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Ontario’s New Calorie Count Law Is Dangerous

 

ontario's new calorie count law is dangerous, calories, eating disorders, government, sloth speed recovery, www.slothspeedrecovery,wordpress.com

“Nutritional information, including calories, is already available on the labels of many items we buy at the grocery store.” […] “As of January 1, 2017, all food-service chains with 20 or more locations in Ontario must post the number of calories in the food and drink items they sell.”

Calories on Menus in regards to the Healthy Menu Choices Act

The government of Ontario has decided that their citizens need to be more mindful of the calories entering their bodies, and has chosen to have all foods and drinks in restaurant chains with over 20 restaurants listed with their respective calories. Their goal is to ensure everyone is getting the right amount of energy needed for their bodies, but this listed number is doing more than that, and sadly, it’s not all good.

On one hand, those who want to lose weight healthily and have the means to do so have an advantage when they’re eating out, but a group has been forgotten in this whole equation.

In the US, 30 million people of all ages and genders struggle with an eating disorder, and eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any one mental illness. From anorexia nervosa, to binge eating disorder, to OSFED (Otherwise Specified Feeding or Eating Disorder), there seems to be no leg up through their struggles.

I, being a 19 year old woman in eating disorder recovery, diagnosed with OSFED (past atypical anorexia, and currently compensatory subtype) can no longer go out to eat without those numbers haunting me and triggering me. Those numbers call out to me and scream the horrors that I have worked so hard to hush. I am no longer safe when I am out of the house; my nightmares have followed me into my social life and make outdoor meals all that much harder. I could get by, reminding myself that not knowing the calories would be okay, but that safety blanket has been ripped away from me.

My mother offered me food from a Costco stand the other day, and there I was considering it, until that 3 to 4 digit number made my mind up for me.

I am now forced to not eat out, or keep my head down wile my partner/friend orders for me. I can no longer look up at the menu freely, deciding what I want to eat, without letting my disorder make my mind up for me.

This new law is not all good; and here’s why.


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Favours one agenda over another. I am constantly reminded when I go out that my recovery and the struggles I have with my eating disorder are not as important as someone who is struggling with weight loss. There is a divide where one groups’ health is put above mine, and I have no control over it. No where do I see on the Ontario governmental page a worry regarding eating disorders or the benefits it could have on those struggling or recovering.

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It isn’t only in fast food chains. I would be more understanding if these numbers affected the well-known unhealthy fast food chains such as McDonald’s, KFC and Wendy’s, because people go there and expect an unhealthy meal. They are aware that they’re not getting exactly what their bodies need. But this law seeps into Pita Pit, Burrito joints and so many other locations that are mainly vegetable dishes. These favoured places of mine have become less safe as the calories stare me in the face as I build a well balanced meal.

Being affected with an eating disorder, 600 calories can seem terrifying when at one time, I considered this more than my daily allowance of calories.

Vibrant Produce

Calories aren’t always the most influential part of a meal on ones body. This law puts emphasis on caloric contents instead of nutritional contents. They didn’t choose to label the vitamins and minerals, but chose calories. They also don’t state if these are healthy or unhealthy calories. Some people need to watch cholesterol whilst others need to watch sugars, but don’t worry, darling. In this diet culture, calories are all that matters. No need to care about your actual health. (Is you sarcasm meter on?)

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It encourages the notion that fewer calories defines a healthier meal. If I were to have a McDonald’s cheeseburger (290 calories) with a side of small fries (240 calories) and a Medium Strawberry Passion Awareness drink (240 calories), it would amount to 770 calories, which is rather low for a full McDonald’s meal. Compared to a large shrimp burrito from Burrito Boyz with all the toppings amounting to the same amount of calories, the McDonald’s meal will not have the same nutritional benefits or calories from vegetables that the burrito has, leaving this caloric number misleading in some respects to people whom don’t know better.

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The new law does encourage getting enough calories, but also achieves the opposite effect. Though this law states that they aim for people to eat enough calories, it does the opposite. We live in the age of diet culture, where magazines and ads constantly remind us we need to lose weight, no matter how much we weigh. Some diets encourage 1500 calories for adult women, which is less than needed, and encourages our bodies to enter starvation mode. The majority of people nowadays would prefer to consume less calories to lose a few pounds than to make sure they eat enough.

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Children are exposed to calorie counts at a young age. I distinctly recall being a child, sitting at my table eating cereal, and reading the numbers from the nutritional value over and over. I didn’t understand what those numbers meant, but I think I knew even then that it was encouraged to have less of that first number; calories.

This new law may encourage parents to make diet decisions for their children that aren’t totally beneficial as they may fall in line with diet culture, or they may begin to starve their child unintentionally to help them lose weight.

Being easily influenced, these children whom grow into young adults are constantly surrounded with pictures of fit or emaciated models on social media and television, that they don’t understand what is truly attainable and healthy. Ads for weight loss drugs and workout foods or items run in front of the eyes of these children, and they understand the language. They watch social media stars and their family members struggle with weight, and they may do it, too.

Canada also presents the Canada Food Guide to young children, teaching them about calories and exercise. There is no doubt that this encouragement could easily spark an eating disorder in our youth, and an obsession with that pesky little number known as calories.

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The obsession with numbers can perpetuate eating disorders. A common trait in restrictive eating disorders is an obsession with numbers; whether that be calories, weight or measurements. It becomes this internal dialogue where the counting begins. As this obsession increases, that caloric intake may decrease to a starvation diet; anything to be seen as skinny.

We are taught since we are young to obsess over these numbers, and having them in our face isn’t doing us favours.

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Those in ED recovery have a harder time staying on track. How the HELL do you expect me or my fellow recovering peers to stay on track in our recovery; to put our health and our needs first, when that (sorry for my language) FUCKING number is flashing in our faces? How do you expect us to get ahead and be healthy when our triggers follow us everywhere? It would be unreasonable to tell us to just not look, because some of us can’t. We can no longer ignore the calories; we must now try even harder to not let them affect us, and some of us can’t fight that.


Calories follow us everywhere, along with images of the frailest, most photoshopped images we have available. With access to the internet and even more ways to perpetuate eating disorders, nearly nobody is safe from the possibility of it taking over their lives. Male or female; nobody is safe. 

The overall relationship society has with food will not let us get ahead as a society; the statistics for eating disorders will continue to rise unless we take into the account everyone and teach the public about true nutrition and healthy eating.

These calorie listings could cost someone a meal, periods of pain and their life.

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How I Overcame a Binge

how i overcame a binge, binging purging starvation laxative abuse, eating disorder, www.slothspeedrecover.wordpress.com, sloth speed recovery

Last night, with the combination of moving and Eating Disorder Outpatient Recovery stress, I found myself wanting to turn to something to feel better. All I’ve known in regards to coping for several years was food control and self-harm. It was a vigorous cycle that never ended with good results, and though I thought I was in control, I had never been more out of control in my life. I would either restrict enormous amounts of food, or turn to eating as a coping strategy.

I was sitting at my desk, talking to my boyfriend. I could feel myself being hungry, but I was crying hard. I was run-down from the go-go-go of my life, and how everything seems to crash down on me. On days like that, I would usually go buy an overpriced bag of chips, consume the whole bag and rid myself of it. But, I couldn’t let myself do that; not in recovery.

This recovery isn’t just about learning how to eat properly again, but to learn not to use food as a coping tool. Food is to nourish the body; not to punish.

For the first time in my life, I admitted to someone that I felt like binging. I used to be too humiliated to speak a word of it. I let my walls come down and confessed to the craving I was having. It was an important first step.

I was hungry, so I couldn’t just not eat, because that would be falling into my restrictive habits; I had to find what my balance was, and how I could avoid losing control.

How did I get through my urge to binge?


I told someone. I took the first step and admitted the urge I had to fall into that coping behaviour. I was up-front with my loved one and asked for their help.

I talked out my feelings and the cause. I told him why I was having those feelings; I felt my life was falling apart all around me. I’m in the process of moving, I have appointments nearly everyday next week, I’m in an outpatient eating disorder recovery program that’s opening up old wounds, etc. It’s important to assess the root cause of those emotions, and why they’re coming up. Write it down, talk it out; I did what I had to do to get through the rough patch.

Because I was hungry, I ate. During most of my urges to binge, I am not usually hungry, but this time I was. I was treading on thin ice; I didn’t want to slip up. I had to be fed, but couldn’t use it to control my emotions. I couldn’t retaliate a binge by starving myself; that wouldn’t be following my recovery plan.

I decided to eat, and assess during if I was still hungry, and I paced myself.

I was mindful when I ate. I kept checking in with myself to make sure I wasn’t doing it to cope. I checked if I was still hungry. And, in retaliation to wanting to starve myself, I finished the plate because I knew I needed it.

I didn’t punish myself. I usually use compensatory behaviour to punish myself for eating, and in recovery, that isn’t an option. I made sure to keep the food down and understand that I ate to nourish myself, not to punish myself.


spiritual

I am nowhere near perfect or fully recovered; but I wanted to share how I got through that specific urge to binge. I’m sure in 6 months, I’ll be much healthier and have a more skilled way of getting through it.

I do think it’s important we assess why we want to binge, and where the desire is coming from, and I want to continue assessing that, and becoming mindful of my urges.

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The 8 Wonders of Pro Anorexia Websites

sloth speed recovery, proana, pro anorexia, eating disorder, thin commandments, proana websites,

Pro Anorexia (Pro Ana) is a secret society of individuals who condone anorexia. They may not condone it for other individuals, but ultimately, they are encouraging, worsening or potentially starting eating disorders for themselves and millions of women and men around the world. They support and follow “Ana” rules and tips on a regular basis in a strive for the thinnest, most frail body to feed their mental illnesses and eating disorders.

They will sacrifice their well being, the rest of their confidence and their body to be thin, to be what they deem beautiful. Body parts with pertruding bones and concave skin are worshiped and glorified, and are what every woman should strive for, according to these websites. Without being thin, beauty is far beyond your grasps. Not to mention, it encourages community, friendships, self-discipline and beauty, and working hard to achieve that standard.

So, how can Pro Ana websites really be all that bad

 


1. Being thin is a gateway to a lifelong friendship with Ana!

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Those who turn to Pro Ana websites are often those with a plummeting self-esteem, in search of a solution. They may initially be hit with the thought that thin = beautiful, and achieving beauty is a few pounds away! They are turning to Pro Ana to resolve self-consciousness and seek validation of themselves, within themselves.

Someone in the early stages of their eating disorder or progressing within it may be flung full force into this community and the support around them. Mentally ill individuals are supporting each other to act out unhealthy behaviours, without the interruption of conscious decision for future benefit. In these acts, they may find themselves feeling euphoric and will pursue the behaviours until they can no longer reverse the effects.

In summary, exposure to the images, quotes and support of the community, one, especially adolescent, may find a home for themselves where they feel they can express, destroy and cope with themselves. They may be determining the beginning of a lifelong eating disorder!

2. You will be living in a fairy tale of beauty!

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In the evolution of this disorder, you may find yourself losing touch with reality. Suddenly, you are aware of more “flaws” within yourself that weren’t apparent before, and aren’t exactly realistically accurate.

Those actions that were once choice no longer are choice, they become habitual or ritual in your life, without the ability to cease them. In the process, you may find yourself wanting to stop, with no avail. Conscious decision is no longer within your hands, and you have Pro Ana communities to thank for your slow walk on death row.

The consistent restriction of nutrition will starve you of the abilities of your brain, causing great difficulty in everyday tasks, and seeing things for what they really are. Reality will no longer be in your grasps.

3. The tips, tricks, advice and exercises are very successful!

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The websites and communities promote tips to lose extra weight and get through fasts in succession, all while reducing hunger tendencies. Many of these tidbits are successful and trick the human body into refusing food, worsening the eating disorder and spiral the obsession with food, weight and control. The continuous practice of these behaviours inevitably lead to all the awful physical symptoms of eating disorders, and the last one, which is death.

4. YOUR life is YOUR business! Privacy above all else!

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A good portion of advice offered within communities are ways to conceal behaviours and preserve the on going nature of the eating disorder. It offers in house tricks to convince loved ones that you are eating food and keeping it down, even if you aren’t. It ruins relationships, trust and will rob you of your life. It distances the ones who care, and alters their mind into believing that you are well, ceasing them from providing you help out of your self-destructive hell.

5. A community will stand by you to lose that extra flab! You will never be alone!

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A flow of constant individuals supporting your weight loss will cloud the negative nature of your eating disorder. The positive reinforcement that is continuous convinces your mind that this is okay, that this is natural, healthy and an intelligent decision. You will be assured by the dozens that you will be happy when you are skinny, but you won’t. Everyone involved in Pro Ana or who has an eating disorder is mentally ill and their perceptions are skewed because of it. Their support and comments are a reflection of their own spiral and loss of control.

But at the end of the day, you will always feel alone with yourself, your laptop, and your spiraling sickness.

6. There are many benefits of extreme weight loss!

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Beauty is pain, right? That is true in the case of anorexia and bulimia. You will be so happy you lost those five extra pounds when you stare yourself back in the mirror, witnessing the clumps of hair falling from your scalp, and transferring as peach fuzz on your otherwise smooth skin. Your teeth will yellow, weaken and rot with the various attempts of rising food from your stomach up into the toilet bowl. You will constantly feel weak, tired and faint on a daily basis, becoming deficient and anemic. You will grow anxious in the confines of your bedroom, begging to leave but also to remain enclosed. Unhappiness and depression will become your closest friend, as you push away any human being that tries to get close. Your friends will insist you leave the house, but you know that safety is within those walls, and that the world only offers fat, your biggest fear. And when you finally choose to recover, eating will be the hardest decision you will have ever made.

In those moments, you will not be grateful for the hell you went through.

7. Comparing yourself to others is a good pastime! 

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The constant bombardment of images of overly thin women from your Pro Ana peers will convince you to compare yourself to any woman who walks by you. The thinner women will be the death of you, and you will perceive thicker women as thinner than you. You will find aesthetic “beauty” in passerbys, measuring yourself up to size, trying to conclude how many more pounds are in your vicinity to lose.

If being out and about isn’t enough, try having the community sharing their inner torment and self-destruction with you constantly. The images will become pornographic to you, bringing you euphoria aside of great shame. Suddenly, each individual struggling with an eating disorder is nothing but a number. Goal weight after goal weight, up to an ultimate goal weight, decorated by the digits that define their height, age and body mass index. Your peers will post images of their dying, decaying bodies, and you will ogle them, defining which aspects are your favourite. You may even advise them to lose more!

8. Being thin and not eating are signs of true willpower and success! You can never be too thin!

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With extreme dieting and overuse of these abundant behaviours will lead to death. Being thin and “beautiful” will be the only thing you lived for, and it will have not been a good life. Death will be ugly, painful and agonizing, and as much as you will wish to the heavens for it to cease, you have been taken control of. You are no longer at the steering wheel, and this car is going full force into a fiery crash!

An eating disorder is a constant battle, day in and day out, with ourselves and our bodies, which we cannot escape. It is life or death, and may not seem worth fighting, but it truly is. At the end of an eating disorder is recovery, happiness, well being and a HELL OF A LOT of good food! You may have spent hours, days or years surfing these websites, trying to find where you fit in the world, when none of that was necessary. You were physically fine, healthy and most likely happy!

But now, as hard as it is, it’s time for recovery. It’s time to delete the heaps of images saved on your phone or on your laptop, delete your search history, delete Pro Ana songs, and kill what’s been eating you!


If you or anyone you know is consulting pro ana blogs or websites, please seek help from a professional or call a help line. Recovery is possible.