The news that Jersey Shore’s Snooki is pregnant has people asking questions about the impact of eating disorders on pregnancy and post-natal weight loss. Every individual is different and how they have (or have not ) processed and healed from the eating disorder will determine how and to what degree they manage the weight gain of pregnancy and weight loss after the child is born.
Snooki has admitted to a dangerous bout of anorexia during high school. She has used the unbalanced Cookie Diet to help her lose weight and seems to continue to lower her goal weight. Eating disorders impact two major aspects of pregnancy – weight gain and lack of control. Weight gain may be more obvious, but despite all our efforts much about what pregnancy does to a woman’s body and how a pregnancy evolves is outside of our control.
A clearly caring eating disorders treatment specialist Christel Parker, LMFT stated, “while pregnant, women who have struggled with eating disorders often share how their changing bodies, hormones and weight gain can ramp up symptoms of their illness. That said, being pregnant and having a child can be an unparalleled motivator in the recovery process. I’ve seen many times how this motivation develops into courage and strength throughout pregnancy and after giving birth.” While pregnancy can complicate the major issues involved in an eating disorder, pregnancy can also provide the existential motivation for a women to change behaviors and find healing, placing the health of her child ahead of her own health.
With more male celebrities coming forth with wrestling divas (George Clooney is currently dating wrestling bombshell Stacy Keibler) it seems like waif thin arm candy is out and fit, toned physiques are in. Wrestling is a killer workout that can give a feminine figure some serious cuts. You have to be pretty strong to body slam someone through a table.
Imagine the confidence it takes to perform in tiny string bikinis in front of thousands of screaming fans in a wrestling ring. Or scaling a 10 foot wall in a Military-style competition to earn the title of Ms. Galaxy. You would think Wilson was the most confident chick in the world, but it wasn’t always so.
Wilson isn’t shy about discussing her eating disordered past. She admits that she was once anorexic, and then later turned bulimic. It became so bad that she landed in the hospital. In fact, it was her eating disorder that inspired her to enter the Ms. Galaxy competition. By overcoming her disease and falling in love with fitness, she has become a respected face in the fitness industry.
Her Barbie certainly looks like an exaggerated ideal, much like other cartoons and toys. Unfortunately, Galia wasn’t able to create a proportional head and used a toy to top off her life-sized Barbie, but the other proportions are dead on for what Barbie would look like if she were a real woman. While it is certainly clear that Barbie’s waistline is unrealistically thin, I would hate to see what any of Disney’s princesses would like compared to a real human body.
Barbie is just one more example of how the media favors an unrealistic ideal when it comes to body shapes and sizes. Let’s not forget He-man and G.I. Joe when we consider what toys suggest to children. There are toys and cartoons and then there are airbrushed images in magazines and movie stars. Call it unrealistic or idealism, we are surrounded from early childhood. The problem comes when we start to expect this impossibly unrealistic exaggeration from ourselves as real people. That is when we can start to see unhealthy attempts to achieve such impossible ideals and the development of eating disorders.
When British businesswoman Sarah Bird weighed in at her doctor’s office, she was shocked to discover that she was not a healthy weight, as she had believed, and that at 5’10” she weighed 238 pounds. Sarah knew that she did not have the body of a runway model, but the term “obese” was hard for her to swallow.
After Internet research confirmed her primary care physician’s diagnosis, Sarah set out on her own to lose weight, rejecting her physician’s referral to a weight loss program. She believed she had taught herself enough in years of yo-yo dieting to do it on her own. Sarah also forced herself to view herself in a full-length mirror for the first time in years, and she was shocked again at what she saw. As Sarah realized just how inaccurately she had perceived herself, she wrote a book about her experiences.