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Kaila always writes so eloquently, and this is a big piece I’m working on right now. Connection is hard in any context. One of my favorite Kaila quotes: “Other people can’t validate your existence, but they can enrich it”

In My Skinny Genes

Before I talk anymore about the calorie myth, I just want to take a brief second to talk about a recovery–and life tool–that has become really important in my life recently.

In fact, I think it might be the single most important tool I’ve discovered–more so than nutrition, fitness, and even therapy or program.

Connection.

ED (or disordered thinking in general) grows strongest when we disconnect from other people. ED loves to sit in your head and wait for the quiet moments to start playing the negative self-talk record on repeat. ED knows that the longer you obsess about your own self and body, the less you’ll be open to letting anyone else in–and then ED has you all to himself.

I have always been the quiet kid who preferred to isolate. I used to get sick to get out of going to sleepover parties with my girlfriends in elementary…

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Veritas Vos Liberabit

Meet my friend Jenn. Another blog worth reading.

thecomedyinbetween

Or, for those of you who don’t speak Latin, “The truth shall set you free.”

This is hopefully one of those times where that will be the case. Because I am taking a leap of faith by posting this on here. A BIG leap of faith.

Today is an anniversary for me. Exactly a year ago I walked out of the doors of the treatment centre where I had spent 3 months being treated for an eating disorder. For those of you who are reading this and don’t know me well, or who aren’t very familiar with eating disorders, you may be thinking a variety of thoughts, that may look a little something like this:

“But she’s never been really skinny…”

“But I’ve seen her eat all KINDS of food….”

“She doesn’t look like she has an eating disorder…..”

You aren’t alone in thinking these thoughts.

The thing with eating disorders, though…

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Fat Chat Is No Light Matter – Huffington Post

I read this and thought it was an interesting invitation to “check ourselves”. It’s not only parents who need to watch out, but everyone. Sometimes, those of us with eating disorders think that our diagnosis gives us licence to engage in fat talk any time, anywhere, without censoring ourselves, simply because we’re struggling. Not everyone signed up to support us, so we need to be careful who we infect with our fat talk. You never know how it will affect someone.

BodyHub

As an eating disorders therapist and woman who spent the majority of my life in the grip of a weight and food obsession, I walk around with my antennae tuned in to whatever might help me understand how we got ourselves into this mess. Obesity is now considered an epidemic. My young bulimic clients tell me, “Vomiting is no big deal.” Every day, people die from anorexia-related complications. And let’s face it, folks: Even many Americans of average weight are preoccupied with food and body image. Recently in a grocery store check-out line, I stood behind a 30-something mom and her little girl. The mother was chatting on her cell phone while the daughter was clinging to her mom’s leg with one hand and sucking on the thumb of the other. The mother’s side of the conversation went like this: “Oh, I was so bad yesterday! I had a whole…

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Eating Disorder Statistics

Eating Disorder Statistics

Things are getting worse. Use your voice now to make a change.

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May 1, 2012 · 10:09 PM

Dear Santa,

Hi there. I know it’s been roughly twenty years since I last wrote, but I had a 24-hour bug yesterday and watched a lot of Christmas movies on TV, so I’ve been feeling sentimental.

First of all, I want to thank you for last year’s presents. The clothing steamer and eye cream have both given me a relatively wrinkle-free year. Also, thanks for convincing the movie theatres to have a $5 showing of White Christmas on the big screen this year. It made me feel a whole lot better about Christmas, which I’d been contemplating avoiding like all other holidays this year.

This year, my list is a little different. My priorities have changed a lot this year as “living” and “being able to afford the basics” have been the things I’ve focused on most. I’m not an actor anymore, so an audition wardrobe and lessons and visits to the hair salon and good teeth are no longer basic necessities. Nowadays, all I need are clothes that fit, food, basic toiletries, home hair dye, and enough money for rent, loan payments, a monthly metropass, and visits to my therapist and  support groups etc. Oh, and yoga. Lululemon’s free classes are great, but there’s just something about a studio . . .

I’m not asking for handouts though, Santa. All I want is a job that will pay me enough that I can cover these things myself. So if you hear of anything, please let me know.

This year, I’ve learned that I value two things above all others. These two things can give anyone everything they need to change their life and strive for something better. The first is hope. Without hope, there’s no point in trying for anything better. You can’t see a way out of the place you’re stuck in because you can’t find the light. Even a pinprick of light can make the darkest corners of the world seem a little less grim. I found mine sitting in a room of women who refuse to give up, led by another woman who shines light on everyone she meets. It has made all the difference. Please put a little hope in the stocking of everyone you visit this year.

The second thing I value is a gift I received and did my best to give many times this year. Words of kindness are the greatest gift I have ever encountered. They have a strange power, and if you gather enough of them together, they can chip away at the hatred and doubt that grew from strategically spoken words of cruelty. Those are far too easy to find nowadays, and can do more damage than anything else I’ve found. Please help me remember to choose my words carefully this year, and treat others with kindness, whether I think they deserve it or not. I suppose that includes being kind to myself, Santa, because I’ve been pretty cruel to me.

The other things I want in my life I’m not going to ask you for. Yes, it would be nice to have everything handed to me, wrapped up in shiny paper, but that wouldn’t teach me anything. There’s a sense of pride and accomplishment that comes from working your hardest for the things you want and finally achieving them. Learning that I’m strong enough and capable enough to take care of myself is a hard battle, and it means that I can’t have everything I want right now, but someday that strength will mean more than, say, a vintage Kelly bag.

Thanks for reading my letter, Santa. I know I haven’t been entirely well-behaved this year, but I’m hoping you’ll accept my attempts to change as passage to the “nice” list.

Please say hello to your wife for me. I met her two years ago on my birthday at Disneyland, and she was so lovely and kind that it made me cry. Take good care of yourself, and the elves, and the reindeer. I don’t have a chimney where I’m living now, but I know you’ll be able to get in somehow. There’s no stocking up, but there are a couple of pairs of boots near my tiny Christmas tree that should be decent substitutes. I actually have both milk and cookies in my house this year, so feel free to help yourself.

Merry Christmas, Santa.

Lots of love, Kelly

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On Judging a Book By Its Cover

In the last post, I revisited an even older post where I discussed a book called “Maggie Goes On A Diet”. I had seen it discussed on many tv shows and news broadcasts, and was horrified by the excerpts they showed. Having decided at age three that I was too fat, (I wasn’t) I was terrified of what such a book could mean for little girls in similar situations. In the interest of making my point and being my usual sassy self, I was pretty hard on both the book and its author, Paul M. Kramer.

Well, apparently Mr. Kramer found my blog, because I received this comment on my last post:

Hi Kelly,
I am Paul Kramer, the auther of “Maggie Goes On A Diet” and now the alternate version called, “Maggie Eats Healthier”. While I do not think it was appropriate or fair of you to write and say bad things about “Maggie Goes On A Diet” especially since you have not read the book. I will excuse you for jumping to conclusions and judging a book by its cover and by hearsay and innuendo. Would you be willing to actually read this children’s book and then judge it again by its content(heart) and can you and would you
be able to judge it without bias and give it the opportunity it deserves? I hope so. My email is below.

He made a good point. I hadn’t read the book, I was just going off of what the media had told me. And really, isn’t that a lot of what I’m fighting against, writing this blog? I responded to him via comment and email.

I appreciated his willingness to approach me to open a discussion and not just dismiss me as a random “hater”. He appreciated my willingness to reconsider my position. I knew I’d be able to be honest with him, as he told me, “Whatever you may have to say about it, you will have had the benefit of reading it first.” (Mr. Kramer gave me permission to quote anything from our conversations here.) He sent me the new version, “Maggie Eats Healthier”

Source: ibtimes.com via Kelly on Pinterest

 

 

Now, while I’m still cautious about eating a lot of things, I’m not above eating my words. Mr. Kramer has a good message to share in a very well-written book. He has tackled a very tricky issue in a very different way than the media portrayed it. Let this be a lesson to us all: the media doesn’t always tell you the whole story. Ba dum bum tchhhhhhh.

Coming from my life experiences, I tend to see things through a different lens than someone who has never had an eating disorder, and a different lens again than people who need to lose weight for health reasons. As a result, I still had some issues with the book, and I took the opportunity to share my experiences with Mr. Kramer.

I liked that Maggie eating healthier included a variety of REAL foods, not any of that diet crap, and she allowed herself an occasional treat. One of my early issues with the book, however, was that Maggie’s “before” binge was on bread and cheese, both of which are on my “healthy” meal plan, but which I would have cut out of my diet in a heartbeat as a child, out of fear of ending up like “before” Maggie. She does eat sandwiches in her healthy meal plan, as well as dairy, which I like. I asked Mr. Kramer about the “breads and cheeses”, and he told me:

I could have been any kind of food. I choose bread and cheeses including some cheddar because it sort of rhymes with better.

That makes sense. And while it doesn’t change how my eating disordered brain twists it, it was not intended as a caution against those foods.

There were a few moments later on that bothered me, but they were just nit-picky things that we both agreed were a matter of perspective. My only other major issue with the book is the focus on the amount of weight Maggie loses in specific numbers. From my email:

I like that you focus on Maggie getting healthier, and that you cite that as the reason behind her improved skills and social life, but I think you could do that without the focus as much on the numbers involved. Eating disorders thrive on competition, and knowing that Maggie lost 51 lbs in 10 months would have given me a goal, no matter what my starting weight was. Children should focus on the health aspect, not learn to define their worth by their dress size or the number on the scale.

He conceded that I had a valid point. It was nice to be able to open up a conversation with him on this subject, and in such a respectful way. I think we both learned something, and were able to appreciate how different perspectives can make the same things look very different.

One benefit of this book is that it allows children to make their own decisions about healthy eating. Nobody tells Maggie how or what to eat, she just decides she’s sick of being out of breath when playing sports and that she wants to improve her health. That is a good goal for anyone. A lot of problems occur when parents put the focus on weight and appearance, because it can get confused when children begin to associate love with thinness. While I immediately fear how far it could be taken in the wrong direction, it has been inspirational for children who don’t know how to make changes in their own lives. Here is the link to feedback Mr. Kramer has received from experts.

As Mr. Kramer said,

. . . the only silent rule was to love yourself by eating more nutritiously . . .

and that’s something most of us could learn from.

I would like to apologize publicly to Mr. Kramer for judging him and his book without giving either a fair chance. I should also apologize to Dr. Michael Salzhauer for my comments on his book, “My Beautiful Mommy”, which I also have never read. In his case, he is simply trying to explain plastic surgery to children without telling them, “Mommy has issues with herself, and thinks they’ll be fixed if she changes the way she looks”. The issue is not with the book, it’s with the example being set for children by their parents.

I would also like to thank Mr. Kramer for challenging me to have an open mind, and for giving me the opportunity to better myself as a person. In the age of a hate-filled internet, we need to hold each other accountable to basic human decency.

On that note, I’d like to leave you with a poem written by Mr. Kramer. It sums up the sentiment beautifully.

BORN NAKED AND EQUAL

Look people right in the eye,

for no person is better than you.

You have the right to be who you are,

turning away, you choose to do.

You need never be ashamed.

You were chosen by the process of birth.

You are not inferior to anyone.

Naked and equal everyone entered this earth.

Some had less fortunate beginnings.

Some had more challenges than others.

Many had to overcome constant obstacles.

Many grew up without fathers or mothers.

We are all God’s children.

Our existence we need not justify.

Be not afraid to stand straight and tall,

then look everyone right in the eye.

Paul M. Kramer

July 17, 2006

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Sick leave . . .

 

Taking a break today from my 10 Day Challenge due to being sick in bed . . . well, sick on couch for the time being. Back tomorrow, cold-permitting.

*image not mine. Found it on stumbleupon

 

 

 

 

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