A restaurant critic and her anorexic daughter
January 25, 2003 11:10 AM   Subscribe

"My daughter can't be bulimic. I don't diet. We don't talk about calories or fat or weight loss. Much of our family life centres around food. Look at my job as a restaurant critic!" Joanne Kates is the restaurant critic for the Globe and Mail; her daughter suffered from anorexia. Today, the Globe published their story in their own words.
posted by mcwetboy (8 comments total)
Powerful stuff. (Wish it were longer and went into more detail, actually.)
posted by Vidiot at 11:28 AM on January 25, 2003

Great link mcwetboy. Yeah Vidiot, I assume they edited their reactions down - it seems much of it was written after the fact, and I wish instead they would have relied a bit more on journals they kept at the time (because I bet they kept them.)

Still, it shook me up. It's really easy to hear about eating disorders or see statistics - occasionally my girlfriend struggles with boughts of anorexia and I don't really understand. I mean, I'm supportive and try to get her to eat, but I forget it's a disease, a way of thinking, something that's in her mind that she can't just shrug off.

"I don't have the eating disorder; it has me."

posted by Happydaz at 11:38 AM on January 25, 2003

One of my best friends is bulemic, although she seems to be over the worst of it. I was surprised by how it mirrored my smoking habit, although she started it because she wanted to be thin (and she got to be sickly thin) it got to the point where she would do it when she was stressed out.
she did it so often that i could tell when she was about to do it, and had to confront her, but she did it anyway.
argh, its painful remembering it, but shes better now, well... i guess... she says that she still does it once in a while, but i dont ask her about it, she tells me of her own free will...

posted by klik99 at 1:44 PM on January 25, 2003

as someone who has pretty much whose been large their whole lives, and as previously never been able to understand the mentality behind those who deprive themselves of food, i'm beginning to see and understand how they feel.

excellent link mcwetboy.
posted by ruwan at 2:09 PM on January 25, 2003

i didn't much care for the article and actually thought it was rather poorly written. i've been close to a few people who've been anorexic and/or bulemic and it's a very trying thing to go thru.

overall, i didn't think the piece offered any insight into the illnesses. i found it annoying not knowing how old the child was until halfway thru it. the article was also not very clear about what her initial weight was--or even how tall she is--which makes it difficult to picture her as a person. in addition, when were these pieces written? at the time? or after? Mara's sept 2000 entry sounds like it's written at the time ("Camp is over. I wonder if I can make it through another year of school"), but then the next entry sounds like it's written in the present ("I don't know it yet, but I am unconsciously searching for a way to break away from my parents.")

sentences like this: "I check her toilet for vomit, find none, worry that she has learned how to hide her tracks." are baffling. is this woman marvelling that her daughter has figured out how (after twice being caught) to flush a toilet?

if this topic is one that genuinely interests you, i highly recommend these books.
posted by dobbs at 2:49 PM on January 25, 2003

dobbs, I've heard it said that, in articles about eating disorders, specific heights and weights shouldn't be mentioned at all, because they can act as triggers for those reading the article who may also suffer from eating disorders, ie She's 5' 7" and only got down to 92 pounds? I can do way better than THAT. *shiver*

An interesting article, especially when compared to a similar article Salon ran recently. (Feedback to Salon article here.)
posted by arielmeadow at 3:16 PM on January 25, 2003

The earlier an eating disorder is caught, the better the chances of recovery... usually. My sister never recovered. I was glad to read about a girl who did. Thanks for the link. (And thanks to arielmeadow for the Salon link.)
posted by swerve at 5:06 PM on January 25, 2003

There are alot more bulemic people then most people know.

You don't have to be skinny to be bulemic.... Trust me.

My ex was bulemic, but she wasn't the stereotypical "skin and bones" anorexic people think about. (She was closer to 150-175lbs...)

Its a desease... and what can you do? They will just hide it from you if you try and get them to stop.

This article is right in the sense that it's (mostly) about control. This girl she writes about didn't begin to recover until the parents backed off.

It was very hard for me to "let" my girlfriend purge. I knew what harm she was doing to herself and I wished I could have done something to help.

I learned that it was better off if she wasn't afraid of me knowing about it.

It was a situation where I would rather her not hide it from me... becuase I knew if I tried to stop her she would just do it behind my back. Like I said... it's a desease.

Like cancer... you can't just reason someone out of cancer.

An alcoholic only begins to recover when he decides he needs help. Force an alcoholic into treatment and it won't do a thing.

I beleive bulemia to be alot like that. They don't think they even have a problem.

The sad part is, sometimes one must hit rock bottom to realize that there is a problem. Sometimes, by then, the hole is so deep there is no way out.

I guess the point to all this is:

The best thing you can do is to not make her (or him) afraid to ask you for help.

You wouldn't want to punish someone because he just got cancer... right?

posted by LoopSouth at 2:37 AM on January 26, 2003

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