Tag Archives: eating disorders

Minnie Mouse and Friends Runway Makeover Leaves Some Up in Arms

Coming this fall, the world will see that Disney went on a diet. Well, not really, but classic Disney characters will be seen in a brand new role as skinny runway fashion models.

Disney has partnered with Barney’s Department store for their 2012 holiday campaign called “Electric Holiday.” Rina Raphael of TODAY reported on this story on Today’s “Look.” The ads will highlight the classic Disney characters like Minnie Mouse, Goofy, and Daisy Duck. The campaign is also intended to be a reflection of Disneyland’s famous Electric Parade.

The visuals of the Barney’s ads portray the characters as runway models. As the creative director and team began fitting the toons into the high-end couture clothing, they ran into a problem: Minnie and her friends did not wear the animated clothes well in their round physiques. The solution was to elongate and change the shapes of the classic characters. Now, images of a very slender Minnie Mouse and friends are causing quite a stir. Some are even saying Minnie looks anorexic.

Oh my – what is the right response to this? Shame the creators who took our beloved round-figured cartoons and turned them into an impossibly thin model? Or, do we just go with it and not worry because they’re just drawings? Is this reinforcing negative images of beauty to our young children, especially young girls? Is Minnie now the new bad role model? (more…)

Pro-Anorexia Sites Are Dangerous for Those Struggling with Disordered Eating

If you want to talk about a touchy subject, bring up the term “anorexia” and eyebrows will quickly raise and the room will become uncomfortably quiet. The reality is, there’s a relatively high chance that someone you know has either privately or publicly struggled with an eating disorder. Because so many remain private in their dealings with disorders like anorexia, pro-anorexia or ‘pro-ana websites‘ that provide resources and support – two terms used loosely and subjectively in this context – have become a big presence online, and a big problem from a mental health standpoint. 

Bailey, 29 (who wished to leave her last name anonymous), became anorexic when she was 17, but had always struggled with self image growing up. Though she was never overweight, she felt uncomfortable in her athletic body so she started to severely restrict her diet. Bailey’s 5 foot 6 frame shrunk from 135 pounds to 105 pounds, whittling her hourglass shape to one that she describes as looking “very sick.”

Knowing she needed help after nearly skimming 100 pounds, Bailey sought treatment, which ultimately turned out to be a disappointment. “I found therapy frustrating because it was focused around getting me back up to weight, not why I was doing these things,” she recalls. “I can’t say for sure what healed me, but I believe it was…realizing that I was all I had, so I had to take care of me.”

Now, years later and on the other side of anorexia, Bailey can easily say that pro-anorexia sites do very little good, if any, to actually stem anorexia. “In my opinion, they teach people to be better anorexics – which isn’t a good thing,” she said. What I needed was strengths counseling – a safe arena in which to air my feelings, and support to retrain myself to eat for a healthy life, not an imaginary body.”

As for whether or not she’s fully recovered from anorexia, Bailey said it’s been a process that she thinks may never end. “I still struggle with this at times, and it’s still tough,” she admits. “I don’t think it’s a disease that anyone ever ‘gets over.’ They just have ‘more ordered eating’ than ‘disordered eating.'” (more…)

Eating Disorders Among Youth on the Rise, Parents Must Intervene

“I started not eating breakfast. And I remember one day I brought Greek fat free yogurt to lunch and I only ate strawberries. I started cutting back, and I guess I was cutting back a lot more.”

These are the words of Jessica (whose name has been changed to protect her identity), a now 13-year-old girl who suffered from an eating disorder for more than a year before admitting she needed help.

This is just one instance of an alarming new trend that surfaced regarding eating disorders among children. According to new study from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, cases are on the rise. An article from CNN reported that findings show hospitalizations for eating disorders in children under the age of 12 have increased by 119 percent between 1999 and 2006.

Just a few of the effects of eating disorders include extreme weight loss, low energy levels, low iron counts, and hair loss. These are signs more and more dietitians are seeing in children coming into their offices.

An issue that has remained largely in the dark displays how problematic a person’s relationship with food can be at any age. An eating disorder can start any number of ways. For Jessica, it was when she stepped on her parents’ scale and thought the number was high. That moment sparked a heightened awareness of her weight. And that awareness, coupled with bullies in her class calling her fat, led her to start severely restricting what she ate in an effort to get thin. (more…)

Kristen Stewart’s Breakup Diet is Pushing Her Toward an Eating Disorder

After a nasty split with Twilight co-star Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart is apparently not doing well. The Hollywood actress is subsisting primarily on Red Bull and cigarettes while keeping as low a profile as possible.

A source close to her also said Stewart is looking pale and worn-out. Stewart and Pattinson’s relationship lasted nearly four years and ended when Stewart admitted to an affair with her Snow White and the Huntsman director Rupert Sanders.

The insider said, “Kristen is a nervous wreck and existing on a diet of cigarettes, sugar-free Red Bull and the occasional bag of potato chips…Whenever anyone tries to push her to eat even a small bowl of soup, she either claims that she’s just had something, which isn’t true, or that she’s nauseous and there’s no chance of keeping anything down.” (more…)

Women with Eating Disorders More Likely to be Vegetarian, Study Finds

At various points in my life I’ve attempted to be a loyal vegetarian. But for whatever reason I could never quite make the commitment, be it my ultimate love for well-seasoned chicken or my lack of ethical reservations concerning animal consumption.

My reasons for attempting to go meat-free ranged from health to just trying something new to even shedding a few pounds when I felt meat was packing on unwanted weight. But according to a new study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, going vegetarian for weight loss isn’t as uncommon as you might think. And furthermore, meat-free diets are being linked more often to people who struggle with eating disorders.

The study suggests that women who are suffering from eating disorders are four times more likely to be vegetarian than women without eating disorders. While I don’t feel I personally fell into this category, it’s important to point out that a vegetarian or vegan diet can very easily become a person’s socially acceptable means of avoiding certain foods in order to lose weight.  (more…)

Keeping a Food Journal Helps Women Lose Weight, Study Finds

There may be one more reason to put pen to paper when it comes to tracking what you eat, especially if you’re a woman.

A new study from the Fred Hutchison Cancer Research Center in Seattle, Washington, found that women who keep food journals, skip fewer meals and eat out for lunch less frequently lose more weight than women who don’t.

To conduct the year-long study, researchers tracked the eating habits of 123 overweight or obese post-menopausal women who were following a weight loss regimen. At the end of the study, the women had lost an average of 19 pounds, or roughly 11 percent of their starting weight.

The majority of the women were advised to follow a 1,200 to 2,000 calorie-a-day diet, depending on their needs, and record everything they ate in a food journal.

Researchers speculate that the women successfully lost weight because writing down what you eat forces you to become more accountable and stick closely to your weight loss program. (more…)

Women Over 50 Still at Risk for Eating Disorders, Study Shows

Eating disorder is typically a term we throw around when referring to young girls or teens struggling with their weight and body image and resort to abusing food to solve the problem. But few people consider that eating disorders can affect more than just 18-year-old girls; they can affect middle-aged women, too.

A new study from the University of Carolina School of Medicine found that many women over the age of 50 struggle with the same issues as females half their age when it comes to body image and diet.

Researchers surveyed nearly 1,850 women concerning their diet and behavioral patterns in order to get a better idea of current and past eating disorder symptoms, body image struggles, and weight concerns in women 50 and older. With the study, researchers were hoping to better understand whether eating disorder symptoms in the past were associated with disordered eating behaviors and attitudes later in life. (more…)

Gymnasts Speak Out About the Dark Side of Their Sport

The 2012 Summer Olympics are just a few weeks away! Many have been reflecting back on previous games and the inspiring feats that have been performed. Among Team USA’s proudest memories is the 1996 Women’s Gymnastic team. They were known as “the Magnificent Seven” and the first and only American women’s team to take home the gold. Just this past week one of the members of that 1996 team released her memoir about the darker side of that triumphant time in her life and opened doors to see how many in the sport fought similar battles.

Dominique Moceanu was a history-maker. At the age of 14 she was the youngest gymnast in history to win an Olympic gold medal. She was a fan favorite and known for her charming smile. This amazing athlete is all grown up now. She’s a wife and a mother of two. She just released “Off Balance,” a book detailing her struggles as a young gymnast. Specifically she relays the abuse she took from her famous coach, Bela Karolyi. Moceanu explains how her coaches severely restricted her diet and called her names like “picky” and “fat.”

Disordered eating is a common problem among gymnasts and it’s devastating to hear it can be the result of a coach’s prodding. However, is that always the case? In Moceanu’s it was true, but it’s refreshing to learn that not all coaches and gyms take young athletes down this dangerous road. (more…)

Body Dysmorphic Disorder: Double the Risk of Suicide with Poor Body Image

Another risk for dieters has shown itself with body dysmorphic disorder. Researched published this spring shows that the chance for suicide in those with the disorder increase by 50 percent. The study, published in the journal Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior, theorizes that because it takes a high pain tolerance to essentially starve oneself, that person also has the pain tolerance to undergo a painful suicide attempt. Researchers also reported that 25 percent of people with the disorder have attempted suicide and 75 percent thought their lives were not worth living.

To have body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) means to have an obsession with a real or imagined flaw in one’s body image. This condition has long been known to be dangerous and life threatening. It’s also known as “broken mirror syndrome,” a reference to BDD sufferers’ tendency to stare at themselves in the mirror for hours agonizing over a small defect in their appearance. They often become somewhat delusional, for instance seeing great amounts of fat on their body where there is not.

Although gender stereotypes suggest that women are more likely to have this disorder, the gender ratio is fairly equal. Both men and women with BDD commonly see flaws with their facial features, skin, or weight. Patients sometimes seek to improve their appearance by extreme dieting, cosmetic surgery, or excessive amounts of exercise. (more…)

Vogue Sets New Standards for Underage and ‘Too Thin’ Models

Good news for the fashion industry – and the world abroad. Vogue Magazine is committing to no longer using underaged models, or models who appear to be too thin.

Specifically, the company and worldwide fashion leader has agreed to “not unknowingly work with models under the age of 16 or who appear to have an eating disorder.” And in addition, they’re also establishing a mentoring program for younger models, and encouraging designers to make clothes a more realistic size as to encourage models to be at a healthier weight.

In a statement issued by Conde Nast, the publisher’s International Chairman Jonathan Newhouse said, “Vogue believes that good health is beautiful. Vogue Editors around the world want the magazines to reflect their commitment to the health of the models who appear on the pages and the well-being of their readers.”

This was exciting news for Sara Ziff, a model discovered as a teen who has since founded the Model Alliance – an organization dedicated to improving the working conditions of models and persuading the industry to better care for its young models. (more…)