger and guilt on their overweight child by adopting stigmatizing attitudes and behavior, such as making critical and negative comments toward their child,” the authors wrote, suggesting further research is needed.

    Lynn McAfee, 58, of Stowe, Pa., said that as an overweight child she faced troubles on all fronts.

    “It was constantly impressed upon me that I wasn’t going to get anywhere in the world if I was fat,” McAfee said. “You hear it so often, it becomes the truth.”

    Her mother, who also was overweight, offered to buy her a mink coat when she was 8 to try to get her to lose weight even though her family was poor.

    “I felt I was letting everybody down,” she said.

    Other children would try to run her down on bikes to see if she would bounce. She had a hard time getting on teams in the playground.

    “Teachers did not stand up for me when I was teased,” McAfee said.

    A study in 2003 found that obese children had much lower quality of life scores on issues such as health, emotional and social well-being, and school functioning.

    “An alarming finding of this research was that obese children had (quality of life) scores comparable with those of children with cancer,” the researchers reported.

    Sylvia Rimm, author of “Rescuing the Emotional Lives of Overweight Children,” said her surveys of more than 5,000 middle school children reached similar conclusions.

    “The overweight children felt less intelligent,” Rimm said.  “They felt less popular. They struggled from early on.  They feel they are a different species.”

    Fat children are distinct.  They stand out in a crowd.  Actually, in their own mind they are often larger than life.  I know I was.  I was so surprised years later when I saw photographs of myself as a camper.  I was not obese then.  I only thought I was.  For me, it was as Lynn McAfee stated, “You hear it so often; it becomes the truth.”  Even if the words were heard only in my head, they were repeated routinely.  The belief that I was fat became my reality.  In my teens I grew into the person I long thought I was.  I became obese.

    Anyone that has ever struggled with their weight knows, trying to take off a few pounds can be a challenge.  Eliminating the weight of years of mistreatment takes more effort than most can imagine.

    Heavy children are insulted, ignored, rejected, and ultimately resent themselves.  They misuse food.  The weighty wonders may not appear malnourished; however, they are.  The obese do not eat well.

    [P]oor nutrition remains an impediment to health in much of the world today, Much less obvious is the idea that nutritional deficits are an important part of the health story in the rich world today.  Yet there is a good deal of evidence, even?and in some cases particularly?in populations whose most obvious nutrition-related problem is obesity and over nutrition.

    Such mass consumption does not serve our children well.  Nor do our eating patterns benefit us as we age.

    “Obesity rates are increasing fastest among children, and they will carry obesity-related health risks throughout their lives,” Ludwig says.  “An adult who gains a pound or 2 a year through middle age will be at increased risk.  But that is much less dire than the overweight 4- to 6-year-old who gets diabetes at age 14 or 16 and has a heart attack before age 30.”

    Ludwig — director of the obesity program at Children’s Hospital, Boston — says the childhood obesity epidemic has three phases. The first came in the last decade, when child obesity became common but the public health effects weren’t yet felt. Phase two is right now, as we begin to see serious complications such as type 2 diabetes in very young people.  Phase three, Ludwig predicts, is coming soon.

    “But we still have a little time before these children become young adults with diabetes and start to have heart attacks, stroke, kidney failure, and increased mortality,” he says. “It is a massive tsunami headed for the United States. One can know it is coming. But if we wait until we see the ocean level rising over the shore, it will be too late to take action.”

    Sadly, some of those that were heavy as children are already adults.  Older persons, for the most part, do as they did in their childhood.  Even if individuals lose the “baby fat,” the feelings and ill effects associated with obesity often linger.  Lifestyle, habits, health problems are more difficult and daunting than poundage.  There are infinite influences on our body and mind.  The marketplace matters. 

    The advent of processed foods altered the physique and psyche.  Motor vehicles and machines have an effect,  A commuter and computer culture counts.  The number of calories we consume and do not burn off as earlier generations did effects our overall well-being.  There is ample cause for concern.

  • Poor nutrition and lack of physical activity are responsible for an estimated 300,000 to 600,000 preventable deaths each year.

  • An estimated one third of all cancers are attributable to poor nutrition, physical inactivity, and being overweight.
  • Today, we stunt our growth upward and expand our girth outward.  Perhaps, we need to advance our awareness for what motivates us.  Why do we torment the portly?  How easy it is to ridicule and judge.  Frequently, the tall, the thin, those that appear healthy blame the obviously wounded one.  These saintly souls think obesity is a choice.  People are not born fat.  Perchance that is, in part, true.

    It was once thought diabetes or the tendency for this illness was inherited; however, there is ample to reason to believe that is not always true.  Might we imagine that nothing occurs in isolation.  If we are to cure what ails us, we must be open to options that are not easily observed.

    Might we assess why those that gain so easily gravitate to food.  I believe for too long we have presumed the answers are simple.  It is often claimed obesity runs in families.  The genes prime the pump.  Numerous researchers prefer placing the blame on parents.  Habits are learned.  Mothers and fathers are our primary teachers.  Schools receive their fair share of culpability.  Surely if educational institutions supplied more nutritious fodder children would not eat as they do.  Restaurants, food manufacturers all can claim an ounce of responsibility. 

    We too bear a burden; each of us decides what we will eat and enjoy.  We believe we can easily forego exercise.  We all are as the little girl.  Bending down to pick up the nickel is not a simple task.  Our mind may wish to do what we think wise; yet our body says we cannot.  The two work in unison.

    I believe, too often we do not honor the mind body connection.  Possibly, we all are vulnerable to whatever affliction inhabits our bodies.  In recent years, we are realizing that many ailments, once thought to be the result of natural causes are related to diet.  What we eat has power; it effects the brain and bulk.  Might we consider victuals feed us in ways we rarely explore.

    To learn how to work with your appetite center, you must first understand it.  It’s time for you and your brain to become better acquainted.

    As soon as you bite into any food, sensory stimulation of nerve endings on the tongue leads to the release of a number of chemicals, including opioids, into the bloodstream.  You release more opioids — the body’s natural versions of drugs like morphine — when you consume foods high in sugar and fat, creating a powerful, neurochemical drive to overeat those foods. 

    These opioids and other chemicals enter the bloodstream and carry their messages to the hypothalamus, which sends out yet another set of chemicals to regulate appetite.  The more flavors your taste buds register, the more stimulated the hypothalamus becomes, releasing the hunger-promoting hormone neuropeptide Y.  When you taste a lot of flavors at once, the brain releases a lot of neuropeptide Y.

    Meanwhile, in response to the smell and taste of food, your stomach produces the hormone ghrelin, which also stimulates appetite.  It continues to produce this hormone until you eat enough food to literally fill your stomach and stretch the stomach wall.  Farther down the line, in your intestines, levels of several hormones rise to varying degrees — depending on the nature of your meal — either inducing more hunger or turning off hunger..

    Perchance, we might empathize with the chunky little lass.  She is you and me.  Might we consider that our culture provides us with foodfare that harms us.  Society teaches us habits that hurt us.  Some lessons are learned subliminally.  Others are fashioned at the dinner table.  Possibly, we all would be wise to teach and treat the children well.  If we do not attend to the biological, physiological, intellectual, and emotional needs of our progeny, they will suffer as will we all.  If one man, woman, or child is diminished, we all are.  Little girl, may I help you reach for more than a nickel.

    The thick of it . . .

  • Why We Overeat, By David L. Katz, MD, MPH, with Catherine S. Katz, PhD., Authors of The Flavor Point Diet: The Delicious, Breakthrough Plan to Turn Off Your Hunger and Lose the Weight for Good
  • Overweight Kids Face Widespread Stigma By John Christoffersen.  The Associated Press.  The Washington Post. Thursday, July 12, 2007; 3:54 AM
  • pdf Overweight Kids Face Widespread Stigma By John Christoffersen. The Associated Press.  The Washington Post. Thursday, July 12, 2007; 3:54 AM
  • Poor Nutrition and a Sedentary Lifestyle. The 21st Century Plague. 2001 Community Health Needs Assessment
  • The Great Escape: A Review Essay on Fogel’s The Escape from Hunger and Premature Death, 1700?2100.  By Angus Deaton. Princeton University. April 2005
  • Hey, Gorgeous, Here’s a Raise! As For You Fatties, We’re Cutting Your Salaries. By Steven E. Landsburg.  Slate. Monday, July 9, 2001, at 9:00 PM ET
  • Sedentary children Less active kids a weighty problem, UC Davis Health System. October 2000
  • Will Obesity Shorten the American Life Span? Study: without action on child obesity, U.S. life span to get shorter.  By Daniel J. DeNoon. WebMD Medical New. March 16, 2005
  • Bulimia. “Control,” Not the Means Nor the Mission [Chapter Seven]


    Carousel of Romance? Top Revolving Carousel Musical Globe

    Copyright © 2007 Betsy L. Angert

    She heard it said every time the topic was brought up.  The words flow from their mouths as the food did from hers.  Terminology spills into the sink of the uninformed and ignorant just as her fare did almost immediately after she swallowed it.  Resembling her refusal to digest what she ate, they reject what is offered to them.  Bulimics do not do as they do so that they might feel in control.  While marinating in a myriad of feelings and flavors, a binger that purges is not exerting his or her desire to control.  She cannot.  She knows this all too well. 

    In the same way an athlete understands, muscles have memory she recognizes a little practice goes a long way.  The first time might have been a choice.  The second was a consideration, followed quickly by an almost unexpected upheaval.  After that, there was no need for a prompt.  The cycle was complete.  She was on a carousel cemented in concrete.  She could not get off this ride.  Oh, how she tried.

    For her physiology, neurology, and biology were forces to be reckoned with.  Psychology played a part, particularly on that first day.  There were so many feelings she wanted to avoid.  That evening she stuffed her face, inhaled her meal.  Surely, food would relieve the pain. 

    Her stomach was bloated.  She felt sick.  Fingers were not necessary.  She just threw up.  After, she felt better, temporarily.  In those moments, she was not thinking ‘this would be gratifying or great.’  She only wanted the ache to end.  It did.  The throbbing in her head, her heart, and her body went away for an instant. 

    She could not and did not control the hurt coming on; certainly, she was not controlling its egress.  In actuality, the anguish only increased.  Her life became a series, a sequel of events, repeated over and over again.

    She awakes and thinks of food as she goes about the day.  Thankfully, since transitioning from anorexia to bulimia the thoughts are not as overwhelming.  Puking allows her to eat, and eat, and eat again and again.  Indeed, she has become an eating apparatus.  She consumes and is consumed. 

    Each day she must make time for her doings.  She purchases her provisions.  She buys enough to feed a few, perhaps, throngs of people.  Preparing the fare will be full-filling for as she cooks she chomps on those condiments that need no roasting, toasting, baking, boiling, or frying.  She controls nothing more than the temperature of the comestibles.

    However, much must be done before she can fully engage.  She has to drive or walk hauling her heavy load, pabulum for the voracious.  As she strolls or struggles to maneuver the curves on the road, she begins her antics.  Bananas are best for this part of the process.  Should there be an accident she will be less worried if only fruit sits in her stomach.  The long yellow crop exits the system easily.  Some foods do; others do not.

    Knowing what will settle in the belly too deeply to be retrieved and what is pliable enough to take leave on command is important.  A scientist such as she is never able to fully control the chaos that is life.  There is much to consider and manage.  She learned long ago, nothing is truly manageable.  Control is but a myth and she has no illusions.

    In those early days, she choose to chew nuts while in transit.  Cashews are beyond delicious.  Brazil nuts are not bad.  Peanuts are good-a plenty.  Nevertheless, she learned.  Too many of these, if the travel is long, or if the unexpected occurs, will not sit well.  She might worry.  Bulk gnaws at her.  What if she cannot relieve herself in time?  Besides, teeth crumble under the pressure.  This delicacy is too hard on the enamel.  After a fracture, a fissure, and the final falling out of dentine she forfeited the practice.

    Once home was in sight, the excitement increases.  Still there was much to do before she might genuinely begin.  The groceries needed to brought in.  Imagine taking bag after bag into the house, then the kitchen.  She is a clean person and prefers to avoid chaos at all costs.  The items must be put away.  Some went directly into the stomach.  Others filled cabinets. 

    The cupboards were never bare.  She back-stocked.  The idea of withdrawal, not having what she craved haunted her, even when not at home and not indulging or ingesting.  This young woman would never suffer; it was contrary to her every belief.  Yet, in truth she knew.  She was agonizing.  Nothing was in her control, not her thoughts, her actions, her feelings, and certainly, not her life.

    After all was ready for her attention, there was more to be done before she could focus.  She needed to dress in her throw-up clothes.  She had a full wardrobe just for this purpose.  As a fabric lost its resiliency, it was placed in an honored bin, a treasure trove.  Shirts, sweatshirts, shorts, tee shirts, and pantaloons graced her body before the ceremony began.  She cleaned these fibers each evening.  She is a traditional soul and cherishes rituals.

    Next, though she revels in sunshine and light, she needed to seal herself off from intruders.  She did not wish to be discovered.  Doors and windows were locked and sealed.  Drapes and shutters were closed.  Blankets, sheets, cardboard, and planks of wood were used to bar peekers from seeing beyond the shade.  She wanted no one to view what was within. 

    Heaven knows what others might think if they knew what was going on inside the house, in her mind, heart, body, or soul.  There are gaps between the wall and the window frame you know.  She must eliminate these, close herself off.  Try to control the uncontrollable, the unruly, herself, her life, her feelings, most importantly her hurt.

    That did not happen.  With each passing day, she was more distressed.  The agony deepened.  The doings had more power over her than she had over them.

    The only consolation was, bingeing and purging were far easier than not eating.  When she was an anorexic, she had less control or so it seemed.  Starving a body starves a mind.  Without nutrients or nourishment, growth and learning were less possible.  She loves learning.  She always has.

    The lesson she now  comprehends to her core is bulimia has nothing to do with a need to control or be in control.  There is in reality no such possibility.  Probabilities are chance.  Any scientist will tell you we can only control for what we can predict.  We can never fully understand the chaos of the universe.  She certainly did not grasp hers.  All that she was sure of was she was out of control.

    She recognizes that she has no power.  She tries to flee from her feelings.  That is her deepest desire.  Weight is not the issue.  It is a derivative, a diversion.  She longs to take flight.  At last, she is organized.  The great escape can begin!

    Weight. Balancing Fat with Feelings, Habits With Health

    copyright © 2006 Betsy L. Angert

    Today, I read “Vegetables of Mass Destruction – Obesity Redux” by OrangeClouds115.  The author wrote of food and how it affects us.  S/he spoke of obesity and whether this nation’s current crisis is due to genetics or is a result of marketing, manufacturing, or the manner in which the medical profession works with those afflicted.  This article offered an excellent assessment of a very sad situation.

    As did many, I commented in a place or two.  Then I stumbled on an observation by Rees Chapman.  This person’s remarks hit me where I lived, not in the Zone© by Dr. Barry Sears, as the writer mentioned, but in the zone.  My zone encompasses years of struggle, and an ultimate realization, a resolution.  Mine was not one of those you make on New Year’s Day; nor was it one that was left my the wayside.

    My resolve lingered; I think it will last for a lifetime.  Actually, I know it will.  In truth, I did not consciously choose to change the way I interacted with food; I did not think I could.  I committed to nothing, I only thought about it, as did Chapman.

    I wondered, how does the body store fat, react to self-imposed famine, and by extension to feasts.  I pondered this for years.  I took steps to heed my own warnings.  Still, while seeking success with food, I found none.  Instead, I continued to find solace in my habit, eating.  Nevertheless, when I read the remarks of Rees, I related.  The themes took me back.

    They resonated deep within my psyche.  Apparently, Rees Chapman is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist.  One might think it logical; the words of this professional would reverberate within me.  However, in truth, it was not what this writer said that stimulated this sharing; it was where the words took me. After reading, I reflected.  I decided to write this exposé.

    In my own battle with bulge, bulk, and bulimia, traditional therapy did not reap the results I craved.  Treatment did not curb my cycle; though it did form a foundation that was favorable, not with food, but with me, myself, and I.

    OrangeClouds115 wrote of the empathy she feels for those that watch their weight and explained that she cannot pretend to understand what it is like for those that do; however, I can.  I have been overweight, fat, and obese.  I have seen super skinny, slim, and slender.  My body has experienced zaftig, buff, and built.  All of these have been my reality over the years of my life.  I yo-yoed, was stable, and still I was not satisfied.

    I dieted; and I did not.  Anorexia was my companion; eventually bulimia became my friend.  We were best buds for a very long time. I was obsessed, and yet; I wanted none of it.  Finally, my feeling was, this is my life.  I resigned myself to what I do not seem able to control, my eating.

    In the last year or more, I wrote of this, six times thus far.  I offer these links.  Interestingly, until moments ago, I did as bulimics do; I hid the truth.  While my words are out there on the Internet for the world to see, until moments ago, I never included a category called “Bulimia” on my site.  Today, with thanks to OrangeClouds115 and her stimulating essay, that changed.

  • The Beginning. Bulimia and Becoming© [Chapter One]
  • Bulimia. A Bit Becomes a Binge © [Chapter Two]
  • Binges Build A Being, Separate From Self © [Chapter Three]
  • Hiding the Food. Hiding The Feelings, Hiding Me © [Chapter Four]
  • The Satiated Stomach. The Study Of Food [Chapter Five]
  • Bulimia. Wait! It is Not My Weight © [Chapter Six]

    On Be-Think, I wrote of food and all its follies, for I had experienced them first hand.  Since I am no longer consumed with my own consumption, I have time to notice what others think, say, do, feel and how they interact with their victuals.  In my earlier writings, I referenced an article on the affects of “Food on the Brain,” By Daniel Fisher, Forbes. January 10, 2005.

    This research piece offered an interesting perspective.  The affects of sugar and trans fatty acids can be as powerful and problematic as alcohol.  I never drank alcohol, not at any age and I was and am thankful for that.  Could you imagine where a choice such as that might have taken me?  I binged and purged on food, endlessly, for hours each day.  If indulged in wine or whiskey as I did with food, what would have become of me?

    A human can forego alcohol; however, food bears a different fascination.  We cannot go without sustenance.  I had to eat to survive and contrary to what some expert espouse, I had no desire to die.  Repeatedly, I wondered, “What am I to do?”  I was so entrenched in my habits.  I recognized the attraction was not purely physical, it was psychological.  Actually, that is what conventional science wants us to believe and I did, for a time, or tried to.  I was like many preoccupied with food, I tasted the basic ingredients, and I ignored the recipe.

    Thinking that the chefs or the clinicians knew what was wrong and what would help, I tried therapy.  I sought out the best of physicians, psychologists, and psychiatrists.  Medication was prescribed; however, it might as well have been a placebo.  The cost of the drug was far greater than the rewards.  The expense was huge; the benefits were nil.

    Attempts were made to curb my habit.  I tried, and tried, and cried in vain.  Interventions were attempted.  Tough love had its limits; behavior modifications had more.  Classic caring was helpful; however, it too was not the cure.

    As others do, I blame the food and beverage industries for much of this predicament.  I find the practices of the Food and Drug Administration deplorable.  I believe fast food corporations think more of capitalism than they do of health, food, or services.  Diet book publishers clearly want their pound of flesh.  Archer Daniels Midland the creator and among the many manufacturers of “high fructose corn syrup” must look at their role in America’s weight gain.  Nonetheless, I think these are not fully responsible for our obesity epidemic.

    Yes, there are the schools, the parents, and a term I disdain, “personal accountability” to consider.  Still, for me, these too only hint at what is the deeper problem.  There is the media, the message, and the masses.  We all want to mirror what society teaches us is ideal.  However, I think there is more.

    The physical, the psychological, the physiological, the neurological, chemical reactions, and sociological factors all play a role.  As I read most of the comments posed at Vegetables of Mass Destruction – Obesity Redux, I was overwhelmed.  Many mirrored a philosophy that permeates society, people want short-termed solutions.

    Some asked for recipes, others offered anecdotes.  Numerous persons sought solace at Weight Watchers; all were consumed with weight or the longing for less of it.

    As a former anorexic and bulimic, I was told I was too.  I was not.  I understand how on the surface it seems that way; it looked as though I wanted to be thin and would do anything to achieve that goal.  Nevertheless, I experience that weight was not my “issue.”  I wish it were that simple; I wish that anything were.  However, for me, the problem of obesity is not a weight issue, though it is weighty.  I think it is a question of balance.

    In this treatise, I will share some personal stories, I will, as I do, reference many articles.  However, on a subject such as this I think personal ponderings may be more meaningful.

    I will share my supposition before I plunge into the history of purging.  I have concluded that life is complex.  Eating habits are learned. functions in our families teach us.  Some may surmise it is the dysfunctions; however, I agree with Joe Ancis, The only normal people are the ones you don’t know very well.”  Therefore, no matter what your family history, it informs your life.  What your folks eat, cook, gobble, and crave helps you to form habits.

    These can be good and, or they can be deadly.  Society also leaves its trail.  Magazines, television, the Internet, and books help to mold “who” we are and who we will become.  The library within our homes is a fertile stomping ground.

    Our relationship with siblings can offer signals to the future.  Our connection to love and loved ones will influence our “destiny.”  In my family, food was a celebration of life; it was never mere nourishment.  When we were happy we ate.  When we were sad, we nibbled.  If we felt lonely, food was a friend.  If others were about, we gorged together.  Food was there through the good times and the bad.  Our cuisine was our comfort.

    Though my grandfather was a chemist and very interested in physiological reactions, he too was human.  He ate his flax seed and drank his Manhattans.  Life in my birth home was inconsistent, as far as food was concerned.

    My Mom was a gourmet cook and enjoyed cooking and baking more than many people do.  We would dine on such savory dishes; however, that was on special occasions.  Normally, life at the dinner table was erratic.  My father ate large steaks; they more than filled the plate.  I noticed this because I thought it disgusting.  I often begged for Chicken Pot Pie, Swanson’s?¢.  I have no idea what my mother or sisters ate.  I was too focused on my own plate.

    During those years, beginning when I was two years of age, I used to sit in the den, and draw on my legs, where I wanted the flesh cut.  I thought I was fat.  Perhaps, having two older sisters influenced my body image.  Possibly, not. when I was two, my sisters were seven and nine years old.  Maybe the media was to blame.

    Even then, I knew that if I lost that weight, I would still be dissatisfied.  I wanted a skeletal transplant, muscles included.  When I looked at the form of my bones and tissue I was displeased.  They were never right.

    Years later, my Mom remarried.  My Dad entered the scene and eating habits changed dramatically.  This was a shock to my system; however, I adjusted.  Now we were a family of connoisseurs.  My Mom had a calendar hanging in the kitchen.  At the beginning of the month, she would fill in the boxes for all thirty or thirty-one days.  She would describe our meals.  On Monday the 1st we might eat a Russian meal, on Tuesday, if could be Italian.  Wednesday dinner  she made a recipe from Germany; Thursday we ate Thai.  On Friday, she felt a need to make an Indian meal and on Saturday or Sunday, well, one never knew.

    We all ate together, we chatted intensely, and the fun filled the room, most of the time.  I hated tomatoes and my Mom grew these each year.  She counted each one she picked.  She kept track of these gems.  There were thousands, every years there were thousands.  My Dad insisted I eat these.  I rebelled.  Often, I ran away from home.  I refused to eat those tomatoes.

    I, as you, can go on about the food, the fabulous entrees, and the family events that surround these.  However, I will stop here and ask you this.  Is it what you eat that is the problem or is the reason you indulge playing a part in your weight?

    For me, I ate well and I did not.  My feelings often governed my choices.  The amount I ate was rarely tied to hunger.  Actually, until I stopped eating all packaged food I never really knew what hunger was.

    I was exposed to very different diets and patterns that bore no similarities.  What was the same was “I.” My life was in balance and out of sorts.  My food choices and the quantities I ate were as well.  Though I long prided myself on coming from a family that was consistent, at least after the second marriage, what was said was done, my habits were inconsistent with my beliefs.

    I believe in the importance of balance and in many parts of my life, I appeared stable and steady.  Surprisingly, I later discovered, few knew.  However, what was inside was not always reflected on the outside or in my choices.

    In both family circumstances, I had developed a love of sugar, trans-fatty acids, grains, and caffeine.  Whether I ate what is classically considered healthy or not, these were my staples.  I trust they would have been had I not chosen bulimia.  Fortunately, for me, my “condition” was so painful. I decided to do research.  I read, and read, and read.  I listened. I talked.  I had a Grandfather that knew chemistry.  He put me on a regime of vitamins and minerals, anything to preserve my health.

    I found friends in my doctors and they trusted my intelligence more than I.  They did what they could to compensate for my purging and knew that I would do more.  I chose to consider the cellular reactions.  I heard Nicholas Perricone and he reminded me of my Grandpop.  He spoke chemistry.  While I was unwilling to eat the wild salmon that he spoke of, since I have been a vegetarian since the age of sixteen, I was willing to make greater changes.

    After years of slow and subtle progressions, after doing a balancing act for so long, after adopting habits that might override my truer patterns, I changed.  Ultimately, my compensation became my routine.

    What I am saying to you is this.  No one can do it for you.  Food is only an aspect of what ails you.  You can read diets, copy recipes, blame the industries, or your ancestors.  Still, what will work for you, must be of your doing.  No one else’s solution will bring you happiness.

    Attend to the details.  Study the Glycemic index.  Eat what “feels good” to your body.  Experiment.  You might try eliminating certain foods and notice how your body reacts.  Tailor a plan that suits your needs.  You might be surprised.  The foods I was most enamored with and never thought I would leave behind, no longer interest me.  They have not for years!

    I do not salivate at the sight of any of the things I once inhaled.  I am not “white-knuckling” my routine.  I never crave candy, cookies, caffeine, or other “sinful” combinations.  I do not feel a need to turn to food for fulfillment, excitement, or joy.  Eating is still a thrill; yet, different.  I wish I could begin to describe what I now experience every minute. Actually, I will.

    I eat and enjoy.  It is not food that gratifies me; it is that I, as I whole, am happy with me.  I relish the food for the health it gives me; I love the way it tastes.  Food is not used to satiate my soul. it provides balance.  A healthy body breeds a healthy heart and mind.  A healthy heart  and mind begets a healthy body.

    For me, once I stopped eating any food that was pre-packaged, everything changed.  I could eat unbelievable quantities with no worry.  Food tasted so amazing.  Weight was not a worry. I realized I had never really known hunger before.  When people would say, “Eat when you are hungry,” I had no idea what they really meant.  I just ate.

    There were meal times.  People prepared for these, spoke of these, spent hours engaging in these.  Food is ubiquitous,  look around.  For years, I did not shop in a typical grocery store; I did not need to.  There was a small market that sold fresh fruits and vegetables daily where I lived.  Now, I live elsewhere and need to go into conventional grocery stores.  I am flabbergasted.  Eliminate the aisles of frozen, boxed, bottled, or canned food and see what is left, little.

    As I often say, we learn habits when we are very, very young before we realize there are other options.  If you worry about obesity, consider alternatives.  You need not do what others are doing.  Be you; seek balance, emotionally, physically, intellectually, and spiritually.  It might work wonders.

    A Few of The Zillions of References I might offer.  Please, Indulge and Enjoy.

  • UPDATE: What we risk for taste: Trans fats make fast foods delicious but dangerous, By John Fauber. Knight Ridder Tribune May 15, 2006
  • It’s your health, By Helen Bishop MacDonald. Chatelaine. June 2006
  • Food on the Brain, By Daniel Fisher. Forbes. January 10, 2005
  • Grassley renews calls for FDA reform, By Steve Mitchell. ScienceDaily November 18
  • Obesity: Should Food Industry Be Blamed? By Marc Morano. CNSNews.com February 26, 2002
  • The health effects of drinking soda – quotes from the experts, By Mike Adams. NewsTarget Network. January 08, 2005
  • Fast Food Nation. NewsHour. April 4, 2001
  • Top 8 Best Self-Help Nutrition Books About
  • The dangers of female athleticism, By Sarah Karnasiewicz Salon.com
  • Childhood Obesity. Adult On-Set Diabetes. Osteoporosis. Soda Betsy L. Angert. Be-Think
  • Fast Food is Not Fast, Betsy L. Angert. Be-Think
  • EAFUS: A Food Additive Database U. S. Food and Drug Administration. Center for Food Safety & Applied Nutrition. May 8, 2006
  • Food Additives and Preservatives Megaheart.com
  • Sweet but Not So Innocent? High-Fructose Corn Syrup May Act More Like Fat Than Sugar in the Body, By Sally Squires. Washington Post. Tuesday, March 11, 2003
  • History of Corn Refiners Association Member Companies
  • Farming Is Falling, Effecting Our Food and Families By Betsy L. Angert.  Be-Think
  • Glycemic Index – A new way of looking at carbs  Canadian Diabetes Association. Revised June 2005
  • American Obesity Association
  • Bulimia Nervosa Internet Mental Health
  • Anorexia Nervosa and Other Related Eating Disorders, Incorporated
  • The Official Website of the Glycemic Index and GI Database The University of Sydney
  • How can America end its obesity epidemic? Time Magazine
  • Fast Food, Fat Children CBS News. April 21, 2001
  • Overweight children and obese adults remain a major public health concern News-Medical.Net. Tuesday, 15-Jun-2004
  • Are you supersizing yourself with fast food? By Karen Collins, R.D., MSNBC. January 12, 2006
  • Site of anti-aging expert Nicholas Perricone, M.D. Dr. Perricone
  • Balancing Body Chemistry, By Dr H K Bakhru. PharmaBiz.com. Saturday, October 14, 2000
  • How To Use Fruits and Vegetables To Manage Your Weight Department of Health and Human Services Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • International Background on Food Ingredients Food Information Council.  May 2004

    Please peruse Chapters One through Six, if you choose.

  • The Beginning. Bulimia and Becoming© [Chapter One]
  • Bulimia. A Bit Becomes a Binge © [Chapter Two]
  • Binges Build A Being, Separate From Self © [Chapter Three]
  • Hiding the Food. Hiding The Feelings, Hiding Me © [Chapter Four]
  • The Satiated Stomach. The Study Of Food [Chapter Five]
  • Bulimia. Wait! It is Not My Weight © [Chapter Six]
  • Bulimia. Wait! It is Not My Weight [Chapter Six]

    copyright © 2005 Betsy L. Angert

    She has to admit it to herself; there is no denying it, she is “bulimic.”  What does that word really mean?

    She looks it up.  Merriam-Webster offers the etymology of the word “bulimia.”  The word bulimia comes the Greek word, “boulimia” meaning having “great hunger.” Apparently, according to the dictionary, a bulimic has an abnormal and constant craving for food.  That is interesting.  She does not “truly” crave food.  She is consuming ample quantities, quantities that are unimaginable.

    The food she eats in a single day could feed at least eleven adults.  If she “craved food,” would it not follow that eating would satisfy the hunger?  It did not. For food was never the longing.  Food fills the space, the time, and the mind. It was only as a distraction from what she truly craves, a sense of connection, knowledge, and dare she admit it, the yearnings for a sense of wholeness.  These scare her.

    The definition continues; bulimia is a serious eating disorder. “Disorder?”  What does that mean?  If “disorder” means there is a lack of “order,” a messy state of confusion, then she can agree with that.  However, interestingly enough, no one believes her confused.  Others do not see her as puzzled or perplexed.  People often state she has it all together.  At least, it seems so to them.  Yes, she knows what she wants and she asks for it.  She is well aware of her beliefs and opinions and offers these freely.  She is not baffled or bewildered; she seems so in control. Outwardly, she is, and inwardly she is not.

    Yes, she does do as the dictionary declares; she compulsively overeats.  She controls this, sort of. She does buy the food, inhale the provisions, and this pattern never stops.  She chooses it.  She reads on.  The characterization continues. Self-induced vomiting, laxative, or diuretic abuse follows this gorging. She knows that she does nothing to physically bring on the vomiting.  Her habitual well-trained thoughts prompt this action.

    Webster’s states, a bulimic will feel overwhelmed by guilt or depression and she does often feel beleaguered by the ways in which she spends her hours, days, and nights.  This cycle seems so out-of-control and that “reality” brings her down.  Consciously, she would wish to change it.  Intellectually she knows that engaging in these activities causes her such pain, greater pain than she ever felt before.  Yet, change is as all else, easier said then done.  How did this begin and why? She recalls the time and the place; yet, she does not fully understand why it all began, at least not yet.

    Many say that she does as she does, or more correctly, bulimics do as they do, for few know of what she is doing, because they are concerned about their weight.  This is not about weight.  Her weight is not more easily maintained by being bulimic.  Consider nothing more than the volumes of food she eats.  Consider chemistry, physiology, physics, and know that what we consume, eliminated or not, leaves remnants.  All that we engage in leaves a trail; when bulimic, there is a trail of destruction.

    She wants the destruction to end!  Therefore, she reads and researches.  She learns of muscle memory.  She learns of neurology and how behaviors become physical patterns etched into the brain.  She is experiencing these truths.  She surmises if she can stop for days, she can develop a new pattern, the old pattern.  She will be able to eat her food and digest it fully.  Not binging and purging will become her habit again.  It does not. She tries this many times and still . . .

    She wants so much to quit and yet, after so many attempts, she believes that she cannot change.  She continues trying regularly.  There are days and days when she is successful.  She suppresses the urge to purge.  However, on those days, as on every other, food in her belly brings on a seemingly involuntary response.  She can control it for a time.  Nonetheless, ultimately, at some point, she does again flush out the fare, all that she can.

    Experts say, she has a choice; this habit is self-inflicted; she thinks it is and it is not.  They say it is about food; she knows this is not true.  It never was!  They say she does it because she wants to feel in control.  She has never felt so very out-of-control in her life!  Some experts profess that bulimia and anorexia are acts of defiance, indifference, and deep depression and yet, she never felt any of these.  There are those that profess to know that bulimics and anorexics are suicidal; they wish to die and this is their chosen method.

    While it is true she feels her body is dying slowly, death is not her desire; life is.

    She wants to embrace it; she wants joy to fill her void!  Yet, she feels as though, she thinks, this will never happen.  She is not worthy!

    She muses, if only she were a drinker.  According to Webster’s and other sources, bulimia “occurs chiefly in females.”  There is much debate about this and it may or may not be true.  However, she speculates.  What of men?  Do they not feel as she does? Do they frequently indulge in alcohol, binge drinking, because they experience as she does? This, however, is often done socially and considered acceptable.  If only she could do what is acceptable, proper, and appropriate.  She never has or does; She does not fit in once again.

    Her motivation does not even match the dictionary definition of a bulimic. Nor the conventional wisdom and yet, she is a bulimic!

    Please peruse Chapters One through Six, if you choose.

  • The Beginning. Bulimia and Becoming [Chapter One]
  • Bulimia. A Bit Becomes a Binge [Chapter Two]
  • Binges Build A Being, Separate From Self [Chapter Three]
  • Hiding the Food. Hiding The Feelings, Hiding Me [Chapter Four]
  • The Satiated Stomach. The Study Of Food [Chapter Five]
  • Bulimia. Wait! It is Not My Weight [Chapter Six]
    Or Similar Discussions . . .

  • When Will I Be Right? Is It Ever Okay To Be Me?
  • Weight. Balancing Fat with Feelings, Habits With Health
  • The Satiated Stomach, The Study of Food © [Chapter Five]

    copyright © 2005 Betsy L. Angert

    She filled her home with food.  She shopped daily.  Her cupboards were full.  She back-stocked; yet, there was never enough.  What food would tickle her fancy?  Which delicacies would she desire most?  What might she indulge in and would these cause her stomach to bulge, even after she emptied it?

    She studied food, the way it sat in her stomach and the smoothness with which it came up.  Once downed, was she able to bring it all up again?  Would parts linger in her belly?  If the morsels did not come up in full, how long would they remain within?  Would she be able to rid herself of all the food or only portions?  What nutrients would be absorbed and what calories?

    One day she overheard a neighbor speak of bulimia.  Why was this woman discussing this?  The young lady mentioned that bulimics destroy their teeth.  Is that true?  Would she be different?

    She recalled how her habit had almost immediately affected her hair.  She once had very, very, very long hair; it was extremely thick and wavy.  A short time after she started satiating her stomach and then emptying it, she noticed that her hair changed.  It thinned.  It went straight.  She had always wanted thinner and straighter hair, though now that she had it, she realized that it was not as she preferred.  However, it was too late.  She was locked into this habit, or so it seemed.

    She wanted to stop and yet, she did not believe that she could.  She tried.  She cried, though rarely.  The best part of eating endlessly and then throwing-up was that it took time, a lot of time if it were to be done well.  She was a very thorough person; she would do it well.  This left little time for thinking.  Well, that had been her hope.

    It was not true.  She found herself bingeing and purging for hours.  Nonetheless, there was still time.  No matter how many moments were spent focusing on food, there was still time to think.  She thought.

    Initially, the process released her from feeling; however, ultimately, it left her feeling more, more cautious, more fearful, less fulfilled, and less perfect.  Knowing or thinking that she could not stop, oh, that was another feeling.  That feeling never seemed to fade.

    [Chapter Five in a Series.]

    Please peruse Chapters One through Six, if you choose.

  • The Beginning. Bulimia and Becoming [Chapter One]
  • Bulimia. A Bit Becomes a Binge [Chapter Two]
  • Binges Build A Being, Separate From Self [Chapter Three]
  • Hiding the Food. Hiding The Feelings, Hiding Me [Chapter Four]
  • The Satiated Stomach. The Study Of Food [Chapter Five]
  • Bulimia. Wait! It is Not My Weight [Chapter Six]
    Or Similar Discussions . . .

  • When Will I Be Right? Is It Ever Okay To Be Me?
  • Weight. Balancing Fat with Feelings, Habits With Health
  • Hiding the Food. Hiding The Feelings, Hiding Me [Chapter Four]

    copyright © 2005 Betsy L. Angert

    It began so innocently and it grew so rapidly.  It was a conscious decision in a moment and yet, I never thought that it would become a way of life.  I could not have anticipated what was to come.  Initially it took no effort.  It came so easily; actually, the food came up so easily, smoothly.  Morsels slid in and slid out.  Later, it was a chore, the chore of my life!

    No, vomiting was not difficult.  My throat had become an amusement park for food; however, I was not amused.  I did not want to share this adventure with friends, family, or acquaintances.  I wanted to hide.  I wanted to hide my food, my feelings; I wanted to hide “me!”

    I did not want anyone to know who I was, what I was feeling, or what I was doing.  I was a failure!!!!!  I was not pretty enough, smart enough, successful enough; I was not perfect!  Nonetheless, I survived.  Oh, there were those that said I was wonderful, saw me as smart, even brilliant.  Some believed me to be beautiful, however, they were not “I.”  They did not know the real me.

    They were not in my head, my heart, my body, or my soul and they did not know.  They did not know what I hid.  They could not; I was hiding that from myself.

    [Part Four in an Ongoing Series.]

    Please peruse Chapters One through Six, if you choose.

  • The Beginning. Bulimia and Becoming [Chapter One]
  • Bulimia. A Bit Becomes a Binge [Chapter Two]
  • Binges Build A Being, Separate From Self [Chapter Three]
  • Hiding the Food. Hiding The Feelings, Hiding Me [Chapter Four]
  • The Satiated Stomach. The Study Of Food [Chapter Five]
  • Bulimia. Wait! It is Not My Weight [Chapter Six]
    Or Similar Discussions . . .

  • When Will I Be Right? Is It Ever Okay To Be Me?
  • Weight. Balancing Fat with Feelings, Habits With Health
  • Bulimia. A Bit Becomes a Binge [Chapter Two]

    copyright © 2004 Betsy L. Angert

    Did she consider what she was creating, what would come of this moment?  Did she consider how a moment, frozen in the cold of the evening would become frozen in time and yet would begin the story of a bulimic?  Did she think through what she was doing or why?  Did she consider how this choice, this coming, this purging would effect her friends, her family, her life and her self?  How would she see herself from this moment on or would she ever be able to see herself again?

    Had she just separated the parts of her life?  Was she now the person that she presents to the public, to people that she passes, or was she now a different person, a person beginning on a path that she could not, would not wish to imagine?  Again she was haunted, although now more deeply, with the questions of “Who is she?”  “What would she become?” and now, there was the additional query, “What had she done?”

    At the time she did not consider what she had done, what she was doing, she just did it!  That evening, she continued walking to her class and indeed; she was so very separate from the whole scenario.  She did not give it a thought.  She, to this day, does not recall thinking of it in depth and detail for quite some time.  She was uncertain as to why she chose to continue doing as she did.  It did not give her pleasure, it did not feel good, and it did not bring her feelings of being better or furthering her desire for betterment.  She continued without conscious awareness for what she had done, for what she was doing, or for what was to come.

    She hesitated, or did she, on the next occasion, the time in which she partook of the same, eating and then throwing it up.  She no longer even thought of whether she felt full, uncomfortable in her clothing, or with her circumstances, she simply did, just as she had done earlier.  In retrospect, she cannot recall, did she throw up her next meal, did days go by, was it only hours?  All she knows is that it continued, endlessly, or so it seemed, for years, and years, and years. 

    How?  When?  Why, and would this process continue on, into infinity?  Once it began, it certainly seemed to.  She was out of control or was it that the cycle was out of control?  Was there a control, a cure, and a consequence for all that ailed her.  She did not know, nor did she even consider the possibilities, the probabilities, the precepts, or the parameters.  She blindly did as she did.  It began with a bit, a bite, and then it became a burgeoning binge, after binge, after binge.

    What was she doing and becoming and why?  Was she so willing to “perfect” this process?  Oh, yes, she was, and she did perfect it.  She began slowly, throwing up her food on the sly, gathering food, hiding food, and hiding what she was doing.  She hid from others, she hid from herself; she was hurting and hurting herself.

    [Chapter Two in a series]

    Please peruse Chapters One through Six, if you choose.

  • The Beginning. Bulimia and Becoming [Chapter One]
  • Bulimia. A Bit Becomes a Binge [Chapter Two]
  • Binges Build A Being, Separate From Self [Chapter Three]
  • Hiding the Food. Hiding The Feelings, Hiding Me [Chapter Four]
  • The Satiated Stomach. The Study Of Food [Chapter Five]
  • Bulimia. Wait! It is Not My Weight [Chapter Six]
    Or Similar Discussions . . .

  • When Will I Be Right? Is It Ever Okay To Be Me?
  • Weight. Balancing Fat with Feelings, Habits With Health