During National Eating Disorder Awareness Week, I think that it's important that we take more away from it all than anger at the fashion industry, misunderstanding and confusion.
We all like to point fingers and speculate about eating disorders but the only ones who really know the truth behind it are those with eating disorders. Aimee Liu had anorexia in her 20s and conquered it, or so she thought. In her 40s, she stopped eating again. She wrote the book Gaining: The Truth About Life After Eating Disorders ($16.49) to chronicle her own struggles and dispel myths but also to tell the stories of 40 other people with eating disorders too. Liu believes that societal pressure, popular culture and family dysfunction do not make someone anorexic; it takes a particular genetic predisposition and temperament. The book will teach you who is susceptible to eating disorders and why, how these diseases can waste sufferers' lives in ways that have nothing to do with food or weight and why recovery requires more than good nutrition.
To read an excerpt from the book,
In my lifelong habit of biting my nails. I glanced across the table. Yes, Candace also chewed her nails, although, tellingly, she had succeeded in restricting herself to her left ring finger.
Was anorexia nervosa merely another symptom of this internal constraint’ The more Candace and I talked, the more we did seem to have in common. Our similarities went way beyond where and when we were raised: we both dreaded making a mistake; both hated being the center of attention, even though we craved praise and needed to excel; we didn’t laugh easily or openly or trust ourselves to relax. I imagined the two of us standing side by side, question marks tattooed on our foreheads.
That night I said to Candace, "If we went back and talked with the other women we knew who had eating disorders in high school and college, I think we'd find we all have more in common - even today - than we have with the rest of our classmates."
But Candace was not so sure. "Don't you think people change’"
"I think they can when they know what needs changing.
Gaining weight was only a first step - for me, at least." ....