As we continue to bring awareness to National Eating Disorders Awareness Week (February 22 – February 28), it is fitting that we highlight some of the more well-known cases of eating disorders that have affected some of Hollywood’s most talented starlets.
Nicole Richie and Victoria Beckham are well-known faces of eating disorders.
Tinseltown is known for its hypercritical attitude toward body image and weight. Female entertainers, by far, bear the sharper brunt of this fierce and oftentimes unfair sword than their male colleagues. From the latest media-bashing of Jessica Simpson to the dissection of Hollywood’s new mom’s post-baby bodies, there is little wonder why as many as 10 million females (and 1 million males) are fighting a life and death battle with an eating disorder such as anorexia or bulimia and millions more are struggling with binge eating disorder, according to the National Eating Disorder Association.
While no one wants to see anyone suffering from a disorder of any kind, celebrities who have been forthright about their weight struggles open up a dialogue for the rest of us who may be too shamed or too fearful to voice our stories.
Here is a look at the more well-publicized cases of eating disorders in young Hollywood women. (more…)
February 22-28, 2009 is National Eating Disorders Awareness Week. Eating disorders are serious, often life threatening, conditions that effect sufferer’s mentally, physically, and emotionally. Eating disorders generally include an unhealthy relationship with food and one’s own body image. Eating disorders effect millions of Americans and include anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge eating, and orthorexia nervosa. The causes of eating disorders are complicated and not fully known; psychological issues, low self-esteem, trauma, interpersonal difficulties, cultural norms, learning, and biological factors can all be part of the problem. Treatment can also be very complicated and should be done by professionals. Treatment should include psychological and nutritional counseling; it may include inpatient treatment and medication management. (more…)
In order to help people better understand eating disorders, here are explanations of anorexia, bulimia, binge eating and orthorexia. If you or someone you know is suffering from any of these symptoms, please contact a therapist or doctor in your area right away.
Anorexia Nervosa is diagnosed when one refuses to maintain a healthy body weight, experiences an intense fear of gaining weight and a distorted body image, and has not experienced a menstrual cycles for three months in a row (in females). A BMI less than 18.5 in adults generally suggests Anorexia Nervosa. Those with this disorder are often secretive, exercise excessively, drastically restrict their intake of food, and practice other forms of self-harm. Other effects of this disorder include decreased libido, thinning hair, growth of lanugo (delicate down-like hair), consistent feeling of coldness, zinc deficiency, reduced white blood cell count, reduced immunity, sunken eyes, swollen ankles, tooth decay, constipation, dry skin, dry lips, dry hair, poor circulation, headaches, easily bruised, brittle fingernails, fainting, and starvation. (more…)
According to NEDA, 4 in 10 Americans have had or know someone who has had an eating disorder.
Over these seven days, those touched and affected by an eating disorder will take part in events that foster awareness for eating disorders. Sponsored by the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA), the organization is bringing people together to share their stories, information, ideas and hope in order to rally support for those impacted by an eating disorder.
Our body-obsessed culture is taking its toll on our health. From obesity to anorexia, while eating disorders are psychologically-based, there a host of environmental factors that enable a seemingly benign thought about body image to cascade into a full-blown disorder. (more…)
It was way too easy to find the background information needed for this blog. I use Google.com enough to consider Google a verb. This search was frighteningly easy. Recently, I cautioned against inaccurate and even dangerous information on the internet. The internet can be a fabulous tool to find the information you need to help you achieve your goals; but like most information, you have to consider the source and accuracy of the information presented.
The DSM-IV classifies Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimia Nervosa as eating disorders, but there are a slew of websites that market these mental illnesses as lifestyle choices. The nicknames “Ana” and “Mia” for these disorders not only make them more user-friendly, but personify them as a friend to young girls. Pro-ana websites are being used as peer support groups to encourage weight loss beyond the limits of health. Whether it is an online community or an informational site, you are likely to find:
Secrets on hiding these disorders and weight loss from parents, physicians, and others.
Crash dieting techniques, low calorie foods, and recipes
Ways to “trick” your body, avoid cravings, and ignore hunger (more…)
It’s not just the pressure from fashion magazines and the Hollywood elite to be thin. For athletes, being thin means more. From making your weight to increasing your speed, the pressure for athletes to keep their weight at a certain level equates to pleasing coaches and securing a victory.
Even though men are not totally immune from eating disorders, by and large, the majority of eating disorder cases affect females. Most often, it strikes females in the late adolescent and college years and comes in the form of anorexia nervosa or bulimia. According to the organization Athletes with Eating Disorders, female athletes are at a double risk for developing an eating disorder. On one hand, she has the constant social pressure to be as thin as a model in a magazine or an actress on television; as an athlete, her sport often overvalues performance, low body fat, and promotes an idealized, unrealistic body size. Female athletes that participate in sports that value appearance and a lean body like figure skating or gymnastics, are more prone to developing an eating disorder.
When an athlete steps up and admits of a past or current eating disorder, she (or he) should be lauded for their courage and openness. One such sports figure is swimmer Dara Torres. Dara, who just also happens to be 41 and a mother of a toddler, is about to vy for a gold medal at her fifth Olympics this summer in Beijing. In a recent interview, she openly discussed the pressure to be thin and make weight as a swimmer back in her college years. When the scales were tipping to high for her coaches’ likes, a friend in her dormitory showed her how to be a bulimic.
Dara’s bulimia lasted for about five years and during those years as a bulimic she competed in the 1988 Olympics and was ranked Number One in the world for 100 freestyle. But she placed seventh in the ’88 Olympics. When she decided to try out for the ’92 Olympics team, she realized that she could never make it if she continued on with her bulimia. Even though she was making weight, she had no energy. So Dara decided to quit. Just like that. Cold turkey.
Fast-forward 16 years and one pregnancy later and you have Dara’s inspiring physical and mental condition sending a clear message to all of us, including her young daughter: If you treat your body with respect and protection, its power can surpass your wildest expectations.
Do you know what a “pro-ana” website is? It’s not new, but the idea is considered just as dangerous as ever before. Pro-ana is short for pro-anorexic. As crazy as it sounds, yes, there are websites that promote anorexia as a good thing for some ungodly reason. It’s thought that there are over 500 pro-ana and pro-mia (pro-bulimia) websites. It’s because of this that opponents are working with social networking websites to combat the phenomenon. More on this subject here.
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