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Tracy Anderson Admits to Wanting An Eating Disorder

Tracy Anderson is again shocking people with her less than responsible statements, reminiscent of what I read in her book Tracy Anderson’s 30-Day Method: the Weight-Loss Kick-Start That Makes Perfection. Fitperez recently published the following quote from Anderson: “After my parents divorced when I was 17 my mum worked three jobs so I could come to New York and train to be a ballet dancer. But I didn’t make it – I got too fat and couldn’t shift the weight.”

“I tried everything short of an eating disorder – which I really wanted to have, actually.” As Fitperez points out, it sounds like, even as a seemingly healthy adult, she is regretting not having an eating disorder.

One interesting point raised about this statement by Kelly Turner, a Seattle-based ACE-certified personal trainer and professional health and fitness writer, is that “this proves that you can’t just wish an eating disorder into existence, you have to be predisposed and then often times something, like stress or extreme change, brings it to a head.”

Kelly is absolutely right about how mental health disorders develop. We are predisposed to certain reactions that are revealed when we pass our threshold for stress, according to the diathesis stress model. Anderson was experiencing the stress of adolescence, the destruction of her family of origin, and the competition of ballet training. It is likely that she knew people that did have an eating disorder, which may have contributed to her desire; however, that exposure also, in general, makes it more likely for a young girl to develop an eating disorder. Despite all of that, she did not develop those health-damaging behaviors.

Each of us is a role model. There is someone paying attention to your behavior. Tracy Anderson has built a career on being a role model, particularly in the area of health and fitness. Statements like this are irresponsible, but also bring into question the mindset and rational behind her “methods.” If she is willing to sacrifice her own health to “shift the weight,” it seems logical to wonder how healthy the methods she promotes really are.

As role models themselves, it would be nice to see Anderson’s celebrity clients like Madonna and Gwyneth Paltrow distance themselves from Anderson as a result of this statement. As role models, I hope that mothers consider the message Anderson would bring to their daughters if they utilize Anderson’s Method or products.

July 28th, 2011

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