Tag Archives: eating disorder

An utterly honest account of bulimia. Novels and biographies about eating disorders so often make the condition appear dramatic, exciting and glamourous. This diary does not. It tells of the repetative daily struggle, the depression, and the gruesome, unglamourous physical effects of the condition. I have never been confronted with such raw frankness when reading about this condition. This is a story that everyone needs to read, so that people understand that this condition is undignified, painful and hellish, not something glamourous or enviable. My sincere congratulations to the author for her bravery in sharing her story which could change many people’s lives. I believe that this book has the power to jolt some people out of the addictive cycle, because the reader can’t escape the gritty reality on the page. This book has the power to save lives.

I am a lesbian/bisexual myself, so the sexuality part of the diary also appealed to me (as it really resonated with the obsessive crushes I experienced when I first came out). However, if you are not gay or bi this part of the diary may not appeal to you as much. I urge readers who find the lesbian aspect of the diary less captivating to continue reading because the bulimia-related diary entries are, as I said, invaluable reading for people with bulimia whose motivation for recovery is waning.

This book really reminds you why you are ‘staying clean’ and fighting so hard for recovery.

This book could change your life. I really believe it could. Read it!

Book cover of Unbearable Lightness, by Portia de RossiOK, not a diary. … This book is a memoir, however it receives an honorary mention for being an eating disorder autobiography written by a lesbian. In this gripping bestseller, celebrity actress and now wife of Ellen Degeneres, Portia de Rossi, recounts how suppressing her sexuality for fear of ruining her acting career helped foster her startlingly negative self-image which, in turn, fuelled her eating disorder.

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Book cover of Diary of an Eating Disorder, by Chelsea Smith and Beverly Browning RunyonWritten in diary entries, this book tells of how Chelsea’s parents’ divorce and sexual abuse by a neighbour result in the negative self-image that lead to her anorexia and bulimia. There are many Christian references in the text.

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  • Readers will be gripped, shocked, entertained, and informed
  • Lesbians with eating disorders will know that they are not alone
  • Readers will gain direct insight into the mentality of someone living with an eating disorder
  • Readers will become aware of some of the pressures involved in coming out as gay
  • The take-away message of this story is that letting oneself fall into a lifestyle of disordered eating and not seeking help does not pay off

Eating disorder facts and statistics

  • Beat (www.b-eat.co.uk) is the new name for the former Eating Disorders Association.
  • Approximately 1.6 million people in the UK are affected by an eating disorder.Source: b-eat.co.uk/about-beat/media-centre/facts-and-figures
  • Of those affected by an eating disorder 89% are female, 11% male.Source: b-eat.co.uk/about-beat/media-centre/facts-and-figures
  • It is estimated that of those with eating disorders:
    • 10% are anorexic
    • 40% are bulimic
    • 50% fall into the EDNOS (Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified) category

    Source: b-eat.co.uk/about-beat/media-centre/facts-and-figures

  • Eating disorders affect children as young as six.Source: b-eat.co.uk/about-beat/media-centre/facts-and-figures
  • Eating disorders have developed in women in their seventies.Source: b-eat.co.uk/about-beat/media-centre/facts-and-figures
  • Anorexia has the highest mortality rate of any psychiatric disorder, from medical complications associated with the illness as well as from suicide.Source: b-eat.co.uk/about-beat/media-centre/facts-and-figures
  • 20% of anorexia sufferers will die prematurely from their illness.Source: b-eat.co.uk/about-beat/media-centre/facts-and-figures
  • Some eating disorder autobiographies are banned from treatment centres as inpatients use them for learning new tricks. One such book, Marya Hornbacher’s autobiography Wasted, is known as an ‘Eating Disorder Bible.’
  • There exist two sub-culture groups, Pro-ana, and Pro-mia, which support eating disorders as a positive lifestyle choice. Ana is derived from ‘anorexia,’ Mia from ‘bulimia.’ Ana and Mia are personifications of the illnesses and are used as code. Those in Pro-ana groups make and wear red beaded bracelets to recognise each other and as a constant reminder not to eat. Those in Pro-mia groups make and wear blue beaded bracelets. It is thought that there are more than 500 Pro-ana and Pro-mia websites. These websites warn visitors to stay out if they do not already have an eating disorder or if they are in recovery. The content of the websites includes tips and tricks, forums and ‘thinspiration’ photo galleries.Source: news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/7259143.stm
  • 20% of young women diet either all or most of the time.Source: b-eat.co.uk
  • 1.19 million people watched Embarrassing Fat Bodies in the first week of August 2011, the third most watched programme on Channel 4 that week. 2.65 million people watched Supersize Vs Superskinny in the first week of March 2012, the fifth most watched programme on Channel 4 that week.Source: barb.co.uk/report/weekly-top-programmes-overview (The Broadcasters’ Audience Research Board)
  • Slimming World is the most popular slimming magazine. In the first half of 2010 their circulation was 302,738.Source: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_magazines_by_circulation
  • Dieting women read beauty and fashion magazines for ‘thinspiration.’
  • There is a National Eating Disorders Awareness Week which takes place February/March every year in the UK.

LGBT facts and statistics

  • Around 10% of women are wholly or partially attracted to members of the same sex.Source: avert.org/gay-people.htm
  • The lesbian (or lesbian tendencies) and eating disorder crossover could amount to around 142,400 women in the UK alone.
  • Very little research has been conducted into lesbians’ experiences of eating disorders. Rebecca Jones, PhD Psychology student at the University of the West of England, is addressing this need. Her discoveries so far have revealed the following reasons that lesbians fall into an eating disordered lifestyle:
    • a response to the stress and uncertainty of not fulfilling hetero-normative expectations
    • to fit into hetero-normative standards of femininity by being slim
    • to avoid one’s sexuality by focusing on food
    • to defocus people’s attention from one’s sexuality by being ill
  • There is a National Coming Out Day celebrated every year on October 12th in the UK and on October 11th everywhere else in the World.

The book facts and statistics

  • Samuel Pepys wrote 2,000,000 words. Lesbian diarist Anne Lister wrote 4,000,000 words. I have written 7,000,000 words to date (2013).
  • Lesbian Crushes and Bulimia is the first book to present a diary account of living as a lesbian with an eating disorder.
  • I have found just one other autobiographical book that combines the subjects of eating disorders and lesbianism. Written by celebrity Portia de Rossi, Unbearable Lightness: A Story of Loss and Gain, published in 2010, is a bestselling memoir about how her fear of coming out lead to her anorexia.

These images contain spoilers.

This synopsis contains light spoilers.

Lesbian Crushes and Bulimia is a real-life diary portrayal of an obsessive nineteen year old lesbian, Natasha, whose internal homophobia, alongside infatuations with other women, bring her condemnation in both her gay and straight environments and drive her into a state of compulsive binge-eating and purging.

This true story is set in 1989, one year after the infamous Section 28 was introduced, according to which it was not permitted to “promote the teaching in any maintained school of the acceptability of homosexuality as a pretended family relationship.” Lesbian Crushes and Bulimia is the first book to present a diary account of living as a lesbian with an eating disorder.

Natasha is obsessively, unrequitedly in love with her former teacher, Miss Williams (names have been changed), a love which she declares openly as a tattoo on her wrist. She meets Alex, a girl her own age, who questions her about the tattoo, revealing her own remarkably similar obsessive love for her former teacher, Miss Wilson. A romance blossoms between the two girls. Alex is slim and beautiful, Natasha is not.

Alex, who does not want to be gay, claims that she believes she is heterosexual. Natasha decides to experiment with boys.

When Alex, influenced by her mother’s homophobia, rejects Natasha, the latter, in her characteristically obsessive fashion, starts to fall into an alarmingly bulimic lifestyle in an attempt to lose weight to feel worthy of winning Alex back.

As the months of bulimia unfold, Natasha engenders disapproval in the gay scene’s hardcore lesbians and spends her time compulsively weighing herself, starving herself, and experimenting with methods of ridding her body of food.

Does Natasha succeed in feeling attractive enough for Alex? Does she succeed in winning Alex back?