Sunday, November 15, 2009

Ironic, Alanis?

so Alanis M. was anorexic and bulimic as a teenager while facing the pressures of the music business.

these days, she says she's feeling great. i so hope that's true but find myself so skeptical. my skepticism makes me feel guilty -- am i always seeing the negative.

anyway, back on topic, i have read a couple of things that make me wonder.

first, the singer is s participating in the Bizz Johnson Trail Marathon on Oct. 11 to raise money for the National Eating Disorders Association. to my mind, a marathon could be pretty excessive for someone with an ED. i still think it's weird that National ED Association connects with it. i did read that Alanis was sort of a jock growing up and this is just part of an extension of her love of sport.

second,Alanis turned to the vegan diet after gaining a few extra pounds and reading a book which covers the many health benefits of a vegan diet. after Alanis went vegan, she lost 20 pounds and, evidently, felt better than ever!!

The singer starts out with a spinach banana smoothie and then digs into a kale salad for lunch. she says she's practically addicted to those spinach smoothies. For a snack, she’ll have her "favorite" grapefruit. yes, i added the quotes, but still...

her comments and actions make me wonder -- with that super-healthy eating and lots and lots of exercise, how "healthy" is she. but if she really is feeling and doing great, what can i say? whatever makes her happy!

she's quite public about her eating and running, running, running, hoping to encourage those struggling with EDs. is this the best message? i say this with apologies to my vegan friends and exercise lovers. maybe you can educate me?

is this the best message? i really don't know. and don't know what i think. my first reaction is... well, no. but maybe that's me and and my anger. am i secretly pissed that she's figured it out? that she's exercising and apparently happy? like i said, i really don't know.

my own eating frequently stumps me. the best eating for me frequently stumps me. i still don't know how much i want to get into food and how much i'd rather just get more finesse with hungry and full and skip the bells and whistles. a work in progress.

on another note, there's a new Miss Seattle, 21-year-old McKinley Smith. McKinley's platform, "EveryBODY is Beautiful," deals with eating disorders. "For many years, negative body image defined my life," she writes. McKinley struggled with anorexia throughout high school and then bulimia in college.

I am assuming Ms. Smith would tell you she's recovered? wasn't she bulimic like -- last year or something?

Can you really be in a BEAUTY pageant and do well with a just recently cured (?) eating disorder. Aren't there lots of heavily dieting women around you? are some of them clearly disordered? is any of this triggering?

i know i'm awfully skeptical today. maybe i'm jealous. i think it's more that if i were Ms. Smith, i'd be still be major struggling, horribly triggered and certainly nowhere near recovery. if i were Ms. Morrissette and eating spinache smoothies and kale, hold the dairy and running marathons, it would be an extension of my ED.

but that's me.


  1. I'm definitely with you...I think that a lot of the times people find a more socially accepted or even encouraged version of the ED ("healthy" eating, extreme exercise, etc...) and "run" with it so-to-speak. No pun intended ;) I know that a lot of the time when I was trying to convince other people (or myself) that I was recovered, it was under the guise of "healthy" eating and over-exercise, but, like you, I try to be cautious and realize that just because that was the case for me, it doesn't mean that's the case for EVERYone, but it does seem pretty suspicious.

  2. You are so right with it being an extension of the ED.

    It is all about control. There is such a misconception that ED's are just about girls who vomit up their food or starve. Plenty of people out there are doing the uber healthy vegan thing (which I have done and still do intermittently), counting calories (guilty), preparing little boxes with portion controlled food inside (me this week). Control the food. Control what goes in the body. Control THE body. Somewhere along the line there has to be a level of control. Still, better to be over the top healthy than severely malnutritioned I suppose.

    It is so little to do with how one looks - I just do not think unaffected people understand that.

  3. There's a marathon for eating disorders? That is the most hilarious thing I have heard in a long time. Troubling and hilarious, actually. Anyway, I understand your feelings COMPLETELY. I can't tell if I'm just really negative or what, but I am so, so skeptical of people who profess this kind of lifestyle (especially people who have "recovered" from an eating disorder). It sounds extreme to me. And, I don't think it's healthy for anyone to subsist on smoothies and kale, but what do I know, right? It's so hard because people can have such a positive attitude about their choices and seem so happy, so then I just wonder if I'm jealous. I mean, how come I can't be ecstatic about smoothies and kale? Why do I need to eat 3,000 calories a day to be "healthy"? Why am I so "weak" to require chocolate at some point EVERY DAY? There is a blog I sometimes wander to featuring a woman who eats all raw. I don't get it, frankly. I could not just eat frozen berries all day, and I don't think it's good to promote that. To each his own, I guess, but it still irks me. The fact that it irks me probably means I still have some growing to do. When I'm fully comfortable with my eating habits and my recovery, I probably won't give much of a damn about this kind of thing. For now, I do.

  4. Okay i read this yesterday and i can't stop wondering what a spinach and banana smoothie tastes

    I, too, think this Super Healthy Extreme is a usually a disguised form of E.D. I mean, admittedly, I have done it. Of course I didn't promote that lie to anyone but myself.

    It is almost like the E.D safety zone, no one can accuse you of being sick when you are working so hard to be "HEALTHY."

    And how many hours of exercise does it take to be able to run a marathon? Does this require you to neglect other important aspects of life? I mean, how much energy and time and effort and thought has to go into something before it is considered an obsession...esp for a person with obsessive tendencies.

    If the uber healthy or raw food is all you can eat in your stage of recovery, that is one thing, but to promote it as recovered and healthy and normal is, inho, wrong and even detrimental...

  5. Good post, and also interesting comments.

    Would like to comment that, not sure if anyone is ever cured. You can have a few good years and then bad years. Struggle with it for 20 or 30 years.

    Maybe also just too negative, but very doubtful about "cure." Always guessed it was some sort of brain chemistry/genetic wiring thing, maybe a pre-disposition to EDs, but cure just doesn't seem in the cards.

  6. I read this very same article in People magazine, and yeah. I was skeptical when I read it and I'm skeptical now.

    An eating disorder is an addiction. There is no cure for addiction. Most often times, the addiction is shifted to something else, but it is always there, lurking under the surface, disguised as something else. That's not negativity talking, thats my personal beleif. Yes, she may have a tightly controlled handle on her health now, and a tiny little frame again. But it's just one addiction disguised as another. And everyone knows it.

    I can't imagine her as being anything but totally starving all the time, can picture her grimacing as she knocks back the spinach and banana smootie, and crunching endlessly on that boring kale. As for grapefruit? I love it too, but as it eats what little enamel I still have left on my teeth, it's not worth the pain. But I only have it when I'm trying to lose weight. As for the exercise, that's a different form of bulimia. Run those calories off so they don't stick.

    I think you can ease into a recovery if you work hard enough, but one can never be cured, because once your brain has learned those negative stories that CAUSED the ED to be born, it can't unlearn them. But you can recover. Like sort of a remission kind of thing. And pray that there are no triggers. It gets better, but not cured. Anyone who proclaims themselves "cured" is in deep denial, and will again crash and burn. It's something that can be managed, but I doubt it could be cured. Just like alcoholism can't be cured.

  7. I eat spinach smoothies and kale smoothies too. I think any form of food obsession can be dangerous, same as obsession with anything. I think there are many women, myself included, who technically don't have an eating disorder if they were to go by the criteria in the DSM. But I admit I am quite consumed (no pun intended) by thoughts of food, calories, diet, exercise, etc, all of my day. Every day.

  8. Karen - glad you said that about the ED being disguised. The years i was mostly free of ED behavior I was in totally weird codependent relationships and/or doing drugs. When I woke up and stopped that, the ED returned with a had disguised itself. Well, In hindsight that was my theory about my behavior, but I didn't know if others noticed that thanks for posting that.

  9. I've never had a typical ED, but have all the benchmarks of one. These days I'm a bit lazy about it, and have gotten a bit portly around the middle. I stress mildly about it, but have little motivation to do anything about it.

    I too have all the disguised dysfunctions, as far as bad relationships go, etc. These days I'm laying low, and purposely NOT dating. I'm going on a year man-free, and seem to like myself much, much better these days. After a scary bout in the hospital, I'm even treating the old body better, by drinking lots of water with lemon wedges in it. I don't ever want to be trapped in a hospital again. It was like jail.

  10. PS... That last comment was in reply to Ghost girl.