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national eating disorders awareness week



Eating Disorders Can Hide Behind a Guise of Health

It used to be that eating disorders were just about being thinner than everyone else. But that’s no longer the case. Now you have to be stronger, fitter, and healthier than everyone else too. Since this week is National Eating Disorder Awareness Week (February 24-March 1) it seems like the perfect time to talk about the new ways disordered eating is surfacing.

fitsperation

Though not an officially recognized eating disorder, there is a growing trend in orthorexia or an obsession with health. Many people, especially teenagers, associate health with the number on the scale or how they look in the mirror. Both of those can be good baseline for determining health, but there’s a lot more to it than how big your thighs are.


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Life Size Barbie Shows Young Girls the Dangers of Unrealistic Body Expectations

Galia Slayen has gotten a lot of attention for building a life-sized Barbie to help bring awareness for National Eating Disorder Awareness Week.

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.


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Yoga: A New Way to Treat an Eating Disorder

In honor of National Eating Disorders Awareness Week (February 22 – 28), we are investigating what some of the most current and effective therapies for treating this devastating disease.

As yoga has been met with open arms here in the West, medical science has also been quick to embrace this 5,000-year old Indian tradition. Recently, yoga has been used to address the psychological factors that enable a full-blown eating disorder like anorexia or bulimia. In fact, some of the most prominent eating disorder treatment centers in the country, like the Renfrew Center in Coconut Creek, Fla., and New York Presbyterian Hospital in White Plains, N.Y., incorporate gentle, meditative yoga courses into their regular treatment plan.
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Celebrities Who’ve Battled Eating Disorders

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.

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.
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Educate Yourself During National Eating Disorders Awareness Week

national eating disorders awareness weekFebruary 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.
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