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Topic : 03/15 Starving for Perfection

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Created on : Friday, November 10, 2006, 09:21:57 am
Author : DrPhilBoard1
(Original Air Date: 11/16/06) Have you ever looked in the mirror and thought, 'If I could lose five more pounds, I'd be perfect?' Dr. Phil's first guest, Darlene, thinks that every day, even though she's 5' 3" and weighs 60 pounds. She walks 20 miles a day followed by 500 stomach crunches and 1,200 leg lifts, so she doesn't have to worry about eating. Her twin sister, Marlene, says she's tried everything to help Darlene win this 11-year battle. Could something in her past be at the root of her problem? Is it too late for Darlene to recover? Then, 22-year-old Jennifer weighs 63 pounds and has the bones of an 80-year-old. Food is such an enemy to her that it takes her up to two hours to eat as much as a tablespoon. Jennifer's parents say she needs to control everything  -- throwing out their food and telling them what they can and can't buy -- and her anorexia is affecting their marriage. They plead for help to save their daughter's life. What does Jennifer need to do to regain her health? Will these women choose to take a step in the right direction? Join the discussion.

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November 11, 2006, 3:25 pm CST

11/16 Starving for Perfection

Quote From: gtwhealth

As a health care provider who works with eating disorder patients, I understand this disease is a personal battle and that change has to come from within.  Do any of you who have been through this have advice for professionals as to what we can do that is the most helpful for recovery?
I am one who suffers and it makes it hard to survive and would love to give up..  It would be nice that for us without insurance to have the same opportunity for life as others that do.  If the profesionals would make the opportunity for survival to all.  I have struggled for 15 yrs and at 5'3" and 95lbs I want so desperately to loss a lot more at one point I was down to 75 lbs and I loved how I felt.  Know with the concern of wanting to lose and lose I have come to a point were I have lost interest in all things that were important to me..  I have a beautiful 15 yr old daughter who I have caught going down the same path..  With lack of money I have not been able to go back to a place that gave me hope WESTWINDS in Manitoba Canada..  Bryan was a lifesave but the way the American society is I have slipped back to a place I have never wanted to be again.
 
November 11, 2006, 5:19 pm CST

Been There

Quote From: denise2u

When I was in 9th grade, I probably weighed 130 lbs. For some reason, and I don't know to this day, I just didn't eat as much.  I didn't see myself as thin, to the point of looking like a skelton, even though weighing 110 lbs.  However, my father saw my lack of interest in eating and DEMANDED that I clean my plate.  This would have been in 1965, and then we knew to listen to our fathers.  I objected to his demand, and he stuck with his decision that I was going to eat and that was that.  I graduated in 1968 weight 135 lbs and looking good at 5' 7".

 

My point is when (yes even DR PHIL too) and I were growing up, there (esp in small towns) were no reasons for excuses.  We had classmates die and yet had no counceling by professionals to deal with it, we dealt with it and went on in life.  And I never heard of an eating disorder until now, when it seems so prevelent. 

 

I had, now that I know what it is called, the beginning of this disease!  I shutter when I see my 9th grade picture and am so grateful to my parents (esp my father) for picking up a problem before it became life threatening.  To tell you the truth I don't know why I didn't want to eat. I was lucky and came from a "NORMAL" family, and no problems at all, other than the normal rebelling that we all do.

 

Bottom line that I don't understand, why doesn't someone intervene BEFORE this comes to life threatening.  This doesn't just happen overnight.  And I think we need to stop using excuses for things happening in our lives, deaths, one parent families etc. and face the fact that our lives are the way we want them.  My father had no father, had no father image growing up, yet he decided he wanted to be the best father ever and he was.  My Mom came from parents that fought constantly, and she knew she didn't want to be that way, and was a super MOM.

 

So eating disorders were always around, just way back (Sorry Dr PHil but it was lol) we had (OR MOST OF US) the respect for our fathers that meant EAT when they said EAT!

 

Good luck to these ladies and I sincerly hope that Dr Phil gives them the help they need before it's to late! 

When I was a little girl I was sexual abused and when I was 15 years old I had a nervous breakdown.  Then one day I told myself I had control over one thing in my life and that was what I put into my mouth.  I was sick like this for about ten years.  When a doctor told me that I could loose my three children if I did not start eating helped me a lot.  It was when the Lord told me to stop playing the victim and take control of my life is when I really started to eat again.  I went from 150 pounds down to 79 pounds before the "divine intervention."  Now I am obese.  Ain't that a hoot?  My point is this, she has to have something to live for above anything else.  A higher power is well worth the trip back to a life. 

God be with those who suffer this illness.

 
November 11, 2006, 5:20 pm CST

The Physical Fall Out From Having Anorexia

 am 47 y/o and have been anorexic since the age of 2 or 3.  Growing up my mother just labled me a "picky eater"  During a school physical our famiily physician labeled it "Malnourished".  I am sure

you can imagine the mood at home that evening !  My mother was livid - our family was upper

middle class with more than enough of everything, and here I sat  "malnourished"

As a child I had no idea the root of the problem (thanks to Dr Phils book Self Matters now I do)

When I graduated in high school 1977 being overly thin was NOT in - I weighed 89 lbs at 5"6"

After getting into a disasterous marriage I found out I was pregnant that was one of the first major

light bulb moments in my life.  I was then in nursing school and knew HAD to eat to successfully

carry this pregnancy to term.  The anorexia was MY problem...NOT the problem of an unborn child

So my weight went from 89 lbs to 160 lbs at the end of the pregnancy.  When I left the hospital I

weighed 128 lbs and have for the most part stayed in the 115-130 range until this day

HOWEVER, let me stress to every anorexic out there by not eating you are playing with dynomite

In my 30's I started having problems with my blood pressure & heart palpatations.  Being a nurse

I figured it was stress, took the prescribed meds. 

Valentines Day 1992 I had my first heart attack, 6 months later I had a stroke.  The next 10 yrs were

a nightmare of going from a very well paid successful single mother to being unable to walk, talk

and legally blind and in a wheelchair for the next 13 yrs.  I went to medical centers all over the country and was eventually diagnosed with a mitochondrial myopathy.

Every cell in my body had taken on the characteristic of anorexia.  The cells in the nerves and muscles were not able to receive the nutrients they needed to survive.  My body had more or less

turned on itself - to the point my body was destroying its own red blood cells.  I went through 2 yrs

of endless transfusions and bone marrow biopsies. II even survived breast cancer

Thanks to 2 brilliant neurologists in my state, they not only made the diagnosis but started me on

what was then experimental treatments - they worked.  For the past 2 yrs I am out of the wheelchair,  walking, talking and doing great.  I am legally blind - no peripheral vision and I am

losing my central vision very quickly.  But for the most part the mitochondrial disease is in remission.  And I am currently cancer free.

I will always be anorexic.  I still have body image issues and maybe I always will.

But it is not worth the long term damage you are doing to your body.  You may not see it for many years but the damage is done every day you deny your body nourishment. You are setting

your body up like a house of cards.....and it doesn't take much for that house to fall apart.

And when it falls it falls fast and it falls hard

I hope I been able to reach just 1 person by sharing this.  Learn from my mistakes.  I was a nurse before I became to sick to work.  For many years I just tried to exist because the mitochondrial disease had ravaged my body.  Now I am a patient advocate and do a lot of

motivational writing and speaking.   I know there are millions of people (men and women)

suffering from eating disorders, I think by working together we can help each other find our

way to healing physically and emotionally.  Just take it one day at a time and some days its

just hour by hour.  But you can do it.......I did

 

Brenda

 
November 11, 2006, 5:22 pm CST

a hole in your soul

Have you ever had one of those days ( or in my case one of those lives) when you felt as if there was a huge never-ending hole right in the middle of your soul.  This hole is so vast, so deep it literally echoes with loneliness and despair.  Some people call it anorexia,  bulimia,  chemical dependency, abuse, depression  and self hatred.  There are those people that try to fill the hole with food, drugs, violence, denial, work, school sex, self mutilation.  But nothing can fill this hole.  Everything seems to just make the hole that much bigger – you fear being totally consumed by this nameless vacuum within ourselves.

You try to talk to family and friends, they just look at you with this glazed look in their eyes like you have become totally unhinged.  You talk to professionals and they are more interested in their clinical trials of new medications and whether you fit the necessary protocols.

You are screaming inside….my God help me, someone just reach out and take my hand before Its too late.  Crazy thoughts race through your mind, what if no one else knows what you are talking about, what if no one wants to take the time to listen to everything you needs to say

What if you tell someone and they just don’t care

 

First let me promise you I care.  I will listen no matter what time it is day or night.  I will never judge you, laugh at you or ignore you.  I will hold you through the worst of times and help you celebrate all your successes.   I have faith in you to accomplish anything you put your mind to. I will help you find insights and solutions to your problems.  All I ask in return in honesty not only with me, but more importantly honesty with yourself

 

Second, most likely that huge hole in your soul has been created by YOU.  It may have started out as simple self doubt or low self-esteem and slowly expanded into self hatred, rejection, self pity and all those hurtful ugly things we say to ourselves all day everyday.  I am not saying other people in our lives have not contributed to this sink hole, but you have to admit we’re the ones that bought in to whatever nonsense they have been telling us.  When someone tells you are wonderful you can believe or not, that same principle applies when people insult you.  Where is it written” well so and so said it so it must be true” ?  Doesn’t work that way.  Its all up to you !

 

To fill in this crater you have to roll up your sleeves and be ready for HARD work.  You have to be willing to look deep inside yourself and realize Dr Phil is right !  You have to find your true self and then nurture that with every ounce of energy you have.  Its long nasty unpleasant work But it has to be done to fill in the crater.  I have yet to read anything in any of Dr Phils books about Fairy Dust and Magic Wands ( however if he comes up with them I want one in a Go Cup)

You are the only one that can fill in this hole.  Too many of us look outside ourselves (myself oh yes included) thinking oh this guy can make it better – I know I’ll marry him (BIG MISTAKE –trust me)

Or worse if I take this drug I won’t feel the pain - oh yes you will and you’ll be hung over too.

And worse drugs, alcohol and starvation cause wrinkles (talk about a defining moment YIKES !)

Every little issue you come across deal with it head on – it may be uncomfortable or may hurt like Hell, but it has to be faced or the hole is not going to go away.  Find aproblem, face the problem then find a constructive way to handle it (constructive means positive destructive is what you’ve been doing to get where you are now….HOLE AND ALL)

 

I speak from experience, the hole can be filled in but only by you.  You have to face the truth of your

Past, the truth of your present and the truth of your future.  You don’t have to like it just face it. Only then can you THEN CHANGE IT.  The past is just what it is the past,  the present is right now this minute.  The future is an hour away, tomorrow, next week etc…  So when you talk about changing your future Change what you will do in an hour – it’s a start right !

 DO NOT CONTINUE SELF DESTRUCTIVE BEHAVIORS – no drugs, no booze, no binges, no abuse, no self mutilation and more importantly NO EXCUSES from this moment on….never again.

Don’t worry about disappointing or failing other people – just please don’t disappoint or fail yourself

If you are in an abusive situation GET OUT, if you are an abuser GET OUT

Get the help you need to make sure you are safe and your children and safe

We will get through this together one step at a time – one victory at a time

 

Brenda

 
November 11, 2006, 5:25 pm CST

Anorexic

I am a  married 35 year old female and I thought that my disordered eating was a thing of the past.  I had been bulimic for two years -- starting in December of 2003.  I finally got past that part of my life only to start restricting my food intake and becoming anorexic.  I am 5'2" and three and a half weeks ago I weighed 87.5lbs.  I am now in a new kind of therapy called DBT (dialectal behavioral therapy) and I am working with a dietician.  I now weigh 90.5lbs, which is encouraging.  I have to eat a minimum of 45 grams of protein every day(which is not as easy as it  sounds).  Food consumes most of my thoughts -- am I eating enough, does this have enough protein in it, etc.  I struggle with the emotional aspect of gaining the weight.  My sense of control has essentially been taken from me.  I have to follow my therapist's, psychiatrist's and my dietician's rules and that's VERY hard to do most days.  I resent the weight that I've gained, but at the same time I understand that I must gain the weight to avoid harming my internal organs and potentially being hospitalized. 

 

I hope other women read this posting and understand the mental battle people with eating disorders go through every minute, every hour, every day.  I've had other women say to me  "Oh I wish I could be as small as you!"  If they really understood what is going on in my life they would never make such an insensitive and shallow remark.

 

Being extremely thin is not the answer.  I'm not happier or richer or better than anyone else just because of my weight. Eating disorders have cost me a lot -- strained relationships, my job, my health, my looks.

 

Eating disorders among the 30-something crowd is on the rise.  What exactly are we looking for?? 

 
November 11, 2006, 5:26 pm CST

my battle

Here goes I started when I was in my early teens with bulimia. I then realized that I could control my eating and would go for days without eating and by the time  was in 10th grade I lost a lot of weight. I came from an alcoholic family. My mother as well as other family members constantly made fun of me growing up as well as classmates. Well I showed them all but in the process hurt myself. My first pregnancy when I was 21 years old I watched everything I ate making sure not to gain much weight. Of course after I lost it all the wrong way. A year later my 1st husband left and I went a solid 3 weeks living on coffee and cigarettes. This is a very y secretive disease and I say disease because I believe it is I am 35 years old and I still struggle with it everyday of my life. I can't just stop my eating disorders  they get even worse when I feel that I have no control over my life. I got with a great guy shortly after my first marriage then next thing I know I have a teenager coming to live with us on my birthday my own daughter now only 2 years. Next I moved onto something better abusing laxatives barely eating fighting with the teenager my husband is 10 years older so her and I are only about 8 years apart he was always taking her side. Finally I told my best friend how bad it was getting, comments kept coming from family and friends about how sick i looked and I would just say I was dieting. My husband didn't have a clue about my eating disorders. My Best friend told me if I didn't tell my husband then she would call him well guess what I didn't and she called him and told him everything she put our friendship on the line and she took that risk. Well needless to say he confronted me about everything starving myself, laxative abuse, and making myself throw up. The good thing (that was after I threw a plate of rice at him) was that he researched it and helped me but the bottom line is just when I try to have normal eating habits and start to change my eating habits I do good for a couple of days then back to maybe one meal a day. This is a part of me and no matter how much help or counseling and support it is an up hill battle. My life has been in turmoil for years now and I have put my family through so much that my husband and I are separated now not only because of my eating disorders but as well as my mental illness. If I can give any advice to parents with teenage girls please stress to them and have open and honest relationship with them so maybe you can save them from this disease. Tell them they look beautiful and if they need to loss some weight make a life style change for eating don't call it DIETING!!!!!!!!

 

GET HELP EARLY PLEASE!!!!!!

LD MAINE

 
November 11, 2006, 5:31 pm CST

Starving for Perfection

WOW, what sad stories. I think Barbie dolls are more dangerous than toy guns. What is happening to young women today? Is anybody watching over them? Where is the care and guidance they need? I am concerned for these women. I'm quite certain that they did not go to bed at a healthy normal weight and wake up the next morning at 60 lbs. This has been happening over a period of time. Why is there no intervention program such as AA has? Is anybody paying attention to these young women (or older women for that matter)? My heart breaks to see women dying over what they perceive they look like. This disease MUST be addressed NOW. It somehow seems related to Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, wherein people must have order and control no matter what the cost. Too many women are dying. Where are the physicians to offer guidance and help? Dr. Phil, I sincerely hope that you can provide the necessary guidance and direction for these women and that they in turn "get" the messages they so desperately need.

Lois Pike

 
November 11, 2006, 7:42 pm CST

Re Starving for Perfection

I have always been curious about this affliction. How on earth does a person that suffers from this manage to support themselves? How do they find the time to walk 20 miles, do hundreds of crunches & thousands of leg lifts in a day? Who is paying their bills? Who is doing their laundry? Where are they living? Who does the cleaning? I understand there is not much time spent preparing meals or eating, but still, to expend that much energy requires a support team somewhere along the line picking up the pieces and/or enabling the behavior.

 

 

 
November 11, 2006, 8:07 pm CST

starving

please, someone explain to me how u can look in the mirror at bones and see fat?  are these confused people simply delusional?  from lack of nutrients? here is my big question....why was this never a "problem" 40 or 50 yrs ago?????
 
November 11, 2006, 8:10 pm CST

11/16 Starving for Perfection

Quote From: denise2u

When I was in 9th grade, I probably weighed 130 lbs. For some reason, and I don't know to this day, I just didn't eat as much.  I didn't see myself as thin, to the point of looking like a skelton, even though weighing 110 lbs.  However, my father saw my lack of interest in eating and DEMANDED that I clean my plate.  This would have been in 1965, and then we knew to listen to our fathers.  I objected to his demand, and he stuck with his decision that I was going to eat and that was that.  I graduated in 1968 weight 135 lbs and looking good at 5' 7".

 

My point is when (yes even DR PHIL too) and I were growing up, there (esp in small towns) were no reasons for excuses.  We had classmates die and yet had no counceling by professionals to deal with it, we dealt with it and went on in life.  And I never heard of an eating disorder until now, when it seems so prevelent. 

 

I had, now that I know what it is called, the beginning of this disease!  I shutter when I see my 9th grade picture and am so grateful to my parents (esp my father) for picking up a problem before it became life threatening.  To tell you the truth I don't know why I didn't want to eat. I was lucky and came from a "NORMAL" family, and no problems at all, other than the normal rebelling that we all do.

 

Bottom line that I don't understand, why doesn't someone intervene BEFORE this comes to life threatening.  This doesn't just happen overnight.  And I think we need to stop using excuses for things happening in our lives, deaths, one parent families etc. and face the fact that our lives are the way we want them.  My father had no father, had no father image growing up, yet he decided he wanted to be the best father ever and he was.  My Mom came from parents that fought constantly, and she knew she didn't want to be that way, and was a super MOM.

 

So eating disorders were always around, just way back (Sorry Dr PHil but it was lol) we had (OR MOST OF US) the respect for our fathers that meant EAT when they said EAT!

 

Good luck to these ladies and I sincerly hope that Dr Phil gives them the help they need before it's to late! 

i don't mean any disrespect, but i am a bit insulted by your post. As someone who has suffered from anorexia and bulima, overcome it, and is dealing with a relapse, it truly is not as easy as "just having an excuse" there have been times when I have been ill that I have sat in front of my plate for hours and I have been unable to lift the fork to my mouth. It is not a question of will power, if it were, I would have saved myself a lot of time and money. Willpower got me through college and into law school. I find it offensive that you seem to suggest that the only thing these women, or anyone dealing with this disorder, needed was someone to intervene and basically force them to eat. Its not a question of that and its by far not that simplistic

 

 

 
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