adult eating disorder recovery

Ruth Stuart Leach: Adult Eating Disorder Recovery Success After 44 Years


In this episode you will hear how adult eating disorder recovery success is possible no matter how long the sufferer has had an eating disorder. In my conversation with adult sufferer and Eating Disorder advocate Ruth Stuart-Leach. Ruth tells us how began her eating disorder recovery journey as an adult in her 50s and is now enjoying full recovery.

In this podcast we discuss:

  • Eating disordered behaviour in families — we discuss the importance of family eating practices and recognising when the entire family has normalised a disordered eating regime such as fasting.
  • Importance of eating disorder forums and online resources for adults who are going through the recovery process.
  • Recognizing entrenched eating disorder behaviours in oneself and others
  • Men with eating disorders and how they often hide behind societies perception that eating disorders are a disease that affects women only
  • How eating disorders disguise themselves as rational behaviours and societal norms.
  • Letting go of obsessive control over food.
  • The way that the human brain responds to a calorie deficit.

Links to eating disorder recovery resources discussed in the podcast

Ruth’s blog: http://amazonia-love.tumblr.com/
Ruth’s twitter: https://twitter.com/Jandal_It

http://www.youreatopia.com/blog/2012/12/21/food-family-and-fear.html?rq=food%20fear%20family – the first blog post Ruth mentioned – discusses the Hierarchy of Foods in recovery and then post-recovery, and how this morphs without needing to be managed too aggressively
http://www.youreatopia.com/blog/2011/9/17/is-it-too-late-for-me-to-recover-from-restricted-eating-beha.html – older people with ED
http://www.youreatopia.com/blog/2015/6/13/gaining-weight-despite-calorie-restriction – gaining weight in a deficit, and the link to obesity and ED or at least self-imposed starvation/restriction
http://jn.nutrition.org/content/135/6/1347.full – a fantastic summary of the Minnesota Starvation Experiment, including Ancel Key’s observation about micronutrients being less important than calories if recovery and body restoration is to succeed.

You can also find more information on adults with eating disorders at Tabitha’s Website: tabithafarrar.com and follow her on Twitter @Love_Fat_


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About Tabitha Farrar

I work as Head of Marketing for a software startup in Boulder. As a recovered Anorexia sufferer, I advocate for proper understanding of eating disorders in my spare time. On that note, I wrote a book about my own journey into eating again called Love Fat.


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4 thoughts on “Ruth Stuart Leach: Adult Eating Disorder Recovery Success After 44 Years

  • Adult anon

    What a really refreshingly honest and helpful podcast. I felt it hit home on a number of points and I can’t wait to hear the next part. Thank you. Every day is a new day to keep telling myself I can do this. But I am even more encouraged when I hear the thoughts and points made around things like behaviours or bmi that keep me focused and aware of why I need to believe in mysel and my strength. It’s like you are two steps ahead of the things we need to hear, tackle or just absorb.

  • Patsy

    Thank you Tabitha and thank you Ruth. I’m so relieved to hear your great recovery and experience which I identified with all the way. I have just turned 60, but developed anorexia at 15, by the time I was 20 I swung between an/bulimia, drug and alcohol addiction. When I was 31 I got help for my drug and alcolism and have now been sober 26 years. During this time I have over the years had as Ruth described led a restrictive eating disorder life. It has been full. with two boys 15 and 18 and I am still happily married now for 21 years. 4 years ago a series of life events triggered a massive slide back into exercise addiction/anorexia. This resulted in several hospital admissions and was told I was too old to have an eating disorder I was finally referal to an Ed clinic. I found the clinic very weight and bmi focused and ddn’t feel confident in their approach, although they were supportive and I appreciated that.
    I too found great encouragement through youretopia and also Emily Troskianko from Psychology Today. At the moment I am following a plan which I have worked out with a friend, a person who has full recovery from Ed for 12 years. I was very relieved to hear Ruth describe the swelling and disability from weight gain which has prevented her from exercising and employing her old behaviour. I have been plagued by severe swelling of my legs and what appears to me to be excessive weight gain which I find very depressing and frightening. I’ve had days where I’ve returned to restricting and then gone back to the plan. The swelling then becomes worse. I even tried to go back and run, justifying the benefit gained from being fit. This is comple bull of course. Now having developed oesteoporosis, I have what seems to be some srtress fractures, however, this has forced me to rest which is a good thing. I’m very grateful and encouraged by hearing people like you sharing such positive and what I think is a very good plan to get well. I can’t wait to hear next weeks podcast. Patsy

    • Anonymous

      Reading Patsy’s reply made me focus yet again, another week in, on the way this is a plan for life. i too have been encouraged and motivated hugely by Emily Troscianko, youreatopia and of course, your book, Tabitha. I even went back to rereading it a couple of weeks ago and recommended it to a friend as I couldn’t part with it. she has now bought it too. But Patsy’s words encourage me to stick to trying to increase and trying (but always doing) to take the advice of my very patient husband. somewhere along this bumpy path, the shift from conscious incompetence to conscious competence is becoming stickier and harder to wade through, like mud i describe it.
      i will endeavour to read, digest and try to take motivation from your blogs, podcasts, workbook and fellow readers.
      thanks