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eating disorders

would anyone like to post their experience with an eating disorder.

http://vegweb.com/index.php?topic=14953.0

This thread had quite a bit a few days ago.

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thanks for showing me that anna. i've been stuggling with bulimia for around a year now, and occasionally i struggle with anorexia too. it's a terrible thing and sometimes i feel like i'm probably one of the few "bulimic vegans" in the world. i think eating disorders are like a cross between depression, obsessive compulsive disorder, and maybe histrionic personality disorder....

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Glad you posted on the topic - it's one that a lot of people are affected by, and discussing it openly is one of the first steps in returning to health.

Eating disorders are very common among vegans and vegetarians - for several reasons. One is that if you're veg*n, everyone expects you to eat differently than they do, so it becomes easier to hide unusual eating habits (I recall an article about this a few years back in Vegetarian Times or Vegetarian Journal - you might be able to find more if you google the topic). Another reason is that people with eating disorders are very concerned with food - and therefore just think more about what they eat. (Of course, most people need to think more about what they eat than they do. . .) Anorexia specifically is increased by a feeling of revulsion toward certain foods - and I think it is just easier to feel revulsion for meat than, say, for a muffin. I sometimes feel that way myself.

BTW, Ancient Christian writers, interestingly, said that when fasting, like at Lent, we should never despise the food we are fasting from, but should respect it as given by God, and see any abstinence we practice as a spirituality-increasing exercise.That's probably a healthier perspective for someone struggling with an eating disorder. Even those who aren't religious can regard their abstience as a positive thing to increase the health of their relationship with people, animals, the earth, and the universe, rather than a negative thing of revulsion and deprivation.

I think you'll find a lot of people on here that can help you and will understand where you are coming from.

It's a great thing that you are working on recovering!  :)

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Here's my story.  2 years ago I was diagnosed with anorexia, 4-5 months after converting to veganism.  (The veganism had nothing to do with the eating disorder.)  It started when I was working and did not receive a lunch break since I was working only 7 hours.  So I was skipping a meal and trying to incorporate 2 meals into one which was difficult because it was too much food.  Consequently, I lost weight.  I ended up losing so much that it nearly ended my life (twice - the second time happened less than a year ago).  My parents had me committed to the hospital where I was in the ICU.  And after 2 weeks in the hospital, the doctors committed me, against my will, to an eating disorder unit where I lived with 10 other female bullimics/anorexics for 2 months.  Worse, the dieticians wouldn't honor my veganism, saying it's not a suitable weight gain diet program.  They did, however, honor a lacto-ovo veggie diet.  As a result, I felt shackled and stripped of my beliefs because I wasn't entitled to a diet based on my ethical beliefs, and had to either eat through a nose tube, which gagged me, or eat the dairy products.  I ended up choosing the lacto-ovo diet (after all I had been a lacto-ovo 4 years prior to the conversion).  What do all of you think about this?  What would you have done, be fed through a nose tube or eat a lacto-ovo veggie diet?  This experience still haunts me today.  

Like I said in the beginning, I was committed twice.  The second time occurred less than a year ago when I purposely lost the weight due to the anger at my parents for sending me there, and for forcing me to convert to a diet against my beliefs.  This time they let me keep a vegan diet because they saw I had done well on a vegan diet during the outpatient program.  BUt the food was anything but healthy - i.e smuckers 100% hydrogenated Peanut butter.  

It's embarrassing for me to tell this as a male but it's now become a daily battle of my life.Has anyone else been here been sent to an eating disorder clinic, or hospitalization program where they had to gain weight?  I feel like I am the only one and would like it if other vegans could relate. Thanks!

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don't be embarassed! i love everyones honesty. i went through a period for about 2 months where i almost quit. things actually we're going a lot better then. when i completely expell food from my system or if i dont eat anything at all i maintain my weight or gain a few pounds. i will be getting help pretty soon but i'm kind of scared.

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I was just being nosey in this thread but I have to say... Wow, strideforunity that's a very powerful story. I cannot imagine how difficult it must have been for you!  :o
I wonder if the eating disorder unit was trying to break your "control" over your diet by not allowing you to be vegan? Or did they truely believe it was not suitble for weight gain?
I'm interested to know how your relationship with food is today.

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I'm really glad you're seeking recovery.

I went through over 2 years of anorexia and, primarily, bulimia, with one hospitalization. I'm now fully recovered and have, what I feel is, the best relationship with food. I hope my young age doesn't 'take away' from the seriousness of the topic.

If any feel the need/want to, you can always PM or IM me at the screenname of the same name. :-*

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it's okay that you're young . i'm a teen who can be extremely mature for the most part and i can be an immature, crazy, fun, and slightly annoying. i really appreciate your help and concern and i will IM you as soon as my computer allows me to. i love meeting new friends!  ;D

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Right on! ::)

The way I see it, and always have, is that I'm going to be a kid forever.
It's all about balance. Never taking anything quite so seriously, but with maturity.
Complex, but so simple  :)

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Thanks Jennifer!  Let me say that the nurses and dieticians who work with the eating disorder patients dislike ANY type of restriction.  They believe that some people use vegetarianism as an excuse to avoid/restrict foods.  I find this alarming.  Some have tried to convince me to eat meat, others have tried to convince me to a return of the lacto-ovo diet. They don't understand that this is MY struggle that I will recover from when I have decided to let food controlling my life.    

My relationship with today is a lot worse than it used to be in the sense that I am more knowledgeable about foods.  Moreover, I don't trust anyone else's cooking, not even vegetarian restaurants because I have been deceived many times at the hospital.  During my 2nd hospitalization recovery they were feeding me "veggie slices" which they thought were vegan but actually contained lactose, whey, and casein.  And their veggie burgers also contained eggs (I found this out when I left the hospital; I called the cafeteria.)  So I now have trust issues with cooks/chefs.  Nevertheless, it's still otherwise hard for me to consume food.  I haven't had desserts since December (kind of sucks because I love baking).  Like I said, it's an everyday struggle.  I am not completely recovered and I envy those who claim to be recovered.  Power to them!

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I'm glad someone put this post up. I have battled with anorexia for a few years now and even though I am now at a healthy weight, I still battle with these inner demons. An eating disorder is like a drug that can just be fixed by eating. Some people think that anyone with this disease can be cured just by gaining weight. There is a mental part to it too. It's like having the good and bad angel on your shoulder. One's telling you not to eat, and the other to eat. The eating is just the physical part of this disease but it goes deeper. Deep inside this person with anorexia is dealing with something that he/she feels have no control over, so this person will resort to the thing he/she thinks can control: food. In fact, this person is in less control because the anorexia takes control of the person.
It's a really sad disease and I had to go to rehab for two times before I actually told myself that I cannot do this to myself and my family anymore. It's such a hard thing to get over, but with therapy and a will to want to get better, anyone can get better. Stride4Unity, I know it's so hard but I'm glad your trying to get better. The people in the eating disorder I went to were very cold and would blame us for not eating something because of our eating disorder not thinking that maybe we didn't like the food. I'm glad that your honesty and you shouldn't be ashamed! It's an obstacle in life and though it's a tough ride, I know that anyone can get through it! I wish you all the best and stay strong!

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it's nice to know that i'm not the only person who feels terrible about themselves. having an eating disorder is scary and you know that you can get hurt but yet you do it anyways. since i've only had this eating disorder for a year i want to stop it so that i don't continue hurting myself all throughout my life. it's scary. at different times my period has skipped for 6 months, i've been losing hair, my hands are bruised, i lack energy, every joint in my body cracks, my gums are slightly eroded, and my body gets sore.  :-\

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I am just going to re-post what I said the other day when this topic came up. Stride4unity, I did ask if anyone knew of any males having an EO. Thanks for being so sincere, open hearted, and brutally honest about your problem (that goes for all of you sharing you stories and life with us). I wish I had advice to give all of you, but I really don't know enough about it to give any. I can only be here to listen and give support regarding this subject to any of you that need it, hopefully when you need it. I have to say that my heart goes out to anyone that struggles just getting through life as we know it in this world......hey it's part of what makes ME vegan.

Here's my re-post:

I have to say that I have really learned a great deal reading your honest and sincere posts  from those of you having an eating disorder. As I mentioned in a recent post, I do learn a lot from this board. This topic is one that falls into that category. I think until I found this board I really thought that the "majority" of those like me (vegan) became one for the solely for the same reasons I did, which is factory farming and animal rights. I have learned there are many reasons that all of you have chosen this lifestyle. I'll call it a lifestyle over calling it a diet, because I think becoming veggie or vegan is just that, a total lifestyle change.

The recent topic here that you are all discussing hit in the head like a bag of bricks! I never thought that anyone would turn to becoming a veggie or vegan because of issues like binging, purging, anorexia and bulimia. A few months ago when I first saw a few posts regarding it here, I was like like wow, that's a new one for me. Now I see it is a much bigger part of why some of you ended up here....(at vegweb). I just wish that I had more advice to give some of you. I really know so little about it. I do know it is more of a self esteem issue than it is a dietary one. Well, if I'm wrong on that last statement correct me....just trying to learn here. I guess it's the pressure put on young girls and women in our society to be waif thin and wear a size zero. Some people are just not built like that.

Did many of you turn to a veggie/vegan diet so that you feel you could eat less calories so that you would not have to purge any longer? Did you start young? Or did it start as you got a little older and your metabolism slowed down. I wonder if guys have it and never talk about it. I know that when I hit 25, my metabolism changed and up to that point I could eat as much as I wanted whenever I wanted and never went up or down a pound. At 25 when that changed, I just started exercising more, running more, hiking more. I like to eat, and always have, so I have never really gone on a diet, but I do think that if I ever stopped my running and hiking I'd end up very overweight.

I'm glad that some of you have been so open about this. As I said I wish I had more advice (well I mean ANY advice) that I could give you. Maybe me just telling you that you are all beautiful and should really like who you are will help. Maybe that is the stupidest thing I could say. As I stated I know nothing about it. Thanks again for sharing you stories, and lives with us here. I can only say that no matter how bad things seem at times, they can only get and will get better. 

-dave

PS....if anyone ever needs to talk..find me........i'm around

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Well, I guess I'm the odd one out....I have binge eating disorder (BED) which basically means I binge, but don't purge.  I binge pretty much on a daily basis, and predictably my weight is a reflection of this.  Medically I would be considered morbidly obese.  A lot of people are very judgemental about this and don't believe it's a "real" eating disorder like anorexia/bulimia because it manifests very differently.  I eat reasonably and quite healthily most of the time (I don't restrict), but when I get home at night it all goes crazy and I eat truly staggering amounts of food, and it's often junk.  I'm sure people who see me eating normal/healthy food all day wonder how I can appear so out of shape.

Anyway, it's something I've struggled with since I was 12 (I'm 28 now).  I don't really see a big connection between the BED and vegetarianism in my case.  I'm fairly new to being a vegetarian (4-5 months) but I still binge as much as I did before, just on different stuff.  I used to binge horribly on meat, and thinking about that now freaks me out, though there's still the urge to do it from time to time.  There might have been a part of me that thought the bingeing might decrease once I went veg, but the rational part of me knows this disorder isn't really about food at all, it's about emotions and not being able to cope with them.  Therapy, support groups, years and years of telling myself every day "I'm not going to do this anymore!" and I'm still on the same track.  I've come a long way emotionally and in accepting myself and feeling good about my body, but in terms of the bingeing I still can't seem to deal with life without it.  Anyway, that's a lot of sharing I just did there, so I'll just exit quietly now....

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i think it's stupid how doctors can make assumptions about people. thank you for sharing gi julie! it's absolutely wonderful how you have learned to accept yourself. myself on the otherhand, i'm content with my looks but not my weight/body. i get told all of the time that i'm skinny but i dont know what to believe. i'm 5 '7 and 125 pounds at the moment ( i gained weight)

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goodness--Strideforunity you have my sincere sympathy.  I have no idea what I would have done in that situation.....probably attempted suicide?

My trouble with my eating disorder is how wholly consuming it is (haha, nice pun).  Somehow every activity/thought relates back to ana tendencies.  And when  controlled by these feelings, I manage to justify them.  As a meat eater would justify eating meat.

"I don't need to eat because others need food more"  and etc.  I'm so convicted in all of my beliefs, it's really hard to break these feelings.  If someone gave you a hundred reasons why veganism was wrong...damn straight you'd still be a vegan!  Exactly the same thing in my head.

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i've struggled with anorexia for over 5 years now and just recently i have been dealing with binge eating with is not ..fun..  my doctor, who supposedly specializes in eating disorders, has told me that if i want to lose weight (even just enough to get back down to my NORMAL weight), i am on my own and he will have no part in it. it doesnt matter to him that i am completely miserable because of the bingeing--that i cry several times a day and get so depressed that i can't even go to my boyfriends house to see him some times, i've stopped going grocery shopping with my mom and grandfather because i have no pants that fit anymore, just pajama pants that i live in now.

i was, at my worst, 88 pounds. i was in a hospital program a few years ago and got up to around 105 but then left and eventually went back to 88 pounds. it's difficult because i don't have anyone around me that supports me in wanting to feel better about my body, not even my boyfriend who loves me, because i was 88 pounds and all they think of when i say "lose a few pounds" is getting that low again, which is not what i want.

my doctor only this week told me he sees the bingeing as a problem, but all he said was to put a rubber band around my wrist and snap it when i want to binge. needless to say, it didn't help. people seem to think that i don't realize what i'm doing when i binge. of course i realize it, i'm screaming at myself in my head the whole time, but i just can't stop.

alright.. sorry for rambling. it's tough, and i'm relieved for a rare chance to relate to someone else

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GI_JULIE, BED is definitely an eating disorder. There are so many types of eating disorders and some of them are EDNOS (eating disorder not otherwise specified), which means that the ED person has a multiple of symptoms of the three main eating disroders (Bulimia, anorexia, binge-eating disorder). Its so hard to deal with it on a day to day basis b/c everyone has to eat everyday and its always a constant battle. Its a love/hate relationship with food. I hope everything goes well for you. Everything always ends up working for the best.

SARIEA, I had that same problem when I was released from the ED unit for anorexia. I started binging at night time and eating practically nothing during the day (Not healthy at all!) Then my doctor told me that there is something called refeeding syndrome or something like that, that's being studied. It was a study that found that when people were starved for long periods of time, they eat and don't know when to stop. I might have to look it up again.

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SARIEA, I had that same problem when I was released from the ED unit for anorexia. I started binging at night time and eating practically nothing during the day (Not healthy at all!) Then my doctor told me that there is something called refeeding syndrome or something like that, that's being studied. It was a study that found that when people were starved for long periods of time, they eat and don't know when to stop. I might have to look it up again.

thats exactly how i am. all day long i can keep to a "diet", healthy eating and all that, but at night time i usually spend around 3 hours just in the kitchen eating everything i can find. i have been trying to not do it but it's very difficult to stop, especially when i'm stressed out or upset.

it's a shame that the hospital program i was in didn't really talk about knowing when to stop eating. i was up to a calorie count of 4,000 a day in there, so obviously i was eating when i wasn't hungry, and they didn't teach us that that is wrong. normal people eat when they are hungry and stop when they are full. so it's either we don't eat practically at all or we overeat

their main goal was to make us gain weight, and if we were benefited by the little therapy we got then it was a bonus

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thanks for showing me that anna. i've been stuggling with bulimia for around a year now, and occasionally i struggle with anorexia too. it's a terrible thing and sometimes i feel like i'm probably one of the few "bulimic vegans" in the world. i think eating disorders are like a cross between depression, obsessive compulsive disorder, and maybe histrionic personality disorder....

just something of interest:
They actually had a study recently that showed that there was a significant connection to genetics.  Previously it was all considered to be environment, but now they've shown that you can have a genetic disposition toward to it and because of that, you often see it in the family.  In the past though, it was well diagnosed, but nowadays better and  usually with better treatment.  I'm sorry to hear of your experience in the hospital, but I can't say I'm surprised.  I received terrible treatment when I was in the trauma ward, of all places.  :o

it can be a long, long road to recovery.
best of luck.  :)

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