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12/18/2008

Rescue Me


Twilight is the first book in Stephenie Meyer's series and now a popular motion picture.

 

Any thoughts on how this may also relate to night eating syndrome? 

Twilight, a book by Stephenie Meyer, was an extremely popular book and is now also an equally popular film. It's a modern love story with a gothic twist, since the male character is a vampire. But what does any of this have to do with eating disorders? And what can we learn about healthy eating behavior from a family of vampires?

 

Although Edward the vampire is not your typical knight in shining armour, he still ends up rescuing Bella, his damsel in distress.

 

A lot of us have the underlying fantasy of being rescued; taken away from everything that's difficult or unpleasant in life and swept off to a magical land full of only pleasure and comfort. Ahhh.

 

Food can be an escape into that same fantasy land. Except the pleasure and comfort is quickly replaced with pain and agony. And that's when we sometimes look to other people for rescuing, which can lead to unhealthy dependency on them.

 

The other intrigue of this story is how Edward and his family only drink blood from animals. They're "good" vampires, and in the movie Edward jokes that they think of themselves as vegetarians. It's an interesting analogy.

 

Some vegetarians make their choice for health reasons, some for moral reasons and some to express their values. In all cases, they make choices that are perhaps not as "exciting" as other foods or ways of eating, but it suits the life they are trying to create.

 

To the vampires, animal blood is not as exciting human blood, but they make that choice because it's the way they want to live. The vampires want to behave in a certain way – to live in harmony with humans instead of stalking and attacking them. They hold themselves back and control themselves in order to be aligned with their personal values.

 

Restricting foods can be healthy for some people (if the foods, like sugar, cause them problems) and disordered for others (if they restrict too much). People with eating disorders want to have a healthy relationship with food and to eat in a balanced way, without overeating or under-eating. And that's why it's so painful to keep reverting back to unhealthy behaviors.

 

The journey from disordered eating to healthy eating is about change, growth, healing and honest self-reflection. No one can swoop down and rescue you from it. You need to be your own hero.