Disordered Eating for Public Consumption

The past two days I’ve been battling strep and flu-like symptoms, so in between naps and eating chicken noodle soup and toast, I’ve been watching a lot of trash guilty pleasure TV.

And in just these two days, I noticed four — count ’em, FOUR — examples of disordered eating. What’s most interesting to me is in the two Sex and the City examples, I’d watched each episode dozens of times probably and not given two thoughts to the “disordered-ness” of each example … which makes me wonder why I never caught on to this til now … or maybe it was because of the timing — seeing four examples in a two-day window — that made it so abundantly clear that these were all examples of disordered eating.

Exhibit A) Sex and the City
I don’t know which episode it was (I should know, considering how addicted I am to the show!) but Miranda connects with an old high school friend when the girls are in LA for Carrie’s book party or something. Anyway, Miranda is out to dinner at a fancy steakhouse with this guy and, in front of her, he chews and spits his steak into a perfectly folded white linen napkin. She looks at him, incredulous. “Did you just spit your steak out?!” she asks. He nods and shoots her a glance: “You don’t think I look this way from swallowing steak, do you?” he asks. And then he proceeds to chew and spit his steak while she looks on in disbelief and devours her own steak–while viewers are left to assume she enjoys every last bite. What I find most interesting about this is how he does this in public. Never once in all my years of c/s did I do it in public. I was sneaky, stealthy, secretive … did it on the sly; my “little secret.” So the fact that he was sooooo blatant and obvious about it really was the most shocking part to me.
**Why it’s disordered: as I share in this 2008 post (mid-recovery) chewing and spitting is disordered eating.

Exhibit B) Keeping Up with the Kardashians.
In a recent episode Kris and Khloe are out to lunch and they share fries. After discussing how she isn’t hungry anymore and doesn’t know why she keeps eating the fries (emotional eating, for sure), Khloe pours her drink over her sweet potato fries to avoid eating when she is no longer hungry … then proceeds to ask Kris if it’s gross if she still eats the beverage-drenched, cold fries. Ick. In this case, Khloe is going through her separation and divorce from Lamar and clearly upset about it.
**Why it’s disordered: as I discuss in this post from 2010, shrouding/destroying food is not normal.

Exhibit C) #RichKidsofBeverlyHills
OK, so this show is my new favorite, mostly because I love how over-the-top Morgan and Dorothy are. Their lifestyle is something I could only dream of, but I still love the show for what it is: a glimpse into a life I’ll never live but can appreciate. And both girls are freaking hilarious. I’ve got nothing but love for these ladies. However … after watching a couple episodes yesterday I found my way to Morgan’s blog and was surprised to see this post, where Morgan confesses to basically binge eating Chinese food in a PMS-state of mind.

She says, “As I soon realized me eating was going to require a shower and a trip out again, I met eyes with the brown paper bag that was holding the Chinese food we ordered from the night before…..

The Chinese food that was not meant to be saved, The Chinese food that was not held in the fridge over night, The Chinese food that was already meant to be thrown out….is the exact Chinese food I decided to DEVOUR over the kitchen sink. The shame that occurred after this incident was too much to bare. I had to remove the wrappings of fortune cookies in order to make way to the day old chow-mein? and maybe some semi used napkins, but at this point who that was probably the most irrelevant disgusting fact. I will say that every bite was better than the last and I am still in a full blown salt coma…” (Source: BoobsandLoubs.com)

I know when I have binged eat/emotionally eaten it’s usually been a similar experience: a feverish fury, an anxiety-fueled lapse of judgment. Because Chinese food isn’t inherently bad, but devouring day-old, left-out Chinese food isn’t normal, either. And while Morgan admits it isn’t normal or OK I was surprised to see her raw honesty … and also that no one, in the comments section, called her out. Just sharing that they can relate. Anyway, I’m still a big fan and it just goes to show that lots of women battle these demons; most — especially those in the limelight — aren’t brave enough to share their experiences. So thanks, Morgan, for sharing your teachable moment. The guilt you describe is exactly what many of us feel when we binge eat/emotionally eat.

**Why it’s disordered: as I discuss in this 2008 post, binge eating isn’t normal.

Exhibit D) Sex and the City.
In a similar experience to Morgan’s (above), in this particular episode, Miranda throws out a chocolate cake in order to avoid eating it … and then picks it out of the trash, eats a piece, and calls Carrie — recognizing that her behavior is crazy-town — and basically tells her to come stop her before she checks into “Betty Crocker Rehab.”

**Why it’s disordered: it’s emotional eating, shrouding and binge eating all in one.

How about you? Have you seen any examples of disordered eating on TV?

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3 thoughts on “Disordered Eating for Public Consumption

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