Jane and Sara are about to go out for a night of dancing. Sara arrives at Jane's house and the conversation is as follows:
Sara: "Hi, are you ready to go?"
Jane: "Almost....does this skirt make me look fat?"
Sara: "Of course not, you look great."
Jane: "No really, are you just saying that?"
Sara: "No, I mean it...but what about me, do these pants make my butt look to big?"
Jane: "You never look big. Oh, I wish I could be as small as you. Maybe I should change into something different. You look so cute in that outfit, and I feel like a fat cow compared to you."
Sara: "Jane, you look great, let's just go. I swear, we go through this every time we have to go out."
Jane: "I know, but I can't help it. I just feel so yuck sometimes, ya know? And when we're at the club I'll see all those girls that are going to be so much skinnier than me...okay, I'll get over it…let's go."
Do you ever have these types of conversations with your friends? And for the men out there, do you ever have these types of conversations with your girlfriends or wives?
In our society today there is a lot of emphasis on body size:
The debate about whether or not Calista Flockhart (Alle McBeal) has anorexia. I think there was an article in People, a conversation on Entertainment Tonight, and probably other magazines I didn't see. Is that debate over yet? And it's not only a big deal if you're too thin, but also criticism if you're too large. I won't even say fat. Remember when Miss America gained weight and they threatened to take her crown away if she didn't lose it? Ridiculous!
As women, we are bombarded with messages about how thin we should be. Just look at any magazine, and you'll see tons of articles about "how to lose that extra 10 pounds," "how to not gain weight during the holidays," "how to make guiltless desserts," and many more. Men are becoming more pressured too these days about the way they look. It's becoming an accepted way of life.
Of course we all want to be healthy and look good, but the problem comes when people go to extremes:
when your eating habits endanger your health
when eating or worries about your body take over your life
when food becomes the enemy or a punishing experience, rather than something to enjoy and take pleasure in.
WHAT IS AN EATING DISORDER?
Anorexia Nervosa: People who have this disorder have a distorted body image. They think they are fat, even when they are dangerously underweight. They often refuse to eat anything, or eat very small amounts. They may exercise to excess to further reduce their weight. This is a dangerous disorder and many people who have it may suffer serious medical complications.
Bulimia Nervosa: People with this disorder binge and purge. Binging involves eating a large quantity of food (although, some people consider a normal meal a binge) followed by purging behavior, such as vomiting, excessive exercise, or use of laxatives, enemas or diuretics. They purge so that they won't gain weight. Although the binge is shameful and they often feel guilty afterward, purging the food is often accompanied by a feeling of relief. They often feel ashamed of their behavior and don't want anyone to know what they are doing. Bulimia can also cause medical problems such as electrolyte imbalance.
Other complications with eating can include:
People who binge and do not purge. They feel their eating is out of control.
People may feel that they are thinking about their body size too much (they may eat normally, but feel that they are worried about it often).
What is normal eating you ask? You eat when you are hungry and stop when you are full. You eat according to what your body feels. Sometimes you may eat more than you want (on Thanksgiving for example), but you are not worried about it, and don't have to starve yourself the next day as a punishment.
To get more information about what causes eating disorders, who suffers from eating disorders, and what type of treatment you should get if you suspect you have one, you have a few options:
Visit websites to find out more information:
- Visit a local bookstore and look under the self-help or psychology section. There are usually many books on eating disorders. Some are factual accounts of people who have suffered from an eating disorder, and other books give specific facts.
Come to PCS to talk with someone, or email us for additional information.