Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Do I have to be thin?

When i think about working in the Eating Disorders field, i wonder what i should weigh, and does it matter?

during my worst struggling anorexic years, i couldn't take seriously a professional who carried "extra" weight. In fact, i found an over-weight person's suggestions frightening. why on earth would i do what they told me?

now, of course, i understand that anyone/everyone can help me. and there's nothing wrong with carrying any amount of weight.

but what about the still-suffering client? will she listen to me if she doesn't like how i look -- if it made her uncomfortable?

I worried, too, when i was still a little too thin. would i give a bad impression and look as though i were still disordered in my eating? as my weight climbed, i kept in mind that this new look was a better role model for my teenaged niece, who fights her own battles. how could i tell her she was beautiful and perfect, no matter how much she weighed, when i still looked a little boney?

but then is there only a very narrow amount that i can weigh?

i've always thought i'd have to be one exactly perfect weight (with a few pound fluctuation) for anyone to listen to me about eating disorders. but there i go again, putting myself in a tiny box where there's one teeeny, tiny area where i'm okay.

What do you guys think?


  1. i think if you do the job well it won't matter at all. listen to what people say and what they don't. tune in to their hearts. what is perfect for you is perfect, not some obsessive ideal in your head. isn't it possible that E.D. clients pick up on THAT more than anything? i can name a handful of people right now who were each different sizes. the one who got the MOST grief everyone thought too thin. the one who got the least just had a calm air of authority intermingled with compassion. she is STILL 20 years later my 'go to' person if i need help or a reference.
    sometimes it's really not about size, it's about balanced demeanors and kindness and calm character.

    with care...

  2. Perhaps the best thing to do is continue to eat well and no matter what the size outcome think "this is the weight I was meant to be, this is the weight that is healthiest for me" hopefully that attitude will shine through to people in the eating disorders world - as well as others.

  3. I think it's important to weigh what is healthiest for you. Helping people is about listening and caring, and guiding them through the process of recovery. I think if you look healthy and are healthy, you will show that and that will help them.


  4. I think there is no right weight for this. You say you weren't able to take the ones who weighed heavier seriously. But I remember dealing with very thin ones too. Everyone in the residential program suspected they had battled w/ EDs in their own lifetime, if not currently. I wouldn't say we didn't take them seriously, but I will admit to wondering if they were healthy or not and if they could follow the words of advice they were giving us, etc. But in the end, their ability for compassion and their wisdom outweighs (no pun intended) their physical attributes. Good luck on pursuing this line of work if you decide to!

  5. I am slightly concerned that you think so much about your weight, and that you want to work in the field.
    As ultimately you shouldn't give it a second thought.
    People are all shapes and sizes and I guess whilst I appreciate your point on "looking healthy" some people are bigger.
    My concern would be if someone were very thin.
    I think a lot of people are normal size and considered over weight by BMI etc
    But to me, unless someone is clearly incredibly over weight, or underweight, then it shouldn't matter.
    We cannot help biology.

    Personally, I am conscious of being too small. I am naturally small. I am a completely healthy BMI and look well, I just initially got conscious when started the group.
    But I am what I am, my conscience is clear, I know I am well.

    It also keeps me well.
    I know I cannot work in this field and get ill so there are good things xxxx

  6. I have never been in treatment for an ED, since I don't have an ED, but I am somewhat disordered in my eating and body image. I don't like it, but I have a problem with medical professionals who are overweight. I would have a problem if they smoked, it's kind of the same thing I suppose. My health coach is thin, but a healthy weight and that is reassuring to me.

  7. GOOD question!!!

    When I was in treatment a number of girls "in the thick, young..etc" were very *ahem* aware of the nutritionist's body. I was never privy to this sort of judgement. My whole life I have only ever wanted comfort in my own skin. I envy overweight people most of the time when they are just so...normal.

  8. I have a hard time taking overweight professionals seriously, too. I'm really critical of everyone's weight; I wish I wasn't. I find them hypocritical, even if they really aren't. How are THEY telling me to eat healthy?

    I think, too, that part of you being worried about people not taking you seriously can come from societal standards. In movies, the dumb/comic/sidekick person is always fat or overweight, while the protagonist often isn't. We worked a little bit on this while IO was in treatment; it's interesting to think about, at least.

    I think changing this (among others...) thought process takes time. I can't look at another's body in a normal light if my own self perception is skewed.

  9. Personally, I would rather see a therapist that was overweight than even bordering on too thin. I can't precisely articulate why, except that maybe I would fear that if I gained weight I'd be bigger than her and she'd look down on me or some nonsense like that. I know it's nonsense, but I know it would still bother me. Of the therapists I've seen, one was overweight (young and losing baby weight), one could have stood to lose a few pounds by anyone's standards but wasn't "fat" (she was in her mid-50s and fit for her age), and the one I'm seeing now is the youngest ever (early 30s) and a healthy weight but not thin, not fat. Tallish and strong looking, I guess. I think the fact that none of them has been thin has actually been a huge help, and their weight has not made me take their ED advice any less seriously at all. If they know their stuff and are insightful and helpful, that's all I need.

    Don't let anxieties about your appearance hold you back from sharing your talents and intuition with people! You will be great at what you do independent of what pants size you wear while doing it.

  10. What a fascinating and sensitive question you pose here. How thoughtful and kind you are to concern yourself with this in consideration of the people you may be attempting to lead toward healthier thinking.

    I write as someone who probably has no right to stick her oar in here, but I wanted to share. It would seem to me that perhaps the best thing you could be in this case would be comfortable in your own skin, no matter its size. (No small order, I realize!) But big and beautiful or petite and lovely, projecting a sense of confidence in oneself is a sort of one-size-fits-all health that I would think might inspire anyone in your proximity.

    Are you now working in the ED biz? Or are you just considering it? So incredibly awed by your progress, lady.

  11. This is a really interesting question. Personally, I don't pay much attention to any doctor/healthcare provider's (nutritionist, dietitian, MD, pysch, whatever) weight unless they have achieved some extreme. I don't think an ED doctor should look like he/she is going to keel over at any second from being too thin... that gives a bad message. Similarly, I don't think that any healthcare provider should be morbidly obese because they are trying to set an example of good health and should practice what they preach. I'd say that the key is just be healthy -- and health seems to come in a variety of sizes.

    Hope that you're doing well!! I've been somewhat absent from the blogging world, busy with summer I guess, and I hope that you're enjoying your summer as well :)

  12. Weight gaining is a very difficult problem to solve. But it is not impossible.We can reduce weight with more hard work.

  13. If you have a flat belly and controlled blood pressure and cholesterol, sugar then you need not to worry anything.

  14. Nice post and comment there. I like above comment and agree with it. More over be can get help from our physician. They help us in many health problems as for knee disorders thetreatment of osteoarthritis and more.

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