Friday, August 1, 2008


In the past couple of days I've stumbled upon two accounts of eating-disorder recovery. In one, the writer was a young adult who had entered a treatment facility; in the other, a 14-year-old girl and her family wrestled with anorexia. Both described the "refeeding" process, the part of treatment where food literally becomes medicine.

And there was so much. Food. We're talking up to 4,000 calories a day. At the treatment center, any food left on a plate at the end of a meal or snack period was replaced by an equivalent amount of Boost. In the other account, a mother describes making meal after calorie-dense meal - and her daughter still didn't gain. As it turns out, prolonged restriction changes your metabolism to make weight gain even more difficult to accomplish and maintain.

I was stunned . When I was in my own "refeeding" - from November 2005 to spring 2006 - I never consumed that much. I didn't think it was physically possible (and it barely is, given the tales of painful bloating and cramping). After I was almost pulled out of school, I drank three Boost Plus a day at 300 calories each. I don't know what my friends thought - after one random Tuesday, I went from picking at a bunless veggie patty to grimly eating every single bite of whatever dining-hall entree seemed to have the least visible grease (they were still pretty gross). And I thought I was eating more than any person could consume without becoming Mr. Stay-Puft. Sometimes I still think I'm eating far, far more than my body needs.

Getting those boobs is going to be harder than I thought.

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