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In My Genes

It’s still hard for me to wrap my head around certain facts about anorexia but I have begun understand some of it. The book Decoding Anorexia, (a must read for anyone struggling with this disease) helped me to untangle some of my thoughts and beliefs about it. It states;

“The research is clear: Anorexia nervosa is fundamentally based in biology. Up to 86 percent of your risk for developing anorexia is genetic.”

Eight six percent of a person's risk for anorexia is genetic

The book goes on to explain, “genes generally increase or decrease the risk of developing the disease. This risk is subsequently influenced by the environment in which people live”.

My environment. Is that what was responsible for my struggle with Anorexia?

I grew up in the 70’s and 80’s. Raised by a mom who seemed to be always on a diet and was the queen of the Weight Watchers program, pre-Oprah. She had that point system down solid. The foods we had around the house were what I describe now as “fake food” with no fat, no calories and no taste.

· Tab. Apparently, the best-selling drink of 1982.

· Nonfat milk. Its translucent blueish hue ruining my rice Krispies (sans sugar of course).

· Ice milk. A crunchier, form of ice cream with less taste.

· Peach Melba shakes. Is not a substitute to the creamy deliciousness of McDonalds.

· Bowls of radishes in water. Ok that is a real food but hardly to an 11-year-old.

While other kids had Twinkies and Doritos in their lunch my mom packed Lisa and I one Keebler cookie as our treat, except for Girl Scout Cookie season, then it was TWO thin Mints. Was I on a diet too? Should I be? According what was meant as family joking, yes.

“Hey Sher you look like you are trying to shove ten pounds of potatoes in a five pound sack my Dad would often say then chuckle to himself. (Yes, he did really say that!) A comment I heard many in regards to how I looked in my softball uniform, my dance costume, my Gloria Vanderbilt jeans. Jeez thanks dad, because being a pre-teen girl isn’t hard enough.

As I began my recovery process from anorexia was willing to consider genetics and environment, but I wasn’t going to blame my parents (or radishes). Nope, I was not ready to let myself off the hook so easily.

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