Wednesday, April 30, 2008

3 days until race day

Am I tingling with excitement or my heart beating faster? No, not quite, but I am nervous that race day is so close. I was going to go for a short run this morning, but I couldn't seem to get myself out of bed and wound up sleeping the extra hour. I'll run some time later today along with the five gazillion things I have to do--mostly cleaning and getting my place ready for people to visit. I was able to prepare all the dogs' food for the dog sitter last night. That took a whopping two hours to do.

So the agenda goes: my dad is coming in on Thursday, my mom and her husband on Friday. Then we all go up to Cincinnati to the Expo, get settled in the hotel, etc. Sunday is race day at a very bright and early 6:30 AM start time. I don't know the exact number, but the marathon itself has around 5,300-5,400 runners. The half marathon is double that number. Then all the other activities during the weekend total it out to 22,000 participants. That's a lot of water, gatorade, and goody bags! After the race, my parents and I are going to St. Louis for a few days.

There's a lot of mixed feelings I have about my parents visiting. 5-7 days is about my maximum that I can spend time with them at one time. After that, I begin wanting to pull my hair out. I don't have time to go into details right now but I'll just say, it can be a rocky situation at times.

Anyway, I've been trying to find a new running top to wear with my running shorts. I'm having a hard time finding one I like. I have a shirt that goes okay with the shorts just not perfectly. Whether I find one between now and Friday is up in the air. However, I did find these:

It may not seem like much, but when you have really long, thick hair, it's hard to find good hair bands. Every other hair band I've had, after about two uses, they stretch and no longer keep my ponytail tight. This cause a lot of problems when you're running long distances. You know the picturesque commercials they show of women running with their hair blowing in the wind, well, I'm hear to tell you that that causes some major ass tangles! Much easier to keep all those strands together.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Weights among the Japanese

I think I about wanted to fall on the floor after reading this article about how the 58cm (22 inches) waist is the ideal "norm" for Japanese women. Like in the US advertising is emphasized on weight loss with thin, beautiful models. This completely contraindicates the fact that Japanese women in their 30s weigh 12% less than they did 20 years ago, and that almost a quarter of women in their 20s and 40s are medically underweight. I guess they are now catching up to this ideal. How scary is that?

Then on the men's side, there is apparently an "obesity epidemic" occurring, especially men over 40. Companies are trying to off shoot this with "flab checks" and give penalties for those who do not get their employees' weight under control. According to this article in the Guardian, men who have above 33.5 inch waists will be given diet and exercise plans. This article also says that women are 6% heavier. Hmm.

There is also an obesity epidemic among Japanese children. Authorities feel that this is due to the shift away from more traditional Japanese foods to a more western diet. Apparently, they've instituted a sports program for overweight children.

The ironic thing about all this is that the percentage of Japanese whoa re overweight is very low compared to world standards.

I just think how scary all this is. To have an entire country literally have distorted body views is quite astonishing. Yes, the US and other parts of the world do as well, but we haven't instituted flab checks in the workplace (at least not to my knowledge, sports arenas and such is a different story) or penalties (maybe discrimination of sorts which isn't any better unfortunately).

This just goes to show how far and wide (no pun intended) the whole weight debate/crisis occurs cross culturally.

Eating disorders among older women

Within the last few years, there has been a growing trend among older women and eating disorders. There have been a number of articles, tv segments, and recently books written about this population. Various eating disorder treatment centers around the country have said there has been an increase in their admission rates of older women. By older, I mean women who are in their 30s and beyond. Last week, there was an article in the UK about a distinguished professor who apparently died from her anorexia or as the coroner said, “The cause of death was contributed to by her self-neglect, her gross failure to provide herself with care that is a part of life."

In another
article from UK's The Guardian, (excellent by the way in my opinion) the issue of adult women and anorexia is looked at more closely. While many women develop eating disorders as adults, there are also those who have experienced some form of eating disorder or disordered eating as teens or young adults. Many have not gotten sufficient treatment, so they "grow" with their disease. Others have their eating disorders reoccur at a later stage in life, often triggered by a major life event--pregnancy, divorce, empty nest syndrome, trauma, etc. The article points out how so many become a "functional" eating disordered person and how many people just get used to seeing them like that. They are also very good at being very discrete with their illnesses. Author Margo Maine who wrote The Body Myth talks a lot about his subject and how there is a lot of pressure for adult women to be perfect. If you have not read it, I recommend this book.

These articles come on the heels of a recent
study which polled over 4,000 women between the ages of 25 and 45 about their eating behaviors. The online poll by Self magazine in collaboration with UNC Chapel Hill found that "75 percent of all American women endorse some unhealthy thoughts, feelings or behaviors related to food or their bodies." These findings were among all racial lines. The study surprisingly showed that a third of the surveyors had engaged in purging activities during their lifetime. Also, women in their 30s and 40s had similar disordered eating compared to their younger counterparts. In the link above, eating disorder researcher Cynthia Bulik talks about the results of the study.

It's interesting, as I was reading these article, I was reminded of my aunt, my mother's sister. I have not seen her in quite a long time, but growing up, she was very thin. I remember talking to my mom about this in my teens as I was at the height of the eating disorder. I was actually upset that no one was doing anything for her, but yet, they "cared" so much about me to want me to be fixed. At one point, I called my aunt out on it suggesting she was anorexic. I remember getting through to her and her crying. She said she had read about anorexia but she didn't fit the "textbook" definition.

I don't think she ever received help, but I know there are too many clues that suggest she had/has anorexia. Non-existent to irregular menstrual cycles, her weight never in three digit number despite being an average height for a woman (no, not a genetic thing either), totaling two cars from blacking out (supposedly petit mal seizures though no evidence of that), illnesses, premature aging, and her personality. My mother just always said that J. had been like that growing up--very rigid and stubborn. It's like everyone had just accepted that that was how she was, and that it was now too late for her to receive treatment.

Since I haven't seen her in awhile, I don't know what she looks like, though my instinct is that it is probably similar to how I remembered her. I do know she is happier in her life since she retired from the school system, began volunteering, and is now doing therapy dog work. However, according to my mother, J. says she must get to a certain number of therapy visits to win top honor.

The other thing these articles made me think about is even if I lick the eating disorder at my age, I'm heavily predisposed for relapse or reoccurrence. Though relapse isn't a requirement, eating disorders as a fact have a high rate of relapse. I know there used to be the thought that once you had an eating disorder, you always had an eating disorder. Many people have proved that theory wrong and recovered completely. Still though, how can you not think that the ED isn't there lurking in the shadows just waiting for a vulnerable time? I think this is something that scares me. There was a period in college where I was symptom free, and then one day, just snapped and fell victim to the ED again. I honestly can't remember that time well. I wasn't happy but I was facing other health issues. In essence, the ED just took a backseat and waited.

I want this time to be different. I don't want it lurking in the shadows waiting to take hold of me. I don't want to think about this for my entire life, but at the same time, I'm really afraid of never getting there either.

How do you build the confidence to never turn back?

Random photos

I don't have much time as today is packed with many things to do. Hopefully, I'll have another post later.

Anyway, here are some random photos of my dogs. These three make me chuckle. The closest dog to the camera, Hank, is waiting for me to throw the ball, actually barking in the first one. The two behind him are waiting for him to move, so the brown one, Baxter, can chase him, and the white one, Daphne, can grab the brown one's legs. It's quite funny to watch.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Spring really is here!

The beginning of spring is always interesting. Everything begins to blossom and grow, and then boom, at least one cold front that comes through. Supposedly, this weekend and the early part of next week, the temperatures will drop about 25 to 30 degrees for a few days. Last year, temperatures dipped low enough for snow to fall in the middle of April!

Anyway, in general, spring is my second most favorite season, fall being the first. I really enjoy nature unearthing itself. Here are some samples of flower photos in my yard. Unfortunately, I can't take the credit for planting them. The family who lived her before me, the mother was a very avid gardener. Every year, I get a chance to see the beautiful flowers she planted and remind myself how wonderful spring can be.

These photos were taken at various dates throughout this month. The Tulip ones are interesting to see unfold as they were taken on different dates. I wanted to see them in the process of blooming. Note that none of these photos have been edited.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Last plumbing post

Not to go on and on with this plumbing thing, but I did find this interesting when I googled "tampons and flushability." I admit I did want to make sure I was not the only naive one out there. Apparently, there are many.

Okay, I promise no more plumbing posts!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

So you can't flush tampons?

Seriously. I never knew this. I feel like the stupidest person on earth but no one ever told me this at all. I don't think I'm a dumb person, but it truly never occurred to me that these "white mice" as plumbers notoriously call them can't be flushed. Ahhh yes, my plumbing situation is now fixed. I ended up calling someone I knew, and he luckily was able to come over Tuesday morning. After some investigation and drilling into the pipe and "snaking" the drain, he was able to declog it. Yes, part of the clog was a tampon, though not all of it of course. Still though, I felt embarrassed and very stupid. The plumber was sweet and said he'd seen it happen many times before and just gave me a rule of them that if you ever put anything into a toilet and it doesn't easily dissolve, don't put it in there.

While he was here, I also had him declog my drains. We also were able to fix my electric problem in the back rooms. All it needed was to be reset. Oh yes, and I also learned that hydraulic cement works very well. According to this plumber, it can even stop a basement that is overflowing with water.

The whole thing about this situation was that both of these problems that I'd mentioned to my landlord were uncomplicated and easily solvable. My landlord's friend/plumber who came out on Monday simply thought that his one adjustment to the pipe would do the trick. When it didn't, he just gave up and said he didn't know what else to do. He never further looked at the problem. Then there is my landlord who was either lazy or didn't take me seriously. I did my part in notifying him of the problems and relied on him to get them fixed. That was obviously not successful, especially since he hardly returned my phone calls. In my last phone call to him, I told him I had someone else come out and fix the problems, that everything is now working, and that I'd be deducting what I paid the plumber from my rent. I haven't heard from him, so I guess that's a good sign.

I'm just really glad everything is in working order. Now, when I have guests coming next week, I can breathe a sigh of relief.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Males and eating disorders

In the current British Medical Journal, there is an article about a young male medical student, Daniel Samuel, and his anorexia. Apparently, his wake up call that he was anorexic was when he went into an ED clinic on one of his medical rotations. There, he realized he had a problem, writing "I entered a room full of human mirrors of my bony form. I felt the pain they were suffering-the pain I was suffering." The first 150 words of his essay can be read here.

This is unrelated but really spoke to me. In another article I read about this Dr., he said,
“The perfectionism associated with anorexia nervosa made me focus on my work more and more, and the drive to succeed in medical school isolated me: medical books and patients were my only friends." Sometimes I think this is a core issue for me in terms of academics. That was exactly what happened to me in my college years. I think it's still a fear I hold and one thing that hold me back from pursuing higher education. It's something I need to think about more.

Anyway, going back to males and eating disorders. I think it is important for men to speak about their eating disorders.
Males and eating disorders is still not a subject that is brought up frequently, though there have been more men sharing their experiences within the past few years. Just recently, former Prime Minister John Prescott of the UK admitted to suffering with bulimia for years. By speaking out, he lets go of the shame that is often seen with bulimia.

Last year, male model Ron Saxen wrote a book called The Good Eater about his own struggle with Binge Eating Disorder. I have not read the book, but I did hear him in an interview. His story was heart wrenching but amazing that he was able to get to where he is today. I think people could relate to him and hopefully it opened more dialogue for others. There are other males who have also written books about their struggles. Hopefully, by educating, reading, and speaking about these illnesses, there will be less stigmatization by all whether an individual is male or female. After all, eating disorders do not discriminate.

It's a temporary problem

Okay, so, I'm trying to remind myself of the mantra that my plumbing problem is "just temporary." I think it's just the stress of everything that is making me feel like I want to break and sit and cry right now. I hate when it's just one problem right after another. Not only that, but I hate the fact that my plan for the week has now changed. I do not deal with spontaneous changes well. I know they happen, I live through them and all that, but it's just that it seems so unorderly, messy-like.

The two positives today are that my car is now fixed and the plumber did come by today. My car no is no longer making a crunch sound when I turn or has the ABS light on my dashboard. It's kind of funny, because I keep thinking it's going to make that awful crunch sound which I guess I had already habituated to, but then it's not there.

The plumber who is a friend of my landlord adjusted something, thinking that was going to fix the problem. Well, it didn't. I was not happy as everything backed right back into my tub which I had literally just cleaned and bleached. Now I have to wait another several hours for it to all dry, the water to go down and re-clean it. Not to mention that I have to rewash the towels I'd just washed again, but I can't use my washer. The plumber now realizes that the situation is worse than he thought and notified my landlord. I'm hoping maybe he'll have more clout with him since they are buddies.. I'd take the situation into my own hands, but my mother keeps telling me that it's may landlord's job. Right, I know. :sigh: This is when I think the forces of nature are really trying to tell me something. It's that, pure coincidence, or pissed off whatever high power there may be. Hopefully, I won't have any more posts like this, I'm just soooo frustrated and stressed, so please bear with me for now.

Plumbling problems part II

I'll just warn you now that this is more of a vent than anything else. I wrote about whenever I ran the laundry, it would back into my tub. I told my landlord about it, and he said he would look at it. I honestly do not think he did jack, because nothing is fixed. And now my problems are worse. The toilet keeps backing up. It overflowed on me three times on Friday. Luckily, that was just water.

On Saturday, I was so incredibly paranoid about it that I didn't use the bathroom for over 12 hours. Yes, not very healthy I know. Then this morning, I made a huge mistake. I HAD to go and my worst fear happened. The toilet did not overflow but almost. Then everything was just backing into both tubs. It was completely gross and awful. I bleached, sprayed, etc. the tubs and anything I used to clean up that mess and just pray that it slowly drains. I now have a thorough appreciation or what plumbers have to go through.

I called my landlord again this morning, and he said he would call the plumber. I called the plumber as well to no avail and left a message. This whole situation is so ridiculous. I know the septic tank problem and electrical problems hit my landlord hard financially, but isn't this his job when you have a tenant? In the six years, I've been here, I've hardly called him for any problems. I'm just so f*cking frustrated. I told my landlord that this really needed to be fixed, because I had company coming in a week in a half and the marathon is less than two weeks away. I'm completely mortified of the whole situation anyway, moire or less anyone who was a guest here having to deal with this problem.

I have not told my father about this situation, knowing he would have a bitchfitch about it and then tell me that I really needed to move from here (though sometimes I think this is some sort of sign). However, I'm tempted, only because people have a tendency to listen to him. Unfortunately, sometimes I think that it is mostly out of fear more than anything else. But at the same time, I want to be able to fight my own battles too.

:sigh: I'm just so completely stressed out over this. It makes me want to not eat for just the mere fact of not having to use facilities. Very stupid reason I know.

Well, I'm off to take my car to the shop. I'm hoping it's an easy fix, so I can have my car back quickly. I have a gazillion errands to do this week.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Lettuce Ladies, veganism, and other thoughts

I recently signed up for daily e-mail alerts from earthtimes, an online news service that provides articles on a variety of topics worldwide. I figured it would be good to receive news from different sources, especially when it comes to world affairs. Anyway, this one caught my eye just due to the title:

Sexy 'lettuce ladies' urge Filipinos to become vegetarians

I really had no idea what the "lettuce ladies" were. Apparently, the "Lettuce Ladies" are just another one of PETA's groups, proclaiming how everyone should be vegan. I do admit I find it kind of funny women walking around in lettuce, but then again what other vegetable product could they have used that would actually cover their assets?

I think the whole reasoning behind veganism is interesting. Sometimes it seems like the "hip" thing to do as the emphasis on helping the environment has become so meshed with our culture. No doubt the environment does need our help if we want one for years to come, but sometimes I wonder if there are better ways to get the point across without having it in your face as PETA groups often do. I think it's one reason why people are so turned off by PETA and similar groups.

Anyway, getting back to my point here. People who do become vegan or vegetarian do so for many reasons. Some for ethical or environmental reasons. Others do so to become healthier. Then, there are also those with eating disorders who use veganism as a guise for their eating disorder. I've known several eating disordered persons who did not become vegetarian or vegan until they had an eating disorder. It can be easy to say you don't eat this or that, because you are vegan or vegetarian. I know some people who have grappled with the question of reverting back to eating animal products or not when they began to recover. Some did revert back to eating meat after realizing they were only vegan or vegetarian due to their eating behaviors. However, others stuck with it and are satisfied with that choice.

When I think back to when my eating disorder began in my mid-teens, I too stopped eating meat and declared myself vegetarian. This used to get my father upset since I was quite a meat eater as a kid and a member of the "clean plate club." He never understood this concept of not eating meat and even used to try to get me to taste certain food items with meat in it. In some ways, honestly, I think the Ed was partial to me deciding to become vegetarian. However, at the same time, 12 years later, I still don't eat many meat products. Over the years, I have adjusted my food habits to eating fish products, but that's the only "meat" item I eat. My parents have now accepted this and actually attribute my "good" eating habits to helping them eat less meat and more vegetables and fruits. .

So whenever I'm asked the question if I would ever eat meat again, I say no, I don't miss it. This is true 95% of the time. But I think every once in a deep moon, I do think about eating a piece of ham or turkey or something of the like. I never do though. Maybe it's still some part of me that won't allow myself to go there. Maybe I still hold some association to eating meat? I know I am like that with spaghetti which I still have trouble with. Hmm, this is probably when I should be pulling out my recently bought Food and Feelings Workbook. I have yet to crack it open yet but have signed up for the yahoo group.

Anyway, I'll definitely have to think about this some more as to my real, official reasons for being vegetarian or piscatarean as I like to call myself. It's never quite as simple for me to answer. There is always complexity to it. :sigh:

By the way, besides the Lettuce Ladies, there is also the "Broccoli Boys" as well.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

America the beautiful

I was browsing the NEDA website and saw this in their news section. There is a new documentary called "America the Beautiful" which will be featured in Chicago theaters in late April or May (website says April 25 and May 9). The film's premise is looking at America's obsession with beauty, how we got there, and the extremes that we go through to attain "beauty." The documentary has already been shown at several film festivals with positive feedback. If the showing goes well in Chicago, then it will also open in select locations of New York and Los Angelos.

Unfortunately, I'm not near these cities, but hopefully, the showing will go well, so it can open nationwide. This looks like it could be a worthwhile film.

Jenni Schafer named NEDA Ambassador

Kudos to Jenni Schaefer! Earth Tiimes, a new site which reports press releases, announced that Jenni Schaefer has been named a National Eating Disorder Association Ambassador .

If you're not aware of Jenni Schaefer, she is the author of
Life Without ED: how one woman declared independence from her eating disorder and how you can to. She joins the likes of other ambassadors, including Jessica Weiner, Emme, Paula Abdul, and several others. Quite frankly, I'm surprised it took them this long to name her. She's done a lot for awareness of eating disorders and her story has touched many people.

I read her book a few years ago and did find parts of it helpful. I think there is something for anyone in the book even if you don't agree with everything Jenni may say. She uses some good analogies as well to explain eating disorders, perceptions, etc. She also gives good recovery advice in a simple, effective manner. Jenni also has a recovery support blog through the gurze website.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Food thoughts

Lately, I've been thinking a lot about food. I always found it funny how lay people would think people with eating disorders really don't think about food when it's the very opposite. The brain become starved for food, and that's when the obsession sets in. My thinking of food isn't really about though. I don't consider myself in a starved state right now. Actually, my thoughts are due to several things.

One reason is just due to the marathon and wanting to be healthy and eat sufficiently. I've been trying to look at food solely as fuel for the body without adding all those moral attachments. I'm not as successful as I'd like to be, but I try to remain optimistic that one day I'll get to that point.

I think in general, however, I fight this a lot. This feeling of wanting to be healthy but really afraid of that word "healthy" too. Most people who look at me think I'm very healthy physically and mentally speaking. They believe that I am a healthy eater, eating my daily servings of everything from the food pyramid. They think I don't eat candy, cookies, candy bars, ice cream, or anything that would be considered "unhealthy, processed foods." Truth be told, sure I eat some of this stuff and then still wreak my brain as to why I'm even eating it. Do I really enjoy it? No. Or maybe I don't allow myself to enjoy it since guilt is the residual feeling.

Then recently I finished In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan.
in defense cover
I wrote a post about it briefly when it came out on how excited I was to read this book. Well, it wasn't as exciting as I thought. It was still a good book, and he did say things I agree with. However, it left me feeling guilty and uncomfortable for even eating any type of processed food. No, I don't think I'm orthorexic though maybe at times border that line. I think, unfortunately, if I could afford everything organic, this type of obsession which orthorexics display could easily arise. I actually think in some sort of bizarre way my obsession with wheat thins and animal crackers keeps me at bay from falling into that trap. They are really the only refined processed food I eat daily, though too much of it at times that my parents like to tell me they are my own foods groups.

Maybe I left feeling the way I did from the book, because I have food problems anyway? I'm not sure really. It just leaves me grappling in this constant state of flux that I'm not sure how to get out of. Maybe if I didn't place so many expectations on myself or even care so much what people thought, these moralistic thoughts wouldn't take hold of me so much.

The funny thing about all this is that I've often told clients in our dog obedience classes that they should buy the best food they can afford for their dogs. I've always been a firm believer that diets do affect behavior, and I've seen this with dogs a lot. I guess maybe I should follow my own advice and not berate myself for being completely organic or the ultra health person.

It's just sometimes hard when that's how everyone seems to perceive you. What would it mean if I was not that ultra health person? Maybe I only feel this way, because it's still a guise for my eating disorder thoughts? I'll have to think more on this and figure out what's really holding me back in all this.

Still awake

Actually, I'm quite exhausted and know I need to go to bed but wanted to put a few thoughts down for the day. Today was full of positives and negatives.

First the negatives: I spoke to my landlord about the whole septic tank problem. I wasn't sure whether he and the plumber guy were coming back, because they just left everything in my yard. Apparently, my landlord came on Sunday and did some work, but it isn't a simple fix and will take time. He was not happy with the cost of this.

I also let him know about a circuit going out yesterday. For some reason, my light to the back bedrooms/bathroom, porch light are now not coming on, my bathroom outlet suddenly stopped working, and my freezers went out. Luckily, I could just use the extension cord I just bought and change the big freezer to a different outlet. Then, I was doing laundry, and I heard this bubbling sound. I have no clue about this, but the water was going into my bathtub. I haven't told my landlord about this yet. I'm sure he will be so happy to hear this. (Sarcasm)

Positives for the day:

I went on a long run. It went really well overall, however, my hamstring and knees are very sore. I really needed this long run. My confidence was down the past few weeks, so this was a nice boost.

I got my taxes done and e-filed. This was a big stressor for me. I'm not a procrastinator, but it's the fact that I don't get simple W-2 like normal employed people. It's confusing, but I finally got an answer from my boss as to why I don't get the normal W-2. The good thing is that she paid whatever I owed in taxes.

I had to really contemplate dinner tonight. I was tired and really wanted to just skip it. However, I knew if I did that, it would just set me up for failure in the eating department. For me, if I don't eat something for dinner, it can easily spiral downhill. It's like I go into autopilot and then begin restricting. So eating anyway was a good thing.

This last one could be a positive or negative depending on how you look at it. I finished my training logs for the past 4 months. I wanted to be able to have a quick glance at mileage and stats. However, at the same time, I can get obsessed with the numbers too.

Tomorrow , I'm hoping to sleep in if my dogs will let me and just get a few things done around here. I know I will have to mow again this week before the forecast of rain at the end of the week. That's one thing, my grass grows really fast! It's nice, pretty, and green, but the mowing is often high volume. I guess the good thing about is that I really like the smell of mowed lawns.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Genetics and eating disorders

I came across this article today in the Toronto Star, a Canadian paper about eating disorders and genetics. Although this area of research has become more known and accepted, I think it's still important to emphasize, especially when socio-cultural headlines dominate the media. This article gives a nice outline into how the studies evolved and what researchers are looking for today.

This spring, a large National Institutes of Mental Health sponsored study will wrap up. This specific gene study analyzes samples of DNA from families who have two or more members with anorexia. I'm interested to see the outcomes of this study as it could shed more light into the role genetics play in eating disorders and its development.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Horse racing season has begun

Colonel John paid $7.20, $4 and $3.20 as the second choice.
image: espn sports

I've been wanting to write this post for awhile but was waiting until horse racing season began. As the coveted Kentucky Derby nears in early May, I thought having a post about the not so often talked about relationship between jockeys and eating disorders was needed.

I recently read a British study which looked at the differences in jockeys' weights and their psychological mental attitude and attitudes towards eating behaviors. This research found similar results along along with a 2002 New Zealand study

Essentially, as jockeys "waste," the term used when they try to get to the absolute minimum in order to ride, they have many similar characteristics to those with eating disorders both physically and mentally. This "wasting" may involve "
a combination of starvation, deliberate dehydration, excessive sauna use, and self-induced vomiting, known colloquially as flipping. The majority of jockeys battle with their weight at some point in their career." Many develop osteopenia and dehydration as well as lack micronutrients which their bodies need. Psychologically, the jockeys have mood swings, depression, and develop negative attitudes toward food.

In two other articles which quoted the same study, the attitude that this has happened and continues to be reinforced doesn't seem to really matter. In the British article which talked to jockeys at the Cheltham Festival, the jockeys said they didn't see anyone who had an eating disorder. They only claimed they were strict with their weight and that
these type of slimming down behaviors were all "part and parcel" for the sport they loved. In an Irish paper, the chief executive of the Professional Jockey Association said he didn't believe there was any kind of eating disorder in horseracing and that this data was at least five years old. The British article can be read here, and the Irish one here.

I think this in and of itself presents a PROBLEM. The fact is that the weight guideline for jockeys is archaic. They have not changed much since the18th century when men were shorter and smaller. According to the film, Jockey, a 2004 HBO documentary, there were some weight guidelines being changed at various tracks. Still though, I don't really think this issue is taken very seriously despite the fact that several jockeys have died, needed organ transplants, developed alcoholism, and other health problems.

Besides the physical toll on jockeys' bodies, there is also a lot of politics as well. Jockeys do not get paid much per race unless they are the winning rider. It's a difficult way to live, and it does explain why some of these riders resort to these methods for weight loss. Winning, in this sport, seems to mean sacrifice, even at the cost of one's health. I hope more guidelines will be changed. Some have said that having larger riders could be more harmful to the horses. Quite honestly, I think the horses can learn to adjust more than we give them credit for.

Another interesting article about horse racing and jockeys is this one. It sheds light into the dark part of the sport.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Anti-anorexia charter for French fashion industry

France is also in the news with the recent signing of the fashion industry's "Charter on voluntary engagment over the body image and against anorexia" The idea is to promote healthy body image among models. This charter has guidelines but does not give a minimum BMI.

I think overall this is just a good thing in terms of working models for their own safety. However, it is questionable still that even with some of these new guidelines by a variety of countries whether models are still too skinny. I remember reading awhile back in an article that quoted Nina Garcia, fashion editor of Elle magazine, that the models this year were skinnier than the year before. As with anything, change takes time.

France's new anorexic law

I just read this from the UK's Times Online about France's new anorexia law directed at fashion and media. This new law is targeted mostly at pro-ana websites. These websites consider anorexia as a lifestyle rather than a disease. Thinspiration and tips are often found on these sites.

There's been a lot of controversy over them in the last several years. There are many people who have wanted them shut down for years. However, as one gets shut down, another just pops up. Recently, social networking groups like myspace and facebook have been given criticism for allowing these groups. And youtube has had its own share of criticism with a number of "thinspiration" videos.

This new government-backed law in France is the first of its kind. It essentially holds the websites and/or blogs accountable if they "provoke a person to seek excessive thinness by encouraging prolonged restriction of nourishment to the point of risking of death or damage to health. " In this circumstance, the fine can be up to 30,000 euros or about $47,000 and a 2-year prison sentence. If the person person dies, imprisonment can be up to 3 years and a fine up to 45,000 pounds or about $71,000.

This is stiff sentencing and doesn't sound like one to be fooled around with. However, I think the hardest question to answer is how do you prove whomever is the webmaster or webmistress behind these websites? Then there is the accountability factor. Any person who is visiting these type of websites or social networking groups has a choice. Aren't we all responsible for our health, body, and actions?

Quick update

I e-mailed a friend yesterday asking if she would be around for me to call in the next day or so. I was telling her how the last few weeks has been hell, though I did not go into the reasons at the time. She sent me this cute pic which I think describes me well right now. But boy, I wish I was this sea turtle and could just swim away and not have to worry about everything going on.

So far my sewage problem is better, though not completely fixed yet. I wasn't able to talk to the people working on it since I got home after they left. My toilet, however, backed up yesterday afternoon. Luckily, it was just water, and I have two bathrooms here. I'm hoping it's just that the system needs to recover rather than another problem.

One thing the guy said was that the main pipe that connects the sewage system together basically fell. He said it wasn't anyone's fault and that it was hard to say exactly why. That did make me feel a little better, but still, purging could not have helped it.

Yesterday, I attempted my long run, but it just wasn't happening. I don't know whether it was because the temperatures were warmer than I'd been training in, me being tired from the day before of aqua running, or that my feet were hurting. I'm trying hard not to beat myself up over it, knowing I still have some time to try again. I'm tempted to try not to plan for another long run and just carry all my gear with me and go. Sometimes the lessening of that expectation is better when you're just going out for a run.

I also talked briefly with my physiatrist's assistant who relayed the message of what my physiatrist said. Her opinion is that I'm never going to heal without sufficient rest. I said after the marathon was over, I'd take some time off to rest. We a greed on setting up a follow up appointment the week before the marathon just to see how I was doing.

The rest of yesterday was errands. I went grocery shopping and decided I need to make better attempts at changing my eating. I'll write a post devoted to that later.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Weekend horrors

First, the good news. The electrician came by this weekend to work on blown breaker. I now officially call him the "Wasabi electrician." Last year when he came by to do some other work, we got into a conversation about Asian food. He was telling me how much he loved wasabi paste and wanted to know if I knew where he could get it. When he came this weekend, I remembered about his wasabi fetish and asked him if he found it. Apparently, he found wasabi peas but not what he wanted. Oh well, he'll keep looking, and I'll remember I tried.

In the end, he wound up having to do a lot more work than he expected. I had several bad outlets and he had to place new wires. Then he discovered two things for me. One I had a nest of snakes in the back of my yard! I was less than thrilled. He showed me where they were--about three baby garter snakes all peeking out for curiosity purposes. They were kind of cute in a way, but I did not want them in my yard and having to worry about whether I would mow over them. Yes, that has unfortunately happened before.

Now, I'm not afraid of these critters, but I find they often startle me which give me a freak out moment. Last spring and summer I saw so many at the kennel where I work. Luckily, they were just mostly garter snakes but still, I am just not keen on them. Sometimes I do wonder whether they are one of my animal totems since I saw so many of them. The electrician said he would catch them for me and take them by the creek.

When I got home from work, the electrician was pulling out of my driveway. I apparently have another big problem. A sewage leak or burst. I was absolutely shocked, mortified, and panicky. I immediately called my landlord who happened to be in Florida since his best friend just died. He was going to wait until he got back on Wed. to take care of this, but I called him again wanting something to be done. My biggest fear was he wasn't going to take care of it or something since it took him so long to get this electrical problem taken care of. Luckily, he called a guy he knew who is coming out today. Whew, I am relieved, but still I was really paranoid last night.

I think my paranoia stems from not only that this is really unhealthy and gross, but just wondering if years of purging could have also done this. I mean you hear about clogged pipes at colleges and sororities due to this very thing. I've lucked out I guess that nothing like this has ever happened to me before. I've been completely purge-free for four or more months now which is great. It's not any kind of record for me, but better than it's been for a long time.

I know this could very well be a "shit happens" moment, as this happens to normal, everyday, non-Ed people. My mom and her husband had something similar happen last year. Her husband was talking about something to do with laundry detergents using formaldehyde in their formulas which was killing the sewage pipes and fields all over the country. I haven't researched this to know enough about this.

So now, I wait for the guy to show up this afternoon. I'm hoping he'll get here early afternoon versus late, so I can still take my long run today. I'm seriously hoping this is the last bad/inconvenient thing to happen to me. It sometimes makes me wonder whether karma is on my side these days?

Friday, April 4, 2008

Frustration is the key word this week

I finally broke down and bought an extension cord, so I could plug my computer into a different outlet. I called m landlord last week, and he said he had talked with the electrician. He was apparently surprised I had not heard from nor seen the electrician. He called just a few minutes ago saying he was coming by tomorrow morning. That means I'll have to crate the dogs and take Daphne with me to the kennel. Baxter and Hank will not be happy. I'm hoping this electrician gets whatever that needs done fixed. I'm just frustrated by all this and why it's taken my landlord so long to get a move on things. I mean him more than this place is worth, so I think he should do a better job.

The rest of the week has also resulted in frustration. On Wednesday, I went to get my rim for my tire. The tire place didn't have it like they said they would. I wound up going to this rickety, not so great looking used auto parts place which did not have a rim either. They ordered a new one for me which was supposed to be in today. No call from them, however.

Yesterday, it poured raining and I had to make multiple trips into town. Of all things to drive in, I really despise rain. That just stems from a bad car accident over five years ago. I still to this day will not drive on that road. Anyway, I was able to get an earlier appointment to meet with the orthopedic surgeon to go over my MRI results. After I got into the exam room, the nurse left my chart on the computer. I think this place has all electronic records now. Being curious that I was, I read over file and what the Dr.'s thoughts were, etc. from my previous appointment. Nothing too unusual in it, but I just like to know. I'm a bit weird that way. I even have most of my medical records and labs from almost ten years ago.

The good news is that my knees look normal. There aren't any tears or anything like that. The bad news is that he really can't do anything for me. His diagnosis is overuse syndrome which I'm not sure whether I agree with or not. He suggested more cross training, running on softer surfaces, and taking medications as needed including 1200 mg ibuprofen the day before the race with the precaution that I'm well hydrated. I wanted to roll my eyes on that one honestly, but I didn't. It just reminds me how little he really does know about me.

The one good thing about this appointment was that he was slightly less egotistical than the previous one and he actually did go through the MRI images with me as well. He didn't thoroughly explain everything but gave a basic concept which was at least something. He also said that he'd seen about five other patients since me with similar problems and all training for marathons. There is one at the end of this month that many people from around here are running. I guess the pain and other ailments can't be all in their heads or mine as well, right?

After my 20 minutes were up, I left with him saying that if I ever needed anything else from him to come back. I'm chuckling as I write this next sentence, but the image that keeps popping up in my head is this story he told me of his daughter-in-law, his son, and him running the Chicago Marathon where he carried a syringe of something (never told me what it was, I'm guess maybe hydrocortisone?) in his pocket and ended up injecting his daughter-in-law's knee so she could run the race. Apparently, she had a lot of knee pain. Okay, maybe I'm not really chuckling but more like that it just seems really disturbing?

Now, I'm just feeling frustrated and unsure of what to do. It's exactly a month today until the marathon, and I do not feel prepared at all. I don't know whether to continue with physical therapy or what. I'll continue my training and just hope the pain doesn't get severe enough to debilitate me or something.

After all that, yesterday ended up nicely. I went out to dinner with a friend. We caught up on the latest news with each other and just regular inside politics that goes on around here. I ate well overall, including dessert. I was FULL which is not a feeling I like. However, I rode it out and dealt with it and was okay this morning. Just another reminder for my piggy bank when I come across situations, feelings, etc. like this.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008


I don't have much time to write, but I am happy to report back that overall the conference went well. I made a few mistakes but no one is perfect, right? I'm just trying to overlook that and focus on the positive things. I even got "tagged" for being helpful so that was a plus. I also got a chance to see some people I'd met at previous conferences, people who I hadn't seen in awhile, and a few clients as well. There were a lot of really well behaved dogs too, so that is always a plus. The eating wasn't so great, but I know I'll get back on track with that and my running as well.

Yesterday, I had the MRI on both my knees. It's funny, because I do fall asleep but as soon as the technician turned off the music, I woke up immediately. I have my appt. next week with the orto, so I'm really anxious to get those results back. I'm hoping something is shown just for the validation factor, especially with this ortho, but at the same time, I don't want some devastating, awful type result either.

My breaker still isn't fixed, and it looks like it is some wiring problem. I'm hoping the electrician can look at it soon, because this is going on three weeks without my home computer. I'm feeling kind of lost, especially since I do a lot of online article reading on various subjects. I don't have the time to drive to the library everyday, so it just plain ole sucks. Also, I can't recharge my ipod either. :-(