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Archive for the ‘books’ Category

You’ve seen them everywhere. Their method will help you recover from your ED, become an intuitive eater, lose weight with normal eating, mimic the habits of slim people, yadda yadda.

They have qualifications out the wazoo: degrees, scientists, papers published, highly respected in their fields, therapists, some of them have even lost a little weight themselves. They tell you about ALL the people they have helped, there are testimonials. Many, many have books that they are sure you would benefit from if you bought it.

What’s missing? Data. No one, not even the purported scientists, is demonstrating permanent change in their clients. Scientific reports, when they exist, are mostly about proving small elements of their theory works. Where the heck is the proof that so-and-so expert has coached/therapized/taught a certain number of people to eat normally, lose weight, and keep it off? Where are the studies of people at 5 years out, 10 years out? How are they doing?

We “know” that diets have about a 5% permanent success rate. What is the success rate of the non-diet movement? Better than dieting? Worse?

I’m tired of seeing statistics about the problem. I’m tired of reading testimonials like “I’m still struggling, but…” or “I haven’t lost weight yet, but…”

My statistics?

  • Lost almost 50 pounds so far
  • Exercise willingly 3 or more times a week
  • Can skip meals without binging
  • Can leave food on my plate
  • Stopped yelling at myself and seeing failure everywhere

Don’t get me wrong – I love experts and the insights they bring. I don’t deny that they have learned, and want to teach others.

But the expert who shows me with data that 10% of their clients have lost over 50 pounds and controlled their eating disorder for 10 years is a million times more valuable than any person who claims to have “helped thousands” with no more proof than a testimonial on a web page.

If you know an expert with proof, please let me know. I wanna believe, but I’m sick of weasel words.

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Trisha Gura’s book, Lying in Weight, just arrived. Until I read about her book I had more or less decided that I wouldn’t buy any more ED books, since I am feeling very recovered from the 30 year long compulsive eating habit I had. But Scientific American had such a compelling interview with her, I thought I’d give it a chance, to see if it could help me further along my recovery path. You can check out her website here. BTW, I am not affiliated with her in any way. I bought the book retail.

Amazon link: Lying in Weight: The Hidden Epidemic of Eating Disorders in Adult Women

The jury is still out, since I’ve only just begun the book. But I wanted to share with you some ideas from the Introduction and a bit of the first chapter.

Can you recover? Dr. Gura (she doesn’t seem to use the title) appears to think that, even though you might have a “sleeping lion,” it’s not necessarily cured. Which begs the question of what is a cure anyway. In any case, the real purpose of the sleeping lion concept seems to be to point out that eating disorder publicity, both in studies and in the media, seem to have a very limited focus, primarily on young women and on a short time span, and on certain types of anorexia and bulimia.

That limited focus ignores most women with ED. First of all, Binge Eating Disorder has only recently become a clinical definition of an ED, yet there are many more cases of BED than of bulimia and anorexia combined.

It also tends to ignores women who are “subclinical,” who don’t fit the DSM-IV specific medical definitions of ED. For example, a classification of anorexia requires that the patient have not had a period for at least 3 months.

Some studies also ignore women after MOL 25 years old. One assumption proven false is that it’s a woman’s disease. Yet, women at age 40, 50 60, 70 years old have EDs. Much of what you hear in the media aren’t paying attention to this.

So here am I, a Binge Eating Disordered person of 48 years. Can I recover? Yes. I am recovered. Can I relapse? Yes, that’s why I’m working so hard to build new habits of self-care, since the primary relapse is stress due to new traumatic situations, like death, divorce, major illness. I want to have strong habits of doing other things to comfort myself, so that when the next traumatic event occurs, I’m as well-prepared as I can be.

  1. I’m glad I recovered. I like not binging. I’m also not going to ignore that compulsive diseases can come back quite easily, and it takes work to even give yourself a fighting chance.
  2. The positive self-talk that’s getting me up off the sofa works even on a day in which I do not exercise. I’m going to keep working at this.
  3. Exercise seems to have a hysteresis of energy burning. I exercise regularly, then for a little longer, I experience the strength and energy created by the exercise.
  4. There is noticeably less negative self-talk in my life. I see that I am a more clear thinker because of it.
  5. My dreams are more realizable. I notice that I am doing many small things that I used to only hope for. I assume it’s because I’m not listening to any “that’ll never come true” voices any more.

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lying-in-weight-hirez.jpgTrisha Gura’s book, Lying in Weight, just arrived. Until I read about her book I had more or less decided that I wouldn’t buy any more ED books, since I am feeling very recovered from the 30 year long compulsive eating habit I had. But Scientific American had such a compelling interview with her, I thought I’d give it a chance, to see if it could help me further along my recovery path. You can check out her website here. BTW, I am not affiliated with her in any way. I bought the book retail.

Amazon link: Lying in Weight: The Hidden Epidemic of Eating Disorders in Adult Women

The jury is still out, since I’ve only just begun the book. But I wanted to share with you some ideas from the Introduction and a bit of the first chapter.

Can you recover? Dr. Gura (she doesn’t seem to use the title) appears to think that, even though you might have a “sleeping lion,” it’s not necessarily cured. Which begs the question of what is a cure anyway. In any case, the real purpose of the sleeping lion concept seems to be to point out that eating disorder publicity, both in studies and in the media, seem to have a very limited focus, primarily on young women and on a short time span, and on certain types of anorexia and bulimia.

That limited focus ignores most women with ED. First of all, Binge Eating Disorder has only recently become a clinical definition of an ED, yet there are many more cases of BED than of bulimia and anorexia combined.

It also tends to ignores women who are “subclinical,” who don’t fit the DSM-IV specific medical definitions of ED. For example, a classification of anorexia requires that the patient have not had a period for at least 3 months.

Some studies also ignore women after MOL 25 years old. One assumption proven false is that it’s a woman’s disease. Yet, women at age 40, 50 60, 70 years old have EDs. Much of what you hear in the media aren’t paying attention to this.

So here am I, a Binge Eating Disordered person of 48 years. Can I recover? Yes. I am recovered. Can I relapse? Yes, that’s why I’m working so hard to build new habits of self-care, since the primary relapse is stress due to new traumatic situations, like death, divorce, major illness. I want to have strong habits of doing other things to comfort myself, so that when the next traumatic event occurs, I’m as well-prepared as I can be.

  1. I’m glad I recovered. I like not binging. I’m also not going to ignore that compulsive diseases can come back quite easily, and it takes work to even give yourself a fighting chance.
  2. The positive self-talk that’s getting me up off the sofa works even on a day in which I do not exercise. I’m going to keep working at this.
  3. Exercise seems to have a hysteresis of energy burning. I exercise regularly, then for a little longer, I experience the strength and energy created by the exercise.
  4. There is noticeably less negative self-talk in my life. I see that I am a more clear thinker because of it.
  5. My dreams are more realizable. I notice that I am doing many small things that I used to only hope for. I assume it’s because I’m not listening to any “that’ll never come true” voices any more.

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Scientific American has a great podcast this week for those of us interested in eating disorders.

Trisha Gura is a science writer who has written a book about women with eating disorders. The main point of her book is to understand how eating disorders affect women, even after they’ve recovered. Very important for anyone in recovery.

Check out her website for plenty of good detail. http://trishagura.com

Her blog is also very good.

During the Scientific American podcast, SA had a quiz about bogus and true science stories in the news recently. One of the true stories is that not only do people believe things told to them by many other people, they also believe it when it is repeated by just one person. Talk radio, this is for you!

But think about it. It’s actually more important what you repeat to yourself than what you put in your mouth. Certainly you don’t get fat from thinking, but you do get fat when your thinking compels you to eat.

Change your thinking, change your behaviors. Change your behaviors, change your life.

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Book Meme

At least I think it’s called a meme. I’m still pretty new to this blog lingo. Here’s a quote from Wikipedia:

The term “meme” (IPA: /miːm/, rhyming with “theme”. Commonly pronounced in the US as /mɛm/, rhyming with “gem”), coined in 1976[1] by the biologist Richard Dawkins, refers to a “unit of cultural information” which can propagate from one mind to another in a manner analogous to genes (i.e., the units of genetic information).

Dawkins gave as examples of memes: tunes, catch-phrases, beliefs, clothes fashions, ways of making pots, or of building arches. A meme, he said, propagates itself as a unit of cultural evolution and diffusionanalogous in many ways to the behavior of the gene. Often memes propagate as more-or-less integrated cooperative sets or groups, referred to as memeplexes or meme-complexes.

Instructions: In the list of books below, bold the ones you’ve read, italicize the ones you want to read, cross out the ones you won’t touch with a ten-foot pole, put a cross (+) in front of the ones on your book shelf, and asterisk (*) the ones you’ve never heard of. In the comments, let me know if you’re up for it.

1. +The DaVinci Code (Dan Brown)
2. +Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen) – My absolute favourite of all time
.

3. +To Kill A Mockingbird (Harper Lee)
4. +Gone With The Wind (Margaret Mitchell)
5. +The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (Tolkien)
6. +The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring (Tolkien)
7. +The Lord of the Rings: Two Towers (Tolkien)
8. +Anne of Green Gables (L.M. Montgomery)
9. Outlander (Diana Gabaldon)
10. *A Fine Balance (Rohinton Mistry)
11. +Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Rowling)
12. *Angels and Demons (Dan Brown)
13. +Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix(Rowling)
14. A Prayer for Owen Meany (John Irving)
15. Memoirs of a Geisha (Arthur Golden)
16. +Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (Rowling)
17. *Fall on Your Knees (Ann-Marie MacDonald)
18. +The Stand (Stephen King)
19. +Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Rowling).
20. +Jane Eyre (Charlotte Bronte
21. +The Hobbit (Tolkien)
22. +The Catcher in the Rye (J.D. Salinger)
23. +Little Women (Louisa May Alcott)
24. *The Lovely Bones (Alice Sebold)
25. *Life of Pi (Yann Martel)
26. +The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (Douglas Adams)
27. +Wuthering Heights (Emily Bronte)
28. +The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe (C. S. Lewis)
29. East of Eden (John Steinbeck)
30. Tuesdays with Morrie (Mitch Albom)
31.
+Dune (Frank Herbert)
32.
*The Notebook (Nicholas Sparks)
33. +Atlas Shrugged (Ayn Rand)
34. +1984 (Orwell)
35. The Mists of Avalon (Marion Zimmer Bradley)
36. *The Pillars of the Earth (Ken Follett)
37. *The Power of One (Bryce Courtenay)
38. *I Know This Much is True (Wally Lamb)
39. *The Red Tent (Anita Diamant
40. *The Alchemist (Paulo Coelho)
41. +The Clan of the Cave Bear (Jean M. Auel)
42. *The Kite Runner (Khaled Hosseini)
43. *Confessions of a Shopaholic (Sophie Kinsella)
44. *The Five People You Meet In Heaven (Mitch Albom)
45. +The Bible (GOD)
46. +Anna Karenina (Tolstoy)
47. The Count of Monte Cristo (Alexandre Dumas)
48. +Angela’s Ashes (Frank McCourt)
49. +The Grapes of Wrath (John Steinbeck)
50. *She’s Come Undone (Wally Lamb)
51. *The Poisonwood Bible (Barbara Kingsolver)
52. +A Tale of Two Cities (Dickens)
53. *Ender’s Game (Orson Scott Card)
54. +Great Expectations (Dickens)
55. The Great Gatsby (Fitzgerald)
56. *The Stone Angel (Margaret Laurence)
57. +Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Rowling)
58. The Thorn Birds (Colleen McCullough)
59. +The Handmaid’s Tale (Margaret Atwood)
60. *The Time Traveler’s Wife (Audrew Niffenegger)
61. +Crime and Punishment (Fyodor Dostoyevsky)
62. +The Fountainhead (Ayn Rand)
63. +War and Peace (Tolstoy)
64. Interview With The Vampire (Anne Rice)
65. *Fifth Business (Robertson Davis)
66. *One Hundred Years Of Solitude (Gabriel Garcia Marquez)
67. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (Ann Brashares)
68. Catch-22 (Joseph Heller)
69. +Les Miserables (Hugo)
70. +The Little Prince (Antoine de Saint-Exupery)
71. +Bridget Jones’ Diary (Fielding)
72. Love in the Time of Cholera (Marquez)
73. Shogun (James Clavell)
74. The English Patient(Michael Ondaatje)
75. The Secret Garden (Frances Hodgson Burnett)
76. *The Summer Tree (Guy Gavriel Kay)
77. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (Betty Smith)
78. +The World According To Garp (John Irving)
79. *The Diviners (Margaret Laurence)
80. +Charlotte’s Web (E.B. White)
81. *Not Wanted On The Voyage (Timothy Findley)
82. Of Mice And Men (Steinbeck)
83.
Rebecca
(Daphne DuMaurier)
84.
*Wizard’s First Rule (Terry Goodkind)
85.
+Emma (Jane Austen)
86.
Watership Down
(Richard Adams)
87. Brave New World (Aldous Huxley)
88. *The Stone Diaries (Carol Shields)
89. *Blindness (Jose Saramago)
90. *Kane and Abel (Jeffrey Archer)
91. *In The Skin Of A Lion (Ondaatje)
92. +Lord of the Flies (Golding)
93. The Good Earth (Pearl S. Buck)
94. The Secret Life of Bees (Sue Monk Kidd)
95. +The Bourne Identity (Robert Ludlum)
96. The Outsiders (S.E. Hinton)
97. White Oleander (Janet Fitch)
98. A Woman of Substance (Barbara Taylor Bradford)
99. The Celestine Prophecy (James Redfield)
100. Ulysses (James Joyce)

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In spite of the common bulls#!t recently spouted by the authors of The Secret, I do understand and believe in the power of positive thinking. A person can make huge changes in their thinking just by choosing to focus on something they want rather than something they don’t want.

What’s wrong with the book? The idea that the law of attraction exists:

To put it in the most basic terms, if someone is overweight, it came from thinking “fat thoughts,” whether that person was aware of it or not. A person cannot think “thin thoughts” and be fat. It completely defies the law of attraction. (Stupid quote from the book)

The refutation of the irrational law of attraction is simple: look at the cases in which it is simply not true. Some examples:

  • People do not “attract” car accidents
  • People do not “attract” being born in an impoverished country
  • A baby does not “attract” sexual abuse
  • People do not “attract” congenital diseases

And people do not lose weight by ostracizing fat people:

If you see people who are overweight, do not observe them, but immediately switch your mind to the picture of you in your perfect body and feel it. (Insultingly idiotic quote from the book)

Here they take a made-up factoid, and apply their irrational principle to create an even more insane principle:

The most common thought that people hold, and I held it too, is that food was responsible for my weight gain. That is a belief that does not serve you, and in my mind now it is complete balderdash! Food is not responsible for putting on weight. It is your thought that food is responsible for putting on weight that actually has food put on weight. Remember, thoughts are primary cause of everything, and the rest is effects from those thoughts. Think perfect thoughts and the result must be perfect weight.

Let go of all those limiting thoughts. Food cannot cause you to put on weight, unless you think it can. (Utterly irrational quote from the book)

Food being “responsible” for weight gain is not the “most common” thought people hold. How did they find out what “the most common thought” is? People sometimes synthesize desired statistics using surveys skewed to provide the answers they want. I don’t know if that’s what happened here. They could have taken the even easier path of just assuming it’s true, or who knows what else.

People know that EATING food in excess of what the body can metabolize puts on weight. It is the decision to eat more than you need that causes weight gain. And boy, is it hard to make different decisions on a permanent basis.

The principle that IS true is that you can change your thinking and change your life, within certain limits. Some of the limits include

  • Your past – you cannot change what has already happened, but you can change how you react to it
  • The randomness of life – you can avoid risk and pursue what you want, but sometimes shit just happens
  • Other people – if you encourage someone to change, they may or may not do it, but they make the change, not you
  • Physical limits – you cannot survive in outer space without a pretty damn good spacesuit, although I’m quite willing to suggest the authors of “The Secret” give it a try

Moving past the stupidity of The Secret, visualizations can really improve your ability to make good choices. I certainly used visualizations in a negative way for decades to beat myself up for not being perfect. Now, I’m learning to use them in a positive way.

A year ago, my thoughts were filled with questions and fears surrounding hunger and fullness. I didn’t have much experience with physical hunger. After a lot of practice and convincing myself that hunger is nothing to fear, and after working on the reasons for the fear, I don’t fear hunger. Instead, I’m now choosing to look forward to, and visualize, the time in which I regularly eat the amount of food that is in correct proportion to my metabolism and my (lower) natural weight. This is a successful process, and it doesn’t require that I ostracize fat people. Hell, I AM fat people! And I would never pass up a chance for a hug or interaction from any of my loved ones who happen to be fat.

Links:

About the stupidity of The Secret:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/17314883/site/newsweek/

The overweight quote from the book:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/17317691/site/newsweek/

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Look what I’m reading

A nice fantasy, with strong female characters. I’ve just started, so I don’t know how it will turn out yet. Tinna’s Promise

I love female characters, especially ones that overcome their obstacles. Some of my favorite books are biographies, but I especially like the ones about normal people in great historical circumstances. The book I’m just finishing up (I keep several going at one time) is Der Passfaelscher, about a normal guy in Berlin during WWII who goes underground, yet continues to create false documents so others can escape the Nazi threat.

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