Sunday, May 16, 2010


Kate, author of the blog, This Is Not a Diet, recently brought to my attention Simeons' Protocol and the dangerous hCG diet.

In part, this is what Kate wrote in her email to me:

"I'm really interested in helping people who need to lose weight do it the right way- through moderate eating and exercise. I really hate fad diets, crash diets, and diets that make you buy products or make unrealistic claims.

As a person who has recently lost a lot of weight, I spend a considerable amount of time on a calorie counting diet website and I've noticed a really freakish trend this last month.

It's called "Simeon's Protocol" or the hCG diet. Google it and you will find nothing but ads. Google "hcg dangers" and you will find nothing but ads. It's very disturbing. This is a "diet" that asks people to inject themselves with a hormone (hcg), which is a banned substance, and then tells them to eat 500 calories a day for 43 days. The next phase is to gorge yourself for some period of time before returning to the starving-yourself phase.

Here's what Diet Scam Watch has to say:

Diet Scam Watch - hCG"

Kate's written a compelling post on this starvation diet here:

Diets in Review is also warning of the dangers of the hCG diet:

"You won’t see me promoting quick fixes or fad diets anytime soon. But every once in awhile something comes along that seems so dangerous I have to call it out. That’s why I’m going to help reveal the truth behind the HCG diet."

Read the entire Diets in Review article here:

Please take a moment to read Kate's post, Diet Scam Watch's warning, and the Diets in Review post.

Be forewarned that if you embark on this starvation diet, you will suffer serious medical consequences.

Thanks again, Kate, for the heads up on this dangerous starvation diet. Much appreciated!

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Saturday, May 15, 2010


Damian Aspinall and Kwibi, the gorillaDamian Aspinall and his beloved Kwibi

Conservationist Damian Aspinall searchs for Kwibi, a gorilla he bonded with five years ago during a program to re-introduce animals back into the wild:

I'm an ardent supporter of the International Primate Protection League (IPPL).

Dr. Shirley McGreal of IPPLDr. Shirley McGreal

Founded by Dr. Shirley McGreal in 1973, IPPL combats the illegal trafficking of primates. For her work in protecting primates, Dr. McGreal was awarded an O.B.E. by Queen Elizabeth II in 2008:

Dr. McGreal receives O.B.E.

Please take a moment to check out IPPL's website (IPPL)and, if possible, please support them with a donation, large or small:

Donate to IPPL

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Friday, May 14, 2010


Argy, anorexic, anorexiaArgy

"hello .. I'm from mexico and I've read your blog is very good ... I'd like to share my story, my day to day with this monster that lives inside of me for over 8 years ... I have anorexia nervosa and my struggle is every day .. only the only thing I want is to disappear sometimes, I have lost the illusion of life, my life revolves around the damn food, calories, the scale, and my obsession for my bones ...

Argy, anorexic, anorexia

I currently weigh 31 kilos (68 pounds) but I can not see me as I have become .. I can not take some food to the mouth without wanting to vomit ... all I can afford is a cucumber and green tea .. and sometimes some orange juice ... but I feel good total to fast only with green tea or cucumber ...can not stand the idea of raising an ounce, I like myself against the thickness of my arms, my legs and feel every bone in your body ... if that's not I'm losing, fatal ...

Argy, anorexic, anorexia

my psychiatrist is treating me for 2 years but not able to do much ... I used to my meds that have helped me for insomnia, depression and suicide attempts my .. but sometimes I do not know if it is worth all this .. I have 23 years this year I finished college and graduated as a lawyer ... but that's not something that motivates me.

Now I'll tell you a bit more about me ... or rather the ways I see things today ..
I think people believe that not to hurt them or to punish them for something, it just has to do with me ... is that now is the time when I say "eat normally" but not so easy. The most absurd thing is that I myself realize how silly I am and how much risk you run. But the temptation to be thin and not eating it too.

When my stomach is empty I feel powerful. I do not want, but my disgust for food is greater than my sanity. I try to eat each day to leave behind something solid and fasting on liquids only, but I find it difficult because I've been very strict with myself. I feel terrible if as much. It's too abrupt a change for my head to eat anything to eat something, to gain or lose weight in any case, no weight loss and weight maintenance. I have yet the panic of any food that is not healthy for me. As I taste something that is not well, something that could make me gain weight I panic and I can not swallow it or just run to vomit ..

Argy, anorexic, anorexia

And the look and feel so small every part of the body can achieve in my inexplicable complacency during this time so I can love my body, which is illogical in some way.

I feel pressure in my house, my family expects a lot from me, and I am sorry to disappoint and make every effort to understand me and help me. I find it very silly of me. Life would be nicer if eaten as it should, but is that simply I can not. It's stronger than me.

And then another thing: If I weigh myself and the scale scores less than last time I'm relieved and I would eat a little. It is therefore a necessity, not a weak pleasure. The food has slowly invaded my life and be a secondary aspect has become paramount. I dominate, I hate it.

Argy, anorexic, anorexia
I'm broken in two: on the one hand I feel guilty about eating too little and throw the food but the other party is stronger, I dominate. If I've gone legit I'm clever ... I'm going crazy. Flatter me so much that people tell me how thin I am and how bad I see it is strange but affirm that way things are going as I want.

~ Argy"

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Thursday, May 13, 2010


Fun in the Sun I, Alfred GockelFun in the Sun I by Alfred Gockel

"My name's Mikayla.

I've been reading your blog for a long time, and I thought that I was finally ready to share my story. I don't know if you will post this, but I thought I'd tell you my story anyway. Looking back, I never thought that someone like me would end up with an ED. But things like that are unexpected, like addicting shots of Heroin.

As a little girl I was always real thin, and I'd even go as far to say pretty. I loved dancing, and I was very good at it. I had three BEST friends, Madeline, Swagata, and Jake. Along with my family, they are amazing people.

Female Gymnast
I suppose a couple of things led to the full manifestation of my Anorexia. When I was 8, me and Madeline were waiting for her mom to pick us up from our dance class. Glancing around, I saw a poster of a stick-thin woman in a leotard. "Wow," I thought, "I wish I could be that thin." I voiced the thought to Madeline, who rolled her eyes and told me I was probably thinner than her. I was reassured for awhile, but I dove farther into dance, and ate a little less than I usually did. It didn't stop me from not enjoying a bowl of Ravioli.

As I grew older I completely forgot about it. My life revolved around dance, painting, and piano. I was popular, and I basked in love of my friends and family. I must have been crazy, to have thrown it all away like that.

Modern Dancer

It started when I was fourteen. I was reading a book while in my splits. Jokingly, my dad told me my hips were getting way too broad. I was always a bit of a health nut, but my greatest mistake was taking his words to heart. I shouldn't have listened, I should have seen reality. I was always naturally thin, and I should have seen the facts.

At 5'2 I was 98 pounds. I was 5'4 when I was 14. That day I checked my weight. I was 110 pounds. My god, I was in triple digits...that was the only thought running through my head. I was from a nice family, I was smart, and I set extremely high standards for myself. I intensely disliked failing. So, I promised myself I'd lose five pounds. A simple, innocent, five pounds.

I skipped dinner that day. I told my mom I had a lot of homework, and asked her to bring my dinner to me. Instead of eating it, I stuffed it in a ziplock bag and hid it under my bed so I could throw it away. It was Ravioli, my favorite.

After that, I felt in control. I felt powerful, that I didn't have to eat when everyone stuffed their faces. Jake was the only one of my best friends who went to the same school as me. He wasn't shallow, and self-centered like the rest of my popular friends. He noticed that I was getting thinner, and he force-fed me. I ate because it made him feel relieved. He didn't know I threw it up right after. Neither did my parents.

When Swagata saw me next time, about a month later, she screamed. Madeline's mom was a nurse, and she too screamed. Madeline was strong, and wasn't affected by anything easily, but I saw something crack in her when she saw me.

I felt selfish, for making my family and friends feel so much pain. But I couldn't stop. I couldn't eat. I slowly became too weak to do my favorite dance routine.

Somewhere in the middle of this one good thing happened. Jake and I started dating. I always had feelings for him, and the momentary happiness made me gain some pounds back. When I checked my weight again, I freaked. I went right on back to the same routine.

So far through my story, I haven't fully told you how my family, my closest friends, and Jake felt. I can't do that, the pain they felt is too much to describe. They tried to stop me, but I still managed to hide it, to keep losing.

I lost more and more weight. Then, on my 15th birthday, I collapsed while walking down the stairs. When I woke up, I was in a hospital. My parents were there, and outside were Madeline, Swagata, and Jake, along with their parents. My mom told me that I weighed 77 pounds. The first thought that went through my head was, "SHIT. HOW AM I SO FAT????"

And then, Jake walked inside. I thought he was going cry for a second, his eyes were glistening, but then he just hugged me. Over his shoulders, I saw Swagata crying on Madeline's shoulder. Madeline looked she was seeing someone die. I guess she was. My parents wasted no time in putting me in a rehab center for eating disorders, There, I saw girls that were even thinner than I was.

I would say half my recovery came from the love my family and friends gave me, the other half was my therapist. Her name was Cole, and she was amazing. I still see her now, since I will never fully recover from the clutches of this disease.

It's really hard to describe my recovery. In the beginning, Ana, who was like my sister, screamed and yelled horrible things at me for eating food. I started to hate her. I wanted to get rid of her. I couldn't believe she still took up half my brain, that she still promised me amazing things after taking away so much from me. My initial recovery was fast, after a week of great mental stress, I decided that I wanted to get better. Numerous things went through my head in that period of time, flashes of lovely memories with my parents and my friends. I'd have to get better for them.

My ED is hard to describe. I suppose it's like a slide-it’s so simple to slip down. But, have you ever tried climbing back up a slide? It's even easier to fall back down to where you started. And I did, after every small step up, I took a gigantic leap down. There were constant relapses, and many tears. However, slowly my grip tightened, and I climbed up carefully, with many slips and even another fall, but I made it to the top.

Even now when I climb up the slide, I slip occasionally. There are still some tears, but I have love, and I have people who care for me. I learn and recover fast, but I revert easily as well.

Ana's voice is still in my head, she only takes up a minor portion; I have straitjacketed her to a small dark corner. However, she is constantly struggling, clawing at the edges, and tempting me with melodic whispers. I won't listen.

My name is Mikayla. I'm 18 now, almost 19. I'm 5'7 and I weigh 120 pounds. I can clearly see my collarbones and hip bones, I can easily make out my ribcage, and when I raise my arms, they stand out vibrantly. But, no longer can I put marbles in the large flat spaces my collarbones had created; no longer can I cling to my hip bones or grasp my ribcage.

Last week, Jake and I got accepted into UC Berkeley, our dream college. Swagata got her acceptance to Stanford yesterday. Madeline is studying Psychology in UCLA. She was the only one brave enough to face the disease that almost killed me. My parents love me, and they're proud.

I'm Mikayla; I look at the mirror and smile. I love painting, playing my piano, and dancing.

I am constantly fighting a battle, every single second, constantly. But I will never let Ana win."


(All pictures provided by Mikayla)


Artwork: Alfred Gockel

Female Gymnast

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Sunday, May 9, 2010


"I loved you enough to ask about where you were going, with whom and what time you would get home

I loved you enough to insist that you buy a bike, that we could afford to give you, with your own money

I loved you enough to make you return a Milky-Way— with a bite out of it—to the drug store and to confess “I stole this"

I loved you enough to stand over you for two hours while you cleaned your room, a job that would have taken me 15 minutes

I loved you enough to let you see anger, disappointment, disgust and tears in my eyes

I loved you enough to admit I was wrong and ask for your forgiveness

I loved you enough to let you stumble, fall and hurt

But most of all, I loved you enough to say NO when you hated me for it. That was the hardest part of all."

~ Erma Bombeck on motherhood


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Saturday, May 8, 2010



by Sarah Coggrave

"My name is Sarah, I'm twenty-four years old, and I've written a book about my recovery from an eating disorder. It contains a variety of art, writing, photographs, emails and diary entries that chronicle my journey and the process of putting together and publishing the book has been a therapeutic experience in itself."


Mariposa is a vivid, colourful and comprehensive account of Sarah Coggrave’s recovery from an eating disorder. Her art and writing paint an eclectic picture of a complex individual trying desperately to wrestle free from the evil voices inside her head.

The book follows Sarah’s journey through hospital and then a specialist clinic as she totally transforms and rebuilds her life. Throughout she reflects with startling insight on the root of her problems and confesses her innermost thoughts and feelings. We hear the eating disorder is deafening in the beginning. However eventually it fades to little more than an inaudible whisper as Sarah finds her own voice.

About the Author

Sarah Coggrave was born on a September afternoon in 1985. She grew up in the rainy depths of the Peak District, cycled the cobbled streets of Cambridge as an undergraduate, started (but never finished) training as a police officer in Manchester and studied Criminology as a postgraduate at the University of Sheffield.

After a brief flirtation with floristry Sarah now wants to forge a career in mental health. She likes to dabble in lots of things; music, art, creative writing, psychology and nature. Alongside this somewhat bizarre existence she is also recovering from an eating disorder and rediscovering her love of chocolate.

Book Extract

Once upon a time, there lived a little girl called Sarah. Like lots of little girls and boys she had a little pot belly. A tummy that she proudly thrust forward in an effort to appear bigger, taller, smarter, older.

But the bad tummy wouldn’t go away. In fact it grew as fast as she did. Sometimes she punished it by not feeding it. She enjoyed denying it breakfast, sometimes lunch too, and listening to it moan and growl in feeble protest. Other times she didn’t care and she stuffed it with chocolate and crisps. Then it felt enormous, like a great burden to carry.

Soon the little girl was no longer so little. She was an adult, and yet her belly still worried her. What if it continued to grow even though she herself had stopped? She ran, she swam, she lifted weights in the gym. She starved, she binged, she punched it. Then she gave it less, and less, and less. Then she overfed it, and used her fist to empty it before it had even begun to comprehend what was going on.

One day that little girl, no longer so little, or so innocent, sweet and kind, saw her tummy for the first time. It was flat as a pancake, in fact it only ever been magnified in her mind’s eye. She admired it, and imagined the day when it would swell to a huge size and grow new life inside it. For that little girl learned that her tummy represented life. She needed to feed it and care for it, and most of all, love it for being a part of her.

This is the story of a little girl who lost her way.

Sarah's book is available on the link below as an ebook:


The paperback will be out later this year.

Please take a moment to visit the Facebook group:


Congratulations, Sarah, on your recovery and the release of your book!


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Thursday, May 6, 2010


Natalia VodianovaRussian model, Natalia Vodianova

Despite attempts to thwart the use of size-0 models, many in the fashion industry have dug in their heels, continuing to send stick-thin models down the runways and slather their images all over the pages of magazines.

One exception is Matan Uziel, Verbmodel, Inc.'s Senior Executive, and Ambassador for the National Eating Disorder Association (NEDA).

Matan Uziel, Verbmodels,Inc.Matan Uziel, Verbmodels, Inc.

"We must do everything we can in order to ensure another model won't fall victim of anorexia. The issue of size zero or "skinny models" has to be dogged by fashion shows and the beauty industry around the world" (Matan Uziel, Verbmodels, Inc.)

On the morning of April 25, 2010, Matan held a press conference on the topic of "Fashion Industry May Be Fueling Eating Disorders In Women," claiming more focus is needed on reducing obsessive dieting, bad eating habits and body dissatisfaction amongst young people around the world, filled with promise and talent.

"It's a mistake to think that Anorexia nervosa among models has somewhat receded, because it's still occurring in fashion industry," protested Uziel. No one is saying fashion causes all eating disorders, but with the fashion industry seemingly pushing for smaller and skinnier models and the press portraying them as something special, there is plenty of blame for an eating disorder and the media can be partially responsible.

Natalia VodianovaNatalia Vodianova by Peter Lindbergh for David Yurman.

When a reporter asked a question regarding whether Uziel thinks that the fashion industry fueling the rise in eating disorders, answered Uziel that "fashion has a bad reputation as a whole, it's notoriously animal unfriendly, and pushes unhealthy body trends to the masses, and there are many people especially in this industry that are responsible for the current situation around the world, but not only them."

Uziel thinks that "it's obvious that a vast change would only come from the inside, where positive role models should take the reins and set a good example on young girls."

One of the more interesting moments came when a journalist asked him if they at NEDA were trying to recruit any top models to spread the word, Uziel replied, "I was trying to contact Natalia Vodianova for many times through the Naked Heart Foundation and different agents in order to ask for her help but I have never heard back and I felt very disappointed and frustrated.

"So, though Vodianova attends the CFDA's panel talks on model health and body image in the fashion industry, she doesn't seem to take any significant, strong positions to fight the rigid body ideals that contribute to body dissatisfaction and eating disorders which is a shame, and on behalf of the National Eating Disorders Association, I urge Ms. Vodianova to take responsibility as a public figure and begin to challenge some of the assumptions that the only way to be beautiful and successful is to be thin," added Uziel.

"The issue of eating disorders can be remarkably fortunate with regard to its celebrity support. And in particular, Vodianova, can help advance the issue in a very specific and much-needed area," he summarized.

So, Natalia, will you step up to the plate?


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Wednesday, May 5, 2010


Tula Belle

"The angels came for her today."

Tula Belle was the beloved dog of my brother, Jim, and his wife, Sharon.

Tula was the sweetest girl, and won the hearts of everyone who met her. We are heartbroken.

Below is Jim's moving tribute to his Tula Belle:

Rest in peace, little one. Please give my Molly and Rigby a big kiss for me when you see them.

More of Jim's amazing photographs are here...



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Sunday, May 2, 2010


Check out MrsM's amazing blog, Weighing the Facts, for her latest post on some surprising Mental Health Statistics, as well as Mental Health Resources Links:

Mental Health Statistics and Resources


Picture & Post:

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Melissa Avrin (at age 18) and her mother Judy (2008)Melissa Avrin (at age 18) and her mother, Judy (2008)

From the NY Times

"When her 19-year-daughter Melissa died after a long battle with bulimia, Judy Avrin chose an unusual way to deal with that death: She made a documentary about it...

Born Dec. 21, 1989, Melissa seemed in her early years to be a happy little girl. Her family lived in Wayne, N.J., and then in Pine Brook, N.J., spending two years in Coral Gables, Fla., in between, where Mr. Avrin was transferred for his work with a specialty chemical company. Melissa did well in school — producing A’s and short stories.

But at age 13, thing started to change. Melissa’s mood darkened; she didn’t want to go to school or do extracurricular activities. She developed stomach problems and constipation. Ms. Avrin took her to a pediatric gastroenterologist who said Melissa probably had an eating disorder. “I reacted the way most parents do: ‘That’s not possible,’ ” Ms. Avrin said. “We didn’t go back to him.”

In the early stages, the Avrins did not really see what was going on, in part because Melissa wasn’t visibly underweight, in part because they didn’t want to. But clues started to show up that were too stark to ignore — logs of cookie dough that disappeared from the freezer along with whole boxes of cookies from the cabinet. Empty pizza boxes. “I found containers with chewed and spit-out food and I’d never heard of that before,” Ms. Avrin tells Dr. Sanders during their filmed interview. “Is that very common?”

Ms. Avrin wrapped the fridge in locks and chains, hid her purse and made sure never to leave money lying around. “It didn’t have to be good junk food — if she wanted to go on a binge, it could be a dozen eggs,” Ms. Avrin said of Melissa. “Anything that wasn’t nailed down, she would eat...”

Melissa and her brother, Andrew (2007)Melissa and her brother, Andrew (2007)

Andrew Arvin sits on a beige couch in a nondescript room, a fruit still-life partly visible on the wall behind him, twisting his fingers while, off-camera, an unseen interviewer prompts him to talk about his sister, Melissa.

“There was no food in the house,” he says, looking off to the side as his eyes fill. “If I went out with friends, I could not bring leftovers home because they would be gone by the next morning.”

Once, he explains, in the middle of a bitterly cold night, he looked out the window and saw Melissa on the curb, going through the garbage. “I went outside and I yelled her name,” he recounts in the interview, his voice breaking. “Just the way she looked back at me — it was so empty, vacant. It was a deer in the headlights, but that doesn’t even explain it.”

Melissa died on May 6, 2009. Cause of death: heart attack due to complications from an eating disorder. Just a few days before, Melissa learned she had been admitted to Emerson College. The official letter of acceptance arrived a week after she died and sits unopened."

Melissa Avrin - Judy Avrin's note"About Someday..." by Judy Avrin (from the Someday website)
(Click to enlarge)

Please visit the NY Times online to read the story in full:

and visit the film's website here:

Melissa (2006)

Someday ...

I’ll eat breakfast.

I’ll keep a job for more than 3 weeks.

I’ll have a boyfriend for more than 10 days.

I’ll love someone.

I’ll travel wherever I want.

I’ll make my family proud.

I’ll make a movie that changes lives.

~ a poem from Melissa's Journal

Below is the trailer from the film, "Someday..."



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