Calorie Restriction or Pro Anorexia?

What do you think of when you look at this couple?

Do they appear healthy to you?

Or do they look like death warmed over?

Meredith Averill and Paul McGlothin are members of The Calorie Restriction Society, a group that believes in severely restricting calories to maintain an anorexic like body weight, in an effort to prolong their life.

And it’s working.

Members of the CR Society have lowered their blood pressure, reduced
body fat, and lessened risk factors for heart disease, diabetes and
even cancer according to CBS 60 Minutes.

The positive health results are so impressive, Washington University is studying the results…moving this group out of the crackpot category.

So, what is the difference between Calorie Restriction and Pro- Anorexia?

These people are starving themselves for health- not death.

They are interested in living longer – not looking better.

Here’s the twist;

Dylan, the moderator at Live Journal Pro Anorexia, is a well known proponent of CR. He has been living the lifestyle for decades, and at 58 years old with a BMI of 16.5 is determined (and I mean determined) to teach the CR philosophy to the pro anorexics who come to him for advice.

Recently, he decided to start charging for his Internet counseling services, which did not sit well with some who are determined to shut him down.

Dylan’s point of view is “they are going to starve themselves anyway, so I am teaching them to do it in a healthy way.”

And the ProAna’s keep-a-comin his way – making LJPA “The World’s Largest Pro Anorexia” web site;

  • 30k+ members
  • 2M+ posts
  • And a waiting line to get in

Ahhh….. this was a hard post to do. I pondered, questioned, and stressed on how to approach this topic, because I sure as hell don’t want to add fuel to the Pro Ana’s fire or plant seeds in eating disordered girls heads to start a CR diet.

However, we can’t run away from reality. These lifestyles exist, the information is all over the web, and its important to face it, discuss it, and process it.

Looking forward to your take on this,


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49 Responses to Calorie Restriction or Pro Anorexia?

  1. Michelle says:

    This is all very interesting..
    See, I feel like CR is ‘healthy’ but only if you know what you are doing.
    I eat a little bit more than what I burn off regularly. That is healthy. You eat what your body needs, then eat a little more to be sure it gets enough. Because, as a college student, who knows when your friends are going to call you up to go dancing. I’m sure as hell not going to pass that up because I didn’t eat enough to sustain me.
    I feel as if these people are doing just that. I wonder if their lives are very active at all?
    I’m sure the BMI scale is way out of date.. there was a guy on the Discovery Health channel with a BMI that would make him obese, but he was swimming the English Channel every other year. So, it’s not like he wasn’t healthy, his body just produced that much muscle.
    So, this guy who has a 16 BMI, he may be technically healthy, he just doesn’t need to have a ‘high BMI’ in order to sustain himself because he isn’t active.
    Now, if the people of this alleged CR group were riding mountain bikes, surfing, and exercising like crazy, I think that would put them in the anorexic level because I don’t think there is much of a way to be that tall and weigh that little and be at your top health… you know what I mean?
    Our bodies need calories, nutrients, and vitamins to survive. If we eat just enough to sustain us, that will greatly reduce the body fat and what not. If we eat too much, we gain body fat, therefore we have to exercise to allow that extra to burn off. If we don’t eat enough, yet are still exercising, our bodies will continuously shut down because there just isn’t enough.
    So, I guess my huge question is..
    How active are these people?? Do they just sit around all day and really not NEED to eat anything?

  2. I think they look healthy. I saw a spot on the Today show today about how eating less than 1000 calories a day results in better health, and it’s an interesting concept.
    I believe that although anorexia is an eating disorder, it is not JUST an eating disorder. It is a psychological disorder. Eating 1000 or even 800 calories a day because you think it is healthier for your body is not a psychological disorder. It might be wrong since I don’t believe it’s been proven, but it’s not an ED.
    My cardiologist wants me to keep losing weight. He is extremely thin. Last time I was there my BMI was 22 and he wants it to be 20. 22 is supposedly “normal”, but I guess 20 is healthier.
    I personally think the BMI is a ridiculous measure of health or proper weight. Why hasn’t anyone come up with anything better?
    And eating 800 calories a day makes it darn hard to do much physical exercise, at least for me.

  3. FreeEternally says:

    Bringing up the CR society is probably not encouraging or planting new ideas in anyone’s mind. It is a really easy thing to come across and a lot of people have heard of it.
    From what I understand in the CR diet they emphasize nutrient heavy while calorie light foods (spinach being the first thing I can remember from it). So since they are getting all their nutrients they actually are pretty health and relativly active…they do say that there are lots of reasons somone shouldn’t start the diet. I think some of the concepts behind the diet are good…such as eating a balenced diet and making sure to get enough nutrients and making sure the doctor helps regulate everything to ensure that your body is healthy.

  4. Anne says:

    I have never equated body shape with health. To me you can be too thin and still look healthy (pro-ana’s do this every day… personal grooming can hide anything from dry translucent skin to lack luster hair very easily by using the appropriate make ups and lotions)
    So yeah… they don’t look like they are on death’s bed. But personally I don’t think they look great either. Once you get older… being over/underweight LOOKS a lot worse… a young girl who is thin will still appear vibrant and firm (to a point) and if she is overweight she will carry the extra weight pretty evenly and have a fairly large amount of muscle mass.
    The thing is I used to come across CR pages all the time when I was in the lowest part of my disordered eating habits… to me it’s all the same WHICH GOES TO SHOW THAT ANOREXIA IS MORE THAN VANITY!!!!! I know you concern yourself with girls who appear vain, but trust me they are likely suffering on so many more levels. It’s about deprivation and obsession and (ugh i hate this cliche) control. The act of restricting calories provides an emotional reward, which can be different for each person. Some feel accomplished, superior, in control, proud, etc. This is why people keep doing it. Also, I think it may be a defense mechanism to keep others (non restricters) away.
    Don’t get me wrong, I think the U.S. as a whole jumps down the throats of thin people because it’s the minority. For example, you get all up in arms when you see people whose BMI is 1 or 2 points below healthy but if its 1 or 2 points above you start rationalizing everything possible (oh they are still healthy, still have good cholesterol, no diabetes, they dont look that bad, bla bla bla).
    To me disordered eating issues need to start internally. Call it what you want, if you feel the need to severely restrict what you eat I think you have issues (which is why I sit in therapy every week in an attempt to minimize such issues).

  5. aileb says:

    Anorexia, CR, and the LJ Pro-anorexia community are all completly different things.
    CR is about resticting and eating HEALTHY food in limited quantities.
    To me, as an anorexic, food isn’t about taste or nutrients. It’s about eating the least amount or no food to keep from losing that numbing feeling.
    As far as the LJ community, How long ago was this info form?
    Dylan is no longer the moderator. Their are 2 new moderators that do not allow members to mention him or they will automaticly be banned.
    The majority of the members do not know why he is no longer the moderator. He just said that there was an increase of spam behind the scenes and then he was not heard of again.

  6. Anonymous says:

    They could be healthy now, but not likely in the future. Its too extreme. They walk a fine line that opens the way for other people (and themselves) to misinterpret what they’re doing.

  7. Christine says:

    I first heard about these people a few years ago. Does it seem like everything in our society is about extremes and nothing is moderation?
    My 7-year-old son looked at himself in the mirror after his bath last night and pronounced himself fat. He is proportionally the same he has always been. He’s not a skinny kid, but he’s not fat. He’s in-between. Normal.
    I let the kids have soda today from a drive-through place. There was discussion about the lid buttons being popped in and what they meant. My 4-year-old asked me what diet meant. I told her it meant things had less sugar or fat in it than regular. But mommy, she said, fat is good. It keeps you warm.
    I want to protect my kids from this world. I do.
    But I don’t know how I can.

  8. kasey_anne says:

    I don’t like the way you continually demean and insult the members of Live Journal ProAnorexia. ProAnorexia is an extremely important site for a lot of people. It’s a place where we can talk to people who are going through the same things and feel safe and not judged. So perhaps you should respect us a little more and try not to be so nasty in your next post about us.

  9. Jen says:

    I am seriously…just baffled. This will propagate justification for starvation and eating disorders…I didn’t look through the CR website, but have they included any studies that show if they’ve lost muscle mass? Brain mass? Developed ketosis? Lanugo?
    I too wonder how active they are. A woman with my activity level and age, I need more than 1000 calories to function well. They showed pictures of elderly people, who in general don’t need as many calories as someone in their 20s or 30s..hell, maybe even 50s.
    My flippin’ grandma lived to be 90 and all ate was southern cooking and reese’s cups, yet she grew up around smokers, outlived two husbands and several siblings.
    I just can’t help but be disappointed that they’re promoting calorie numbers, not eating healthy foods and staying active. Every body is different with different needs, I don’t see the justification in saying that eating 1000 calories per day is good for everyone.

  10. Mollie says:

    I just…don’t understand. I don’t understand I don’t understand I don’t understand. Doesn’t living a life of caloric restriction, whether under the title of Anorexia or under the CR title, still creates a lifestyle that’s centered around the obsession of food, food portions and the body? And what, pray tell, is the point of that? I can’t imagine that anyone surviving on 1,000 calories a day is in the kind of physical condition that will allow them to easily keep up with their children, or play an impromptu game of tennis, or shovel snow out of their driveway, or even wait in line at the DMV for an extended period of time. For me I know my life would be severely lacking without that kind of energy and yes, muscle.
    What is the point of having excellent blood pressure and wildly low BMI if I can’t take the stairs when the elevator is broken?
    This just makes me very, very sad. And of course young ED women will jump on the bandwagon now that it’s justified. What’s next – will the CR folks issue a statement that in fact bulimia is an effective way of maintaining the CR caloric intake when you’ve “strayed”? I’m sorry, I know I’m totally uneducated and unresearched here, I just feel terribly passionate about this. I know when I was in the heart of my bulimia I would’ve seized any justification for my behaviors and have run my body into the ground with it. I understand adults choosing to live this way, but it feels very uncomfortable to me to read about evangelical diets like this – their attempts to recruit and convert aren’t unlike cults with the same agenda, that can also lead towards insanity and death. I know I’m overboard here, but it’s just frightening to me.
    And now, just because I can, I’m going to have blueberry pancakes for breakfast. Which likely constitute the caloric intake for about 2 days for a CR person. Hah!

  11. pageantL says:

    I think this may be a type of hope for the hopeless anorectics.

  12. Paul says:

    The couple on the pic doesn’t look healthy at all. But IMHO what is more important – if they are healthy, nor if they look like healthy people. I like what Jen posted above – there is no proof those people are healthy. Some results of CR diet can be hidden and show up with time. There is no way to know, until it’s too late. I checked some info on their site, and found some info regarding to mouse lifespan. I’m sorry to say but I’m not a mouse, and I don’t want to be as a matter of fact.

  13. KO says:

    The mind is a very powerful thing

  14. sarah-j says:

    I just wanna say that recovery is an empowering and unbelievably worthwhile thing to do. As a recovered ED sufferer, the notion that this kind of diet is actually more healthy seems so laughable.
    Mollie: I hope your pancakes were awesome. I’m just going to go eat a snack.
    yay for food.

  15. Anonymous says:

    This cannot be the only solution to the problems listed above.

  16. smudgeruk says:

    What do I think when I look at the picture of the couple?
    Eating disorder. Especially her.
    I’d be interested to see how CR fits in with getting pregnant and having a baby. Just thought I’d raise that, as we seem to be mostly women on here. Surely, surely they can’t endorse restriction like that when pregnant?

  17. jody says:

    I’m sure if they were actually able to get pregnant they would reccommend you eat 1300 calories, since 300 calories is the extent of what your baby needs extra. However that is coming from someone who is supposed to be already consuming a 2000 calorie diet so who knows. I’m pregnant with an ed and it is a huge struggle to have to add more then the 300 calories a day to make sure that i am meeting the nutritional needs for me and my baby.
    At the height of my eating disorder i would have seen something like this and convinced myself that i was right on track… nevermind that after a while it would be hmm1000 is good so 800 must be better, oh wait lets try this or that. It’s horrible for me to see people restricting their calories like it’s the next best health craze… It scares me.

  18. Mollie says:

    Just for the record, my pancakes were awesome, thanks Sarah!

  19. SmudgerUK says:

    “nevermind that after a while it would be hmm1000 is good so 800 must be better,”
    Yup, that’s what I was thinking too….

  20. mamaV says:

    Hey Michelle: They showed this couple dancing and walking…so they are active.

  21. Matthew says:

    Calorie Restriciton is well studies in animal models and extends maximum lifespan to equivalent of 180 human years in rodents. In Rhesus monkeys the results are also showing up that they will live longer on CR.
    The people who you see in the video, paul and meredith are in very good health at 60 and 62 years of age. They have been on CR for 14 years. Both of them are actually within the normal BMI (low normal). They are being studied at WUSTL and have very specific tests to look at their health. People who are on CR have practically zero risk of heart disease, stroke or diabetes. Elimination of autoimmune problems, asthma, allergies, better memory, better sleep, better skin, look years younger, btter immune system, less ris of neurological disorders, less risk of cancer. Hearts of people on CR have been found to function like someone 15-20 years younger than their chornological age. The list goes of benefits go on and on.
    Now lets be totally clear. CALORIE RESTRICTION WITH OPTIMAL NUTRITION. This means highly nutrient dense foods, some include upto 5 lbs of vegetables and fruits per day, lean meats, nuts, healthy fats and fish. Some supplement with vitamins and minerals. This is not a starvation diet in any sense. Those that are not taking care of nutrition are NOT doing CR. They’re doing malnutrition.
    I have uploaded plenty of videos here to my youtube account on CR, and I hope you take the time to look at some of them
    I have personally been on CR for 6 years now and feel great. I started at age 18, and am now 24. You can see my blog below on my user link. I eat around 1700k/cal per day, I cured my severe allergies, i rarely get sick. I look 6-8 years younger than my age. I rarely get headaches, and my memory improved a lot. But the blood work and medical tests are even more impressive. I have amazing glucose levels, amazing cholesterol profile, blood pressure equivalent to healthy 10 year old… All my results show health, not disease.
    CR works in so many animals, humans are probably no different. In fact, humans are responding to CR just as animals who had their lifespan extended did. We are in extremely good health. CR works in mice, rats, dogs, rabbits, spiders, worms, yeast, cows, monkeys, rottifers, fish among others… and probably humans.
    You’re welcome to check out my blog anytime. Just please, if you have any questions ask the people doing CR. It isn’t like they’re on another planet… People who do CR are vital, happy, young looking, active, healthy and love life.
    People think that a lower weight looks unhealthy simply because society is so used to obesity that being on the lean side looks abnormal. It’s peoples distorted perception of what is normal that is the problem. Paul and meredith look great for being in their 60’s.

  22. Matthew says:

    not sure if my other message went through, but heres my blog link i think I forgot.

  23. smudgeruk says:

    “People think that a lower weight looks unhealthy simply because society is so used to obesity that being on the lean side looks abnormal.”
    Matthew, that’s bullshit.

  24. smudgeruk says:

    “CR works in so many animals, humans are probably no different. In fact, humans are responding to CR just as animals who had their lifespan extended did. We are in extremely good health. CR works in mice, rats, dogs, rabbits, spiders, worms, yeast, cows, monkeys, rottifers, fish among others… and probably humans.”
    You use the word “probably” twice in that passage. Not good enough for me. Just sounds like another crank diet to me, just MHO.

  25. Matthew says:

    Parents ‘don’t recognise obesity’
    Perceptions of obesity are changing
    I used the word probably because it’s not certain in humans yet. There is evidence that it can cut mortality and reduce illness though. How is it a ‘crank diet’. Have you followed the research for 75 years? Have you read the thousands of studies on CR and life span?

  26. Matthew says:

    Calorie restriction reduces risk of heart attack, stroke and diabetes in humans.
    Calorie restriction appears better than exercise at slowing primary aging in humans
    CR prevents primary aging in the heart in humans (hearts 15 years younger)

  27. smudgeruk says:

    I disagree that society is so used to obesity to the point it doesn’t “see” it anymore.
    If that were the case, why are so many millions of people (men and women) so torn apart by their weight, by their desire to be thinner, that they prop up a multi-billion dollar market of supplements, dieting aids, books, DVDs, because “thin is in”? Even if they are a perfectly healthy weight to begin with?
    If obesity was truly the new “normal”, don’t you think magazines would reflect that? No, they don’t. Instead we get lollipop-head girls and waifs rammed down our throats, held up as desirable role models.
    The CR Society’s own website itself says that people under 21 are advised against trying this, as are women who want to get pregnant (you’ve got to wait until you’ve had your baby and weaned it). That, to me, flags this practice up as being totally unnatural.
    And after reading this page –
    – sorry, can someone remind me what the benefits of this are again?
    One of the “side-effects” flagged up is the following:
    “Hunger (both psychological and physical effects), cravings, or food obsession — thoughts about food sometimes increase while practicing CR. For some, this may interfere with other aspects of their life.”
    Sounds freakily close to ED territory there. And I don’t need to go into why loss of muscle and bone density is NOT A GOOD THING. Many women of “normal” weight find they lose bone density as they grow older. Living to 95 – but needing two hip replacements when I trip and fall? No thanks.
    End of the day, Matthew, you’re posting this stuff on a site visited by many, many people with disordered eating. Many are recovering, many are not. So don’t expect the warmest reception to your ideas here.
    I just hope and pray that no-one reads this and thinks, “Hey! A ‘legit’ way of getting myself down to that desirable size 0 dress size! And no-one can condemn or judge me because there’s 75 years of research into this! Woo!”
    C’mon guys, am I on my own here?!?

  28. Matthew says:

    Well leave CRON alone then, it has nothing to do with disordered eating. And by the way, I am rarely ever hungry on CR, I eat more food and variety of food than I did on a normal diet.
    Also CR actually maintains bone quality with age, and muscle mass/function to support yourself. So are less likely to break a hip.
    CR is natural because it’s an evolutionary conserved way to prolong the lifespan of animals so they can reproduce when food is more abundant. Reproduction does shut down in ‘extreme cr’ yes, but on refeeding the animals on CR are having babies when all the ad lib mice are dead. This would be a like a human giving birth at 80-100 years of age… We don’t expect anywhere near this kind of effect in humans. BUt it shows the shift from reproduction to repair and maintanace of the organism.
    I came across this because it was under google blog listing “calorie restriction”. It’s unfair to comment on CR and the individuals doing it because you simply do not know us.
    We want a very long and healthy life, not to starve ourself and die. Anorexia leads to death, no one claims it extends lifespan, even in lab mice. CR with good nutrition and if done carefuly and slowly does extend lifespan.
    Anyway thats all from me on the subject. You’re entitled to your own opinion but please do some research before making fals statements.
    take care

  29. smudgeruk says:

    Matthew-“CR actually maintains bone quality with age, and muscle mass/function to support yourself.”
    Matthew-“please do some research before making fals statements.”
    Hey, I took the basis for my comments on bone quality and muscle wastage off THE CR SOCIETY’S OWN SITE!!!
    Matthew-“It’s unfair to comment on CR and the individuals doing it because you simply do not know us.”
    Last time I heard, there was still freedom in this world to question or comment upon matters of interest, on a blog or anywhere else…
    I’m sorry, you say it’s natural, but the couple on that photo look way, way too thin. They look, to be frank, and no disrepect to them as people, but they look haggard, they really do.
    And I still call “crank diet”. Sorry, but I remain unconvinced.

  30. LaurenZane says:

    Agreed, Smudge.
    Crank yank.

  31. Tom says:

    it is, in fact, complete and utter bullshit. find any licensed physician or nutritionist, or, hell, anyone who’s ever had to take a test regarding the physiology of metabolism and ask them. You have mountains of evidence (based on humans, not monkeys) for higher calories, and zero human-based evidence for this 1000 fad. Also, note that consuming that few calories compromises your ability to reason (also well documented among humans).
    And, if you’re curious, here’s an excerpt from Mao: The Untold Story regarding famine in China:
    “This famine, which was nationwide, started in 1958 and lasted through 1961, peaking in 1960. That year, the regime’s own statistics recorded average daily calorie intake fell to 1534.8. According to a major apologist for the regime, Han Suyin, urban housewives were getting a maximum 1200 calories a day in 1960. At Auschwitz, slave-laborers got between 1300 and 1700 calories per day. They were worked about eleven hours a day, and most who did not find extra food died within several months.”
    doctor and epidemiologist

  32. LOLfitness says:

    CR is idiotic, you may live longer but you’re living worse. A diet like that will eat all your muscle, and I for one don’t want to live like a weakling :)

  33. Matthew says:

    No we’re living better and healthier. Calorie Restriction preserves muscle mass and bone mass (including bone quality) with age.
    Okinawans have the highest life expectancy in the world, and the most centenarians in the world per 100,000 people. They were naturally calorie restricted for half their adult life. They have the lowest rates of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, stroke and other diseases in the world. 98% of their life is disease free. Many reach 90+ years of age and are still active.
    I’ve already supplied references from ‘human’ studies on people who have done CR for 6 + years and some as much as 10-20 years without any negative effects. They show extremely low disease risk profiles, they look much younger than their age and they’re living active lives, and are happy.
    See video on okinawans (comes in a few parts).
    Its not a fad, it’s scientifically proven to extend maximum lifespan of all species ever tested on. Thousands of experiments.
    As i said, CR must be done with an adundance of mironutrients and protein. Not starvation with lack of nutrients.
    CR reduces age related muscle loss and preserves its function. It’s like having the muscle function of a 30 year old at 90 years of age.
    Heres one of our CR members at 65 years of age
    Hes been doing CR for a few years.
    Why comment on something you know nothing about? I’ve been researching this topic for 6 years now, scientists have known about the anti aging effect of CR for 75 years. I bet you didn’t even read the references I gave you about the benefits found in HUMANS on long term CR.

  34. Matthew says:

    Heres an older study
    Summary Restricting caloric intake to 60–70% of normal adult weight maintenance requirement prolongs lifespan
    30–50% and confers near perfect health across a broad range of species. Every other day feeding produces similar
    effects in rodents, and profound beneficial physiologic changes have been demonstrated in the absence of weight loss
    in ob/ob mice. Since May 2003 we have experimented with alternate day calorie restriction, one day consuming 20–
    50% of estimated daily caloric requirement and the next day ad lib eating, and have observed health benefits starting in
    as little as two weeks, in insulin resistance, asthma, seasonal allergies, infectious diseases of viral, bacterial and fungal
    origin (viral URI, recurrent bacterial tonsillitis, chronic sinusitis, periodontal disease), autoimmune disorder
    (rheumatoid arthritis), osteoarthritis, symptoms due to CNS inflammatory lesions (Tourette’s, Meniere’s) cardiac
    arrhythmias (PVCs, atrial fibrillation), menopause related hot flashes. We hypothesize that other many conditions
    would be delayed, prevented or improved, including Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis, brain injury due to
    thrombotic stroke atherosclerosis, NIDDM, congestive heart failure.
    the subjects were eating, on alternate
    days, either 900 calories or 2300 calories, averaging 1600, and that body weight was maintained. Thus they consumed
    either 56% or 144% of daily caloric requirement. The subjects were in a residence for old people, and all were in perfect
    health and over 65. Over three years, there were 6 deaths among 60 study subjects and 13 deaths among 60 ad lib-fed
    controls, non-significant difference. Study subjects were in hospital 123 days, controls 219, highly significant difference

  35. Robin says:

    I dont understand how you can get enough protein and healthy fats in a 1000 or less calorie a day diet. I say this as a newly recovering anorexic who started on a diet a year ago that quickly deteriorated into an eating disorder. I did not restrict as much as other anorexics. At my sickest my restriction was about 700 to 800 calories a day, but mostly I stayed closer to 1000 calories a day but with an insane amount of working out. I ate mostly fresh vegetables (especially leafy dark green ones and raw) and fruits, whole grains (never processed breads or packaged foods), a few raw almonds and raw seeds, nonfat organic goat yogurt, some very lean meat (tuna and stripped down to the core with no skin or bones versions of fresh fish and chicken), plant sources of protein like beans and coconut. I measured every calorie, every gram of fat, sodium, sugar, etc. I found it near impossible to get the required amount of protein humans need to function normally with a diet of less than 1000 calories. I also found it impossible to get the required amount of healthy fats needed with this amount of calories (although in my disordered mind all fat was bad anyway). After all, fat, even healthy fat such as extra virgin cold pressed olive oil or raw nuts, is higher in caloric value. My fat intake was less than 6 grams per day near the end.
    I lost over 37 lbs, became emaciated, my bmi was at 15.1, and I developed heart arrythmias and bradycardia. I also have severe osteoporosis (my ED began as a teenager over twenty years ago but I had a long period of normalcy until last year). Even on the amount of calories I was consuming I was able to do intense exercise and work full time when most people would collapse, but I was not healthy and did not feel good at all. Insomnia, lanugo, an impaired metabolism, body temperature disturbances, fatigue, weakness, dizziness and fainting, heart palps, depression, the list goes on. My diet was not much different than the CR diet, granted my rituals, obsessions, exercise regiman, purging, laxative abuse, psycological problems, etc contributed to some of my issues.
    I also was a member of the Proanorexia website and I saw many of Dylans posts to young girls regarding the CR diet. Personally I think he should be in jail and that some of his activity was criminal. EDs are complex disorders that involve far more than diet and if an eating disordered person could follow the CR or any other diet prescribed or advised to him/her on the internet he/she wouldnt have an ED in the first place. Trying to play psycologist and nutritionist over the internet to a sick vulnerable person you cant see and know next to nothing about is dangerous and irresponsible. You have no idea what kind of medical complications this person might have and how this seemingly harmless advice will affect them. Even if you have had an ED yourself and personal experience, everyone is different and there are many many factors to consider. CR and healthy restricting just adds fuel to a raging fire within an eating disordered person.
    By the way, my great grandma lived to be 105. She never dieted or restricted or ate only certain foods. She enjoyed processed cheese and meatloaf and spam. She lived on her own until she was 99. She had a sharp mind and body and never broke a bone and she had plenty of energy well into her nineties. We forget that genetics play a role in health and lifespan as well as climate, environment, psycological makeup, etc. Because one group of people live longer than most may have little to do with one factor such as diet but more to do with a complex set of factors. That the CR diet is advertised on eating disorder websites also says something about it. In my recovery it is important for me to legalize all food in order to accept that food is just that, food. Not a miracle or an evil…

    • MimiR says:

      No CR person is eating 1000 calories a day. One elderly, extremely sedentary, short woman is consuming around 1200–which keeps her at a low-healthy weight. Most people on long term CR are eating 1800-2200 cal/day (men) or 1400-1900 cal/day (women). I don’t know where this invented “1000 calories” came from, but it’s made up.

      There is a wealth of scientific evidence than CR extends the lifespan of numerous species. Most likely, the effects in humans would be quite modest because its effect seems to get smaller as body size gets larger. In addition, humans walking around have different causes of death than laboratory animal models. Wound healing becomes more important. Osteoporosis isn’t something that mice ever worry about. With too low body weight–even with good nutrition–there’s good reason to believe that the immune system eventually becomes less effective.

      For that reason, staying slim but not TOO slim while “faking” the body into thinking that it’s getting fewer calories than it is seems to be the most promising avenue. Short intervals of high restriction (a “fast” but still with some calories) might be as helpful as true CR in humans without any of the negative effects–physical or psychological.

      I agree that there’s a good amount of crackpottery in CR circles. There are people who welcome bone-thinning because it shows their IGF-1 levels are low. There are a few idiots who think that losing menstrual cycles are A-OK. The truth is, though, that a lot of the people who consider themselves to be CR-ers aren’t actually restricting at all (we’re talking stable BMIs above 20, 21, and above! that’s low-middle traditional “healthy” weight), and there are almost no women in the group at all and almost all of them are older (so except for one woman who flirted with CR before dropping out, no one lost her menstrual cycle).

      The most commonly cited “CR” calorie intake for women–1600 calories–is only 200 calories below that which I became overweight on while headed swiftly toward obesity. (I would have topped out at just over 200lbs there.) In fact, to maintain a trim normal weight at my old activity level, 1600 calories would be about right.

      CR materials have been instructive and amusing to me in equal doses. The software that they’ve produced has been VERY helpful for me in checking out my own diet across weeks, enabling me to find out what I tend to be below the RDA on and what I’m eating tons of. However, the idea that most of them are doing something unique, special, and medically privileged is unfounded–and quite frankly, the obsession over what to eat and what to avoid is wearing. The idea that they have some kind of special relationship with hunger is particularly baffling to me seeing as most of them don’t eat particularly little for their activity levels and that many are no where near underweight. But given the atheistic Buddhist pseudo-spiritual slant, it’s not exactly surprising that they like the trappings of asceticism even if the reality falls far short.

      That said…those who are less active look like shit in their old age. Despite the fact that their less-dense bone isn’t of poorer quality than that of heavier people, it is LESS DENSE, and the “poster children” of The CR Way, Paul and Meredith, both have hideous dowager’s humps going on, and they look old and wasted rather than younger, as CR animals usually do. (Low circulating IGF-1 does nasty things to people, my friends.) My parents, who are around the same age, look a ton better.

  36. K says:

    I think Dylan is one of the dumbest, most idiotic people in the world. If I ever ran into him, punching him the face would probably give me more satisfaction than…other things.
    Anyways, I’ve always hated the shit he’s promoted because its not healthy at all. Starving yourself ≠ healthy lifestyle.

  37. mamavision says:

    Hi Kasey Anne: I’m an old timer. I’ve been doing this gig for almost three years and you should know by now that if I intended to offend you it would not be so subtle.
    LJPA may be a loving, caring place for YOU to interact with others suffering the same illness. But this does not mean all members are seeking or have the same experience there. I’ve debated this topic too many times to count. One look at the site shows there are some very sick young women there that are going to sink deeper by their interactions, tips and tricks provided by their loving cyberfriends
    Bottomline: if you have an ED, the worst place for you to hang is with a bunch of other ED suffers in cyberspace. You all perpetuate each others illness, and delay treatment.
    I compare this to an alcoholic going down to the corner tap to get some advice on how to stay sober from a bunch of drunks at the bar.
    Not he best idea my friend.

  38. mamavision says:

    Hey smudgruk: Check out the blogroll on Matthews site:
    Even if these individuals go into CR with purely health intentions, it seems they slip off that path.
    You’ll find many on the blogroll using CR as nothing more than another fad diet.

  39. mamavision says:

    Hi K: If you are going to rip the guy, please articulate your point.
    Telling us you want to punch him in the face is kind of high school don’t you think?
    So what is behind your viewpoint?

  40. Heather says:

    Well reading this is just making me feel bad for attempting to maintain a normal diet. I mean i’m doing my best to recover from an eating disorder, and now reading something thats telling me a ‘normal’ diet will make me die younger?
    By advertising this i feel they are trying to pressurise people into yet another diet, don’t they realise there is more to life than dieting.
    ‘Would you like to live an extraordinarily long and healthy life – perhaps start a different career at age 70’ No i wouldn’t like to, i think its a ridiculous idea, we get old and die for a reason, i don’t see the point of blocking off the pleasure of eating to live an ‘extraordinarily long’ life. Quality, not quantity.
    I think this obsession with food is just wrong, and they should be focusing on living their lives insted of controlling how long it will last. I mean sure it’d be bad if they did get ill but there are other ways to prevent it.
    It just annoys me, its the same sick obsession with food and even if its not ‘anorexia’ i’d like to question why they care THIS much? And is it some other problem?
    Plus when do they stop loosing weight? If they are saying there is nothing wrong with being immaciated, whats to say people won’t get carried away and fall into anorexia?
    Ah this diet has really annoyed me, have they thought how anorexics may feel reading this?

  41. Rebecca says:

    My name is Rebecca Lock. I’m a producer in Washington, DC and a currently working on a documentary series for Discovery Health about expectant women whose pregnancies are exacerbated by a difficult circumstance in their lives. In one episode, we’d like to feature a woman who is pregnant and struggling with an eating disorder. I am hoping you may have someone in mind who would qualify. Ideally, the woman will be between 5 and 8 months pregnant. The women featured will receive $1,500 for their participation. If you know of anyone who may be interested, I’d love to speak with her!
    Thanks so much!
    Rebecca Lock
    Producer, Sirens Media

  42. GEMMA says:

    Why are you adding to his ego? He’s harming and charging people for his shit services! I wish he’d die already.

  43. hannahbeth says:

    eww no. encouraging anorexics that they are being healthy is enough to make them keep going further into the disease. otherwise they are more grasp the truth that what they are doing-starving-IS abnormal which makes it easier for them to recover.
    dylan is a perve anyway, fer sure.

  44. Chiaroscuro says:

    Nothing wrong with CR. As a practitioner I can say I have more energy and get sick much less if at all (I only had one bout of flu since I started). By judging the CR practitioners on their appearance rather than health you’re doing much the same thing that have helped pressure young girls into becoming anorexic. The statements above by a doctor do no credit to the medical profession – periods of famine also mean decreased nutrition for a given population because of lack of adequate food sources and thus proves NOTHING about CR, duh! Of course decreased nutrition would have a detrimental effect! CR is about maximizing your nutrition calorie for calorie at the minimum -required- for your body’s “set point”, not starving yourself. I’m a point below the minimum recommended BMI for my height and do not feel deprived or starve myself at all. It is in fact recommended to raise intake slightly if your activities mean you will require more.
    The CR society heavily discourages people to use the lifestyle as a fad diet or means to lose weight. FYI my grandfather was as thin as Paul, lifted weights until he was in his late 70s and lived to the ripe old age of 92, doing much better by watching his diet and exercise than the overweight senior members on my family tree. Being extremely skinny does not mean being unhealthy.

  45. Eve Reid says:

    i have been suffering from sinusitis for so many years and i can only relieve the stuffiness of the nose by means of decongestants..”-

  46. Lillian King says:

    i have been suffering from sinusitis for so many years and i can only relieve the stuffiness of the nose by means of decongestants.,-;

  47. Liam H says:

    As a cyclist I personally have times of the year where I have to follow a restricted calorie diet. The media seems to concentrate on young girls that want to be skinny wheras eating disorders are extremely prevalent in sports– particularly sports where weight categories and personal propulsion are required. However due to our developped muscle levels you tend to find our BMI is in the healthy range.

    I’ll have a look at the CR Society and see what advice they have. Thank You

  48. Donetta Bobson says:

    Caloric restriction (CR), or calorie restriction, is a dietary regimen that based on low calorie intake. “Low” can be defined relative to the subjects previous intake before intentionally restricting calories, or relative to an average person of similar body type. CR without malnutrition has been shown to work in a variety of species, among them yeast, fish, rodents and dogs to decelerate the biological aging process, resulting in longer maintenance of youthful health and an increase in both median and maximum lifespan..

    Make sure you visit our personal homepage too

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