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Living with Latent Anorexia

How a sufferer can control Latent Anorexia, minimize complications, and get support.

Though most are aware of how debilitating and devastating anorexia can be, few are familiar with its most insidious form--Latent Anorexia. I’ve struggled with it my entire life; I hope that sharing this information will help others.

Latent Anorexia is insidious precisely because it is latent--i.e.—there are no overt anorexic symptoms. The typical Latent Anorexic (LA) is overweight. (In my case, I am six feet two and two-hundred-fifteen pounds, and I have known sufferers in excess of three hundred pounds.)

But in an instant, Latent Anorexia can morph into its full blown overt counterpart! Only frequent eating can prevent that. Thus both inter- and intra-meal snacks are utilized to control the disease. An LA’s typical diet might include a big breakfast, a nice size lunch, and a hardy dinner. Potato chips or nuts may be consumed between meals (intermeal-snacks). If necessary, granola bars can be consumed between eating sacks of nuts between meals (inter-nut sack snacks). There also may be pauses between meal courses, such as between soup and salad at dinner time to eat a taco (intra-meal snacks.)

The necessity of constant eating often results in secondary symptoms. Head, neck, shoulder, and back pains frequently occur from the prolonged and frenetic spooning and forking sessions. Carpal tunnel syndrome is common after years of rapidly twisting pasta onto forks. Many a finger has been lost after a sharp steak knife slipped when a frustrated LA could not cut through a tough steak. (Some LA’s have even eaten the finger!) And a lot of concussions have resulted as huge, panicky LA’s jumped up and down beneath coconut trees.

But the eating is necessary because when Latent Anorexia becomes overt weight loss occurs at an alarming rate! In the famous “Disappearing Dora” episode a woman went from a size 18 to a size 2 in four hours. She then turned sideways and was never seen again. This and thousands of other cases like it are well documented, but the North Korean government has steadfastly refused to release the data. Thus we are forced to rely upon anecdotal evidence and personal experience to understand Latent Anorexia and develop treatment options. (There are those who might dispute the Dora incident since Dora is not a common North Korean name. I confess to Americanizing the incident since “Disappearing Soo-kyung” simply isn’t as catchy.)

The important thing to realize is that if you have this disease you are not alone! There are others like you out there. In fact, our First Annual Teleconference Session (FATS) will occur online this fall; the exact time and enrollment details will be announced shortly.

I realize there are those who may take offense at this post. They will claim that there is no such thing as Latent Anorexia, and that making light of something as serious as anorexia is in complete bad taste.

Though I understand such a reaction, I am still compelled to offer this succinct response.
Eat me.

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Copyright © © Lee Goldberg 2011, 2012, 2013. All Rights Reserved. Contact info: leegpoetry@gmail.com

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