Because I long for the days when all of us knew the truth that what we should want from a bathing costume is for it to allow us to frolic in the waves with joy and abandon, and that a body that can run and leap and keep itself healthy is a "good" body.
Social Butterfly, Doheny State Beach circa 1997 (?)
Yesterday I attended the opening day of The UCSD Eating Disorder Conference on Learning and Applying New Skills to Treat the Most Difficult Eating Disorders. While it was geared toward researchers and treatment professionals, there was so much for a parent to learn as well. I went with a good friend and made another friend while there. It was an absolute thrill to hear presentations from the top researchers in the field of Family-Based Treatment for Anorexia Nervosa. The presentations definitely contained slides of meta-analysis of research that was way above my pay grade to interpret on my own, but they were skilled at talking through and putting in context what we were seeing.
New things I learned yesterday:
Normal people get a feeling of well-being when dopamine is released. Anorexics become anxious when dopamine is released. Eating causes dopamine release.
Most people prefer smaller, immediate rewards to larger, delayed rewards. Anorexics do not prefer smaller, immediate rewards (or even large, immediate rewards apparently--which is why it does not work to offer an anorexic 16-year old a Porsche if she will just eat. As Dr. Kaye pointed, out, the Porsche is a cheaper option than treatment (so if it did work, we could probably get insurance companies to spring for it :))
Anorexics tend to perseverate on rejection. In the study referenced, healthy controls look away from negative images while anorexics focus on them.
The timeline for treatment before full-recovery is 24 months. I think this is VERY important to know.
Of course, with the studies underpinning the analysis above, there is no way to determine that correlation equals causation without imaging studies of the same patients before anorexia. So were these traits caused by anorexia or did they cause anorexia? There are so many more studies that are needed and relatively few people that are working on this.
Dr. La Grange, from The University of Chicago Medical School, had both my favorite statement and my favorite joke of the day. I will open with serious and close with the funny . . .
A therapist asked how a family in which the parents were both working three jobs, had other siblings to take care of, etc. could be expected do Family-Based Treatment (which is, at this point, the evidence-based treatment model that is most successful in treating anorexia). He replied that he was sure that Pediatric Oncologists were never asked how parents were expected to get their child to all the appointments attendant in fighting cancer. He went on to elaborate and soften what he was saying, but I 100% agree with his stance. The family has no choice but to make it work or the child might well die. That said, it would be lovely if society would get a clue about that.
Dr. La Grange's fields of expertise are anorexia and bulimia, but he did a brief foray into exploring whether the same Family-Based treatment model worked with pediatric overweight patients. He has abandoned that line of research (leaving it to others with more experience in that arena) and told the following joke:
If I have a 3:00 appointment for an anorexic patient, the patient and parents will be in the waiting room at 2:45. If the appointment is with a bulimic patient, they will show up at 3:05. If the appointment is with someone that is pediatric overweight, one of the parents will call at 4 and ask, "Did we have an appointment today?"
I have been a Girl Scout for many years--both as a child and as an adult. Make new friends, but keep the old, one is silver and the other's gold . . ." is definitely a message I internalized. I don't like to let people go, but I always have time for one more friend.
Catching up with golden friends is always a fantastic time. This weekend I hosted a brunch for our friends who live in Ohio and were one of the families in this picture.
While I've seen R a couple of times in the past few months, this was the first trip out in a while that H came with him. There were two other couples, neighbors and friends, invited as well. The weather was picture-perfect for dining al fresco and sipping Champagne. We did that for a very long time.
My backyard on a February day. I am blessed. Jocelyn's brisk times cross-country skiing with her family look fun in theory, but I think I'm going to stick with this climate.
The party broke up about 8:30.
When H and I were texting about getting together, I said "It will be nice to get-together without having to prevent kids from running into the street or drowning." She left when all our kids were between 1 and 8, so there was definitely no rest for anybody.
Beach camping, 1997 or 98. Children of 3 of the 4 couples at brunch represented.
Obviously, I had a panorama camera at the time. The frames are Marshall's and I still love them. They're fussier than my usual taste, but I think a splash like that works.
It was beyond lovely. Social Butterfly joined us and was excellent company. The neighbor girl (she and SB used to be together all.the.time) came by to borrow a surfboard from SB and then to eat dinner with us.
We did talk kids a little bit, of course, but we also talked a lot of other things. Any day spent in the company of well-informed, thoughtful people who also love to laugh is a good time for sure.
There is definitely something about the friends you've raised families with--those are ties that bind.
There's a part of the first picture that's my favorite (there's another part that's a close second--maybe I'll do that next week). I turned away for a moment and these girls morphed into smart, gorgeous women. Seriously.
California girls--or at least they all started out that way :)
Don't forget to visit the other Time Warp Tuesday participants: Susan, Gary, Karen and Trudie. Please join us for a single post or every week--I just need the link in my email by Monday evening--7 p.m. PST. Jennatjugglinglife@gmail.com
A significant amount of the busy-busy in my life now takes place at work. There is the teaching side (have I mentioned I love my students and my job?) that happens in my classroom and there are the other aspects that take place at my desk.
After initially hating my digs--and being super p*ssed that people were touching/taking my stuff, I love my little corner. It's not the quietest, most uninterrupted place, but most days it is hella fun. If I really need to get a lot done without interruption, I can always work from home on my laptop (related: I think peri-menopousal women should be allowed to count the hours between 4 and 6 a.m as part of their workday--we could work from the couch for a couple of hours since we're up anyway and then leave work two hours earlier. Anybody with me on this?). The work always gets done.
As with any domicile, it's the people within it that make it a home. In this particular abode, it's my co-workers who make my home-away-from-home a place I love to spend time. I ought to count how many times a day we laugh uproariously, but that seems to lack spontaneity and maybe just estimating "a lot" is a better way to go.
We laugh a lot.
We laugh enough to sometimes attract attention.
We laugh enough that sometimes people knock on our imaginary door and ask to come in and laugh with us.
I work with three very smart, funny, sometimes quirky women. We like each other and we support each other--we are a real team. Come to think of it, there's something to like about everybody I work with.
So that's good.
I also have students and in general they are pretty cool people. I now have a happy hour club of students I stay in touch with. Just today one of my friends ('cause they're not students anymore) came by and talked to the class about her great job at Kaiser and how she got it. Paying it forward.
Also? In a two-week period, six of my students got jobs. I work hard to make that happen (along with our Career Services Advisor) and it feels damn good when it does.
I would have to say the worst thing about my job is all the potlucks--I'm a baker, so I'm baking a lot and that means I'm taste-testing a lot. I have an end-of-mod potluck every month with my class, and it's always somebody's birthday or going-away. On the other hand, life is to be lived and a brownie now and then is called for.
That's the dispatch from the front this week. I've definitely resigned myself to posting less often--I'm going to shoot for Time Warp Tuesday and one other post. I'm not going to feel bad if I miss the one other. I'm actually trying to work on some longer form writing--perhaps, as Mary Matron did, going into a pre-50 self-reflective period. Magpie Musing turned me on to an article about women and menopause that was interesting; I am not a fan of Sandra Tsing Loh--I find her whiny and self-centered--but I think she's hit on a lot of truths with this piece.
Blogger fail on my part--Monday came and went without me giving a thought to my Time Warp post. Then I got an email from Karen, then Gary, then Trudie. So, they have posts up--go visit them!
What's with the airheadedness on my part? The usual busy, busy. Another accreditation visit at work. A little medical stuff (all's fine and I am contemplating how much to share--let's just say that screening thing that everyone does when they turn 50 has already been undertaken). Doing what I can to pay forward the amazing treatment and support we have had through our family's adventure with anorexia.
Thems the highlights. Back soon with real content!
When one has both a daughter with anorexia and a looming milestone birthday, one gives a lot of thought to body image and how f*ed up about their own body image most women are.*
I have been shocked to find that something I have believed my whole life has turned out not to be true and I'm pretty irritated I spent the better part of fifty years believing it. I accepted without question the idea that virtually all men only find women within a very narrow size range--a size range I haven't seen since I first got pregnant--attractive.
I'm not going to say that's the only reason that I've worried about my weight over the years or wasted time with woulda, coulda, shoulda when it comes to diet and exercise, but it's definitely been a factor. Who wants to feel that if they were in the market for a guy, they wouldn't merit a second-glance from anyone until they starved themselves down to a "desirable" weight?
I'm also not saying my weight in general has been at the top of my things-that-occupy-space-in-my-crazy-full-brain, but it hasn't been at the bottom either.
It's been an utter shock to get out into the world--armed with a flattering wardrobe and some kick-ass shoes--and to realize that there are men that find me--a solid size 14--to be worth a second glance. And not in a you'd-be-pretty-if-you-lost-weight kind of way, but in a you-look-pretty-damned-good-the-way-you-are kind of way.
I think it took me six months to pick up on it when I was being flirted with--and a couple of more before I realized it was totally okay for me to flirt back even though I'm not a size eight. What a revelation.
Edited to add:
I finished writing this post and went to read a few blogs; I came across a post written by a gorgeous woman in her forties. She has a body that I guarantee all of you would consider thin--or at the very least, thin enough (whatever that means). The post was about weight loss. This was my comment.
I think we should work harder at accepting ourselves than we do at changing ourselves--unless there is a medical reason to lose weight, don't. Accept yourself--exercise because it makes you feel better, don't eat too much crap because it makes you feel bad and love yourself unconditionally. If you can do it for your kids, you should be able to do it for their mother.
I believe this, and while I wish I'd known it for the last few decades, at least I've got the next few to live it.
* If you are interested in other perspectives on body image, Jen on the Edge is doing a lot of writing on the subject and she is also involved in a Facebook group, The Eleanor Project, that I am loving. I snapchat photos fron their site to Social Butterfly frequently.
Edited again to add: I ran this post by the aforemention, Jen, because I was afraid of sounding cougar-ish (I am not) or otherwise inappropriate. She assured me I do not, but suggested I just throw that out there, so you know what I was thinking. As many of Jen's ideas are, that was a good one.
Be sure to visit the other Time Warp Tuesday players: this week we have Karen, Gary and Susan. As always, we welome you to join in--weekly or just once. Just send me a link and I'll include it my post.
When it came to ordering school photos, I was all about how cheaply I could get out of it. No packages for us--in fact, usually I just got wallets to appease the grandparents. One year though, everyone's turned out cute, so I kept my eyes peeled for some frames and I found them. This little tableau is on the old pine dresser that sits in the entry and holds school and art supplies. Do oil pastels expire? If not, someday my grandkids can use the same ones their parents did.
Of course there were only three colors of the frame, so I had to repeat one color. After figuring out which pictures looked best in which frames, I was stuck with an order that makes no sense--I would have liked age order or girl-boy order, but it was not to be. Yes, it's been a niggling annoyance every time I dust for the last 14 years or so. Such is the life of a neurotic.
The kids, circa 1998
GrownUp Girl, 8th grade
MVP, 3rd grade
Danger Boy, kindergarten (he styled his own hair daily)
Social Butterfly, preschool (pretty sure I had something to do with this hair)
Hmmm, maybe I can wallets of their individual portraits at the wedding . . .
Mr. Fix-it and I met friends at the brewery by our house Friday night. We had pizza and beer out on the patio which was super-comfy because of the heaters. My friend Sandra had run into Social Butterfly at the movies and asked why she wasn't back at school. SB was with friends so she just said "Kind of a long story; read my mother's blog." So Sandra did. I think that's cool. Life is better when you live it honestly.
I am part of a Facebook support group, Mothers Against Eating Disorders; it is a powerful community of empathetic and educated women. It was someone on that page that put this article, A Surefire Way to Give your Kid an Eating Disorder on my radar. The author is a total idiot and self-promoter who also happens to be a Licensed Clinical Social Worker which means that there are likely people who think she knows what she's talking about. She does not.
I don't mind when people I meet only possess erroneous information about eating disorders. That was me before I got educated. So, no problem, I am happy to educate you. I am honored to educate you.
But this therapist is rehashing old, disproven, tired tropes and people may be harmed by listening to her rather than getting evidence-based treatment.
I never did one single thing on her list of "surefire ways to give your kid an eating disorder." My family has been certified happy, healthy, loving, supportive and eminently functional by multiple clinicans. Sure kids with eating disorders come from parents and home like the ones she describes; that's because kids with eating disorders come from all different types of families.
As was eloquently asked in the comments of that post, would a person DARE to write an article about surefire ways to give your kid cancer? Absolutely not. Even though some kids with cancer have horrible parents and terrible home lives.
Correlation does not equal causation. It's science. Michelle Lewis, LCSW ought to investigate it.
Late posting on this one because I was enjoying a farewell dinner for Bugs, who is off to Denmark for a semester abroad. All the young people at the table have jobs in the food-service industry, so the stories were wicked funny. Still chuckling over Bear having to bite her tongue to not reply, "Pardon me for assuming you were literate" when a customer asked how he was supposed to know that the dish advertised as spicy would be spicy. Everyone should work with the public at least once in their lives--it really does give you perspective.
This week hop over to see Janet, Heidi, Gary, and Karen. Special thanks to Karen for inspiring my photo choices for this week. Since time has been short, I asked Social Butterfly to snap these pics--they're in a large room-divider type frame, one on top of the other.
My boys were born in the early nineties, when bicycle shorts were all the rage. I think they both looked adorable in this outfit and bald is really a look that works for a baby :)