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Eating Disorders

Fitness for mind and body.

Most likely you have all heard of the most common two eating disorders:

  1. Bulimia -- food bingeing followed by purging
  2. Anorexia Nervosa -- self induced starvation

These are two serious problems our society faces yet it is that very same society that has inflicted these disorders on us. The statistics of these two eating disorders are alarming. The bulk of Americans today suffering from these eating disorders are among adolescent girls and young women.

Anorexic eating disorders

Statistics are worthy of taking note of. Following are the statistics of the average model. Take note of the extreme difference to the average American woman!

Statistics of the average model:

  1. The average model is 5 feet 11 inches tall.
  2. The average model weighs in at 117 pounds.

Statistics of the average American woman:

  1. The average American woman is around 5 feet 4 inches tall.
  2. The average American woman weighs in at around 140 pounds.

The above statistics are healthy, normal and much more realistic than those of the so-called super models that damage their bodies all for the need to conform to the demands of the manifestations of what has become a collective insanity of an entire society.

Some difference, isn't it? As a result of this "thin is in" mentality, and if these statistics are to seriously be considered the way a woman should look, that means that 98 percent of American women do not meet today's standard.

These statistics are quite a change from those of a century ago. First of all, anorexia and bulimia were extremely rare whereas today these eating disorders afflict more than eight million Americans. Also, a century ago women who were a little "plump" were considered beautiful and desirable. This was considered the look of a healthy, normal woman. If too thin, a woman was thought to be "delicate", "sickly" and "ailing".

What brought about this change in society's image of what the appearance of a "beautiful and desirable" woman should look like? Several things of which include Twiggy, scarecrow thin models, corset thin waistlines parading across TV screens, magazines with this same look splashing pictures not only on the cover of their magazines, but throughout the entire magazine as well.

The delusion of body fat being ugly and something to be ashamed of runs rampant. Our male dominated culture is obsessed with the appearance of the thin female. So obsessed, in fact, all too often the importance of the inner substance of a woman is completely excluded by our male counter parts. There is absolutely no excuse for this, but before you get too harsh on the men in your life, do keep in mind they, too, are victims of the stereotyping and need to re-think their own priorities. Any reasonably intelligent man who thinks for himself will and should see this upon some reflection. Those who don't, aren't worth worrying about.

Everyday Woman So many have bought into this image-is-everything scam, recent surveys show that 80 percent of women feel dissatisfied with their bodies, their overall physical appearance and of course, their weight. Think about that -- over 80 percent! How many friends and-or acquaintances do you come across that look perfectly fine and healthy to you, yet they will complain about their weight? Every one of those examples is a case in point.

Psychological Effects of Our Society

Those who suffer from these eating disorders are proof positive of the psychological effects of our society as a whole. While anorexia and bulimia are sometimes thought of as a psychological problem, this is not entirely true. When a psychiatrist has a patient complain of specific ailments, the psychiatrist will attempt to look inside the person's psyche or their brain chemistry for an imbalance. Eating disorders are an exception. They are not caused by the usual struggles of a mental illness such as family dysfunction, they are, rather, a result of our culture at large i.e., all of us.

To a person who was not obese in the first place, yet feels this need and overwhelming desire to be thin and to conform to society's standards, they may use a diet product to lose weight, but within five years they gain it all back. Some even gain more back than they lost.

Anorexia and bulimia are not disorders one can demand someone "get over" in short order. Since eating disorders are caused by a victim mentality, not a mental illness, many will say one needs to take personal responsibility, which in most cases, one should; however, it simply isn't that cut and dried with eating disorders. Modifying one's brain chemistry or thought processes will not cure this problem. What will help and even cure it, is a change in our attitude towards just what is "beautiful" or "acceptable". Not only our personal attitudes, societies as a whole need a good work over.

To truly help those with eating disorders we now need to rally against this image of the stick thin, sickly looking model type and the insistence one needs to be thin, or skinny, to be acceptable. Another fact to rally against is men who tout stick thin women as our physical role models. They aren't doing themselves any favors, either as mentioned previously. They could easily bypass the best thing that could happen to them, i.e., the right woman who will be true, honest, loving and a real life companion, merely to have a "trophy" on their arm that offers nothing more than just that. Well, maybe a huge debt, too.

We can also take a good hard, honest look at ourselves after we are done shaking our fists at those who keep this misconception alive. We need to stop denigrating each other. We must also stop slamming ourselves and believing we are "fat", or "plump" -- what, as previously mentioned, was to prior generations considered healthy looking. Quit pining over anorexic starlets and models that, in reality, are spending excessive amounts of time in compulsive exercising and near and detrimental starvation that, in bulimia victims, is followed by bingeing and purging. Not only are they beating up their bodies, but that is a very unrealistic agenda to follow for the average American woman running a household, raising children, enjoying grandchildren, etc.

Society now sends a message to children that says nothing, not health, not happiness and even not life, is more important than attaining our societal standards of beauty. This is damaging to their self-esteem. Speak out against this preposterous conception. You have solid, cold, hard facts as to why this needs to be stopped. Data, statistics and health records are there to back you up.

To be obese is most certainly a health threat and being overweight can cause health problems. Do not take those matters lightly. There is no disputing these facts, yet one must be realistic in their determination as to whether or not they are truly too heavy. If so, talk to your doctor about realistic weight goals. When you feel as though you should look like a model, remember how destructive that is to your body and that only 2 percent of the population in America is truly that thin. Stick with the 98 percent of us who are normal! Normal is good. Normal is realistic and most importantly, normal is healthy!!

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