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Body dysmorphia, anorexia, eating disorders

December 17, 2010

Hello and Happy Holidays!

Instead of writing about the norm this time of year (how to keep those holiday pounds off-you already know how to do that, I think), I’d like to address something that is very near and dear to my heart.  Just the other day, as I was running, I saw a woman was who obviously anorexic.  The sight broke my heart, as I have been in those shoes when I was a competitive runner in college.  Not quite anorexic, but thin enough to provoke a stare or two when I was out running myself.  I completely denied the disorder because I didn’t think anything was wrong with me.  Take a look at the definition of body dysmorphia here:

Over ten years later and completely over body dysmorphia issues (I think all women have some issues but body dysmorphia is a bit more extreme), I wonder why women do this to themselves.  Why we starve ourselves to be so thin that we look skeletal (really, does that look good?), poke at body parts we deem to be “imperfect”, or wish we looked like someone else more pretty and more thin (those women in magazines don’t even look like themselves, you know, it’s called good lighting, a good make-up artist, a good photographer, and airbrushing).  We obsess over celebrities, noting every pound lost or gained (as if they aren’t human, we rip them to shreds when they’ve gained a few pounds, actually looking normal).  We expect our bodies to not have an ounce of fat where it’s completely normal, such as the stomach, hips, inner thighs, buttocks, etc.  I’m sorry, but I’m not 12 anymore, I’m in my 30’s, and I’m okay with having body fat in places where it should be.

Everyone has a right to look how they want, that’s not my place to judge or tell others what is best for them.  However, as a trainer, I wish that every woman (and man) would love the bodies they have now, and stop criticizing themselves or others.  I have wasted so much energy thinking about my body in the past, about food, or about gaining a pound or two-and what for? Who was I trying to please? I certainly didn’t look good and I wasn’t very happy with myself.  Such precious time wasted!

I am just grateful I am in a better place today, and these thoughts rarely come into my mind.  If they do, I simply put it out of my mind! Life is way too short to be obsessed with such things.  I am also grateful I went through these things at a young age, so now I can help women who suffer from these disorders, as I’m not dealing with them today.

I’m not saying to completely abandon wanting to improve your body. Not at all! Rather, think about becoming the healthiest version of you that you can be, whatever that may mean.  For me it means eating well, living a balanced life, going out with friends, being active and strong. What does it mean for you?

Until next time, love yourself! You are perfect!

12 Comments leave one →
  1. Scarlett permalink
    December 17, 2010 4:35 am

    I respect your ideas and applaud your message about positive body image and self-acceptance. However, I’d just like to point out that for quite a number of eating-disordered individuals, appearance and beauty has little to nothing to do with the compulsion to starve or purge or compulsively exercise. I’ve been living with an eating disorder for 10 years, and never once has my motivation been to look pretty or attract attention or appeal to a socially-glorified aesthetic. Anorexia and bulimia are psychological illnesses which are often internally driven, a poorly-developed coping mechanism or the manifestation of chemical imbalances, fueled at times by comorbid conditions or a history of abuse or sexual trauma. Yes, in some people the desire to lose weight may spiral out of control and lead to disordered patterns of eating; in those predisposed to EDs, this could even be the proverbial last straw. But magazine covers and celebrity airbrushing are not the cause of eating disorders; a glance through the archives of medieval “anorexia mirabilis” will make a compelling statement that the urge to self-deny and self-destruct is far stronger than any media campaign.

    • December 17, 2010 6:58 pm

      Thank you so much for your comment. I do understand the deeper issues that people with eating disorders cope with, although maybe not on the same level as you or anyone else struggling for a prolonged period of time. What fueled my blog was a post I saw from another person in the fitness industry pointing out her ‘fat stomach’ when clearly she’s in tip top shape. I’m not sure why it was said, but I think these comments can be irresponsible, as there are many women and men who cope with a serious disorder. I see a lot of these things happening, and although you’re right, they may not cause someone to spiral into an eating diorder, it certainly doesn’t help. A small comment like that sparked my disordered eating and thoughts.

      Thank you again, your comment was well stated and very much appreciated.

      • Kim permalink
        December 18, 2010 5:05 am

        This was so great. I have also had the same issues. Thank you so much for this. I used to be 92 lbs in college and I am a marathon runner. Now I eat all the time and I am a healthy 110. Still has issues some days with the way I look but it helps knowing other also struggle. Thanks again

      • December 18, 2010 8:49 pm

        You’re welcome! I’m glad you are doing better. And no, you’re not alone in this. :o)

  2. March 26, 2011 3:59 am

    I wanted to branch off of Scarlett’s comment. I knew various people with eating disorders and everyone of them had the problem due to lack of self confidence and the extreme desire to be thin. I have never heard of the other even though I am sure it exists. I would venture to say though that most eating disorders are built upon what Jeanette was saying and that is due to peer pressure and the media.

  3. April 12, 2011 5:54 am

    Ladies and gentleman i like to say simple but important issue, every body is allowed to eat every thing but requested do some work out to loose those extra calories from their body. The proverb goes “no pain no gain”. If you like to take the taste of delicious food then you have to pay some time for that. If you only eat, no work out, you will definitely put on and you have to consult a diet consultant.

  4. May 13, 2011 12:02 pm

    You do look good in your current shape. Good fat is not bad at all it is something that a body should have as recommended by family physicians.

  5. May 17, 2011 8:20 am

    Thank a lot dear for your great post. I really amazed to read all the deeper issues of eating disorders. Eating disorders are the main issues in those people who love to eat much. After that they fell in fat problems and obesity. Fact is actually main root of all the major and fatal diseases. For these issues, you can get Zeolite, that will help you in all aspects related to the health.

  6. July 5, 2012 6:11 am

    Many eating disorders begin with a vegetarian or vegan diet. If you don’t eat meat or animal protein, you don’t get tryptophan, the building blocks of serotonin. Without serotonin, you will become depressed, anxious, and may have obsessive-complusive disorders (to which anorexia is similar – obsessively counting calories, etc). This leads down the pathway to eating disorders. Please read an amazing book, The Vegetarian Myth by Lierre Keith.

    • July 18, 2012 9:35 pm

      Hello Miss Wendy! I am vegetarian and will never go back to eating meat! 🙂 But…I do it for ethical reasons. At this point in my life, I can’t justify killing another sentient being for my tastebuds. The way animals are killed is brutal and absolutely inhumane (unless you’re buying free range, etc). But I choose not to do that either because I do love animals too much. To each their own though-but meat eaters, I don’t need a lecture as I don’t lecture people about their choices. However, I have done my homework and I obviously food combine and do all the right things. I had an eating disorder during my college years because I wanted to become a better athlete, but it didn’t serve me well at all!

      • July 19, 2012 12:12 am

        Oh no! I’m not lecturing. Just parroting the latest research and what I’ve read about one of the causes of eating disorders in several books I’ve read. I was vegetarian and vegan, too. The vegan diet caused a relapse of my past eating disorder Due to lack of tryptophan and serotonin. The book i mentioned above more clearly explains the link between the diet and eating disorders. It was written by a woman who was vegan for twenty years. I should have more clearly stated that the vegetarian diet is problematic ONLY if not done correctly. However, most vegetarians don’t meet their nutritional needs and this can get young girls into trouble.

  7. Alton Pares permalink
    March 4, 2013 6:20 am

    Anorexia nervosa (AN), characterized by refusal to maintain a healthy body weight, an obsessive fear of gaining weight, and an unrealistic perception of current body weight. However, some patients can suffer from anorexia nervosa unconsciously. These patients are classified under “atypical eating disorders”. Anorexia can cause menstruation to stop, and often leads to bone loss, loss of skin integrity, etc. It greatly stresses the heart, increasing the risk of heart attacks and related heart problems. The risk of death is greatly increased in individuals with this disease.;

    Our web site

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