All over the world, especially in the U.S. young women are trying to build new self image. They want to feel good about themselves, but are always dissatisfied with the way they look just because they don’t have the body of a model.
An eating disorder is a severe disturbance of a persons eating habits. The person’s behavior in regards to food and eating becomes noticeably different.
The 1960’s promoted the flat-chested hipless look. It began with a British Teenager named Twiggy. who was 5’7″ and 92 pounds. She was on magazine covers across the country. At this time, a woman who wanted to feel beautiful and feminine needed to loose signs that she was a female. This era, unsurprisingly brought a surge of anorexia among teenage girls.
Anorexia Nervosa or just Anorexia, is characterized by an extreme and intense fear of gaining weight, which leads the person to pursue continuous weight loss. Sometimes, a diet can begin innocently, but anorexics don’t stop at a rational point. They keep going until their lives may be threatened. Anorexics may use many methods of weight loss along with dieting and fasting. They use excessive exercise, diet pills, laxatives, diuretics, or vomiting as ways of feeling thinner or controlling calories, but whatever the method, the primary goal is thinness.
One may wonder why anorexics don’t stop dieting once they become skinny. The reason is that a major characteristic of anorexia is a problem called distorted body image. This means that anorexics look at their bodies very differently than other people do. When they look in the mirror, they never see themselves as being too thin. They “feel fat And usually overestimate their weight. If an anorexic is told she is too skinny, she is more likely to be happy than upset. Many times, anorexics don’t believe that they have a problem. Using weight reduction is just a way of coping with other pressures.
The word “anorexia” itself means lack of appetite. But that doesn’t mean anorexics aren’t hungry. Usually they do crave food and just deny their feelings. Most of them even dream about food or become focused on cooking for others. Despite their real hunger, their struggle for thinness is more important to them than anything.
Some signs of anorexia nervosa are, reduction of food intake, especially of high-calorie items, denial of hunger, especially claims of feeling full or feeling fat after a few bites of food. Also, excessive exercise in spite of fatigue, extreme fear of weight gain, strange patterns of handling food like playing with it or pushing it around on the plate but not eating it and changes in personality and behavior including increased withdrawal, irritability, nervousness, and depression.
Bulimia nervosa is characterized as binge eating and then purging their food, most commonly in the form of forced vomiting or abuse of laxatives. The word “bulimia” means “animal hunger”. Bulimics consume large amounts of food. Sometimes ten thousand or more calories during binges. Most of this food is high in carbohydrates and fats. Bulimics usually binge in secret and are ashamed of their behavior afterwards.
Bulimics purge because they feel that they need to “cleanse” and empty their body after bingeing. Bulimics share some common characteristics with anorexics. Both are preoccupied with food and weight control and use extreme methods to pursue it. Both use weight control as a substitute for personal pressures, and both anorexics and bulimics are perfectionists.
The biggest differences between bulimics and anorexics is that bulimics turn to food to cope with stress and anorexics turn away from it. Anorexics deny their problems and bulimics usually recognize their problems. Bulimics try to maintain their weight rather than to keep losing more. Though bulimics outnumber anorexics, it is much harder to recognize them. Bulimics are usually within 10 to 15 pounds of normal body weight.
We live in a culture which places much emphasis on outward appearances. People are very weight conscious and the value we place on thinness has grown in recent decades. People must try to change things and place the emphasis on what people are like on the inside not how they look on the outside.