I've moved! This page should automatically redirect in 5 seconds, but if it doesn't, then click here.

1.07.2009

If Oprah did it...well then, gosh darn't, I'll give it a whirl. too.


This morning my December/January roommate Angela (destined to achieve a veritable brunette bombshell fame as I'll keep talking about her 'till I'm blue in the face...) inquired as to why it appeared as though a bomb had gone off in my room. 

Easy...I was sorting my laundry. The question she should have asked--the question that would have gotten me: why was I just now sorting my laundry? After all, I've been back in New York since the evening of the 31st. Tomorrow will be the seventh of January. What had I done in that time? Hmmm...very good question. Well, I'd seen a movie (Revolutionary Road..blah, don't get me started), picked up a pay check, made some returns, payed some bills, been a very good girl and gone to the gym every day but one...heck, I'd even done some decor rearranging in my room (jury's still out on whether I like the change, but to be fair I won't be able to tell 'till I pick up the splinters of my bomb site). Actually, this written list gives the false impression that I've been productive. I haven't been. Not really. I haven't done any of those things that I declared would get 2009 rolling. I haven't done laundry. Haven't cleaned my room. Haven't cashed in my 12 days of free YMCA in order to check out their pool. Or checked out the NY parks and recreation pool. Haven't slept at night. The only thing I have done that's taken some effort is to develop a mild case of insomnia. 

So yesterday. After getting out of bed around eleven (I'd fallen asleep at five (a.m.)) and eating nothing but cinnamon rolls, I was lying on Angela's bed watching Oprah. And there she was. Doing it. Doing what no one does. Talking about her weight. I know what you're thinking--people talk about it all the time. And you're right. But what they talk about is their tried and true diet of choice, or the latest exercise craze, or (and my personal favorite) cutting down any rumor of an eating disorder: Please, I've always been this thin. No, Brittany Murphy, you can't say that...we have proof. Clueless exists as actual, living proof that that was not the case. How unfair of me to single out Britt, she's not the worst offender, not by a long shot. Back to the point...there was Oprah talking about the shame, the guilt, the embarrassment, the struggle. And I sat in stunned silence shocked by her courage. And I thought, if Oprah can do, so can I. 

Because the thing is...I've started this new year off dictated more by my fear than anything else. And the really crazy thing is...it's a fear of success. Because this will be the year that I say goodbye to Ned for good. There's no question in my mind as to the veracity of this statement. It's just a matter of having the courage to say I don't need him any more. Perhaps the first small step (in 2009) to eradicate his existence is to introduce you to him...

Reader this is Ned.

Ned. Reader. 

Ned is my nasty little eating disorder. 

I read a book once that says if you give it a name then you separate it from yourself and this can be a positive tool on the road to recovery. Most people name their's Ed. I put an "N" before it. Thought the "N" was emblematic of my sharp, biting sense of humor. In truth, the "N" just helps me cope a little bit better. Ned sounds like a smaller, more diminutive man. 

I can already see the email from my father now. You shouldn't be blogging about this, he'll say. It's dangerous. There are nasty people out there who could use it against you. I say let them try. Chances are Ned will have thrown much worse in his day.

No, I'm not anorexic. And I'm not bulimic. I remember learning about eating disorders in elementary school. With the first you didn't eat anything. And with the latter you threw everything up. Well...no worries here. With my potent love of food and unimaginable fear of throwing up, I was safe. Untouchable if you will. Turns out only 18% of those diagnosed with eating disorders fit into either of those two categories. The other 82% are diagnosed as having a non specific eating disorder. 

At the beginning of my fourth year of school I was diagnosed as being a "non purging bulimic." But in all honesty I fall into the category of binge eating. In recent years binge eating has become a more recognized form of the disease--so much so that when you google search eating disorders it appears in all your results, but not so much that any order doctor knows how to diagnose it. 

The whole reason I'm now talking about this...is because no one really does. Not in open, public forums anyway. And because no one talks about it...no one understands it--even within the medical community it remains (in large part) a mystery. It took two years before a doctor could diagnose me. Two years of living with it and suffering...two years of asking for help and being told it was simply depression, anxiety--that if those things could be treated, than the eating would naturally correct itself. No one should have to endure that. So it's time for people to start talking. It's estimated that 24 million Americans suffer from the disease. And as obesity becomes an ever greater problem, the need to talk about the American relationship to food is at an all time high. For the first time in our country's history a large number of obese women are giving birth. Doctors don't yet know how this will effect the children, but studies conducted on rats suggest that the children born to obese women will suffer from slower metabolisms and a propensity for less healthy food. Thus the fear is: obesity as an epidemic is  likely to snowball even sooner than expected. 

The diet culture of America proves to be one of the greatest culprits. We're ruled more by a calorie count than the body's natural impulses. Dr. Bob (often mentioned in passing--he's an eating disorder specialist) was interviewed for a local NY paper. The question asked of him was what can we do to lose weight and be the healthiest version of ourselves? Based on his response the newspaper chose to pull the article since it went against all the ad space they sell--meaning his response was in some ways "anti-diet" and the ad space was bought up in large part by diet companies. Imagine that...a leading expert on how to be healthy and his response was not as valuable as the advertisements being sold. What Americans and the government will have to soon realize is that if we actually want to combat obesity and the onset of eating disorders then the dieting industry will either have to be eliminated or take on new forms. Just as we're now in the hunt for alternative energy forms, we have to realize it's time to embrace alternative methods to losing weight. 

Okay, so this post has gone on for entirely too long. And I recognize that some people may not appreciate the content. But as I am the ruler of this blogdom I get to write about what I know. And what I believe in. So if anyone is still reading this...I'll be writing about this more and my apologies if that upsets you...but it's a new year and it's time for change.

25 comments:

Brett said...

Meg this was so brave. Good luck. You have my support 100%. Love ya.

Micaela said...

you are brave my dear :)
keep writing about it cos I'm with Brett, we'll support you! Ned, you can just join my demon: Heart-ache. The two of you would get along just fine.

xo

krissa reann said...

Bravo!!! That is really brave. The majority of people suffer with some issue dealing with food. I know I do and I have made a big jump to change that. I just heard about this book and I am going to read it. As soon as you mentioned weight and Ned I knew what you were talking about. I was wondering who Ned had been for awhile.
Thanks!

Mandee lost her individuality. said...

I'm always so happy to find new blogging buddies.

And you're so brave. much more brave than I.

Frank said...

You're a beautiful and strong woman, Meg. I admire you.

Anonymous said...

You don’t know me, but I found your blog through a friend’s. I just wanted to thank you for speaking out on this tough subject. I’m also a 20-something single girl, and for years I struggled with an overwhelming anxiety about food, compounded by years of yo-yo dieting. Thanks for shedding some light on all those eating disorders that don’t fit into the “anorexia” or “bulimia” box!

shilvia said...

no apologies needed meg, i'm still thrilled to read anything that you wrote!!! this is truly brave of you to write :)

naomi megan. said...

i've been getting some nasty anonymous comments as of lately. have you by any chance? p.s. this was very brave. and this is why i love you.

Nicole said...

I'm so glad you chose to share Ned with the world, it truly is inspiring and very very brave of you!!

Through the Looking Glass said...

I'm across the country and probably in an entirely different world than you, but oh how this resonated with me. I tried to find your email; really, I did! I wish I could ask you questions, steal a bit of your confidence and understanding. I've suffered myself, originally differently, now the same as you. Sometimes I feel lost in all of this. Could we talk sometime?

Anonymous said...

I applaud you for your courage! It needs to be talked about, not swept under a rug like so many people do. I wish you luck.

Ryan and Leah said...

Bravo!! We don't know each other, but reading this I felt like we did. Bravo!

Angie said...

you don't know my and i don't know you but i found your blog through others and i think you are so brave for posting about this! and i wanted to thank you for posting about it because it opened my eyes and made me realize I may be suffering from the same exact thing. but you are right, no one talks about it and many people don't know it even exists. i think knowing what your problem is is the first step to solving it, so thank you for opening my eyes!

...love Maegan said...

So brave of you to admit this. ...and how telling that America is more about the $$$ than the health of it's people. So sad. I wish there was something implemented in everyone as children regarding healthy eating and relationship with food. By the time we're adults, it's almost too late. "diets" never work.

I like the name ned ...I'd want to beat him up ...what a turd. lol. You can do it!

kathleen said...

Thank you so much for writing this and for putting a link to it on your latest post. I tried for the longest time to figure out who Ned was and just had to use my childhood context clues.

Thank you for being so courageous. I saw so much of myself in this. A friend of mine said to me recently, "What you just said about your eating sounds like bulimia, but without the purging." I thought maybe it was just me. I don't know what to say except thank you. I hope someday we can talk. You are lovely.

Patrick and McCall said...

This post was extremely brave. And informative. Thank you

TeriLyn said...

Hi, I came across your blog through Natalie Hill's and love your posts. I just read this one and wanted to say thanks for posting it. I'm in the exact situation as you are; I felt like you were writig exactly what I go through. My nutrionists tells me that I don't have an eating disorder per conventional standards, but that I have "disordered eating" and so I'm working on that. Glad to know there is someone else out there that understands!

danikreeft said...

i've just came across your blog through the rockstar diaries. she said after just one post i should be inspired. and if i wasn't, nothing would.

well, she was right.

you're writing is solid and real and moving. and i love it. thank you for sharing, really. it's all beautiful.
and for sharing NED. it's brave, really brave.

Karls said...

Wow! As Oprah would say - 'a lightbulb moment'. I'm a big binger and I've tried to combat through controlled dieting - which works short term... and now, through exercise, exercise, exercise. I'd never really thought of it as a disorder, just a big appetite - you've made me see it's not just that. Often I eat so much that I'm in physical pain, but somehow I can still fit in another bite! Thanks for switching on my light!

DiamondsandTulle said...

Hi! Just found your bog through Hanako's and I have to commend you on broaching this subject. I work in a fashion company and it's amazing to see how many super thin girls I work with that regularly say "I'm naturally this thin". When we had our health fair, several of my friends didn;t even come up on the chart for being too underweight. I will be reading more. Thx.

Amanda said...

I am in the same boat as you. I hope you know that your honesty is very inspiring. Thanks for it :)

Mikne said...

Hi,

I just found your blog and wanted to express my appreciation for what you've written. I've been struggling with my own "Ned" for a few years now. It's amazing how much "Ned" can not only effect my physical health, but my mental health, my very definition of who I am.

It is always helpful and gives me hope when I know that other strong people have their own "Ned" to battle.

Chelsea Robbins said...

you're so brave and profound-

Rachael said...

I'm just now getting a chance to look through all of these posts and EVERY SINGLE ONE tells me something I didn't know (like, your body will sweat out extra calories, it's the long run that counts) and makes me feel more hopeful about my own recovery.
Thank you.
Thank you.
Thank you.

anne taylor said...

Hey, I just found your blog through a friend, and I am so glad that I did. When I first started reading, I knew I loved your writing but the more posts I read, the more I became inspired and highly aware of how much we have in common. I too struggle with binge eating and non-purging bulimia and was diagnosed about a year ago, after dealing with this disease for 10 years. Way too long. I've been in recovery for a year, and I've been contemplating writing a post about my time with Ed and my recovery journey on my blog, but I've been holding off. But this is really inspirational, and really giving me the guts to keep writing. I see you've written so many more posts than just this one on this topic, and that is really encouraging. So thank you so much for opening the door to this conversation, and for inspiring me to do the same with my readers.