Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Studying the Obvious

While I don't profess to be highly experienced in the area of research, as a student in a research-focused specialty for undergrad, a research assistant, and someone just plain interested in new medical developments, I do understand (or thought I did) a couple of things.

1) Research is done in order to discover, uncover, and explain.

2) Funding for research is not the easiest thing to obtain. Granting agencies must be convinced that your study is worth it.

3) Researchers can make many things sound far more important and complex than they are in their efforts to obtain said funding.

That being said, I just don't understand how some of the following studies got funding. I know that part of the newspaper article I read about the first in said something about "knowing, but not having the data." Does that mean I should create a study to see whether the sun really does rise in the east and set in the west? I mean, of course we know it, but do we have data?

Read, ponder, and enjoy.

1) Teenage Boys Really Do Eat A Lot: Study
It turns out that when boys and girls ages 8-17 are study in a "lunch-buffet study", boys tend to eat more calories than girls in each of the age categories. They also eat the most in their mid-teens (coincidentally when they are going through growth spurts). It's too bad that these researchers didn't save their dollars and simply poll a few mothers of teenage boys.

2) e-Ana and e-Mia: A Content Analysis of Pro-Eating Disorder Websites
Apparently "Pro-eating disorder web sites present graphic material to encourage, support, and motivate site users to continue their efforts with anorexia and bulimia." Yes folks, "pro" generally does mean "for *insert whatever here*" and suggest encouragement.

3) Pre-meal Anxiety and Food Intake in Anorexia NervosaThis sharp team determined that anorectics (weight-restored; they mention nothing about mental recovery) with higher anxiety prior to eating tend to eat less than those with lower anxiety. It seems that their anxiety also affects their eating amounts more than it does for healthy controls. Shocking. I guess that could be why it's called an eating disorder and tends to be co-morbid with other anxiety issues...

Okay, shocking news and subtle snarking over for the evening. Data entry must be making me (even more) cynical. :)

NOTE: 2) and 3) were studies found through links posted on Carrie's blog. Thanks Carrie!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Too much or not enough?

I spent the better part of the day today contemplating whether I could work harder and be more productive at my job and do more things outside of my job. Not exclusively though - I was working, etc. while I did this.

The problem is that on a day-to-day, long-term, looking-in-my-daytimer-to-try-to-fit-something-else-in basis, I feel like I'm busy. I feel as though I don't have time to cram four more hours of volunteering into my schedule or work for 2-3 hours a day on volunteering from home.

Alternately, I feel - especially when listening to other people/looking at their schedules - that I am not doing enough. I have time to read (though not nearly as much as I used to and mainly while waiting for things to start or eating a meal or on the bus/in the car (but not when I'm driving)), I have time to blog, I have time to visit my grandparents after church, I have time to nap when I'm dead-tired, etc.

In the same vein, I work when I'm at work. I don't stand around talking - if I am roped into a conversation I attempt to work at the same time and feel guilty/uncomfortable until back doing something that I guarantee I should be getting paid for. I don't take my breaks (at the clinic) or wait until forced (restaurant). Unless I am freaking out in the moments it takes to organize my thoughts enough to figure out what I am doing/what to do next, I am working. BUT. I am not running ragged every second. I can breathe. I sometimes complete more at work than other days. This may be related to the busyness of the day or number of patients/customers, but my immediate conclusion if I don't do as much as I've done other days is that I was/am being lazy.

Basically, my (il)logic refrain of thoughts tends to be along the following lines:
"There are spaces in my schedule, therefore I am not busy and should be doing more."
"I didn't complete as much work today as I hoped/know I am capable of on the slowest days, therefore I am not working hard enough."
"Someone else completed a job that I usually do, therefore I am being lazy and slow and need to hurry up."
And so forth, ad nauseum.

So my logical attempted thought for the day is this:
-Unscheduled time is needed for certain things. I can eat while working/volunteer. I cannot sleep or prepare for things that occur in scheduled hours or do homework while working/volunteering.
-It is not necessary to race around frantically all day trying to do the jobs of three people. That is why I have co-workers.

It feels logical applied to others, but in the ridiculous world of my brain, all I can think is "Yeah, like I believe any of that in relation to my self - now stop wasting time and do something productive!".

Agh. Do any of you feel like this? Until later...

Friday, June 18, 2010


I'm feeling overwhelmed.

Do you remember when you were little - think elementary school - and the days seemed endless and there was so much time during the summer to do everything and anything? I actually got bored because there was "nothing to do."

Right now I feel the complete opposite. There is loads of things that I should be doing. There are piles of papers, etc. that I should be dealing with. There are volunteer commitments that I have to finish. There are work projects that need to be done. There is recovery, which apparently "needs to be a priority" (but sure doesn't feel like it should be). And yet the heavier the workload gets, the more I just want to avoid it (don't get me wrong - I'm dealing with it; I just don't really want to at this point).

Please pause the world. It's going too fast and I'd like to breathe for a moment. :)

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Oh right....this isn't normal...

So. I work at a donut shop/fast food place. I have for 5 years on-and-off (between school, hospitalizations, etc.). The irony of that is another post in itself.

Regardless, I had a small flash of clarity this evening. A co-worker was taking orders from the drive-thru and a customer inquired as to the calories of a bowl of chili. Logically, he went for the nutrition guide and began flipping through it. Impatient person that I am, I went "what are they looking for?" He replied and I immediately spit out the number of calories. Of a food that I haven't eaten in quite some time (no, I'm not scared of it anymore; I just haven't had it in a while).

At the time, I thought nothing of this, but as I sat on my break later, I realized that knowing the caloric content of nearly every food product that the store sells that I might even possibly eat one day is not normal. That is why they have nutrition guides. Because most people are not walking calorie encyclopedias. Most people do not spend their shift tallying their caloric intake for the day when they are bored and have no one near them to talk to. Most people want to go on break with another person, rather than being embarassed to eat with someone less than two feet straight in front of them watching/texting/whatever.

I feel "too well" to have anorexia anymore, but I still fail to recognize the abnormalities in my thought processes/behaviour most of the time. I almost wish I could live in someone else's mind for the day. Someone non-eating-disordered. Just to see what it's like, because it's been so long that I don't truly remember.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Why I'm Jumping On The Bandwagon

I don't tend to dive impulsively into anything, and blogging is no different.
So what are the reasons that someone who worries about the consequences of everything is starting a public blog?
  • Because there is a wonderful, supportive recovery community out there and I want to be a part of it
  • Because I've been reading many, many insightful blogs for a long time and they inspire me
  • Because I'd like to be able to join the discussion and comment properly once in a while
  • Because typing is often faster than writing in a journal
  • Because I need somewhere to not feel so alone
  • Because maybe this will help to motivate me
  • Because sometimes, you need to risk it

Here's to not letting this fall by the wayside as a forgotten project. I hope.