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? What do you do when you know you're not well again yet but you fear to go 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 and months of weight restoration, you realise you no longer look anorexic. You can cope with this by being both strict and gentle with yourself.

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’.

Seeing through anorexia’s academic charade

Beginning to challenge the belief that anorexia can be a positive contributor to academic success.

Escaping from anorexia, Part II

People often write to me asking (as I used to ask myself) how it is possible to make the transition from knowing that anorexia is ruining one’s life to actually saying no to it, and starting to eat more. Here I address in detail the numerous barriers to taking the plunge, and how those barriers might be overcome.

How to reunite work and life after anorexia

Years of anorexia made me believe that nothing much mattered in life except the achievements of intellect, and complete control over food. Academia can make it difficult to abandon this valuing of intellect above all else, but the exclusion of life by work has to be challenged just as the destruction of life by starvation must be.

What weight-lifting can do for a former anorexic

What are the dangers, and the rewards, of taking up weight-lifting for someone who used to suffer from anorexia? I reflect on the changes this sport has wrought on my body and my attitudes to exercise, food, and body image, and how it can represent an escape from the concept of exercise as a means merely to move along the spectrum between thin and fat.

Christmas and New Year make the perfect time to challenge anorexic behaviours

Christmas and New Year are a brilliant time to break out of the tedious and destructive lifestyle and self-image that anorexia and malnutrition create.

Starvation study shows that recovery from anorexia is possible only by regaining weight

There is one finding about anorexia which seems to me more crucial to treating it successfully than anything else. For the anorexic, gaining weight is the prerequisite for mental recovery, rather than vice versa, because most of the symptoms of anorexia are the symptoms of starvation

What's the Difference between Being Fussy and Having an Eating Disorder?

These days it's hard to avoid people who have ‘issues' with food. But is there a clear boundary which some people overstep and others don't, and which marks the progression of mere fussiness into a fuller eating disorder? And if so, where precisely does it lie?

Learning how to relax after anorexia

Last time I was on the Greek island of Corfu I was in the midst of the process of finally deciding that life with anorexia was so untenable that I had to try to escape it. What I find now so hard to comprehend, though I remember it so clearly, is how that anorexic semi-existence felt like the only possible way of living, and how certain I was that to change anything would make life unbearable.

Constructing a character after anorexia

What does it mean to create a character for oneself, a character that isn't just defined by an eating disorder? Does anyone really construct a character, or is this something one rather falls into, or lets emerge?

Anorexia and today's world

It's impossible to dampen the human ambition for progress, for ease, for choice. And the closer we come to achieving total ease, infinite choice, and complete 'modernity', the more glaring will its down-sides become: the obesity, the anorexia, the mental illness.