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.
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.
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.
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. (more…)
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…)