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11 February 2010


yeah, 'body without meat' is the book i've been immersed in these past days. not the easiest of readings, since it talks about a girl's struggle with anorexia, but interesting enough. it opens up about an eating disorder that is also an illness of the soul and that it's calculated to affect up to 1% of women and a lower percentage of men at some point in their lives (manorexia).

as a mother, i'm very concerned about this issue. i've always known that family discord and parents demands can put a person at risk for developing this disorder, but during my research about the problem, parallely to the reading of the book, i found out increasign evidence against this theory. it seems that, apart from a genetical predisposition, feeding problems as an infant, a general history of undereating and maternal depressive symptoms and traumas such as abuse tend to be risk factors for developing it.

the other personal characteristics include a high level of negative feelings and perfectionism. these ego deficits are the result of several failures in the mother-infant relationship of an eating disordered individual, like clinicians humphrey and stern contend. one failure was in the mother’s ability to consistently comfort the child and care for her needs. and without this consistency, the infant is unable to develop a strong sense of self and will have no trust in the environment. furthermore the child cannot discriminate between a biological need for food and an emotional or interpersonal need to feel secure. in this way the disordered is unable to determine whether they are hungry or need to soothe their emotional tensions. this inability is a result of the inconsistent attention to their needs as a child.

this care effects the quality of attachment between mother and child as well. theorists propose that these individuals’ dysfunction is in regards to food for certain reasons. the rejection of food or the purging is likened to the rejecting of the mother and is also an attempt to get the mother’s attention. the eating disordered individual may also choose to restrict her caloric intake because she wants to postpone adolescence due to her lack of individuation. so all binges are an attempt to fill the emptiness from a lack of internalized nurturance.

considering how much critical it is to model a healthy relationship with both body and food for mothers, i wonder if there're any better ways to prevent ana in my baby than the ones i already attempt. experts say the children who develop eating disorders are mostly girls who are often following examples set by their mothers.

i never diet, so alice is out the risk factor that has been identified in the development of an eating disorder. i make sure alice understands that weight gain is a normal part of development. i avoid negative statements about food, weight, and body size and shape. i allow her to make decisions about food, while making sure that plenty of healthy and nutritious meals and snacks are available. i complimenther on her efforts, talents, accomplishments and personal values. i also discuss the media images with alice. in simple words, i keep the communication lines with my child open.

al and i do whatever we can do to promote healthy self-esteem and body image in alice. we encourage physical activity, but not for the purpose of maintaining a particular physique. more importantly, we have regular family meals, which should be a protective factor. it's all so freaking out. being a parent is not easy, sometimes i feel overwhelmed.

maybe we should talk more about the artificial and unattainable nature of models in the media. i already started to point out how the beauty she sees on fantastic magazines doesn't compare with normal women. i'm astonished by the number of celebrities who struggled with anorexia themselves, by the way. the obvious ones are nicole richie, victoria beckham, a few brazialian models, some of them passed away because of the disorder too. but i was shocked to learn that a few victims were audrey hepburn and jane fonda. they both seemed perfect to me, such models of balance and pure harmony. obviosuly, there must be a very thin boundary between anorexia and well-being. 

this is one of the pics i found in one of the pro-ana blogs. it smartly sums up the distortion that anorexia inflicts on the mind. girls always see themselves overweight, even when they're close to malnutrition.

the girl who posted this pic blamed others for judging her and her world in a negative way. thing is these poor victims don't have a clu of their problem. in one of the sharpest part of the book, sara, the girl who starved herself to weight 36 kg per an height of 164 cm, describes her obsession in a very lucid way.  

i lost seven pounds after the first week already. the scales marked smaller numbers, including decimals. it made me feel euphoric and yet imbued with a sense of wellbeing. it was a result that first encouraged me to continue with the same rigor. any check, even minimal, as those few millimeters 'dancing in my pants', gave me a sense of omnipotence on my body. governing them, going against their nature, was spectacular and directly affected my self-esteem, increasing it. each heat was the seed of a small flower of hemlock that would eventually sprouted in my mind. thus, invisible and slow, the thinness was reaching out my bones. i could see its frozen veins with colorless blood,  touch its nails filed down without smudging, notice its knuckles deformed by a weird tremor, and play with its fingertips. without scaffolding and imbgragature, the thin ness descended from the brain to the heart with the intent to strangle the soul and tear the flesh. every day i looked myself at the mirror and what I saw was what always not accepted.


these poor babies. when i think of them i always compare their condition to venus, who was refused to be joined in embraces by adonis in titian's painting.

titian's venus and adonis, prado museum and art gallery, madrid.

they're ababdoned by men, who always dump them in favour of thinner girls (at least that's what they think), by family and friends, who don't understand them fully and are unable to help them, and by society in general. in shakespeare's poems venus and adonis, then, venus warns adonis of the tale of atalanta and hippomenes to dissuade him from hunting dangerous animals, he disregards the warning, and is killed by a boar. shakespeare's plays already showed a liking for activist heroines, forced to woo and pursue an evasive male.

okay, i better go and have some chocolate now. all this talking about NO food only made me hungry! i'll think about my new eating habits tomorrow. there's always a tomorrow for these things, isn't it? :)

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