How to Help Someone With an Eating Disorder

What should you do if you think or know that someone you care about has an eating disorder? What shouldn’t you do? What can you do?

Why Control Won’t Bring You Happiness

The process of successful recovery can be split into three phases: deciding and beginning to eat more and get better; continuing to eat more and get better physically and psychologically; and allowing recovery to flow into the life beyond it. Each bears a distinct relationship to the idea of control.

Taking, Losing, and Letting Go of Control in Anorexia

Control is central to many experiences of anorexia. How might exploring unpredictability help us uncover its dark sides and weak spots?

A Book from This Blog

I’m starting to plan a book based on A Hunger Artist, and would like your input.

Watching a Play about Anorexia

The benefits and dangers of creating art out of illness.

To Weigh or Not to Weigh?

What do the act of self-weighing, and those numbers on the scales, represent in anorexia and recovery? Is weighing yourself during recovery likely to do more harm or good?

Anorexia and the Dangers of Blog Post Titles

Few topics induce stronger emotion than parenting and children’s illness, and where emotions are heightened miscommunication can easily occur. Here I try to clarify my mother’s original argument, respond to some readers’ comments which blur the crucial distinction between personal and scientific ‘findings’, and reflect on the role of choice in recovery from anorexia.

You Can’t Save Your Child From Their Anorexia

This guest post by my mother Sue Blackmore reflects on the difficulty, for parents with an anorexic child, of striking the right balance between caring for their child and ruining their own lives trying and failing to help.

Recovering from Anorexia: How and Why to Start

In this companion piece to my post on how and why not to stop halfway in recovery from anorexia, I focus on anorexia’s other halfway state, the one between first achieving insight and first taking action, and try to offer ways of both understanding and escaping this particular limbo.

How To Do Christmas Better

This post is for anyone who finds themselves somewhere between a restrictive eating disorder and full recovery – or who just generally struggles a bit with Christmas. It’s about finding ways of making Christmas happier, healthier, and more connected, and it invites you to share your own concrete plans for doing better this Christmas.

The Fast Diet: A Fast Route to Disordered Eating?

Fasting diets have been all the rage recently, but does the evidence for them add up, and is what they’re promoting any better than a socially sanctioned eating disorder?

Recovery from Anorexia: Why the Rules *Do* Apply to You

One of the most common traits in anorexia is the sufferer’s feeling that their illness and/or their recovery must be different from everyone else’s – so much so that this conviction becomes in itself a reliable marker of similarity. I explore how and where this shared illusion of difference manifests itself and why it needs resisting.

What Anorexics Really Feel About Food

What’s really going on when people suffering from anorexia refuse to eat? It isn’t usually as simple as not experiencing hunger, and a profound enjoyment of food is often also part of the illness. So what are the mechanisms driving the destructive and sometimes deadly abnormalities in how feeling hunger and liking food relate to wanting food and eating it?

Eating Disorders in the Online World

The internet can be a dangerous place where people suffering from eating disorders offer each other encouragement to be ill ‘better’. What are the forces driving this worrying development, and what can we do about it?

Recovering from Anorexia: How and Why Not to Stop Halfway

How do you get past the in-between stage of having regained some weight but probably not enough, past the distressing limbo between sickness and health? What do you do when you know you're not well again yet but you fear going any further?

Anorexia on Prozac

I review the arguments and evidence for and against the prescription of antidepressants in the treatment of anorexia, and describe my own experience of taking Prozac before starting weight gain and therapy.

Not Being the Thinnest Any More—How to Adjust

After years of starving yourself, followed by months of regaining the weight you lost in anorexia, there comes a point where you realise that your body no longer looks anorexic, and this can be very hard to deal with. Here I offer some thoughts on how to make it easier, by both being strict with yourself and being gentle.

Seeing and (Not) Believing in Anorexia

Do we need to be able to see to be dissatisfied with our bodies? Could blindness reduce the likelihood of developing an eating disorder that involves negative body image? Or might not being able to see make us all the more likely to develop body-image distortions that go unchecked by vision?

Anorexia and the Right to Die

Should someone who has for a long time suffered from anorexia, and who is starving herself to death, be permitted to die or be force-fed in order to prevent her death?

Anorexia and the Diet Delusion: Healthy Eating After Recovery

Having recovered from anorexia, how does one cope with the prevalence of ‘unhealthy’ relationships with food in the general population, and what factors might usefully be taken into account in constructing a sustainably healthy relationship with food for oneself?

A Partner's Perspective on Anorexia

Here I talk to my partner about how it was living with someone recovering from anorexia, and about his thoughts on anorexia more generally, including in relation to his own experiences of disordered eating.

Is Anorexia a Disease, a Series of Bad Decisions, or Both?

Genetic and environmental factors in the development of anorexia, along with the feedback loops between the physiological and the psychological in its progression, make anorexia a difficult condition to recover from. However, everyday decisions also play a role, not only in becoming ill but also in bringing about recovery.

Hospitalisation and Recovery from Anorexia

For some people, starting to eat more again isn’t enough, the weekly or twice-weekly support of a therapist isn’t enough, even an all-day outpatient programme isn’t enough, and a period of hospitalisation is the only way to recover from anorexia.

Not Leaving Recovery 'Til It's Too Late

My father died unexpectedly two weeks ago. The fact that I recovered from anorexia in time to be his daughter again for nearly three years before he died is a great comfort in my grief. I write in order that others may be encouraged to act today rather than tomorrow, and to spare themselves the agony of losing a loved-before before recovering.

The Physical Effects of Weight Gain after Starvation

I describe the physical changes that often occur when someone severely malnourished begins to regain weight. The more one knows when setting out on the journey of recovery, the less likely one is to be deterred from carrying on by physical difficulties that are to some extent unavoidable but also explicable and temporary.

Is 100% Recovery from an Eating Disorder Possible?

As anorexia recedes further into my past, I often find myself reflecting on the wonderful fact of being free of it, and rarely feel still defined by it. Nonetheless, the question often arises – for me and for people who write to me: is it possible to be 100% recovered from an eating disorder such as anorexia?

Wasting Time: Symptom and Enemy of Anorexia

I explore the time-wasting of eating disorders and their mental mantras, and how taking things to extremes offers an illusory solution.

Make an Exercise Obsession Healthier by Eating More

I link to an article in which a woman describes the insights gained, about herself and her sport, during a period of intensive training combined with plenty of good food and rest.

Where next after anorexia: death, recovery, or another eating disorder?

What determines whether or not anorexia nervosa turns into binge-eating disorder or bulimia nervosa? Here I explain and explore the stark fact that unless recovery occurs, there are only two options in anorexia: making the transition to another eating disorder, or dying. I give examples from my own experience of the factors that may make recovery possible instead.

Fully Recovered, but Not Quite: The Long Post-Anorexic Road

I think of myself as completely recovered from anorexia, and yet that doesn’t mean that the illness, and the decade of my life which it defined, have not left traces that still affect me. I assess here the changes that have occurred since I last took stock, a year ago, and ask when it’s legitimate to say that one has recovered ‘enough’.