No matter how long or short, happiness is always within reach. Don’t live in complication- life is short but you’re given nothing but time. Work everyday like it’s your first, love w/o boundaries and forgive sooner than later, laugh without control and never ever stop smiling- someone may be watching
I keep my blog rolling for a reason. I haven’t quit blogging just because I find recovery for a reason. My desire and goal is to help individuals, family and friends with eating disorders. I want the public eye to really know what it is like to suffer from anorexia- deep down what went on in my head and how I regained focus and health in life. Back tracking through my blog, I have said some really disturbing things and once held true desires.
When I first began blogging I wanted my pain to be heard. I wanted other people to understand why this disease is so deadly, selfish and hurtful. I wanted someone out there to relate to me, to understand why I did what I did and why I just ‘couldn’t’ get over it.
As I wandered the ED blog world I began to see a pattern. The Pity Potty Pattern. Everyone had the same desire as me. No one wanted to gain weight, no one wanted to face themselves and no one could ‘find’ themselves. Everyone felt sorry for themselves and each other and just couldn’t grasp the ability to sit the fuck still and eat. I realized anorexia is a brain-based disorder of PROFOUND MALNUTRITION.
I took this…this idea of malnutrition and I needed and wanted nothing more than to understand it. What did malnutrition mean? Why did it occur in me, and not the girl who lives off a carrot a day but never thinks twice about it? What are the physiological aspects related to malnutrition? When does it occur and who does it occur in? How does the brain work? How does one find real health and nutrition? What does weight have to do with anorexia? What does food have to do with weight? What do calories have to do with weight gain/loss? How does food react in the body from the time it enters the mouth until it is used up or stored? What determines that? How have humans evolved? What does history show me about malnutrition?
Those are just questions off the top of my head I remember having a desire to know about. I pick out different body parts, and I study them, how they work, what determines their functionality and how it plays a role in the bigger picture of a healthy body.
Why, in anorexia is the sufferer tormented with such a vivid life-like reality of distress, fear and the desire to lose weight, be smaller and disappear? What is it about starvation and malnutrition that brings this about? Where does it start? When, if ever is it over? Why the hell does an anorexic try to starve herself/himself to death?
It’s like wandering through a gazillion piece puzzle. Anorexia is so so SOOO incredibly dynamic. Nutrition is SO profoundly confusing. The human body is SO misunderstood and overly studied but answers are often puzzling or better yet, unattainable. The brain alone is beyond inconceivable. Think about that. The brain, it produces everything. Take something simple like a thought, where the hell does it come from and what the hell does it mean? No one will ever fully be able to comprehend the human body, and especially the brain.
Symptoms show up in an anorexic well after the fact that one is suffering malnutrition. The ‘Big 3’ in nutritional deficiencies are zinc, folic acid and B12. This reflects the deficiency of essential amino acids. Even well before your zinc is depleted and you lose your menstruation you are already malnourished. Long before you hair thins, your nails become brittle and your altered taste serves food as some orgasmic fantasy, you are malnourished. When zinc lowers, appetite decreases and the mind alters its serotonin/dopamine capabilities so you become depressed and obsessive. The amino acids which need to cross the blood brain barrier are unable to cross, or don’t even make it there as potential candidates.
The restrictive diet does not deliver enough dietary cholesterol which serves as the precursor for hormonal release and balance in the human body. The diminished appetite coupled with a mind-turned-obsessive means that hormones, essentially pregnenolone which serves as the master hormone, are not supplied so testosterone and estrogen are whacked out.
There is not some event that caused your eating disorder. No divorce, relationship, sexual experience or other traumatic event CAN POSSIBLY be used as a CAUSE of anorexia, or any other eating disorder. Eating disorders ARE the result of malnutrition, a body and brain living through starvation.
The problem is that when I discovered blogging and the blog world and its promoted treatments, doctors and individual sufferers were NOT treating the underlying cause. You can only treat malnutrition and a rack of nutritional deficiencies WITH sound nutrition. Restoring balance in vitamins and minerals (namely zinc) in an anorexic is crucial to their capability of recovering. Without an abundance of nutrition recovery is simply not possible. In a perfect world, one should have a full nutritional analysis done and know where they are surely suffering in nutrients. Because everyone’s body is different, my deficiencies are not necessarily going to be yours. Either way, optimizing all vitamins/minerals is step one in the right direction and should be the first step in EVERY anorexic.
Understand that starvation leads the way to digestive problems (enzymes); the inability to readily absorb nutrition from foods and that restoring this is long hard work.
I have a theory. Starvation elicits problems in all parts of the body. Your bones weaken. Your brain shrinks. Your liver is misusing/storing glucose, your pancreas doesn’t understand when to fire and when to shut up, your skin can’t understand why you’re freezing in 100 degrees, everything slows down and deteriorates. This may sound bizarre, but I would be lying if I said I didn’t think it WORKED for me.
Eating liver will promote a healthy liver.
Eating heart will promote a healthy heart.
Sucking bone marrow will promote health bone density.
Slurping down brains will establish a healthy brain.
And so on…you get the idea. Food is medicine. Food should only serve medicinal purposes in the initial stages of anorexia recovery. The sufferer will not understand how life threatening their starvation-happy mind and world is. Because of the complexity and bodily reaction to malnutrition, it is so so difficult to get someone to have that necessary ’light bulb’ moment which is what I try to reflect to each of you in every blog post. You’re a master at lying, faking wellness and hiding the reality of your problems, restrictions and misuse of food. Like I said before, anorexics are damn smart and sly people.
“You’ve got to eat well to be well. You can’t expect excellent health while eating mediocre foods.” ~Edward Bauman,M.Ed., Ph.D
Self starvation…it is the result of malnutrition. The thought and fact may have never crossed your mind until you read my blog. You would think that anorexia is caused by sexual abuse, a bad childhood, or celiac disease (which may cause nutritional deficiencies, thus malnutrition, thus anorexia in some cases). But regardless of how you think you developed anorexia, it occurred in the presence of a less than satisfactory and essential absorption of food for your body and really, is on the back burner to any necessary component of getting well.
Again, anorexia is a problem in the body, the body as a whole is malnourished. It is NOT a psychological illness which is why I stand firm that psychotherapy is not gonna do diddly-shit-squat in ones recovery efforts. Everyone seems to think anorexia- ‘send them to a shrink.’ This is so far from what is needed however. Did you know the MAJORITY of studies on ‘psycho-babble-based-treatment’
—whether traditional “talk” psychotherapy or behavioral therapy—have proven inadequate in treating and relieving anorexia and its accompanying depression, obsessive-compulsive behaviors, and other problems.
In my honest to God opinion, I am not at all surprised…not at all. It also does squat to prevent the 35% of relapses occurring everyday. It doesn’t matter if you get ‘talked’ up to a normal weight or BMI, IF YOUR MALNOURISHED YOUR GOING TO RELAPSE…YOU’RE STILL SUFFERING. I do think that the talking thing has its place though. You change a lot when you have suffered from an eating disorder. There is a shit load of regret, remorse and fear. Maybe this is why 10% commit suicide? Maybe that’s why 4 years post ‘weight restoration’ Billy Bob (I made this name up) is still freaking out of a spoonful of cream cheese. The NATURE OF the disease has not been cured. Until your brain is ready to listen, ready to comprehend, and ready to ACCEPT it can’t happen. You cant rely on a therapy session until your nourished enough to understand acceptance.
When you do restore nutrition and health in the body, you NEED to get a life. You need to find desires, activities and pursue something in your life. If not, you’re setting yourself up for loneliness, for boredom, etc.
*Always focus on optimizing nutrition. Get the biggest bang for your buck when it comes to food.*
To get really brainy on you, there is an inheritance factor which makes developing anorexia easier for one person as opposed to the next. It is essentially a mitochondrial respiratory chain deficiency. At an easy base line, it is a metabolical disorder. It leads to the ‘accumulation of multiple mtDNA deletions and progressive subtle respiratory chain deficiency in the skeletal muscle.’ This gene expression induces patterns involved in amino acid and the starvation response. It activates Akt signaling (your body is predisposed to suck up and be deficient in amino acids which are necessary for delivering and storing everything in your body). So maybe it has something to do with the carbon and nitrogen imbalance which leads to malnutrition? I don’t know. I know there is a lot in relation to coupling vs. uncoupling proteins. If you know what I am talking about here is a snippet:
UCP2 and UCP3 are two recently cloned genes with high sequence homology to the gene for uncoupling protein (UCP)-1, which regulates thermogenesis in brown adipose tissue. In the context of the current debate about whether UCP2 and UCP3 in the skeletal muscle may also function as mediators of thermogenesis or as regulators of lipids as fuel substrate, we have examined their mRNA expressions in rat gastrocnemius muscle in response to dietary manipulations known to differentially affect thermogenesis during the phase of weight recovery after starvation.
You body has a set point. It was determined in your mother’s womb. You have no control over it. Previous generations pretty much control where you will be body-wise naturally. If there is a history of starving/famine, then your set-point is going to be biologically higher than the next person. Congratulations, because that is the inborn response to keep the body nourished in fear of famine. If you come from a family line of malnutrition, odds are you’ll have problems with your weight. Your body is biologically set up to dispose of and store nutrients because of your past family’s dietary history. Your body ‘knows’ where it wants to be in order to keep the nutritional balance necessary for your health and sanity.
This is essentially what nutritionists and body builders aim to figure out their entire careers. To lose weight, one has to determine how to stay in a nutritional balance or surplus and maintain easily a lower weight than they want. To gain weight, one has to determine where nutritional deficiencies lie and how to correct them. And let it be known, most 99% of supplements are total bullshit in my opinion and will not work in the way to correct imbalances as real food serves to.
Another way to look at it: CONSTANT overfeeding sends the signal to your body that famine must be coming up in the future, thus stores fat waiting for this to occur. In modern day society, this keeps occurring yet the famine never comes. Generations pass and children and adults become more and more obese. CONSTANT underfeeding will have similar results and the inheritance passed on through malnutrition is likely worse than that of obesity.
Brain function and nutrition are the keys to curing anorexia. There are so many factors co-existing within the disease that the best and most reliable answer is to FIX the nutritional malnourishment. Food IS the answer, but it isn’t about food if you get that.
Many anorexics, and this is my last point today, convince themselves that they suffer much more than mere malnutrition (most likely from reading to many health blogs). For one, no anorexic has hypothyroidism or adrenal fatigue which so many of you convince yourselves’ you have. They both MIMIC what you feel and it occurs BECAUSE you’re malnourished. Cortisol is released in response to stress, or to a low level of blood glucocorticoids, and this release is controlled by the hypothalamus, a part of the brain. The secretion of corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH) by the hypothalamus triggers pituitary secretion of adrenal corticotrophic hormone (ACTH); ACTH is carried by the blood to the adrenal cortex where it triggers glucocorticoid secretion. Stress should be maintained at normal levels, as cortisol flucuations believe it or not are natural. If its chronically high and your anorexic even though it is consistently low in most, it’s a byproduct that nutritional therapy will fix. Same with an under active thyroid, a byproduct of an undernourished body. Adrenal fatigue occurs when the adrenal glands become overworked and exhausted, causing the glands to produce a decreased amount of cortisol and other hormones. This again, a byproduct of anorexia. You ‘feel’ all these similarities in so many other disorders because, you’re starving. Your body will fix itself when you fix your starvation.
Next post…how to use food as medicine…