By Amy Alkon
shared this story
from Advice Goddess Blog.
Yale Decided She Has An Eating Disorder
Yale threatened to kick a healthy woman out of school if she didn’t gain weight.
Frances Chan writes at HuffPo that she’s always been small and slim but that a trip to Yale’s health center for a worry over a lump in her breast (benign) turned into forced health checks and interventions over a belief she had an eating disorder:
I visited the cancer hospital on September 17, 2013, worrying about a lump in my breast. It turned out to be benign, but I received an email in November from the medical director about “a concern resulting from your recent visit.” My stomach lurched. Was the lump malignant after all?
I met with a clinician on December 4 and was told that the “concern” was my low weight and that I would meet with her for weekly weigh-ins. These appointments were not optional. The clinician threatened to put me on medical leave if I did not comply: “If it were up to the administration, school would already be out for you. I’m just trying to help.”
I’ve always been small. I’ve been 5’2” and 90 pounds since high school, but it has never led to any illnesses related to low weight or malnutrition. My mom was the same; my whole family is skinny. We all enjoy Mom’s fabulous cooking, which included Taiwanese beef noodle soup, tricolor pasta, strawberry cheesecake, and cream puffs, none of which make the Weight Watchers shortlist. I just don’t gain weight easily.
Yet the clinicians at Yale Health think there’s more to it. Every week, I try to convince my clinician that I am healthy but skinny. Over the past several months, however, I’ve realized the futility of arguing with her.
“You should try to gain at least two more pounds.” (What difference does two pounds make?)
“Come next week to take a blood test to check your electrolytes.” (No consideration that I had three exams that week.)
“I know you’ve said in the past that you don’t eat as much when you get stressed out.” (I’ve never said that.)
So instead of arguing, I decided that perhaps the more I complied, the sooner I could resume my normal life.
…Finally, I decided to start a weight-gain diet. If I only had to gain two pounds, it was worth a shot to stop the trouble. I asked my health-conscious friends what they do to remain slim and did the exact opposite. In addition to …read more