Friday, 29 June 2012

An Obsession with being Skinny- My story

Eating Disorders: My Story

Today I thought I should write about an issue some of us try to avoid. I know it has been said so many times but this is my story. I for example try to avoid talking about eating disorders because everyone I know thinks I do have an eating disorder because I eat less. I never really vomited my food or avoided eating but I was just picky. I hated eating certain food and that worried my family. There was a point where I had to be watched while I was eating and got holiday promises whenever I ate a good amount because I was slim. Fortunately I was not anorexic. I was not obsessed with being slim or attracted to the model pictures in the magazines. I simply had an appetite of a canary. Even now my eating as an adult makes people uncomfortable because they think it’s too little and from time to time bad as it I go after cakes and other fattening foods without any sign of putting on weight. Could be my genes. Anyway so much for me. People are different. However there are many signs that parents can check to see if their kids have eating disorders. It is after all both a physical and psychological problem that can be sorted out once discovered early.

What causes eating disorders?

Eating disorders may develop partly in response to difficult life experiences such as abuse or social pressures arising in puberty and in growing up. They are also more common in cultures where it is considered desirable to be slim. Genetic factors seem to be important, especially in anorexia. Sometimes people with an eating disorder are depressed, and they may have obsessions.

Anorexia: a psychological disorder characterized by somatic delusions that you are too fat despite being emaciated.

Anorexia generally starts in the middle teenage years, and by the age of 15, can affect as many as one girl in every 150 a research found out. Often they've been mildly overweight, and perhaps teased about this. Although it is rare, anorexia can occur in boys too.

It usually starts with normal dieting, but for the anorexic, dieting becomes a central aspect of life, and continues until the girl is far below the normal weight for her age and height. There is evidence that the anorexic's perception of her size and shape becomes distorted, so while to others she looks gruesomely skeletal, she may still complain of looking and feeling "fat".

Signs that a child may be anorexic include:

  • She prefers baggy and enveloping clothes that disguise how thin she is.
  • She may take great interest in buying food, collecting recipes, and cooking for others.
  • She may make a great show of eating salads and anything else that will contribute very little towards gaining weight.
  • A layer of fine downy hair may start growing all over her body.
  • She stops menstruating.
  • She may exercise intensively.
  • She may take slimming medicines and laxatives to drive her weight down.
Seek Help.

Bulimia: a cycle of overeating, Does this sound familiar?

This is another case but it affects adults and teenagers as well.

The prevalence of bulimia among teenage girls and young women is 1% to 3%, and the rate of occurrence in men is approximately one tenth that seen in women. According to Prof Simpson, bulimia may arise on its own or develop in someone already anorexic.

In addition to behaviours typical of anorexia, bulimics have episodes of "binge eating", when they consume huge amounts of fattening foods, then privately vomit it all up, feeling deeply guilty. These chaotic eating patterns may cause fluctuating weight, and they may maintain an average closer to the norm, and thus be less noticeable.

Signs that a person may be bulimic, include:

Recurrent episodes of binge eating, which may involve eating in a discrete period of time (e.g. within any two-hour period) an amount of food that is definitely larger than most people would eat during a similar period of time and under similar circumstances.

  • A sense of lack of control over eating during the episode.
  • She may exercise intensively.
  • She may take slimming medicines and laxatives to drive her weight down.
If you are worried that your child could be anorexic or bulimic, check his/her behaviour against these signs and symptoms. If you can identify a pattern of behaviour that fits in with the signs and symptoms, your child needs help. Both anorexia and bulimia can have a serious negative impact on health and may cause severe organ damage.


Anorexia and bulimia are complex disorders that can dramatically impact a person's thoughts, feelings, behaviors and health. While no solitary cause is known for eating disorders, a number of factors contribute. If you or a loved one exhibit signs of anorexia or bulimia, such as obsession with weight loss, depression or a distorted body image, seek guidance from your doctor.

Negative Influence of Others

Family members, peers or others who pressure a person to lose weight or place excessive value on aesthetic appearance or body size increase a person's risk for developing anorexia or bulimia. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC), perpetual prodding by a parent to lose weight increases a child's risk for eating disorders significantly. Criticizing a child's weight may increase her risk for binging and purging behaviors later in life. Coaches who emphasize weight loss as a means of improving athletic performance, particularly in activities such as gymnastics, dancing, wrestling and cross country running, may also trigger the onset of anorexia or bulimia.

Psychological Factors

Psychological factors, such as low self-esteem, depression and anxiety, may contribute to anorexia and bulimia. According to NEDA, a sense of personal inadequacy or helplessness to control situations may also contribute. People with eating disorders often respond to negative self-perceptions and beliefs by attempting to control their body weight and food intake. They commonly place a high value on thinness and believe that weight loss is the remedy for their problems. These harmful coping mechanisms lead to obsession with weight loss and dietary restriction, which further perpetuate psychological disturbances.

Cultural Pressure

United States media and culture tend to celebrate and emphasize thinness and specific types of aesthetic beauty. According to research published in the "International Journal of Eating Disorders" in 2006, an investigation of America's current societal depictions of the ideal female physique revealed that "Playboy" magazine centerfolds and Miss America pageant contestants have been reducing in body weight since the 1980s, at which time the women pictured were 13 to 19 percent below the anticipated body weight. Meanwhile, fad diet and exercise-themed articles in women's magazines have increased substantially. While health-related magazines and media are not considered negative, NEDA suggests that the narrow way in which women are personified throughout the media may contribute to eating disorders.
Let's face it,the skinny jeans culture is affecting many people.

 Hereditary Genes

A family history of eating disorders increases a person's risk for developing anorexia and bulimia. According to UMMC, anorexia is eight times more likely to occur in people related to someone with the disorder. In addition, certain chromosomes have been identified that may be associated with anorexia and bulimia. While additional research is needed, some doctors believe that genetic factors are a primary cause of eating disorders. The National Eating Disorder Association (NEDA) suggests that individuals with eating disorders may have unbalanced brain chemicals that relate to hunger, appetite-control and digestion
Eating disorders have no boundaries so be on the lookout for relatives and friends who might have this problem and support them where ever you are. A friend of mine had bulimia and because of lack of support committed suicide so take it seriously. Whatever the case might be please seek help.

Remember help is there.

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