20 Mar 2011

Inspiration from an Unexpected Source - Who Wants to Sacrifice Their Life to Anorexia?

Warning: Some Content May be Triggering

Inpsiration comes in all forms. In general, in my recovery, I've been motivated by positive inspiration from those who have recovered from Eating Disorders. However, I recently found motivation to recover (and recover completely, forever) from an unexpected source, when I came across an article by a middle-aged woman who has been borderline anorexic for most of her life and has clearly given up on all hopes of recovery (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-1191429/Fatten-What-happened-anorexic-Liz-Jones-eat-normally-weeks.html#ixzz1GgeXNXhk).

The article was by the British journalist Liz Jones, (a Daily Mail columnist and former editor of Marie Claire). It was, for the most part, a very sad article. Now in middle age, Liz Jones is starting to experience the very real health consequences of chronic under-eating, such as osteoporosis. But worse still, Liz Jones’s life and her lack of motivation to recover, has clearly left impoverished emotionally and personally. The life she describes is lonely and empty. She says:

'My spartan* lifestyle ….has kept me tiny, but it has also isolated me.'

'Being this way made me not just socially awkward, but unlovable: I've always hated being touched, hugged....'

Not only that, she admits that it has prevented her having children (she has only menstruated about 6 times in her life) and she hints that her obsessional self-denial may have also been responsible for the collapse of her brief (and apparently quite dysfunctional) marriage.
She draws a very apt contrast between herself and the British TV chef, Nigella Lawson. Unlike Liz Jones, Nigella is a curvaceous, chocolate-loving foodie. She also seems to exude a zest for life, has a happy marriage and a rich family life. Liz says: 

‘I look at Nigella Lawson, with her lovely packed life and overflowing fridge, and think how much happier she is than me, how much more fulfilled. How much sexier, definitely’

She also lets us in on how much she weighs (i.e. I won't share numbers, but its not very much) and observes - quite rightly- that, maintaining such a low weight, at the expense of happiness, fulfilment, children and family life, seems 'a silly, empty half-century achievement.'

The bottom line is, when I approach 50, do I want to be a Liz Jones:

Or a Nigella Lawson:

It seems like a bit of a no-brainer really.


  1. It is the "borderline" anorexia thing that freaks me out and what was a driving force, and still remains one, in staying recovered.
    I never wanted to be that half ill, half in recovery, half living, half dying.
    I was terrified I would be anorexic my whole life and I knew, if I didn't change it, it wouldn't change.
    I would either be endlessly sick, and in hospital.
    Or just about gain enough weight to function, but just always be anorexic.
    It is a very worthy and realistic fear, and one I am so glad you can use to push you forwards :)

  2. Love this post!!!! Thank you!

  3. First off- I love your blog!
    Second-This is so true!
    I've just begun my "gaining process" this week and I've been so scared and afraid since Monday...but reading this is pretty inspiring. I mean I guess it comes down to do I want to be happy (and HEALTHY) or do I want to continue on the way I have been- on my way to IP and looking like I could keel over at any minute. I want to be a Nigella some day.
    Thank you!

    Mallory xoxo