The Vast Comparison

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I spent some time this weekend, pondering the differences between intuitive eaters (or, “she/he who eats when physically hungry”) and those suffering from Bulimia or Binge Eating Disorder.

Michael and I were driving around town, running errands and buying some home improvement items and the inspiration struck. You can’t control the timing of these things, you know.

Anyway, here are my thoughts so far. Please add your own comments at the end if you can think of more.

Intuitive Eater:
1. Doesn’t impatiently watch the clock, hoping time will pass sooner to be able to eat again
2. Isn’t flooded with guilt after finishing a family meal for Thanksgiving, giving up all control to continue stuffing herself larger than the turkey
3. Realizes that weight fluctuations are just a part of life and have no baring on moods, attitude, or quality of day ahead
4. Sits down to be present during each meal, taking time to actually sense, smell, and enjoy the food
5. Doesn’t get caught up in the Comparison Game against all other women
6. Knows the difference between real satisfaction and temporary, and so chooses the former nearly all of the time
7. Exercises to be fit, not to redeem the food sins of yesterday
8. Doesn’t get hung up on clothes sizes and size discrepancies between clothing stores. Can accept that she’ll be a size 9 in the high-end labels, a size 5 at Target, and somewhere in between everywhere else
9. Can excel in all other facets of her life (school, career, hobbies, family) because she doesn’t spend every waking moment, agonizing over food
10. Takes pleasure in cooking, baking, and doesn’t have to eat the whole slice, loaf, or bowl

Binge Eater
1. Can be set off by the smallest of things
2. Knows what foods are off-limits to buy at the store and bring home
3. Tricks herself into believing that a .2 increase on the scale means that the day, her efforts, and life in general is doomed
4. Can’t allow herself to have just one slice of cake on her birthday
5. Gets high on the idea of sneaking food behind the backs of family and friends
6. What dinner table? The drivers seat of your car gets far more use, and dashboard/steering wheel acting as impromptu meal tray
7. Always resolves that THIS time will be the last, THIS binge is the final one, and TOMORROW will be the start of a lifetime of healthy eating
8. Exercises like a maniac, trying to burn off the cookies, ice cream, crackers, and leftovers
9. Pretty much lives in any pair of pants with a drawstring or elastic waist, aside from having to dress nicer for work
10. Too busy fantasizing about the next meal to actually appreciate the one before her
11. Likely to be caught up in severe depression, isolation, self-blaming for all accidents, minor contention, has extreme anxiety, and is prone to panic attacks (even silent ones)
12. Still has an ego big enough to prevent her from getting proper help/treatment; doesn’t want others to think she’s weak

13. Can be the last person you’d suspect- someone who’s a seasoned half marathoner, works out close to 10 hours per week, bubbly in public, but hides a horrible self-hatred. Can be a normal weight, hold a executive position at work, and put on a front like everything’s just fine.

But it’s not.


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I watched the documentary Miss Representation over two weeks ago and one of the facts that stuck out to me the most is that 65% of all American women and teenaged girls currently have some form of an eating disorder. Look around you. I’d venture to guess that someone you know, love, and care of has issues with food, whether it’s massive restriction to fit in with the other cheerleaders on the squad, sneaking an extra serving after dinner, or purging breakfast once at work. And the looming and ever-increasing obesity crisis. I’d also place a bet that a large quantity of us are binging away the pain and stress of life. Eating disorders are NOT subject only to some model you see on the cover of Vogue magazine. It’s your coworker, your sister, and even your girlfriend.

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3 thoughts on “The Vast Comparison

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