Junkfood Science: “WHAT is your pcp smoking?”

September 06, 2007

“WHAT is your pcp smoking?”

There is not a single educated woman on this planet who benefits or needs to be told to eat “healthy” — more whole grains, fruits and vegetables, or whatever some doctor, teacher or public official believes is good. Not a single woman hasn’t felt pressured to watch her weight since she was barely able to walk. Not a single one hasn’t heard (about eleventy-seven different times!) about “good and bad” foods and isn’t able to cite the calorie count and fat grams for more foods than you can count.

Yet, there are still professionals who feel the need to counsel people about their weight and remind them to eat “healthy.” Here is another example of the downsides of this well-meaning, but terribly misguided, belief.

For those readers who haven’t been following Hungry for Hunger, a loving husband is chronicling, with raw, painful honesty, his wife’s recovery from anorexia. This past weekend, he writes of the progress, wiped out by a few thoughtless bits of ‘advice.’ His lengthy entry is worth reading in its entirety. He begins:

So here’s where we are. She had therapy on Friday, came home, cried about 3 hours curled up on the floor. She eventually went to the bookstore where I met her after work and we tried to pick up the pieces of the week – or at least I did.

Essentially, this week has been a microwave-version of her entire eating disorder. Or at least the last 6 months. She went from outright restricting, a smidge more eating, self-harm (yup, hadn’t done it since May but it crept up too), and now we’re at a somewhat familiar point where she would like to be back on track, but doesn’t really want to go through the motions of eating again and doing whatever else she needs to do to actually get back on track...She’s beginning to try....

The free will thing is hard again too. It’s difficult to remind myself that there’s a gray area in there where this isn't a choice, but there’s an infuriating point where it is a choice. From the outside looking in, and having no experience with ever having my mind hijacked, it certainly feels like a frickin choice. And the part of her that chose this is the part of her I’m frustrated with and heartbroken by, but I don’t know where that part begins, and how it all works inside her mind, and if she ever had a fighting chance against that 1-2-3 punch of bullshit last week.

I got some more info. Apparently she read her weight at the doctor’s office and, instead of the doctor just telling her that she was at a good weight, the doctor (this is her PCP, not an ED-specializing doctor) gave her some health tips if she was worried about a few pounds. Fucking fantastic. Though yes, the doctor did say she was at a fine weight, the doctor (in her quasi-defense, just trying to be helpful) starting talking about eating more whole grains or some shit...

Really, what her mother and the PCP fail to grasp is...

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