2006, Health  -   157 Comments
Ratings: 7.63/10 from 115 users.

THINThe 2006 cinéma vérité documentary film, THIN, directed by Lauren Greenfield and distributed by HBO, is an exploration of The Renfrew Center in Coconut Creek, Florida; a 40-bed residential facility for the treatment of women with eating disorders. The film mostly revolves around four women with anorexia nervosa and/or bulimia and their struggles for recovery.

THIN is the centerpiece of a multi-faceted campaign designed to explore issues surrounding body image and eating disorders, including a companion book, traveling exhibition of Greenfield's work and a website.

Having already shot photographs at Renfrew for her book Girl Culture, Greenfield returned to the facility to direct THIN, her directorial debut, which she produced in collaboration with producer R.J. Cutler.

Living at the center for six months, Greenfield and director of photography Amanda Micheli received unrestricted access, filming not just the therapy sessions, mealtimes and daily weigh-ins that construct the highly structured routine of inpatients' daily lives, but also exploring their turbulent interpersonal relationships with each other, with family and with staff. Access to staff meetings allows us insight into the efforts of the Renfrew medical team and the complex tasks facing them.

The making of the documentary THIN was a continuation of a decade-long exploration of body image and the way the female body has become a primary expression of identity for girls and women in our time. I am intrigued by the way the female body has become a tablet on which our culture’s conflicting messages about femininity are written and rewritten.

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157 Comments / User Reviews

  1. Watching this as part of my 3rd-year psychology science degree. Really puts into context the human dimension of anorexia as an eating disorder. I also got to see the beautiful personalities of human beings that are in a lot of distress and pain. Polly made me laugh on more than one occasion, she can somersault onto a bed like no other. Rather dismayed by the insurance aspect when it runs out, you're turfed out. It really eptiomises the huge inequalities that are evident in the USA (as an Aussie), to the extent it undermines client progress on their road to recovery. Is it just me or are the staff there have a bit of an us versus them mentality - hard to see the empathy at times.

  2. Pollack “Polly” Williams committed suicide in 2008 with an overdose of sleeping pills. She was 33 years old.

  3. An amazing and very, very disturbing film. Should be seen by everone living in a world where food is abundant.

  4. I am 5'3 and have dropped as low as 70 pounds-I am now a consistent 80 but this is nowhere near healthy in any way. I imagine what I would do if my own daughter did this to herself-it would kill me. What kind of example am setting for her? Can I find it in me to let go of being so selfish to want to be thin so much that I would risk not being there for her later on for graduation, her wedding, her own children? I have struggled with both anorexia and bulimia since I was 14 (I am now 27). This disorder is so complex-you can't go cold turkey and avoid food like a drug. You need food to live and you have to learn to find a balance in it. Every day is a struggle for me but the stories from THIN such as the tube in the stomach to committing suicide over eating two slices of pizza-that is exactly how powerful this disease is. If there is anything I have learned that was stated here, it is that eating disorders are always a mask of something so much more. For me, the key to getting on the road to recovery was being ready to sacrifice being thin for being alive. The next step was searching for what it is that I am trying to so hard to mask with this destructive disorder. Work the 12 steps, it is the only way to truly work through to recovery. Once you finish the steps, do them again and continue doing them for the rest of your life.

    1. The secret is not laying in bulking yourself up to prove a point with inhuman standards, the secret is within you not accepting yourself.. Learn to have self-respect, and learn that certain things given by nature can't be manipulated. Food-anxiety can be overcome, but giving yourself inhuman standards to reach a certain goal just because "science" (man-made laws) tells you it's healthy to do in their own made measurements, isn't the answer within overcoming your "food disorder" (more like finding your own peace and self-acceptance). Being "too thin" isn't actually a bad thing, just as long as you keep having the necessary body nutrients for keeping your organs healthy. Just get rid of that whole "that weight is the ideal weight" idea, and focus on the important part of life: survival and self-respect..

  5. I'm not comprehending why Polly is being removed from the center? I don't see anything that was so negative that she did, those types of "rehab, centers" have people coming in & out consistently. It's all about money, when I went in a drug so-call rehab center, it was MARTIAL LAW 24/7 camera's watching you. You had to sign your name while waiting in line for your food, the man would walk in on you while your taking a damn shower just to sign your name, everywhere you went you were being recorded. They had their favorites men & women were engaging in sex. But if you were their favorite no problem. I've been clean for 5 years now I will never go back to a rehab center a damn thing. It's like being in prison searching your belongings people stealing. I hope these women get better & never set foot back into this facility again. Get your life together & stop letting other people tell you what to do!

  6. Seems to me that these clinics should have healthy staff. Just about all the professional staff members in this video are overweight (some, obese in fact) -- just the type of image that would be a turn-off to the patients.

  7. I watched because even though I have heard about this disease and I have read about this disease it was the stories that, the real lives here, brought into context for me the real illness that their own words can't describe. Patterns of OCD.

  8. The biggest thing i learned is that americas health system is terrible. The only reason people are discharged is due to their insurance running out - no wonder they all relapsed, they had not been treated successfully yet.
    The health system is failing these women

    1. If you think that your system sucks ,then you should come to Estonia :D

    2. I live in New Zealand :)

  9. I feel so bad for the poor people that were born with this condiction.I cant believe soon a large population of 7 year old kids will be annirex.

  10. Something they could introduce is marijuana and THC products into their regime if the patient wishes due to the effect that it induces upon the user. it would help them eat their dinner and like it.

    1. There is something that patients with poor appetites can take take, called Marinol or droabinal... we use it a lot in nursing homes and for cancer patients, and I do believe it is specifically listed for use in those with anorexic behaviors and tendencies.

  11. I haven't watched this documentary in years, but it made a huge impression on me when I was a recovering teenager. Those of you suffering, have hope. If you can get quality treatment sooner, your chances of lifetime recovery are far higher. For those of you being nasty, you are only further perpetuating the bullshit that these people already have to go through. Have some god damned compassion. I hope you never have to experience the living hell that is this. Remind yourself that this is an addiction and a deadly disorder.

  12. This will be the last time I read any comments on any documentary. It's heart warming to see many supportive comments, but it's disgusting to see so many ignorant and nasty comments.

    And I haven't even watched this yet.

  13. Why do they let freaking obese people treat eating disorders.

    That business is a big sham.

  14. If it's about body image, then why do so many of them wear dowdy and frumpy clothes? I think that it's much deeper than that.

    1. I think it's because even though they are super thin they still think they are fat and try to hide their bodies.

    2. because whats the point of wareing nice cloths or getting dressed up when you are fat and ugly? its not like wareing nice things will make you feel better when you feel that way. are its nicer to everyone to just cover up all the fat and ugly with "dowdy and frumpy" cloths.

    3. They wear baggy clothes because of their body image. You get into a state where you are so ashamed of what you look like, that you're so fat and ugly that all you want to do is cover yourself up - you don't want anyone to look at you or to see you.
      Also, with such low body fat, those "frumpy" clothes keep you warm. You never feel sexy when you're anorexic, you're never happy and there's always more weight to lose before you can justify wearing fashionable clothes.

      Admittedly however, anorexia and bulimia are more than just body image, it's often a result of feeling a loss of control, a need to please and desire for perfection.

  15. I've lived through 15 years of severe bulimia and fully recovered with the help of my boyfriend. And I feel very lucky to never have admitted myself to a clinic.
    In this documentary, all they do is focus on food and control, which are exactly the things that anorexics/bulimics do anyway. I really felt sorry for all the girls in the video...
    To overcome an eating disorder, you must dig deeper and face your feelings, not matter how unbearable they seem. Binging and purging (or not eating at all) are just a means to cope with despair.
    Therefore, dealing with emotions and pain is the most important part of recovery. It's tough, but not impossible - if you have someone you love.

    Anyway, that Renfrew Center fails big time!

    1. I've battled an ED for at least 35 years. It's a very lonely road, and even lonelier when you DON'T have someone you love who might be able to help you through it. Consider yourself lucky in that respect. Not everyone IS.

  16. of course these patiants aren't happy when they gain weight! cause i never see them working out. onc e they start to gain weight it will all be fat, and that will never look actractive. they need to be on a work out plan as well as a higher calorie meal plan, they must be miserable.

    1. Are you kidding me? Their hearts could stop at any time. Exercise shouldn't happen until they're cured. They shouldn't even worry about how they look; they should be focusing on getting healthy. As a person trying to recover from an eating disorder, your comment seems really ignorant and not supportive...

    2. i had one too, aslo have a heart defect. im not talking about heavy lifting. im just saying they could atlest have a morning workout. they will just become lathargic if they keep gaining weight without exercise. without exercise i would have never gotten better. im not trying to be rude. im just saying that maybe they would recover faster and feel beter with some exercise :/ thats all

  17. not the best doc about anorexia and bulimia ive seen but its not terrible. im not sure these women are truly being helped in this facility. it seems to be making them more obbsessive about food and weight. the women are attacking each other constantly rather than helping. its not a really effective therapy model.

    1. Unfortunately you're right- but the very paradox of treatment is that to stop your obsession with food and weight, they must focus on your intake and your weight.

    2. you suggesting better ones?

  18. sad,VERY sad! its hard to escape i and only people who live something like that can understand how pain and stressfull that is!

  19. I showed this Docu to my 8yo Daughter who's got aspergers but keeps worrying about getting fat. Now, she has no trauma in her life. We gently raise her, BUT, because of her disorder, she has this driving NEED to be in control of all things all the time. So, Right now, we're battling with the beginning seeds of it. She's almost 5' tall and about 50lbs. I feed her, she doesn't want to. Heck for the past 3 days at school she's been ditching her food on the floor to get out of eating it. She can't hide food here at home. I showed her this documentary.

    Question 1: "Does that look like fun?"
    Answer 1: "No..."

    Question 2: "Do they look like they have control?"
    Answer 2: "No..."

    Question 3: "What part hits you the hardest?"
    Answer 3: "The girl with the hole in her belly to eat. I don't want that..."

    I will bring this up with her therapist next time we go. I don't want my daughter going the way of Poly and the rest of the gang in this docu. :( (Especially the way of Poly)

    I wonder if we can nip this in the bud as soon as we can, we can avoid it.

    1. Please please please read the book "GAPS - Gut and Psycology Syndrome" by Dr. Natasha Campbell McBride. Just do it. It explains the connection between gut flora and the brain. If you follow her protocol, you will heal your daughter, both of the Aspergers and the potential eating disorders. It is like $30 on Amazon, or you can get it at the library. Google the GAPS diet, watch youtube videos about it - just learn about it. You will not regret it!

  20. I may be completely off base here, but I can't see how this place helps anyone at all. First Polly is the golden child. Then all of a sudden she'd made out to be crap. Shelly goes from bad to being some type of hero because the staff made bad judgement calls about her and then felt guilty about it. Kicking people out over stupid infractions like that when this is supposed to be a mental health issue?! Turning people against each other rather than encouraging them to support each other in their closeness? They let someone go who clearly needs further help? I don't see this as a healthy environment at all

  21. avd420 We are all deeply and truly sorry that you have had hard situations and experienced profound despair, however, this is inappropriate. I do have a degree in Psychology and Sociology, however, my objection is not on a scientific level, but a human level. I think it is time that you expressed these opinions in a place where people are not seeking support. Redefining the disorder seems very important to you, but redefining creates no lasting change on its own. I appreciate your insights and the time you have taken to express them fully. Nevertheless, please understand that having had difficulties in one’s life does not make a person an expert in all forms of trauma. No amount of internet research can help any one person predict all of the variables. Comparing hard lives makes no difference. Every situation deserves compassion no matter how it is defined. I hope you will consider beginning a clearly marked blog to post your views from this point on. You seem like a very intelligent person. Please consider my suggestion.

    1. Thanks for your suggestion JKIS.

      I was not seeking any sympathy in my last post but using my own expierences to illuminate the point.

      For those who seek support - I believe - The first step they should take is realizing that they are free to change the way they act and think.

      IMO, calling ED a disease, stops them from doing this.

  22. Jesus Christ!

    Noun: A disorder of structure or function in a human, animal, or plant, esp. one that produces specific signs or symptoms or that affects a specific location and is not simply a direct result of physical injury.

    I know everyone thinks that they can reinterpret and speculate on medical terminology but it doesn't work like that! Yes it is (technically by definition) a disease! And no, if you've never been through it you don't know what you're talking about, even my friends that have gone through my ED with me my whole life have no idea what they're talking about...

    And since everyone's comparing notes- My background: Various trauma's growing up, ex drug addict (Heroin,crack,crystal meth and coke) which were all a symptom of my ED/mental health issues, still on methadone, still an alcoholic, still take drugs other than heroin, still got ED, still got untreated mental health issues (bipolar/schizotypal/OCD), and no one will employ me because of the methadone...

  23. PS. avd420...... People in Africa don't have this disease because they are already starving..... if they DID have anorexia nobody would recognise it as anorexia because they would just see it as not having enough food to eat..... and BECAUSE there is not enough food to eat there a person wouldn't choose food as their form of control..... that's why it only occurs in countries where there is plenty to eat and food is considered a social and cultural practice.... in poor parts of Africa food is merely for survival.

  24. I dont know if this is going to help anything or just cause more drama. But I'm 17 and have had an ED for 6 years now and yes my arms are covered in scares. I don't want to get in the argument that this is a disease or a choice but what I do want to say is there is pain. Its never just about getting thin, just like's its never about just getting high, there is ALWAYS a reason for it. I have had body image issues sense I was little. Sense I was little I have never been a human, never been something that someone should care for. I could't control what happened to me when I was a child, but I thought I could control what I ate and what my weight would be, even though in the end it controls you. This is not a pitty party or a its ok because we are all screwed up. But my issues, I was molested by my father for 6 years, molested by 3 other people that lived around us also. Raped by to of my boyfriends and sexually abused by a friend of the family. And i would agree that maybe i put myself in some of those situations. But those are where my issues came from. So deep down its not about being thin. Its about being "perfect" being WORTH perfection, having control in something in your life. I cry for help even! Trying to get people to see "maybe if you look so sick on the outside, they can see how much pain and "sickness" you are going threw on the inside. This is all in my opinion though. .

    1. That was brave of you to share Tasha. Thanks for your insight.

    2. Thank you :)

  25. I AM DEVASTATED BY SOME OF THE IGNORANT COMMENTS HERE..... No wonder Polly killed herself......

    I have suffered from Anorexia since the age of 13 - I am now 37. I am a lot better than I used to be now and haven't been hospitalised for the last 6 years - but have been through some HELLISH treatments in the past that made me worse, due to lack of understanding and compassion.

    Anyway, to get to the point, understanding that it is NOT just about how you LOOK but rather how you FEEL inside should make people more compassionate. I never starved myself to look good - it was about expressing my inner pain because I didn't know how to do it verbally - I was only 5 years old when I was sexually abuse - for 4 years by an Uncle..... and I was confused and scared and embarrassed and didn't tell anyone until I was 24. My obsession with food and weight helped me to block out the flashbacks and the HORROR in my mind and my fear of the man who raped me as an innocent child...... Food gave me control over something when I felt I had lost control - and being thin was an attempt to "disappear" because I felt so disgusted with my body and so contaminated by this revolting man.....
    PLEASE understand that you can compare people starving in Africa or India with an anorexic - I have a HUGE amount of compassion for people living in poverty, I have done charity work for them and am a human rights activist........ but comparing the two is like comparing apples and oranges - the underlying causes are completely different and BOTH warrant compassion. Unless you feel that childhood sexual abuse does not warrant compassion then you should try to understand these women more deeply - they, like me, have EXTREME inner pain caused either by childhood sexual abuse (as is the case for many anorexic's) or some other trauma in their life.

    I can see from the point of view of someone who knows little about the illness that it would appear selfish and attention seeking and just plain REDICULOUS (I even feel like that about myself sometimes) but there is much more to it...... if you are interested enough to read more about it you will realise that it really is much deeper than wanting to to be thin for appearance sake.

    1. Those medications you mentioned below are for depression not for ED. And those pills are not needed for one to survive likemy insulin.

    2. I didn't mention any medications in my post.... but if you think antidepressant medication is not essential for some people to survive you are SO WRONG.... depression is due to a lack of serotonin in the brain which is EXACTLY like someone not making enough insulin.... Without enough serotonin your brain goes haywire just like a diabetic's sugar levels.... SO DO YOUR HOMEWORK before you judge.

    3. Ok, I just want to say that the american medical association has done a very good job of convincing people that they need anti depressants. The only reason you have a seratonin issue? Is because the anti depressants make it so that your brain doesnt know how to work on its own without them. Do a search on here for other medical doco's and there are also scientific articles that support my claim.

      Also, those that argue anorexia isn't a disease? Well, your right and wrong. It presents itself as a disease but it is very much a psychological disorder. To help themselves they need help working through their past trauma's.A supportive community helps as does therapy.

    4. Do my homework? Guess what... the guy who you are assuming has no knowledge of depression and the chemical factors that can lead to it...actually has...wait for it... chronic depression :):):) I mean :(:(:( and guess what, I deal with it, WITHOUT medication and WITHOUT pyschothearpy.

      I'm sure both of those things would help me considerabley, and I have considered the option, but I never chose to take or partake in either.

      And guess what, I'm still here. It won't kill you. It's NOT ESSENTIAL FOR ONES SURVIAL. It's possible to live, to work, to feel moments happiness and love, without that BS.

      And for those who do choose those options, I understand and respect their choice. But, and this is the point I've been trying to make with every comment about this issue. IT IS NOT A DISEASE. It is a mental DISORDER. Which can be cured WITHOUT pharmacudicals. So don't dare tell me they are NEEDED. They are not now, nor have they ever been... needed. They are PREFERRED.

      When it comes to insulin I NEED IT. I DO NOT HAVE A CHOICE. If I don't take it I will DIE! Do you see the difference here?

    5. I understand where you're coming from, however, the serotonin dysfunction in people with depression varies widely. I'm glad you can manage yours without medication. In others, this chemical imbalance WILL cause suicide if not treated with medication. It's like ADHD, or autism--there are scales/degrees/a spectrum, and one can fall on any part of them. Kudos to you, but those who need them aren't weak.

    6. Melissa,

      Serotonin "dysfunction" and chemical imbalances WILL NOT cause suicide. Humans cause suicide. Depression may be a contributing factor but essentially what you are saying is comparable to saying that a person who choked to death on a piece of meat died from eating meat.... when in fact, they died from choking.

    7. Sorry for the really late reply, but I disagree. First, you example really doesn't relate well to the topic. Choking on a piece of meat is (usually) a sudden physical obstruction that has nothing to do with the brain. There are a few cases in which choking isn't an unpredictable physical occurrence, and those support my premise, not yours.

      Patients with advanced Parkinson's reach the point where they can no longer chew their food or swallow...if you put food down their throat and they choked, would it be the meat's fault? Although the meat caused their death, any doctor would agree the Parkinson's caused the choking. The same with depression...if someone hung themselves because of their depression, yes, obviously the rope killed them, but they never would have died had it not been for the chemical imbalance that created the suicidal impulses. Like with eating and advanced Parkinson's, yes, the person died of a physical injury, but it probably would never have happened if not for the disorder behind it.

      Chemical imbalances, in relation to depression, can cause suicidal thoughts, feelings of hopelessness/worthlessness, that can lead to suicide. Yes, in some cases, a human can commit suicide with no imbalance present...but it's not very common for a person to commit suicide without some sort of neurological disorder altering their thought process. I agree that imbalances won't cause suicide in every case, especially if corrected with medication, because the severity of the impulses caused by the neurological imbalance is directly related to the severity and longevity of the imbalance. The scientific fact remains...if the imbalance is severe and allowed to influence a person unchecked over a period of time, the person will most likely commit suicide. By your logic, if someone commits suicide under those circumstances, it is the "human's fault." Ask someone who has had severe depression if they chose to be depressed, and you'll almost definitely get a resounding "no" as a reply (along with something possibly being thrown at you).

      I suppose the basic premise I was trying to explain before that I didn't make clear was this: If the person wouldn't have committed suicide without the imbalance to cloud their thoughts, then YES, it is directly and unconditionally the fault of the imbalance. It's the reason the insanity plea exists in judicial law--you can't blame someone for acting irrationally when they aren't in control of their mental processes.

      I'm sorry for the late reply--I've used disqus probably twice in my life; I just became aware of your reply today. Also, I'm sorry if I come across as harsh. I really have no quarrel with you, only your logic. I simply feel strongly about the topic, and I wouldn't be defending myself if not for the misinformation your comment could possibly be spreading (the 1 like worries me). I've heard phrases like "she chose to leave me" or "depressed people who kill themselves are weak" far too many times to be comfortable with letting it go. I had to respond, if only for my conscience. Have a pleasant day, and once again, I'm sorry for my ridiculously late, strong and long reply!

    8. I have been diagnosed with depression and take a medication to help with serotonin. I would try to be so positive, I rationally knew nothing was wrong with me, I would just have episodes (ALWAYS at night, ALWAYS 3 days before my period) where I would sob to the point of throwing up and self harm, more than once attempting suicide. This was very much related to CHEMICALS in my brain and body, and I don't mind paying the $4 a month for Celexa to help myself stay the rational and appreciative person I am... science... it really is a good thing.
      Also, eating disorders are not always a cry for attention. I had one for 5 years (still not healthy towards food but I wouldn't say disordered) and my parents didn't notice a thing. I didn't want anyone to know... it was a slow form of suicide related to the depression. CHEMICALS. BIOLOGY. SCIENCE.

    9. You're "dealing with it", well maybe some of us simply don't want to just cope, deal with, and get by. Perhaps some of us look to therapy, life changes, and medicine to try and say we have DEALT with it, not continue to, every day deal with it. People shouldn't have to deal with feeling horrible, and I'm not saying medicine is the only option. You also need to understand that there are varying degrees of depression and what you feel is not going to be the same as what I feel. For me, I've tried going on without medicine for years, my first try of medicine went badly, but I talked with therapists and doctors and found something that was better for me. It helps, but I am just one unique person. It's best to try and try until you find something that helps you rise above your problem rather than just continuously deal with it. I personally cannot hack a life with the severity of my depression and it's incredibly painful, so I look to options in which to get better. What's right for you, may not be for others. Going without treatment doesn't make you better or worse than those who do, you should realize that before you get high and mighty about it on your soapbox to people who do get treatment and medicine. For the record, you can die from untreated depression, unless you think suicide is for the incredibly happy and healthy?

  26. went to renfrew for anorexia with bulimic tendencies 2 years ago, left worse than I have ever been.... this documentary just shows how its method of treatment doesnt help at all

  27. really don't see how this place is helping, they just take measurements and put food in front of them, how does that help?!

    1. I agree. I also think that this clinic is not doing a very good job and most people that work over there don't seem to really understand what they are dealing with. They are just trying to make the girls get over the symptoms (in a very wrong way because eating unhealthy fattening food is not good for anyone) and they don't help them to deal with the real causes of their condition. It's a mental disease and one has to go deeper to recover. It's a shame really because these girls could get well.

  28. You have no idea what these women went through, no fuc*ing idea. Until you know and lived through it, who the fu*k do you think you are judging?

    1. Former cocaine and herion addict here doing the judging.

  29. Very harrowing, an extreme addiction. What a terrible system this 'world power' has for allowing therapy only until health insurance cover runs out.The only form of 'therapy' I witnessed was the staff playing out their own little power struggles on the physically weak and emotionally vulnerable. This severe and sometimes lethal disorder is little understood and if tattling on your few friends who share similar circumstances is supposed to be mood enhancing , then God help us all....

  30. Some people here really dont know what they are talking about. I have been through what these girls have been through. I was at the same eating disorder clinic as them. An eating disorder is not a choice. Getting better IS. It is the hardest thing I have ever done. I didnt wake up one day and say that I wanted to be sick and have an eating disorder. Most people don't. If the answer was to just eat, then everyone would get better. it goes so much deeper than that and it takes a lot of hard work. Most people can eat and not think about it afterwards. Someone with an eating disorder obsesses and can feel like food is ruining their life and feel like it is going to kill them. Obviously the reality is, that not having the food will kill you. SOunds so simple, but when you are in the wraps of it, it seems to complicated. People who don't know what they are talking about or just havent been through it, should be really careful when posting on sites like this. You never know who is reading and when you post something like "these girls should just die" someone who is sick may be reading that and take you literally. DO you want someone's death on your shoulders? If you do, then you are the sick one.Diana MN

    1. Sorry to hear what you went through. I thinkmost peoples problem stems from the fact that while others in this country are so desperate for food that they dig through the garbage, other people choose not to eat, puke it up intentionally, call it a disease and expect sympathy. And I don't mean to sound insenseitive but an eating disorder is a behaviour, and no behaviour is involuntary, therefore, it is a choice. That's a fact of science.

    2. That's like saying alcoholism is a choice. It's not that simple.
      And I assure you, everyone I have ever known struggling with an eating disorder already is dealing with an intense amount of guilt and shame. It does not need to be exacerbated.
      Even when I have been stable, there has been so much pain and regret over the times I wasn't, when I was trainwrecking and lost so much. You have to get your head around it as an addiction to truly be able to understand it.

    3. Alcoholism is a choice. Not a GOOD choice but a choice none the less. Just because they're not having fun doing it doesn't mean they didn't make the choice to participate. Guilt is a 2 step process; You do something bad and then you decide you're awful for it. So if someones guilt and shame is exacerbated by the truth then it's there choice to feel that way and I refuse to censor myself because they can't handle it.

    4. An Eating disorder is a disease! That's a fact.

    5. @siggne
      Nope, it isn't. Why doesn't this "disease" affect anyone in africa?

    6. Because the emphasis is on food for survival and there are no negative connotations about food in third world countries. For them it is constantly eating to live, food is your friend, food will keep you going another day. They never get a chance to think differently because they are constantly starving without their choosing. Also, they aren't constantly bombarded with bullshit images of stick thin models. In a lot of countries, being thin indicates poverty and therefore they strive to be heavier as a sign of affluence.

    7. Your rite, but its also a choice to put a needle in your arm. That's Science and choosing something over and over again can become an addiction or a disease. Look it up.

    8. @Tasha

      Addiction yes. Disease no.

    9. You do realize that they are simply going through motions at this point right? You think they WANT this? All of your comments are so sickeningly off base and it's all because you want the sympathy for your maladies that they're getting for theirs. You need to grow up and be more open and compassionate and you probably would get more sympathy, but you seem to be pretty much demanding it at this point. You want nothing more than for this to be considered a spoiled white girl problem that is a choice, but that's just not how it is, sorry to break it to ya.

    10. Listen please to This young Lady named Diana. She really knows what she is talking about!!! I personally watched her suffer with her illness for two years!! She is not joking with what she has posted on this site. The pain and misery I witnessed in those two years,I can't even begin to describe!!! And it is no ones business in my opinion unless it can help another with the same eating disorders she has. Unfortunately due to unfortunate circumstances I never got to see Diana Mccaughey recover:(. But wherever she is and whatever she's doing I have hope because she is the strongest women I have ever met! My heart goes out to her and anyone else who has this horrible illness. Remember people eating disorders are not a joke!!! If you have a loved one who suffers please get them help because it's truly a matter of life and death.

      Much love to all

  31. Some of the comments below are incredibly disturbing, the kind of things middle school boys would crack as jokes in health class. An eating disorder is a disease, an addiction where the drug of choice is food and it is restricted, binged, and/or purged as a means of coping with feelings. It is not vanity, a lifestyle, or a choice. The outward symptoms are manifestations of extremely intense emotional turmoil. Just like alcoholics don't drink just for shits 'n giggles, sufferers of eating disorders don't engage in their behaviors without constant sadness, guilt, fear, and anger.
    Recovery for anyone with anorexia, bulimia, etc. is a lifelong, jagged process, already an uphill battle, and the "six feet below" comments are absolutely inappropriate and unnecessary.

    1. What type of treatment is there for this disease? Like for my diabetes I take insulin. Is there something similar to help them live? No? Pyschological thearpy you say? THEN IT'S NOT A GOD DAMN DISEASE!

    2. Individual and group therapy, yes, but that is only the beginning. That alone covers everything from CBT to desensitization therapy, then occupational, art, etc.

      Eating disorder treatment, as shown in this documentary, is multifaceted and requires the input of therapists, social workers, doctors, and dieticians.

      I was diagnosed with anorexia in high school and relapsed into bulimia in college. I am very, very well aware of all the components of eating disorders as well as the potential consequences. Everything from losing hair to vomiting blood.

      According to one social worker/therapist I knew in a treatment center, out of everything 3 people with eating disorders, 1 dies from the condition, 1 stabilizes, and 1 goes in and out of it forever.
      Sobering. Especially when you're at a table with 11 other people-- not all little white girls, mind you, but both genders and all ethnicities-- and doing the math.

      It goes in the same category as drug/alcohol addiction; in fact, 50% of all ED sufferers will also receive that diagnosis at some point.

      So yes, speaking from seven years of person experience, it is indeed a "goddamn disease." And a genetic one, too: my paternal grandmother struggled with it.

    3. People with chronic eating disorders are almost ALWAYS on anti-depressant medications (an other medications) as well as therapy...... Some people go on Xyprexa but it causes weight gain so most Anorexics refuse to take it.

    4. You seem to focus an awful lot on yourself and your diabetes, It seems like you want to point out how much more severe your disease is compared to this disease, but in all actuality, your disease is very common and very easily managed. You don't go through cycles of relapse with diabetes, you don't have an uphill struggle after you've been diagnosed and put on treatment. It's almost like you feel like you don't get enough sympathy for your disease so you want to lessen the pain of others with a different disease (that you refuse to accept as a disease), make it seem like it's their choice. Let's look at the definition for disease, shall we?
      " a condition of the living animal or plant body or of one of its parts that impairs normal functioning and is typically manifested by distinguishing signs and symptoms"

      Tell me how that doesn't fit with anorexia, or bulimia? It absolutely does, these women cannot function normally and do not function normally, it can and often times does kill them. It's a disease.

    5. It is a GOD DAMN DISEASE. Just like diabetes and Celiac Disease. I have both and anorexia nervosa. Do a little bit of research. It is no different than your pancreas not functioning fully, only it is in the brain.

    6. I appreciate your comments......Peace

  32. It's true though. You have to admit that everyone involved would be happier if those girls just ended up six feet below. Then everyone who isn't a LOSER, could just get back to their lives. :)

    1. that's ignorant, maybe everyone would be happier if a--holes like you were six feet under.

  33. Honestly, watching these girls made me pray to God that they would do the world a favor and wake up Dead.

  34. Ok, then. If they're so miserable.. why don't they just commit suicide? It will solve all of their problems Guaranteed.

    Seriously, idiot people like these girls deserve to die.

  35. you people must understand that these are very, very sick women. that poor 15-year-old barely stands a chance at survival. it is society that has done this to them, not them laughing in the face of society. pick up a book and look up the word 'disorder.' it is a constant struggle and they will be in my constant thoughts and prayers. just be grateful that you are not in the position that they are because they understand they affect many people around them and live with that guilt and worry everyday that survive. i hope they recover in the very near future. my sincere wishes- best of luck and thanks to the producer that mad this issue public and known that eating disorders are prevalent and serious.

  36. Spoilt and self obsessed, these childre....sorry grown women need to take a look at the world and the really tough times people go through in it. It makes me incredibly angry that these people sit in a building and b**** about the people that are caring for them be it the nurse who has to smile in the face of a sneer or the father who has to fork out money or the mother who has to beg on her knees to help a daughter who breaks the rules and laughs in the face of society, I'm quite honestly disgusted. These people show no remorse, they thrive on attention, childish behaviors and create fantasies around why they don't eat all because this is a 'psychiatric disorder' and so the circle will continue. Why are they all cooped up bouncing off one another making the situation worse, surely they should be individually placed in communities of healthy women in a normal working environment or maybe the opposite put them with people who are worse off. The whole point of this disorder is that they want to be locked up in a prison and given rules to break to be noticed and given a disorder, round and round we go. These people need a reality check, send them to Africa or put them to work as aid workers maybe then they will get out of their little bubbles and use their lives for good. I am sick of the way current society has made it so these people are allowed to make this choice; they are bored, arrogant, lazy individuals who have created a disorder to gain attention in this over populated planet where everyone strives to be noticed and why because its all too easy to let it happen- well congratulations girls you have been noticed, I only hope that people who have real traumas in their lives who really are 'lost, in pain or hopeless' don't acknowledge your existence and continue to inspire the rest of us.

    1. xcvb You are are completely ignorant BITCH..... if you realised that the cause of chronic eating disorders is TRAUMA then you would realise that these women ARE suffering extreme internal pain..... they just don't know how to express it or control it so that is why they starve themselves..... MOST people with anorexia hate their bodies and themselves as a result of sexual abuse (almost always in childhood) - and for people like you who think that is not traumatic -YOU SHOULD GO AND KILL YOURSELF LACK OF COMPASSION........... you should consider yourself lucky that YOU have never been sexually abused......or maybe YOU THINK CHILDHOOD SEXUAL ABUSE IS nothing to hurt about.

    2. What the fu*k is wrong with you obviously you know nothing about eating disorders and you've definitely never struggled with one so what right do you have to come on here and basically start bashing people with eating disorders... you know jack sh*t about this topic so why don't you get over yourself and shut your mouth!!!!!!!

    3. go to Africa and become and aid worker you say? actually I'm going to hopefully do this, I'm studying international development and wish to go to help communities in Africa and other developing countries ... And yes i have problems with eating... but i definitely don't think I'm worse off than a lot of people, there are many different problems in this world!
      my eating problems have stemmed from ptsd and things relating to that, there are often lots of problems that cause a person to develop eating problems! from the media and bullying to completely unrelated things that lead a person to try find control.
      It is a psychiatric disorder, and it's not really a choice.
      I think you need to open your eyes, get out of YOUR little bubble and grow the f*** up :) if you'd be so kind?

  37. I am astounded at the comments here! This is a DISORDER! It is NOT about being thin or losing weight! It is about getting control of something because you feel lost or in pain or hopeless. These women (and other women and men) do NOT choose this, and would never wish it on their worst enemies. It is HELL, make no mistake. This is a psychiatric disorder. People with eating disorders are not stupid or dumb, they are in pain and coping the best way they know how!

  38. I just watched the whole thing, and my advice to those who really want to lose weight is to MOVE TO AFRICA, preferably Tanzania. Like in darwin's Nightmare: no food+ aids= weight loss= slow, painful death. :)

  39. Stupid people, really. You should care about your image enough that you care about YOURSELF. Don't stop eating. You can eat all you want as ong you work out. Join a fitness club. Practice a sport. Go shopping everyday. Walk your dog. Race your brother. Beat up your boyfriend. Be happy, damn it. If you don't want to live, then just die. But don't torture yourself. That's just stupid and a waste of time, space and life.

    1. Actually, you CAN'T eat all you want as long as you work out, unless you're either an eighteen year old or genetically predisposed to be thin. However, people need not take their eating habits to the extreme. Women (and men) with eating disorders are not stupid; they are mentally ill--those are two entirely different things. And it is not always a matter of wanting to live or die. If it were that simple, they would be suicidal, not anorexic or bulimic.

      It is because our world is poisoned by ignorance such as yours that eating disorders continue to exist, and it's a damn shame.

    2. That was ridiculous. Obviously you're ignorant. People make decisions. People can choose to be healthy, thin and happy. But when you choose to do otherwise, then that just makes you STUPID. You CAN eat anything as long as you burn it off with exercise. That's only common sense. ANd it's the lack of logic that allows this sickness, called to stupidity to continue.

      If anyone had real sense of what's valuable, it would be legal to shoot those sick girls in the head... along with anyone who disagreed.

  40. At first , I thought they were spoiled, confused young women but toward the end of the film I realized that their parents were mainly to blame for this obsession with food. Did they really think that their behavior when these women were little girls would have no consequences??!!! And yes... father who blames Utah and vegetables for his daughter's problems... Their obvious problem is just a manifestation of much deeper issues and it's too sad to see that there is no help or understanding from those who caused everything:(

    1. You can't blame people for your decisions. That's stupid. Learning how to be responsible is the first step in growing up. Duh.

    2. Of course it is. But I think that a role of a parent is to raise you and teach you to be responsible, to make decisions and accept the consequences...

  41. If they all got their wish and were as thin as they want to be, then what?

    Like a lot of things, if they got to their illusive state of thin and stayed there, they would be bitterly disappointed. Life isn't better that way at all, the problems are all there still, exactly the same. The drive to be thin is a cover, it keeps them preoccupied so they don't have to deal with reality perhaps. Working on the self esteem is huge so they can handle their lives without the disorder, without running to this crazy idea of perfection that will never arrive. It's a pointless exercise, but they have to understand that on a subconscious level, until then, it will take a lot of work. It's like they're asleep and not facing up to reality as long as they are chasing the illusion. So what if a few extra pounds are gained, or even if they become overweight, it really doesn't mean anything to their lives.

    Sadly, they have been given false messages most of their lives and this is hard to shake off. The media holds up these images and it is all just an illusion, but young girls are so susceptible to believing those illusions. They believe their lives will somehow be perfect, but they won't. They are too young to recognize the media is there to simply sell things, so it sets up impossible standards, which even models can't live up to. Even Cindy Crawford once said that it takes her many hours and a tonne of make up and a whole team of experts to look like Cindy Crawford. She only wished she looked as good as the made up and airbrushed pictures. How on earth can everyone else expect to live up to that? That just isn't reality for the vast majority and they're doing just fine.

  42. just like an addict, I am in recovery. I struggle every day. Having an eating disorder is so much more (personally) than whether I am fat or thin. For me it's been my escape, my way of dealing with and regaining control of my life.. My way of compensating for things that are out of my control.
    I was schocked, at 15, when I discovered that the man whom I had thought was my biological father all along was not, in fact, my biological father. Instantly, I had a complete loss of identity.

    it had nothing to do with the fact that I felt fat... I just wanted to die.
    it has, in effect, snowballed into a bigger issue, but the same underlying issues "trigger" the eating disorder.. When I start feeling that my life is beyond my ability to control.... ...and it's taken 12 years, to finally get a grasp on my identity, accept who I am whether I ever find and meet my biological father or not...

    not all cases are self-centered... Not all eating disorders start because of the want to be thin....

  43. sally looked so good after therapy

  44. what kind of institution is this ?. They act like bithces kikck her out ! why she needs help. I hate these women for kicking her out she will break down over this.

    1. If you are referring to Polly, she died sad.

    2. are you going to pay for her treatment?

  45. These perception problems aren't just limited to those who have eating disorders, though. I remember throughout all of high school I felt fat. I always thought "I need to lose another 10 pounds or so". Now that I'm older and I look at my pictures from back then, I was so skinny! I still ate (fairly healthfully too) and everything, but it was a constant stressor, and I always hated going out because I was afraid people would look at me and think I was fat.

    I didn't know back then about airbrushing or anything. I just knew that women were supposed to lack definition. As someone with natural curves, pulling off that "Twiggy" look was impossible, without starving myself. This is something that's really starting to grip our culture. These women are just the ones who have taken it all the way to the extreme--I know plenty of people my age now who chronically under eat.

  46. This is an absolutely devastating documentary. I'm using it in my university paper in regards to why those afflicting with eating disorders should seek individual therapy before treatment centers. The staff are inconsiderate, cold heart, lack emotion and compassion. The woman are disrespected, treated as though they are liars and fakes. Their emotions are disregarded and they are mocked for being childlike. The fact is, when someone suffers from an eating disorder they are suck back in time, in a childlike state, not eating somehow reinforces the idea that they cannot care for themselves, keeps them dependent on others, keeps them stuck. In order to heal, one must have help from a professional to go back to that time, either directly or indirectly. This is painful, needs to be supported and respected by the professional, needs to be reinforced that it's okay to feel the way they do and they can only move forward by dealing with their feelings. The part where the staff sit around with one another and laugh at the woman in the clinic makes me sick to my stomach. They should be fired from their jobs. Inpatient clinics do nothing to heal and teach woman and men to take care of themselves, they only stuff terrible food down their throats in attempts to make them gain weight. Low weight is only a symptom of the problems the women are actually dealing with. I could say so much more.

  47. The only thing that helped me and prevented me from getting to the point where these girls were was my faith in God. Everyday is a new day to start fresh, a new chace and opportunity. We should live life to the fullest and remember that we are only fooling our selves. Having an ed really holds one back from having a life at all it is consuming an obsession that controls your mind.

  48. Did you notice the zoloft door label and then the prozac clock at part 3 6:30. Disgusting

  49. How sad they give Polly a nutritionally void sugar covered cupcake for her birthday. Bleached flour, preservatives, dye, and other carcinogens are not good food. No wonder she doesn't want to eat it.

  50. Well...I watched it and I so wished I could feel or say something kind.

    I was born and grew up in a Communist country where we begged for a scrap of bread or a drop of milk. After my father was killed, we lived on roots and boiled nettle. After my step ather was also killed, we lived on what others threw in the trash. I was skinny as a rail, sick as a stray dog and unable to chew and swallow whatever I could get to eat, but not because I didn't want to; it was rotten, moldy, worm infested. Humblness and involuntary starvation is a very good deterent to whinning.

    I think Americans feel very entitled and spoiled, self centered and eager to diagnose everything as a disease. I think there are a lot of mind games played here and with such freedom to play, comes abuse of privileges. It is a privilege to eat and strive, not a right to be abused and money made off of it.
    Just like the kids diagnosed with ADD & ADHD and medicated, eating disorders are encouraged and celebrated. Any abnormal behavior is being rewarded and analyzed to death...literarily to death.

    I am so sorry for Polly's relatives, but I blame them for supporting and encouraging her behavior. She on the other hand got what she wanted. FAME. Only the dead are famous, the living are average Joes who just try to survive without counting calories. The same goes for the overweight individuals. Reality shows nowadays encourage stupidity, gluttony, excess, Jackass behavior on one hand, and then, criticizes (, HELPFUL ((AHEM..))and analyzes on talk shows (Dr. Phil, Ophra, etc.)and suck the finances off those dumb enough to fall for all the contradictions in their lives.
    Americans need to wake up and get informed, get balanced, be their own person instead of sheep mentality dominating...
    I believe schools and parents are also to blame; perfect example were the mothers who themselves had issues. Americans victimize their own future generations.

    Oh, I do ask forgiveness of those who are bothered by my misspellings; I have worked my ass off all day to bring food to the table and I feel lucky I can appreciate the bountiful choices we have in America...we just need to be a bit brighter rather then fall for drama appetites (no pun).
    When my daughter started on that road, I gave a hard choice: live or die. Work out, be active, give to others and it will all fall into place. She chose to live sans 60 lb. by keeping herself occupied with constructive and productive activities, instead of self importance or narcissistic moments. I would be crushed if she chose the latter, but there is no other way in my world where I grew up. You live or you die.
    I hope beyond hope that the girls in this video find the peace and self appreciation one day. They all deserve a nice vacation to India or Africa...broaden their horizons a little...expand their little selfish world...just saying...

    1. Polly did die so she is at peace but not famous...she wanted recovery but one mistake had it taken away.
      These are mental illnesses and not a CHOICE for most who do end up hospitalized. And it is not just in America, these mental illnesses are all over the world.
      Do not mistake the "pro ana" movement as the same thing as a genuine eating disorder. People don't die when they are in control of their mind...these girls are not.

    2. Great comments. I do have one disagreement though. It has been proven that anorexia is far more diverse than an American issue affecting white females. It is spread worldwide and does not discriminate. Japan comes second in number of deaths from Anorexia. Statistically, Americans are much more likely to develop such behaviors due to media pressure, abundance of food, emphasis on looks, lack of exercise etc, but you need to realize this disease was around long before supermodels came along. America does need to drastically change a few things, however, especially in terms of females and self esteem and good treatment options if sufferers need it.

    3. I think it's incredibly narrow minded of you to just chalk it up to people living in a first world, being spoiled and brats. It's terrible that people could think this way about those that have a real disorder. Make no mistake I'd love to change the things about America that are pushing people to this, it's poisonous, it's toxic. Just because they come from a first world country does not mean it's without it's problems. We have a separate set of problems, and they are problems and they need to be fixed. Communism is one extreme, and the way America's capitalist society is going is another extreme, both bad. It's truly sad that people can just say this must be selfishness, and leave it at that. This is why it will continue and it will only get worse. I also find it personally offensive that people who grew up in communist countries automatically assume that if we didn't, we simply could NEVER appreciate the food and things we have. News flash, a lot of Americans are dirt poor with little to no help, we're not strangers to the want and need of food, clothing, shelter. Now it's time for YOU to broaden your horizons and stop comparing one problem for a completely different problem, and assume or believe one is more important than the other. Anything that causes human suffering is a problem, so in that we have major problems globally, not just in communist countries, third world countries and the likes.

  51. Such a sad waste of beautiful lives...
    While I feel the documentary is excellent, I watched it with a terribly heavy heart as I recently attended my friend Kathryn's funeral. She was 40 and her poor body just finally couldn't take it anymore...
    Her teeth, the ones remaining were rotten and fallen out...
    She couldn't walk except with her crutches.
    Her kidneys finally shut down...
    YEARS of "therapy" couldn't help her!
    She couldn't get past loathing her own self image...
    And now she is gone...
    Apparently her doctors said it was amazing that "an anorexic" lived to be 40 years old!
    I was the only friend at her funeral...

  52. This is my all time favourite documentary. I, myself, am suffering from eating disorders (been shifting between anorexia/bulimia/EDNOS for 11 years now)and I know what they are going through. I admire them for going into recovery, I still haven't plucked up my courage to do so, even though a part of me wants nothing more than that.
    It is both sad and comforting to watch this and realize that there are more people thinking exactly like me, makes me feel less alone...

  53. I have had a friend who completed a program at a Renfrew Center (not the one shown in this documentary). I visited her during her time there, and felt entirely uncomfortable. She had a complicated relationship with e.d. Her sister had been anorexic in high school, and she had gone through spouts of bingeing before restricting her freshman year of college. The summer before sophomore year she began bingeing and purging before going of to France for a semester. Unfortunately, she never completed that semester as her illness brought her back to the States for treatment.

    She is now doing very well and manages her weight. She possesses a better understanding of the food she puts in her body and how her body uses it and why it is necessary. I know I don't know every little thought that goes in her head, but I do know that she has good days and bad. It's just that the good days have been outnumbering the bad.

    The thing that made her situation different was that she made the decision to get help. While in France she recognized that what she was doing to her body was not healthy or right. She talked to a counselor there and requested that she be sent back home to a treatment facility. I had the pleasure of meeting with this counselor only a week ago, and she said that she was so proud that my friend chose to do this for herself. She apparently came to the realization that this was something that had been part of her for a large part of her life, and she didn't want it to define the rest of her life.

    My friends, this is the hardest step. In fact, many people with eating disorders, addictions etc. find themselves unable to admit their problems. While I believe that these issues never fully go away, I know that if one seeks help for his or her self, on his or her own intuition, he or she will have a much greater chance at recovery. Most of the girls we saw in this film were sent to Renfrew by family members and friends. While these people can be a great motivation, someone struggling with and eating disorder needs to want to get better for him or herself and not for the good of others. Otherwise he or she is more likely to revert back to these unhealthy habits.

    I don't think it's fair to call these girls narcissistic and ignorant. I can understand where this frustration comes from - I have seen quite a few of my friends struggle with eating disorders - but it's really so much more than that. Some of us will never fully understand because we never have dealt with these diseases.

  54. Meh, thin, fat, bucktoothed, horse teeth, ferengi teeth, short, tall, moles, freckles, acne, scars, vericose veins, cellulite, bumps, bulges, blisters, body hair, facial hair, inconsistent skin tone, sweating, stupid, smart, emo,conceited, low self image, long hair, short hair, big nose, small nose, big lips, small lips, size of ears, any body part that seems out of proportion or is missing.
    So many things you can be regularly insulted about that weight I just don't understand being an issue. It's just one of many. All women should remember - we all have pretty eyes! It's the one thing any person will always say, she has pretty eyes. Once you lose your eyes,then start crying IMO.

  55. I think people who blame the media, our vision of beauty or society for this illness are sadly very ignorant of the real reasons for this disease. It it about control. When you have no control over so many aspects of your life (and if you don't know what that is like good for you) it is the one thing left you can control..your weight.

    Lynne, seek to understand and several others I agree with you and hopefully your comments can enlighten the several people who just don't get it.

    Anne V, it is obvious you don't understand and for that count yourself lucky. Perhaps you can show empathy (not sympathy) for those who are not so lucky. Just like showing picture of individuals from war torn countries at weight watchers meeting are not likely going to help the obese people, neither will it help those with eating disorders.

    Yavanna that book is really stereotypical, simplistic and insulting to both men and women. If you want to be reduced to a dumb caveman or flighty female then so be it who am I to stand in the way of such role models

  56. It's working on my home computer. I wonder if it will work tomorrow for school.

  57. Oh no! Vlatko! Wanted to show this to all my 350 students (all girls

    Vlatko: I'm getting an "error" message! Is this permanent? I was planning on showing is to all my classes! What very bad news!

  58. For those who understand little of the physiological aspects of this type of disease I'll try to briefly explain. As mentioned by an earlier poster bulimia as well as anorexia directly effect dopamine production. This is just like an alcoholic or drug addict. Dopamine is a chemical in the brain that promotes a sense of calm and pleasure. To those with no experience with any of these disorders or any other dopamine producing habit it is essentially like the sensation produced by sex. Dopamine is a massive factor in many lives and to help any understand I'll give other examples. Physical exercise such as weight lifting or heavy cardio training produce it as well. Shopaholics release dopamine when they spend too much money. The list goes on and on. Many posters question some of the rules at this facility. I will say this first I do not believe this is a constructive facility for rehabilitation. However the rules do have sound reasoning. Getting body pierceings and or tattoos are similar to cutting since the process involves pain and a subsequent release of dopamine into the brain. As does smoking and exercise. these actions are controlled as a means of limiting dopamine rushes for the patient. The addiction to dopamine rushes is the root of the extended condition. Long after it transitions from being simply a bad choice to try to fit in or a symptom of depression. To any on here that judge one or all of the subjects in this documentary I would like to say that odds are you too have some aspect of your life that involves dopamine addiction. You may view it as normal behaviors such as exercise, sex, shopping, or many others. so look up what yours is and then imagine that that release was to be taken from you. Then you may understand better what these women are dealing with.
    I think the documentarian chose well in all his subjects. Each one shows a different persona with differing strengths and weaknesses. The 15 year old may come off as a whiney bitch but you must listen past that to get the root. When she broke down saying "I don't want you to care. I want you to let me die" that is actually how she feels not attention seeking behavior. The blond ..Shelly I believe her name was, shows the classic sneakyness inherent in these disorders, Polly showed us the gritty jaded side. And Alisha the mother showed us the lost soul searching for a way out. Each is a facet of the illness. You can judge their actions because they are a product of the condition not the person.
    Ok that wasn't that brief. To all those who have posted on here about their own experiences with an eating disorder: I truly wish you strength and love to help you through and see you to recovery. Look toward your addiction and solve it that way not through the psychological aspect but the physical one. And while for all of you with progressed illness you are beyond this having any effect toward your recovery I say That you are all beautiful as were all of the subjects in this film.

  59. Great but sad documentary.
    It is a shame these women are so obsessed with their weight. We have to take into consideration , as they said, that allot of them have issues from their childhood that are the root cause of their eating disorder.
    I don't think they should have sent Polly home either. As soon as they did that I was thinking of her safety. Now we find she has passed away. That is tragic.
    They said Shelly underwent "electric shock THERAPY"! I can not believe that in this day and age, they are still doing that! They stopped doing lobotomies a long time ago because it was not humane! Neither is shock therapy! If Shelly improved it was probably only because they literally fried her braincells!
    I can see why they were all leaving treatment so soon. At $4500 a week, no insurance company is going to pay for any extended treatment. Most people can't afford to pay that either.

  60. @Someone

    You can't just get them "off those meds" Klonopin withdrawal can cause seizures and death amongst other symptoms. I believe a couple of them were on Klonopin. Eitherway, taking a person off medication is not as easy as you might think.

  61. I can hardly understand at what point someone decided this qualifies as treatment! All that stress and emphasis on food! This form of treatment is doing more bad than good!!!

  62. Sending Polly home was the worst thing they could have done. I totally agreed with Polly's mother when she replied 'No you don't' when one of the staff members there said she understood the situation. As a matter of fact, I said it myself at about the same time as Polly's mother did.

    I know they were trying to 'protect' the other girls by removing the so-called bad influence, but cutting her off completely was a dumb decision to make.

  63. It may sound simple to outsiders, just eat and everything would be okay, but that is not it. After two inpatient eating disorder treatment centers I was smart enough to realize that, but even that may not help. You have to want to get better for yourself , not just for your faMILY OR your significant other but for yourself also. Even though I feel that I am on the path of recovery, I can't help but think What if I relapse again. For others they may not think about it, but for me it scares me. Could I hit rock bottom again?

  64. As someone who has suffered for a long time with depression, cutting, and eating issues, I find it so hard to watch this.

    I haven't had many opportunities at treatment and I've had to trudge through most of this on my own, but this place is disgusting.

    I see that the staff are trying to help, but every time someone said 'I understand...' I wanted to scream and rip my hair out.

    I don't care HOW many books someone has read, or written, or how many individuals they have studied, whatever. You can read all that and study all that but you will only know what to expect from the illness.

    You don't f--king understand. Don't even TRY to understand, because until you feel it for yourself, you DON'T understand.

    It's like if someone described the feeling of sunshine to you. Or described the colour red. You can talk about what it is, but you haven't REALLY UNDERSTOOD it.

    Secondly, the nutritionist is a bitch. How the hell does she expect to help people with that kind of attitude? All she does is accuse and guilt.

    In fact, most of the staff do just that. Accuse, guilt and 'understand'.

    This is bull****.

  65. I can understand disciplining someone who shares their medication or lets their burning ashes get sucked into a venilation system, but for getting a tattoo? Those women could have done all sorts of destructive things while out on a day pass, but instead they decided to get a tattoo that symbolizes their recovery. Renfrew really did them a diservice by punishing them for that, and by rewarding the patients who told the staff.

    Speaking up about something dangerous is an act of honesty and bravery; disclosing something that doesn't affect you to make yourself look good is called snitching. Would Polly be alive today if the tattoo hadn't been the last straw that got her thrown out? Maybe.

  66. Lynne,
    You have really good points.. I'm not anorexic but soon to be.. But you are %110 right..

  67. I am currently in my mid-20s, but I went through 2 times with eating disorders during my teen years. I have seen both ends of the spectrum, as I have struggled with being both on the heavy side and the thin side. I think the root of eating disorders (especially restricted eating), is wanting control of something in your life (becasue other things are seeming outside of your control), seeking approval through self discipline and not being fat, and resorting to a simpler time in life when life was simple, predictable, and safe. Until you experience it yourself, it is hard to judge. While you're in the disorder, when people say you need to gain weight, it is not seen as constructive criticism because when people say those things, it still feels like they are attacking you and a lot of the reason people do this is becasue they want more friends and want more approval for who they are both inside and out. The nature of the disorders though is that they make you hermits and pretty secretive. Family members may live right around you and have no idea that you don't eat at school, that you weigh yourself 5 times a day, and that you sleep with 2 pairs of socks and a sweatshirt in the summer. The only way to true recovery is learning to love yourself and to realize that there need to be goals and priorities in your life beyond the here and now, and you have to be willing to take risks in life (whether it be eating non-safe foods, meeting new schools, or getting a new career). After getting through it myself, I know that the more you have passion in life for something outside of yourself the more you can learn to focus on things beyond food. And I tell ya, once eating normally becomes a habit, muscle comes back, energy comes back, happiness comes back, and metabolism goes up so much that the fear of getting heavy is not as strong.

    This video touched me tremendously and I hope young girls and women watch this and know that there are SO many underlying issues w/these people on the videos, I think wanting to be thin is not the "real" top issue with any of the patients. I wish them all luck in their recoveries.

  68. I feel that the recovery institution is not helping them make progress. They do not seem to address the larger issues surrounding the eating disorders. It's almost as if they want the patients to stay there indefinitely. They fuss too much about 'trust issues' and all this other shit, I mean, who gives a shit if they get a tattoo. They should instead be focusing more on positive body image and general health - where the f--k is the gym? And get them off all those meds. Otherwise, despite the extremely strong-willed minority who do overcome their eating disorders, all I see is a never-ending cycle of relapse and recovery.

  69. For all of you judgmental people, I have been to two inpatient eating disorder treatment centers, they are not being self centered. I am at a healthy weight now, but I am always thinking about restricting, and it is something that I will always think about.

  70. Some of your comments are very judgmental, and just mean. You'll never understand unless you actually have an eating disorder (which I hope does NOT happen, I wouldn't wish it on anyone) It's not as simple as "Oh, I'm fat, I'm going to stop eating, or start throwing up today." It might seem like it starts that way sometimes, but that is REALLY not what it's about. I would suggest if you think people with eating disorders are really just stupid conceited girls that you do some research. It's like a drug or alcohol addiction (which I'm sure someone will find offensive) but it really is. It never goes away.

  71. The women portrayed in this documentary are obviously obsessed and paronoid with the idea of beauty. The staple of beauty in America is thin. The distorted perception of beauty is exploited on nearly every high fashion mag, it is further illustrated in movies with underweight white women. These women are suffering from a corrupted ideal of perfection that our country celebrates. But no one, not even the grossly paid actresses in Hollywood are perfect, and I doubt that they are free from insecurities and eating disorders either. I think that this documentary does a great job in highlighting the effects of one of the many corrupted views of our society. Yet even worst, these women, as documented in the film, would willingly risk their lives to acheive this superficial ideal of perfection.

  72. I can't finish watching this.It pissing me off.there are people in the world who starve and they WANT TO EAT,children dying for lack of food and these women are refusing it or throwing it up? Disgusting.What a waste of food when so many people are starving all over the world.If they think that food is such an enemy they should be completely deprived of it.No binging,no chewing,no spitting,no tasting any food at all.Then when the hunger pains start I want to see them look at a piece of pizza with disgust and roll their eyes.These women don't know what it means to want food and not to have it.
    We should feel sorry for them? I think not.Why,because they wanted to be thin at some early point in their life? Who's fault is that? Society's fault for promoting and idolizing unrealistic beauty images and there own fault for buying into that madness.Vanity!

  73. I wonder if you leave an anorexic alone in a place nobody cares about him/her and how he/she looks do they recover or die ignored in starvation?

    By all means I don't imply these poor souls deserve such a thing. All suffering for whatever reason is still suffering.

    What I mean to ask is: Is it perhaps us around them giving a damn that makes them anorexic? I know my best friend would certainly not be one if it weren't giving her an edge over her sister in Mommy's attention and she likes the feeling of drawing attention with jokes about her under-weight from people around her. All in all she is charming and a nice person, but when it comes to food she's sick (in the medical sense).

    I highly doubt there are anorexics in places where women dont have so much time to spend thinking about themselves in such a fruitless way. These women dont need meds and diets, they seriously need a hobby in my humble opinion.

  74. A 10+ documentary. Well done and very eye-opening. Thanks, vlatko!

  75. This is such an effective documentary. I've known a lot of people who are affected by eating disorders and this is the most honest portrayal of the struggle involved that I've seen. It really does a lot to show that an eating disorder is so much more than an over-zealous diet (which a lot of people seem to think they are).

    The fact that none of the girls who were profiled actually "recovered" just illustrates this.

    All in all, I'm just really glad I watched this.

  76. I really really really disliked the 15 year-old. She was whiny and annoying and even though she was so concerned about how much her mother was paying for treatment she didn't care and refused to rehabilitated. Even after spending a month(i think) in a facility with women older than her her who had been her shoes and hearing their horror stories, she didn't give a flying you-know-what. The hole affects and realities of anorexia had completely gone over her head.

    Shelly also kind of irritated me, but she got better. Honestly, she was 25 with a college degree, she really needed to get her sh*t together and stop acting like she was 13 in middle school.

    Polly, I found, could be admired for her blunt-ness, but then she would turn around and be shady and sneaky and hypocritical. Like, "Oh, you've been admitted into a treatment center for an eating disorder and you have depression, here's some MOOD STABILIZERS." Get a f*cking clue!
    The woman with two kids was a little preachy and really ticked me off when she went back to purging, but she showed some promise.

  77. Yavanna, have you had an eating disorder? no. so f*** all of you that think it has everything to do with the person being self centered and afraid of becoming fat.

    Let me tell you from the side of a bulimic. yes, it started out because i was desperate to be thin, but i was also 13, stupid, and at the age where everyone wants to be pretty and listens to the media ignorantly. but its been over five years, and i'm still bulimic. i'm not underweight- if anything i'm a little over but i love my body as it is. then why am i still bulimic? for the same reason anyone continues to have an addiction. it all has to do with the chemicals in the brain. when i eat a ton of food and then puke it up, my brain releases a chemical called dopamine which is a pleasure enhancing chemical. i'm pretty much addicted to the action that will release that chemical in my brian. some people use drugs; others, like myself use food.

    annorexia on the other hand revolves much more around a huge fear of becoming fat, but i'm sure their are some chemical effects happening in the brain as well.

    i'm not saying you should have sympathy or empathy for people with an eating disorder, we need to suck it up and use the will power to overcome this adiction like anyone else, but the rude comments aren't going to help anyone.

  78. I am absolutely shocked by the absurdity of this treatment facility. Im not sure what their recovery rates are but if i was to estimate i would say below 20% long term.

    The whole process is a giant, authoritarian circus.

    First and foremost you are treating these women as elementary school children. There is no emphasis on accountability, there is no blame, there is not even punishment for disobedience there's just endless guilt trips and empty conversation. The issue is that these women feel powerless, making them more powerless still only emphasizes that they cant do anything to help themselves. The authority must be given to them, not to these junior high advisory figures that are only detrimental to the development of responsible, accountable, and inter-social attitude.

    They need to realize that what they are doing is hurting others, not be danced around like broken little children. they need to realize that it is absolutely their fault, because everything they do is their choice. Not this passive-aggressive, you're not following the rules but we know its hard, we respect you for being honest, we know you're sick and its not your fault. That is exactly what they want , it gives them the perfect environment to keep doing what they are doing. The authority figures become the ones to rebel against, bu throwing up, or not eating. While at the same time the behavior gets treated, as ok, just be honest about the rules you break so we can retain full control. The opposite attitude is needed, you are a grown person, we are here as guides, here are the rules if you want to get better follow them if you don't you only have yourself to blame. We don't want to know which rules you break we don't care, we are here to tell you how to help yourself, not to force you to do it.

    Second these women love these facilities and if you notice they act out quite consciously when they are forced to leave. Why? Because they don't want to loose the security of this child like treatment, notice how they behave in these places they are like kids devoid of all responsibility, and that's exactly what they want. I cant help myself, im sick, so feel sorry for me and take care of me while i continue to be sick. And that's what the staff does they indulge the regressive fantasy instead of teaching accountability.

    I think there are 2 possible approaches to treatment. If they decide to take the full authoritarian route then do it fully. if you don't know how to get better well teach you or if you don't want to we will f--king make you. None of these talks about ok admit this, ok you're so brave, you really should not break the rules. Simply everyone follow the rules and if they don't they get severally punished. No mercy just pure negative reinforcement. This will whip them in shape quickly something like boot camp. Most importantly they would want to succeed in recovery and leave not stick around and play the broken swan.

    Or second it they want to take the empowering approach then leave all the decisions up to them, and stress the point we are just here as road signs everything is completely up to you. You want to not listen and throw up, up to you and you get what you deserve. You want to listen and get better great well tell you how. You know you are hurting yourself and everyone around you, its not our responsibility to fix it its yours and if you don't their suffering is your fault. This teaches them they not only are they responsible for what they do, but the recovery is up to them, there is no one to rebel against.

    Notice that the the woman with the 2 kids is the only one that looks like she really cares and might have the chance to recover. Why? Because for her recovery is the true goal, and she understands her own guilt in the situation. Unlike everyone else she does not wallow in this atmosphere of self pity, and childishness that roams over that facility.

  79. 'Seek to Understand' THANK YOU for your comment. I agree with everything you stated and feel the same way as well. I have an eating disorder and go to support meetings, etc. It is very hard to try and recover... every day is a challenge. I would equate it to be an addiction. Thank you for understanding.

  80. I found this film to be a very honest look at what it is like to have an eating disorder, and what it is like to go through treatment. It is easy to see from some of the comments posted here that eating disorders are extremely misunderstood. To say this is the fault of the media or my personal favorite quote, "This is a doc about pathetic trailer trash who want to be thin because of what they see on TV. F*** em. Personally I prefer a bit of meat though" is an over simplistic and quit frankly ignorant opinion on the subject.

    I can completely understand how the fear and anxiety that these women feel over eating foods that most are able to consume in their everyday lives without thinking can seem silly. However, unless you have had the experience yourself commenting and putting down these women (and girls) is shameful.

    I do agree that the facility's rules seem over zealous. However people who suffer from eating disorders will seek out situations and other people that encourage them in their disorder and justify disordered behavior. Often people with eating disorders have very competitive natures, comparing themselves to others, openly judging (even through back handed comments), manipulating and lying. It is of no surprise then that the treatment facility has to take such sever steps to minimize these types of interactions between patients.

    I encourage everyone who viewed this documentary to research eating disorders, and if possible read first hand accounts before they pass judgment on these women and all suffers.

    Great film, thanks for posting.

  81. For a directorial debut, this is very well done. That was a clever shot of the prozac clock. It's a symbol (intended or not) of what's wrong in the treatment approach at Renfrew. Not that prozac is used on these girls (I don't know), nor that it does not help some people, but it's a symbol of the simplistic approach used at Renfrew to cure these girls' ills. The counsellors there probably get paid well. But if this documentary can be taken to represent the good accomplished by them, then they are miserably failing, and therefore not very deserving of their pay. These anorexic girls are encouraged to turn more and more inward. But where is the larger perspective? At some point in life, each girl seems to have lost control, and is now determined to gain this control back. And there seems also to be this element of wanting to remain a victim. These issues need to be uncovered and then set in context. After that a non-selfish contribution to society should be suggested, with a suggested avoidance of problem media. Regardless, I feel for these self-centered girls. This documentary is moving. It made me laugh once or twice, like when the girls were bonding by taking turns fliping on the bed. But mostly it choked me up, especially since one of the girls is now dead. I feel the desire to know what will happen next.

  82. I also can't believe that this is considered treatment and I'm not surprised that it doesn't work.

    These people are made to feel ashamed and guilty of any mistake that they make at any moment - what is the point of that? That does not help. As if they did not already have enough guilt and shame within themselves on an on-going basis. When you are recovering, there are going to be slip-ups, it's just how it is.

    They're being treated like children here and that does NOT help their self-esteem. So what if they smoke or get tattoos on their breaks? I can't believe that they turned away Polly when she so desperately needed and wanted help.

    These women need some spiritual guidance to see that their self-worth is more than just their body. If I could, I'd take them all to a ranch or something, somewhere they could just be themselves, without stupid rules like in a prison, where there would be less focus on the disease, more focus on nature and their hobbies and also the underlying emotional issues which may cause them to manifest an eating disorder. 80% of women with an eating disorder were abused as children.

    This facility is a prison. They control their food and behavior for a certain period of time, and it is obvious that little internal healing is actually going on.

  83. Really awful about Polly. She was my fav, too! Kinda reminded me of Lisa in Girl, Interrupted. In the photos at the end, she looked terribly thin . . .

  84. I feel absolutely horrible to know Polly died. She was my favorite in the doc. Her life must have been a private hell on earth.

  85. Wow, im really shocked that these girls didnt recover. i also recognized alot of eating habbits i thought were normal, and turned out to be a e.d. good documentary. thank you for posting!!!

  86. Do research on anorexia/bulimia/binge eating before judging anyone afflicted with an eating disorder. Do research on any and everything so you can develop a sense of understanding to the situation. It gets serious... like an addiction magnified by the mentality of the eating disorder.

    Pollack "Polly" Williams, age 33, one of the main women followed in the documentary Thin died Friday, February 8, 2008, at her residence from suicide.

    1. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR RESEARCHING BEFORE JUDGING..... I have had Anorexia for 24 years and it almost KILLS me to read the mean comments here when they know nothing about the SUFFERING and ABSOLUTE AGONY that people like me have been through.
      THANK YOU, THANK YOU..... I wish there were more intelligent people like you around...... IGNORANCE makes people like Polly kill themselves and NOBODY goes to THAT extreme just for attention.
      (I have more comments posted below.....)

  87. Gemini. When a man must retreat to him cave, the whole point is the "waves" must let him settle, repair and recover before re-emergence!

    Those Waves must go swish on their own for a bit I`m afraid - lest they wash away all that is important.

  88. @ Yavanna: Waves & Elastic Bands, are the Waves allowed in the Caves? :)

  89. PS - it just came to me - "women are like waves" (also)

  90. Ok Gemini, IN a nutshell - "Men are from Mars women are from venus"

    It's a very intuitive book (but quite repetitive) and helped me in my relationships with girlies back in the day....

    To summarise as best as possible. Men sometimes need to retreat into a cave to deal with their issues. When they do - leave em well alone = happiness.

    Meanwhile women are like elastic bands. Listen to them and don't try to fix them because (from my understanding) they don't want to be fixed. They just want a partner to listen and understand - or at least pretend to. They will soon ping back to normal if allowed to go the course.

    It's been like 25 years since I read the book. Hope I remembered the summary well enough - It served me well.

  91. @ Yavanna: Heh Heh Heh! Just the laugh I needed! PS: what is "the cave"? And I love my elastic bands :)

  92. These women should go live in Ethiopia and stop being such neurotic spastics tbh. They make me sick to my stomach.

    I`m not saying the REAL psychotic behaviour doesn't exist. When I was 17-18 my gym trainer was a world renowned ex-anorexic turned body builder champion. (I could probably refer to a doc about her if it is still on the web) She dipped at 3 and a half stone - imagine an Auschwitz victim. This was a genuine example of illness turned good with massive will power. She was an amazing person (on a personal note my co-trainer was Sarah Hardcastle - silver bronze breast stroke champion (Sorry - claims to fame and I don't have many))

    This is a doc about pathetic trailer trash who want to be thin because of what they see on TV. F*** em. Personally I prefer a bit of meat though.

    Anne V - I cannot contradict you - your views are perfect!

    Gemini - My last live-in lady was bulimic (at least she said she was - she lied to me about having leukaemia so who knows)
    She was however painfully underweight and I was forever trying to fill her up (In more ways than one mohaha)

    Perception of attractiveness and that which is perfect in the media is the real reason for this psychosis.

    The rest of this doc is consummate US psycho-babble. Meaningless drivel relating to pumped up daddy's girls who don't reflect their version of daddies princess. They can go rot for all I care. I respect a fat bitch with integrity and self worth! Not some drone who got a tattoo that matches her starvation sister!

    Conclusion - all women are crazy! A fat bloke just goes with it and works at his sense of humour! Ways and means. Ways and means!

    Go back a few hundred years when it was fashionable to be fat. This is all about media....

    Fat Birds FTW!!! Live life. Be yourself and enjoy! And on a serious note - I recommend the book "Men are from Mars women are from venus" Worth it's weight in gold in understanding the "opposite species." From either viewpoint.

    Guys: this isn't a redundant recommendation - read that damn book - it will pay dividends! Be able to explain "the cave" whilst understanding their damn elastic bands! I never read a more beneficial book!

    1. IF YOU WANT AN OPINION THAT DOESN'T MAKE YOU FEEL MEAN I CAN GIVE YOU ONE.... I have suffered from Anorexia since the age of 13 - I am now 37. I am a lot better than I used to be now and haven't been hospitalised for the last 6 years - but have been through some HELLISH treatments in the past that made me worse, due to lack of understanding and compassion.

      Anyway, to get to the point, understanding that it is NOT just about how you LOOK but rather how you FEEL inside should make people more compassionate. I never starved myself to look good - it was about expressing my inner pain because I didn't know how to do it verbally - I was only 5 years old when I was sexually abuse - for 4 years by an Uncle..... and I was confused and scared and embarrassed and didn't tell anyone until I was 24. My obsession with food and weight helped me to block out the flashbacks and the HORROR in my mind and my fear of the man who raped me as an innocent child...... Food gave me control over something when I felt I had lost control - and being thin was an attempt to "disappear" because I felt so disgusted with my body and so contaminated by this revolting man.....
      PLEASE understand that you can compare people starving in Africa or India with an anorexic - I have a HUGE amount of compassion for people living in poverty, I have done charity work for them and am a human rights activist........ but comparing the two is like comparing apples and oranges - the underlying causes are completely different and BOTH warrant compassion. Unless you feel that childhood sexual abuse does not warrant compassion then you should try to understand these women more deeply - they, like me, have EXTREME inner pain caused either by childhood sexual abuse (as is the case for many anorexic's) or some other trauma in their life.

      I can see from the point of view of someone who knows little about the illness that it would appear selfish and attention seeking and just plain REDICULOUS (I even feel like that about myself sometimes) but there is much more to it...... if you are interested enough to read more about it you will realise that it really is much deeper than wanting to to be thin for appearance sake.

  93. Had a real issue on the smoking ban here. Went to the same rehab for eating disorders. Have had friends that go to AA and frankly the smoking guilt is irrelevant! C'mmon!

  94. I can't believe this is considered treatment. No one is getting better.

  95. I have been anorexic before. Never below 100 lbs, and I'm 5'5. The worst thing I remember was being cold...all the time. Cold when it's 100 degrees outside. Cold cold cold all the time. These ladies in the doc are wearing layers of blankets, clothing, and they are in Florida. Just about a month ago I saw a really skinny young lady pass me on a walking trail. From behind everything seemed normal. Then I looked at her ankles. It reminded me of the footage shot of corpses at Auschwitz. :(

  96. These women (and men) are not trying to be conventionally attractive. As you, and probably most people recognize, they are in fact much thinner than is considered ideal or even desirable. It is a sickness, and it consumes their lives. A lot of times, they can recognize that it is ruining their lives, relationships, and health, but can not do anything to stop it. I believe it is also frequently a reaction to stress or outside chaos, as this is a way for people to feel like they have some control over their lives - I don't think that putting someone with an eating disorder in a war torn country would do anything to effect their illness. An anorexic man or woman would still continue to starve his or herself, until he was ready to change and seek help.

  97. I am amazed as how someone's will is to feed their delusion that they are fat. I also want to know how effective is a therapy that puts all focus on themselves in an enclosed facility, when in the end "focusing on themselves" is the root of the problem. True, they make the point that the disorder is root to something that has scarred them in the past. But really, we all have scars, but the trouble with wounds is that if you keep focusing on them, you're going to lose track of what else and who else surrounds you.

    I watched this last night and trying to form an opinion that doesn't make me feel mean towards them.I wish they would be taken a war torn country, and see how their perspective would change. Would they be still focused on themselves and their aesthetic?

    there is a saturation of media and thinness, we all see it. But as someone who used to focus on her appearance, the day that I discovered I am not the only person in the universe, aesthetic lost a lot of power over me. I'd rather take the time to get to know my friends and my family than to have that pointless moment of being admired for my appearance....I hope someone can contradict my view, as I am very open to a debate!

    1. IF YOU WANT AN OPINION THAT DOESN'T MAKE YOU FEEL MEAN I CAN GIVE YOU ONE.... I have suffered from Anorexia since the age of 13 - I am now 37. I am a lot better than I used to be now and haven't been hospitalised for the last 6 years - but have been through some HELLISH treatments in the past that made me worse, due to lack of understanding and compassion.

      Anyway, to get to the point, understanding that it is NOT just about how you LOOK but rather how you FEEL inside should make people more compassionate. I never starved myself to look good - it was about expressing my inner pain because I didn't know how to do it verbally - I was only 5 years old when I was sexually abuse - for 4 years by an Uncle..... and I was confused and scared and embarrassed and didn't tell anyone until I was 24. My obsession with food and weight helped me to block out the flashbacks and the HORROR in my mind and my fear of the man who raped me as an innocent child...... Food gave me control over something when I felt I had lost control - and being thin was an attempt to "disappear" because I felt so disgusted with my body and so contaminated by this revolting man.....
      PLEASE understand that you can compare people starving in Africa or India with an anorexic - I have a HUGE amount of compassion for people living in poverty, I have done charity work for them and am a human rights activist........ but comparing the two is like comparing apples and oranges - the underlying causes are completely different and BOTH warrant compassion. Unless you feel that childhood sexual abuse does not warrant compassion then you should try to understand these women more deeply - they, like me, have EXTREME inner pain caused either by childhood sexual abuse (as is the case for many anorexic's) or some other trauma in their life.

      I can see from the point of view of someone who knows little about the illness that it would appear selfish and attention seeking and just plain REDICULOUS (I even feel like that about myself sometimes) but there is much more to it...... if you are interested enough to read more about it you will realise that it really is much deeper than wanting to to be thin for appearance sake.

      Mary Jane

  98. This is one of the most upsetting documentaries I've ever seen. But, it is also one of my favorites. I love the quiet rage that is apparent throughout. People must watch the full doc to fully appreciate it. The symbolism is perfect. Down to the thin line on the right side of the screen.