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Eating disorders - how are they caused?

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      26.02.2011 15:29
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      The modelling industry is to blame

      I know this is a very sensitive subject, so I have to be careful what I say, how I explain and justify my opinions here.

      What I think is the use of super thin models in advertising is the main cause of eating disorders such as anorexia and bulemia. Another casue of these is bullying. Anybody, female or male, who has a problem with their weight, shape or size, who is told they are fat or anything like that are bound to believe it, no matter who says it. The models in advertising only emphasise this even more, as many peopel see them as extremely attractive people and because they receive all of this attention in the media and from peers, the peoplpe who feel they are of an unsatisfactory, unattractive weight are encouraged to become slimmer, sometimes this becomes extreme, and anorexia and bulemia come about. The models are seen as role models, they are successful, adored, and you could go as far as to say that some are even idolised for their appearance and we know that appearance is extremely important for so many people nowadays. So those people who are praised for their appearance are quite obviously bound to have some influence on other people who care about their appearance.

      However with people who feel they are too thin (this is less common in my opinion), they are probably encouraged to eat more though bullying rather than the models they see of television and in magazines.

      A good point of eating disorders is that it makes peopel feel better abotu themselves mentally, however physically and psychologically they become terribly unstable.

      ACTION NEEDS TO BE TAKEN. NO LONGER SHOULD SUPER SKINNY MODELS BE USED IN ADVERTISING.

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        26.07.2010 21:01
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        key to success may answer this question.

        Eating disorder is probably one of the most spoken thing in media and all over celebrity magazines. However I think eating disorders have dramtically changed since the 1950s.
        As back in the 1950s we had stars such as Marilyn Monroe and Betty Grable who were a healthy size 14, and during this time being curvy was a sign that you could afford to eat.

        But then years later, as of the 21st century then came the obession with looking good, and these days we get girls as young as 6 or 7 worrying what they look like, this could be due to girls looking up to celebrities like Victoria Beckham, Nicole Richie and Keira Knightley and these celebrities who give out the wrong message 'to be successful, you need to be skinny.'
        What's wrong with a body shape like Beyonce, Shikaria or Kate Winslet? healthy, happy ladies who are proud of the curvy frames

        But however, this is not always something to blame to celebrities cause there is so much pressure into looking good in the showbiz, child singer Lena Zavaroni was pressured throughout her career, she had even mentioned about pressure and fitting into costumes this was since her teenage years, her life was so short and sadly died of an eating disorder at the age of 35.

        When it comes to catwalk modeling - this where some of the pressure is coming from, size 0 and clothes look better on skinny women? In some countries they have even banned skinny models and will only employ models that a certain weight. They really need to start looking at this in the UK as eating disorders are a common thing in this country.
        Curvy models? more celebs being curver?

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        11.01.2010 01:46
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        the media i feel are responsalbe in some case but play all large part in other cases

        I do feel for these Celebs, that are closely examined in the press for their weight, it seems they can not do anything without being criticised, if they are doing something for a good cause the media don't focus on that they focus on what they look like.

        I Blame the media for half of the eating disorders in this world, I have an 8 year old , and i would not even call her chubby, she is so unlike me , she is always on the go and can actually fit in to 4 to 5 year old clothes, she is quiet tall for her age but people always comment on her being slim
        it is not that she is under fed or dieting but she is at that age where she wants to be like her favourite singer.
        And getting her to eat a full meal can be a task, but she knows she can not leave the table till she has eaten, It is s not at a stage where i am concerned but it is at the stage where i havd to monitior her to sure it does not progress and the way to do that is to monitor what she watches on t.v

        And another issue is peer preasure, although children can be nasty at times you also have to consider what they are learning too from what they see, as they can push this on to others and cause them to slip in to the illness.

        The other day she got out of the shower and pinched a bit of her skin and said " Mum I'm loosing weight ain't it good i will look like Cheryl and i can do the X-factor, and im skinner than Daniella"

        I was shocked and told her not to be silly and that she needs to gain a bit of weight if anything.
        She was appalled and looked at me like i had dropped down from la la land. I do not buy magazines as i do not want my children to think it is great to be a size "0" And for those words to come out of her mouth was rather shocking.

        I recently seen that Brittany Murphy had passed away and there was speculation in the news that it was down to anorexia, and on news issue programme they showed two articles where she was slatted in the press for being "porky" 2 weeks before she was found dead, they also showed the pictures of her when these comments were made,
        Now if anyone saw those pictures , you will know she was anything but "Porky"
        To put it bluntly i have seen more meat on a butchers pencil.

        She was wasting away and in my opinion it is down to the press, although i do not read magazines , i do read the newspapers , and we are going through the same with Hannah Waterman, this woman, Last year was caught in a picture on a beach and was called "Fat"
        this has driven her to loose a lot of weight, an she i must say she is looking good.

        But looking good is not helping her in the media, according to a newspaper this week and i quote " Hannah Waterman Body okish face from crimewatch" sorry but with comments like this when in the public eye will drive anyone to do alsorts, we just have to look at people like
        Princess Diane, Fergie, Posh and even Jordan, no matter how good you look the media will find some way to knock you off your pedestal.

        Anorexia,.and bulimia are serious issues and although it may be seen as an obsession to look thin it is not , it is all in the mind and a mental illness , even if you over come the urge to be sick or you manage to eat more than an apple the illness is long term and one comment can send these people back to the downward spiral.

        The media therefore in my opinion is responsible and although operate the right to free speech i think some sort of law mentioning peoples weight or appearance should be put in place.
        Or at least celebrate women being women , forget size "0" make being size 12 or 14 which is the average sizes a celebratory figure to admire.

        It is scary to think that my daughter at the age of 8 is thinking about her weight, and the only one to blame is the media, i do encourage healthy eating within the home and they have fruit instead of sweets but i do this not so they can loose weight but because it is drilled in to us for us to have 5 a day, but the thought that the media can even manipulate that in to some sort of issue as to being a good diet is awful,

        I want my children to be healthy with all sorts of food being an experience, not in the sense that they will gorge on it but experience different flavours and tastes, i do not want them opening a magazine to see that it is healthy to live off four frozen grapes a day like it was reported that posh spice did.

        With some of these people being in the public eye they should be setting an example, but not on the road to Anorexia, which is what they are doing , surely with their fa mail bulging and these camera men chasing them they know their role in society.

        The majority of cases of anorexia and other related disease is caused by the media, not just in magazines but in programmes and films, look at Renee Zelwieger, having to loose and gain weight for her role as Bridgett Jones, having to loose and gain weight for a role, in my eyes i thought it was silly.
        Especially with todays techniques of special effects having to mess about like that can not be good for the body or the mind.

        Dieting is all about state of mind and once you train your mind in to a certain way of thinking it can trigger of other things,

        Eating disorders to me are a no no and if the media do not stop with bringing every budge to everyones attention i can see there being a big rise in this illness.
        The media need to stop going on about obesity and how certain celebrities look.
        The sooner the better for me.

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          29.09.2009 00:15
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          Change is needed to help young girls

          Two young girls are walking down a street. One girl says to the other girl, "When I grow up I want to be a size zero", the other girl replies "No I'm going to be a size zero!"

          Believe it or not, no longer in Britain do six year olds dream of becoming the queen or the prime minister, a fairy or Santa; the newest craze sweeping our nation is; "I want to be a size zero".

          Once upon a time, fat was fashionable. The voluptuous Victorians used their weight to indicate their vast wealth, only the fattest women were chosen to be muses in some of the most famous paintings and, in Tudor times, the man who ruled over the entire country and was allegedly divine in the eyes of the church, was fat.

          Now, however, it's a very different kettle of fish. Everywhere we look, in every glossy magazine, on every blaring billboard, we are bombarded with images of the 'perfect body'. So how do we get to be 'perfect' like the bodies of these celebrities that we worship and lust after just before we tuck into that second lettuce leaf? It's easy. All we have to do is starve ourselves to the point of passing out, spend every single spare hour in our already busy schedules at the gym and buy ridiculously over sized expensive sacks to make ourselves look even tinier. Easy.

          Think back to the last meal you ate. Maybe you admit to having succumbed to the trend and only consumed the minimal amount of those criminal calories that have become the bane of so many people's lives. Or do you disagree? Maybe you think that the burger and extra fries that you so devilishly consumed make you exempt from all those weight obsessed skeletons that haunt our catwalks and perhaps more disturbingly, our high streets. I'd be willing to bet, however, that not a single one of you has never thought about the consequences on your waistline of eating that second slice of cake, the sixth custard crème or that extra helping of sugar in your coffee?

          That's not to say we shouldn't be health conscious, we don't need to all be overweight before having a healthy attitude towards food. If we all lived active lifestyles, ate a variety of different foods and exercised sensibly, life would be much simpler. But what happens when the obsession with food and diet takes over? Last year in Britain over 7,000 teenagers died as a result of eating disorders, some whose bodies simply gave up from the constant deprivation of forbidden food while others, who had fought the soul destroying disease that invaded their minds for years, no longer saw a reason to live.

          These days anorexia is extremely common in young, impressionable, vulnerable adolescents, striving to achieve that 'perfect' image. It is more than likely that some of you can relate to personal battles with food and what is most worrying is that these problems are dangerously becoming more and more common.

          The media portrays the idea that glamorous is synonomous with being skinny; the slimmer you are, the better you look. In the celebrity world, image is everything. Lindsay Lohan, Paris Hilton, Eva Longoria; all famous, all beautiful, all skinny. How many of you have been flicking through the pages of a newspaper in your lunch break and seen the headline 'Size 16 model wins Miss World' or something along the same lines? I didn't think so. Ribcages, protruding bones and lollipop heads on stick thin bodies are on every page but even more shocking are the number of young people whose deaths could have so easily been avoided if they did not feel so pressurised to be a certain size.

          In 2006, 22 year old model Luisel Ramos collapsed whilst going for a costume change shortly before a catwalk show. She died almost immediately and her father claimed that she had been fasting for days after being told that she could 'make it big' if she lost weight. Gone are the days that are a distant memory for many of us when teenager's main priorities were socialising and having a good time. Gone are the days when the foods we ate were the least of our worries and in their place are miserable times where an army of young women are constantly searching, struggling and striving for that perfect body image, an irretrievable rainbow.

          But what is perfect? Nobody is perfect, so why is the image of skinny celebrities we see so much portrayed as the ultimate goal? Is it wrong to be different if we are healthy? Should we feel guilty for putting on that extra little bit of Christmas weight?

          There is simply no winning in the world of fashion. If a woman is slightly overweight she is labelled as 'fat' and and 'obese' but on the other hand if she is naturally slim, she is automatically 'anorexic'.

          So is there such a thing as perfect? Would it not be much easier to try, as hard as it may be, to accept our own and each others bodies for what they are? Would it not be much simpler for celebrities to return to being famous because they can sing, act or are unique in their natural beauty, rather than being praised for how much their bones protrude this week?

          I'm not saying that all eating disorders are caused by the media, after suffering myself I know how easy it is to fall into a cycle of becoming obsessed with limiting what you eat and feeling a sense of control that makes you unable to see what those around you do.

          All I'm asking is that the media, and us as individuals try to throw away our theories about the perfect body shape, swallow our jealously of the celebrities who seem so much slimmer than us and concentrate on the important parts of life. It's time to move on from this obsession with appearance and start to do what we are meant to do in life...live.

          Thankyou for reading. This piece was what I wrote for my English coursework but I wanted to share it as it's a topic I feel really strongly about.

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            05.08.2009 23:21
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            It's a mix of the outside and the inside.

            "The fashion industry's promotion of beauty as being stick thin is damaging to to young girls' self image and health"

            "Pasarela Cibeles announced it was banning models with a body mass index, or height to weight ratio, below 18"

            Finally. In a world that seems intent on making us all feel either to fat or to thin a breakthrough has been made by sanity.

            The women on the catwalk are not attractive. They are just clothes horses, who exist to shock as much as the outfits that they wear. The actual attractive women are the ones who are real. The one's with curves, the one's whose belly's roll over slightly when they sit down, the one's who have back dimples, the one's whose ribs are covered in actual flesh. They are the women we see on the street everyday, they are our friends, they are our girlfriends.

            Every woman I know in my life I would consider attractive, and not because I can see her bones through her skin. Some of my friends may consider themselves ugly, overweight, some may even call themselves fat. The only reason they think like this, is because they compare themselves. Whether to celebrities such as Victoria Beckham, catwalk models or even their best friends.

            But attractiveness is not all about how you look, ask any man if they'd prefer to go home with a stick or a woman who actually has breasts, curves, hips. I guarantee they all prefer real women. Women like you and me.

            So next time you look in the mirror, yeah, go ahead, poke that cellulite, pinch that flab around your waist, because it's things like those, things that you and I have, that make us different from those lifeless skeletons that are 'world renowed'.

            The difference between us and them?

            Aside from the designer wardrobe and the ridiculous pay checks.

            The difference is we are the beautiful ones. We are the ones who are surrounded by people who love us for us and not how skinny we are.

            And it finally seems like the fashion industry is taking notice.

            Sanity may reign free yet.

            And in a couple of years this may actually want to be a society you want to bring a daughter into.

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              25.03.2009 17:16
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              As a previous sufferer of anorexia, I share a few of my thoughts on the issue.

              There are all sorts of reasons and causes for eating disorders that people have come up with. Many are somewhat plausible although others are just extreme and silly.

              I suffered from anorexia from quite a young age, until I was about 15, then I managed to kick it for good and now I eat rather well. I'm still quite underweight but I don't look sickly and I make sure I get enough calories to keep me healthy. My weight is no longer a great concern of mine so I can eat whatever I want to, although I am quite blessed with a fast metabolism so I don't gain weight easily.

              I personally believe my own anorexia was caused from a mixture of depression, berievement and a general feeling of not wanting to grow up. I was going through quite a confusing period in my life and food seemed to be the easiest thing to control / cut out completely.

              I feel it's a bit unfair to blame the media for eating disorders as not all eating disorders are due to the sufferer wanting to lose weight, mostly it's to do with loss of appetite (Anorexia Nervosa = Nervous loss of appetite, I believe) or a general feeling of needing to be in control of a situation / thoughts. So with this theory it seems very silly to blame models and celebrities for 'setting a bad example' by being skinny as although some people will look up to those people and think "oh wow, I want to look like that too!", most people will realise that it's not an attractive look and it's not healthy in the least.

              I think the recent ban on super ridiculously skinny models in certain countries and agencies is a good thing though, not for impressionable young minds that might be somehow influenced by images of these emaciated girls, but because those girls desperately need to get themselves out of the self destructive cycle where they continually restrict their food intake out of fear of losing work. They need the time and space to get better and those girls that are suffering from eating disorders certainly won't be able to overcome their problems while they're working in the fashion industry.

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              05.02.2009 19:57
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              Eating disorders are real but people can be helped

              The media seems to be obsessed with eating disorders at the moment. Every night you can more or less guarantee that there will be some kind of documentary on about 'half ton' people or skeletal celebrities alongside 'experts' giving their advice on how to lose weight, embrace your curves or dress to slim. This creates a somewhat confusing message on what to eat, how much of it and what constitutes a healthy weight.

              Aside from TV, anyone glancing at a magazine stand in a newsagent's cannot help but be bombarded by images of the super skinny and those that have fallen off the diet wagon. These have an even more schizophrenic approach to weight by berating stars with sticking-out collarbones on one page before mocking someone else's orange-peel thighs on the next.

              However, whilst it may feed into the insecurities of young women and even some men, I don't think the media can be blamed for eating disorders altogether. Disorders like anorexia and bulimia cannot be reduced to 'diets taken too far' but are complex psychological problems that give the sufferer a very distorted perception of reality.

              Eating disorders as real medical problems are about more than a desire to be thin. The sufferer has a 'disordered' relationship with food that can take years to correct and in some cases will never become healthy. The feeling towards food is often comparable to a phobia to the point where some people will feel great fear when faced with something a healthy eater would see as a tiny snack.

              The most important thing when dealing with a sufferer of an eating disorder is compassionate. Making them feel bad about the harm they are doing to themselves will only increase their feelings of shame and guilt and exacerbate their condition. Mollycoddling them will not help either. The person needs to know that you will be there to help them but it is ultimately up to them to change their behaviour with the help of trained professionals.

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              05.02.2009 14:08
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              Very difficult to find an exact cause; early intervention is essential to help sufferers

              There are many and varied arguments as to the cause of eating disorders, such as anorexia, bulimia and compulsive eating, and it seems unlikely that we'll ever find a definitive answer. It seems to me that there are many factors involved in how people develop these terrible conditions.

              In recent years there has been so much media attention on celebrities' weight; it has become something of a national obsession! Every women's magazine you open will have some kind of article on dieting and celebrity weight loss (I prefer to read men's magazines myself as there's much less of this nonsense in them!). For any woman who is overweight (or just believes she is overweight) these articles are incredibly attractive; promising fast weight loss with the the minimal amount of effort. It is undeniable that some of these articles are quite useful, promoting healthy eating and exercise as a means to weight loss. What I myself find so worrying is that very young girls are reading these magazines and feeling that they have to conform to this "ideal" image of women. I have an eight year old daughter myself and I really try to keep her away from magazines like this; we never have them in the house so she doesn't see them. I also don't discuss my weight in front of her.

              The world of fashion has always perpetuated an image of "skinny" as desirable; I remember when I was about 13 years old in the early 1990s and the whole "heroin chic" craze was in the media. Even the fact that there have been a few well-publicised cases of young models literally starving themselves to death has not had an impact on this ideal; to me many of the models of today look almost emaciated, nothing like the more "curvy" healthy-looking supermodels of the early 90s, such as Cindy Crawford and Helena Christensen (who were still very slim!)

              The main issue I have with the idea of the media being solely responsible for anorexia and bulimia is that these two illnesses are well documented as occurring throughout history, before we had all this saturated media coverage of celebrities. However there's no doubt that eating disorders are on the rise, and I believe that the media does play a part in this. Most worrying to me are these "pro-ana" websites that have sprung up in recent years, something I didn't have to worry about in my teens.

              Another argument is that anorexia is used as a form of "control" for the sufferer. For example, a young girl who is being sexually abused may starve herself as she feels it is the only thing she can control about her life. The brain chemical serotonin has also been linked to anorexia; low levels are thought to trigger and exacerbate the condition.

              In the case of compulsive eating, I have some personal experience. I went through a very difficult time personally when I was around 16, and I believe that this was when I started using food as a substitute for love and happiness. I gained a lot of weight very quickly and I'm still a bit overweight now at the age of 29. I find it virtually impossible not to eat food if it's in the house; for example I could never open a box of chocolates and eat just one; the whole box would go down very quickly until there was none left! However, these days I tend to turn away from food when I'm unhappy (I smoke a lot of cigarettes instead which is even worse!)

              I think that many people in the Western world have developed a very unhealthy attitude to food; on the one hand we're advised to eat healthily and cut down on saturated fats, but then you walk into Tesco and the shleves are piled high with a massive choice of tasty but unhealthy treats!

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                26.01.2009 21:36
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                It was a awful chapter in my life and it is still painful to talk about

                Here's my personal experience, i won't go too in depth as its still hard to talk about eight years on. I think that there are many causes for eating disorders, the media is quite a large part but, not all of it. Celebrities are plastered all over the media, magazines, billboards, TV, Film, Newspapers etc. Every other month or so each of the various magazines have the latest celebrity dieting tips and exercising regimes supposedly to make us look like them. When i look at pictures of them above their new dieting tips i always think 'if i follow that, i will look like them too', and if i can think that, how many others do? Now don't get me wrong the media isn't completely to blame as there are other factors to add to it.
                When i was 9 everyone of my friends talked about dieting and losing weight, now whilst everyone talked about it about half of us actually did something about it. I was taken to the doctors before it took over my life, i was shown a series of pictures by my doctor, he asked me what i saw, there was a picture of the back of a young woman(70's style) but there was also an old woman within the picture of the young woman, when he first showed it to me all i could see was the young woman, and every time i went back he showed me that picture and every time i always saw the young woman. It was about nine months into my treatment, going back and forth to the doctors, back and forth to the nutritionists, over to the hospital, to the councellor and back again. Nine months and i had put on all the weight i had lost and then some. It was my last doctors visit that the breakthrough occurred, he showed my the picture of the young woman again, and for the first time i saw the old woman too. The doctors explained to me why i was the one who became anorexic, it was all about my perception of people, myself, the world etc, he explained that the way i saw myself was distorted, the way i saw other people was distorted. The short version of it is that the doctors said that people who had 'tunnel' vision were susceptible (sp??) to disorders and problems.
                Okay it's not very detailed, but personally i think that the media, an individual mindset and peer pressure are the main things that affected my eating disorder.

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                  13.01.2009 14:36
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                  Stop putting pressure on us girls to look like an "ideal"!

                  I personally think the media is the first and only cause of the eating disorders. It projects to us images of film stars and singers all slim and toned, and as soon as someone puts on a bit of weight they get plastered all over magazines and made a show of. Think of Lily Allen, who is skinny now, whereas I thought she looked great before. They try to manipulate our minds to believe that only skinny people are worth looking at, you will only become a successful singer or movie star if you are thin. Mens magazines are also to blame - the way they portray women as just "objects of desire", and the skinnier and bustier the better does nothing to make us normal girls feel good about our bodies. Why do we never see famous people with a bit of flab? Or girls in these womens mags with a bit of a tum? It leads everyone to think that women are SUPPOSED to look skinny, toned and tanned all of the time and anyone who doesn't fit this criteria is not worth thinking about. It destroy's peoples self confidence and they believe if they starve themselves and become thin then everything will be better. Posh Spice? No thanks - she looks alternately like a skeleton and a lollypop.

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                    14.11.2008 10:46
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                    A Living Nightmare

                    It's an unfortunate fact that despite numerous claims the media is to blame for the rise in eating disorders, nobody actually knows how they are caused. The closest the so called experts have come to solving this question, is to understand what type of person is predisposed to falling victim to such a disorder.

                    Generally, it seems that victims of eating disorders are perfectionists. They have a desire to please others and have sensitive personalities. Life circumstances can also play a large part. Many sufferers have been victims of bullying or sexual abuse. But of course, not everyone who meets such criteria then falls victim to an eating disorder.

                    An eating disorder is a mental illness. The media can no more trigger an eating disorder than it can cause someone to become clinically depressed or suffer from schizophrenia. The media simply fuels our desire to look at other women's shapes.

                    While the press appear fixated by the size of celebrities, particularly women's magazines, I don't feel they can be blamed for causing eating disorders. However, I do feel they contribute largely towards disordered eating patterns among women, which is a less severe method of controlling weight. Instead of undertaking extreme methods such as starving, using laxatives or bingeing and vomiting, they develop an unhealthy relationship with food and are constantly worrying about what they have eaten, what they will or won't eat and when.

                    With endless articles displaying new diets, we're constantly told how we must lose our fat. Food is made out to be the enemy and we're made to feel guilty for eating it. Yet they'll publish pictures of thin celebrities alongside these diets, all the while supposedly berating them for their thinness. And if they're not telling us what bad examples they're setting us, they're whipping themselves into a frenzy of pseudo concern with headlines such as 'Stars shocking weight loss, we tell you what she eats' or 'frightening new pictures, as friends fear for celeb's health'.

                    I really despair of what's happening in society with regards to food and weight. At one extreme are the frightening obesity statistics and at the other, the rise in eating disorders. I feel there is just too much emphasis on food and body shape altogether and wish it would stop.

                    I developed an eating disorder over 27 years ago, and I'm sorry to say, am still suffering and probably always will. However, I would say I am in control of my disorder rather than it controlling me. I can freely admit that the media contributed nothing whatsoever towards my development of the condition, although I did at one time cut out many pictures and photos of people whom I considered had an ideal body shape. They were usually ballet dancers or marathon runners and the odd model or actress. I'd trot along with them to whichever therapist I was seeing at the time and say "look, this person is functioning perfectly well at this weight, so why can't I?" This was because I was always trying to convince psychologists etc that it was OK to be underweight. They'd just reply that they were not normal people. That was their profession.

                    I was originally suffering from Bulimia Nervosa, quite extremely. I didn't know anyone who had this illness, indeed I didn't even know it was an illness. One day I started a diet after a random comment from a boyfriend. I bought a box of muesli and ate most of the box because I was so hungry. I wanted the food out of me and thought I'd discovered this fantastic method of losing weight. I could eat what I wanted but not gain weight.

                    It's is addictive and self defeating though. I was desperate to become anorexic, I hated being bulimic. It represented lack of self control and weakness, plus it made me feel so ill all the time. I was jealous that anorexics could seemingly so easily avoid food when all I wanted to do was eat and eat and eat. Therefore, I don't believe you can develop an eating disorder because you want to become thin.

                    When I was in hospital I was so envious of the girl in the room next to me. She was anorexic and was on a feed up diet. How I would have loved the freedom to be able to eat as much as I liked. I had no idea how hard it must have been for her to eat that food. I know now.

                    Although I managed to keep my weight at the low end of normal, I always wanted to be thinner. Despite the many years of extreme dieting, I managed to produce three children. Recently I attended 8 sessions of CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) as a last resort to 'cure' me of my eternal quest for thinness. At the end of session 8, the therapist and I both agreed not to continue. I felt that at my age, I am at a point where I have my food under control and didn't want to upset the apple cart by trying new routines. The therapist actually told me that they have very little understanding of what causes eating disorders. All they know is that the treatment methods they use work in about 50% of cases.

                    Therapists are very set in their ways. They diagnosed me as atypical anorexia. This is because I keep my body weight low in the anorexic range with a BMI between 15.5- 16. However, I feel I am healthy and very fit. I play tennis, cycle, walk everywhere and rarely become ill. I eat very healthily, just consume a lot less calories than most people. I need to keep my food intake very low to maintain my weight and it's a constant struggle. But after all these years I can't change and suddenly allow myself to put on weight.

                    My main worry now though, is my two daughters. I detest the constant headlines about weight, especially when they start talking about young girls developing eating disorders. I'm terrified my girls will one day say they want to diet. I am so careful to never mention diet or moan about my weight in front of them. I teach them about healthy eating. I let them have chocolate but say it's bad for their teeth, not that it will make them fat.

                    Some studies say it runs in families. No one in my family has had such an illness. My sister, did once try to copy me when she wanted to lose weight but couldn't do it. Although she worries about her weight like 'normal' people, her mentality is not like mine. She has a completely different personality type to me so I think that was probably why she also didn't succumb.

                    I think we are all far too concerned with personal appearance. I often wonder, if I lived in a castle surrounded by a moat, or on a desert island, would I still care about my weight? Probably not?

                    So there really is no answer as to what causes eating disorders. You can only look at the circumstances surrounding a person and their personality traits to work out if they are predisposed to falling victim to one and keep a watchful eye on them, as I will with my daughters.

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                      10.11.2008 17:18
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                      Its something that will never be answered, lets just support those that need it

                      So recently we have heard about Brazilian model Ana Carolina Reston again, the stick thin model to have starved herself to death at the age of 21 in the quest for the 'perfect' figure. With a body mass index of just 13.4, (the ideal being 22 and 19 is considered being underweight) she had reached the point where all her organs just could not keep her alive any longer. Surviving on a meagre diet of tomatoes, apples and I imagine a good dose of Marlboro too after being told at various castings she was quite simply 'too fat' and to lose weight.

                      Some would say with these models nowadays that it's a fate that unfortunately they unknowingly signed themselves up for. They knew the industry and what was entailed and sold themselves to these designers to be coat hangers and to be poked, prodded and obey their every whim. On the other hand many of these young models are innocent young girls aged around 15 (and getting younger unfortunately) that are spotted whilst out in the local park with their mates. They are told they are 'perfect' model material and being so young an naive, who can blame them, it's the stuff dreams are made of at that age. And why do they use such young girls now?? Because they don't have hips, they don't have boobs, they aren't a womanly figure yet, they have a straight figure, up and down, fine, problem is, they don't want them to change from this.

                      Of course some women are naturally thin, although im not sure that many of them are despite their claims that they eat junk food all the time (??!!). Yes I often lose stones on a diet of takeaways, crisps and chocolate, don't you? But the problem is that its not just a certain group of women that are facing this pressure to be thin, as if we believe the press, we can only be beautiful if we are at least 2 stone underweight. Its our children, our sisters and mothers and more increasingly becoming our sons and brothers that are the victims.

                      Recent statistics show that Bulimia will affect 1-2% of 15 to 40 year olds, and more staggeringly that Anorexia will occur to 1 in 5 of every 100,000 mostly developing at the ages of 16-17. Boys now are becoming 10% of all cases. 13% of these cases will result in death. These are just the extreme cases, there are so many other women out there that use dangerous methods to lose weight drastically. I know this, I've done it myself and so have many of my friends. Fasting to laxatives, you name it I've done it or known someone to have done it. But why?

                      My belief is we are sold images of thin, glamorous women that are now size a size zero ( Uk size 4) are you kidding me? Why are we glamorising these women, are they role models for our children?? Certainly not, I cant seem to think of any one of the famous size 0's that has actually any talent and some who really haven't done anything to deserve their fame other than living on the back of someone else's fame. Cant think who im talking about here Nicole Richie.

                      My obsession with food started when I was about 14 and suddenly food wasn't to be looked at as something to enjoy, it wasn't the social event it should be when you all sit down together for meals. It became dull, looking at what calories everything contained, worrying if I should finish the whole lot or was that too piggish. I became so confused, im being told to eat everything up to make me healthy by my parents, and at the same time im at school and all the girls are seeing if they can pinch an inch and who needs to lose the most to look like our favourite celeb. Where did our childhood go? That was 1996, it seems its become far worse now and every week in the gossip mags is the latest celeb diet craze. Why?? Why publish in a magazine, where most of the readers are 15-16 year old girls that are the most vulnerable according to the statistics.


                      I have even looked on here before I wrote this and was amazed to find so many sites promoting eating disorders. Users put their pictures of 'thinspiration' which is if you are unsure, is an image they look to, their goal, their ideal. And who are these 'thinspiration' pictures of, yup that's right, the likes of Victoria Beckham, Nicole Richie, Lyndsey Lohan. All images that have been published in magazines. I was astounded that young girls want to develop this killer disease, a disease that if they survive will live with them forever. A disease that if they are able to cure will see them taken from the their families for sometimes months on end, a disease that causes the close family such distress and such guilt. No it is apparently obvious that it is the latest trendy thing to have, an eating disorder, after all if its good enough for the Hollywood stars... .

                      TV Companies can be to blame, on TMF (The Music Factory) as I have flicked through the channels one evening I have stumbled across the mini series, Extreme: Skinny Celebrities. A whole hour show dedicated to showing the thinnest of the celebrities, what their diet rules are, their gruelling exercise routine and what their weight is along with their BMI. Now I was a little confused, were they trying to say 'look how silly these celebs were' or were they cashing in on the fact that women will watch in earnest, hoping to gain the odd tip to fit into that LBD on the weekend?. And this was not the only programme to advertise itself as being a message to young girls that extreme dieting is dangerous. Dawn Porter recorded a programme Super Slim Me, which watched her try to go from a size 12 to a zero in a matter of weeks. Louise Redknapp produced a similar programme The Truth About Size 0. I watched both of these like a zombie, suckered in totally, and you know what, I came out of it with more tips and tricks I could have dreamed of. Was that their aim? Quite clearly they are telling me its bad, bad, bad don't do it. Which made me think, is this just something that is very deep seated within me? Am I just fascinated with weight and calories due to a totally different reason in my subconscious. And if I am this way, how many other women are the same and media just gives us that fix we need and so we keep craving more and have someone to blame it on. The only programme that actually shocked me to the core was 'Dana, The 8 year old Anorexic' I watched the whole thing feeling so desperately sad for her and her family. What kind of life can that little girl hope to have? Probably in and out of hospital until maybe she learns to recover or she kills herself. When I was 8 I was playing with dolls or on my bike with my mates, not thinking I was fat and exercising to the point of exhaustion.

                      Yes its wrong to make these skinny celebs almost goddesses to young girls and something to aspire to, but lets face it. It makes cash, and lots of it. We spend billions on diet products every year because we are too damn lazy to eat less and exercise more, the principle is simple, but everyone wants a quick fix. The media know this, they aren't silly, they know anything regarding weight loss sells, and sells big. So can we really blame these magazines for wanting to do what they can to sell their products? No of course we cant, we all need to make a living. Lets be brutally honest here, we want to see clothes looking fabulous as that's what we want to feel in them, not average, and unfortunately most the time, they only look fabulous on the super skinny, as that is who they were designed to be worn by.

                      Magazines could stop selling the stories on the celebs that have shed the pounds, and only feature size 12 and above models (despite the UK average being a size 14-16) but I doubt they would shift as many, maybe they would for a while due to the hype, but it would simmer down. Italian designers banned size 0 models from their fashion week, good on them! Only it hasn't really caught on has it? I have one last point which I think could be extremely controversial but with the constant increase in obesity in this country, can we really say it's the media creating this problem, as surely we would be watching our weight like a hawk. All I can say is with this obesity epidemic, is it not such a bad thing to be reminded every now and again that this isn't the norm, and to give some people a kick up the bum?

                      It's a debate I think will go on forever with no answers and nothing will change, I know that I want my daughter to grow up with a healthy attitude towards food, and I am going to try my best to provide that in the hope that, that alone can prevent any unhealthy attitudes later in life. Meanwhile im afraid I will still spend money on the latest diet book, and watch the Skinny Celebs, I just cant help myself....

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                        09.10.2008 22:39
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                        many different causes..?

                        When I studied eating disorders in psychology, there were many different conclusions given to us. The most obvious, and likely, being the media. It's easy to blame the media. Specifically promoted in magazines and adverts are skinny people wearing clothes which look good on them... Clothes which we can sometimes be led to assume will only suit us if we are skinny. The media's portrayal of perfect. However, is this the only cause of this horrible disorder?

                        No matter what, it's safe to say that the media plays some kind of part in eating disorders. Another reason which could be given, I believe, is peer pressure. At a young age of 12, I suffered from bulimia nervosa. The reason for this? The girls in my school honestly believing they were fat, and they had to diet, when they were skinnier than me. Now, I'm returning to being comfortable with my weight , and although I still diet, I refuse to get to an extreme of starvation and making myself sick.

                        It is difficult to blame the media when younger and younger people are getting eating disorders. Just the other day I saw a television programme on an 8-year-old anorexic. I find it hard to blame the media when it comes to such young people, as young children are much less exposed to such issues. However, saying that, times change, and long past are the days where children read comics and watching cartoons... They grow up faster than they used to, and this may be a result of that.

                        But I suppose, at the end of the day, eating disorders probably occur for all different reasons. Each person is different, and different things are likely to trigger it. You can't blame certain things, because people will never truly know what it is that makes people do these things. All we know, is that we're grateful for being able to help people get over these issues.

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                        04.10.2008 00:00
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                        The media isnt to blame, in my experience-but it should change its ways.

                        As far as how eating disorders in general are caused, I wouldnt like to be so presumptious as to hazard a guess.
                        I have no idea what is running through other peoples minds when they make the decisions they do, only what I know, and what I have experienced.

                        I was mixed up in my teens, riddled with self loathing, and an absolute hatred of the person I was. I felt an absolute lack of control in my life. Situations occurred around me, and it felt like whatever I did, I didnt have the power to change anything.

                        I cant remember initially why I developed such a strange attitute to food, but I did nonetheless.

                        I would go days without eating, or at least eating very little. The less I ate, the more powerful I felt. I could control exactly what went into my body, even if I could control nothing else.

                        When I wasnt restricting myself, I would binge wildly, resulting in hours spent locked in the bathroom vomiting.

                        Sometimes, to help myself throw up, I would drink TCP or dettol, to make it easier.

                        When people told me that I had lost weight, I laughed it off. I didnt believe them, and anyway, it was completely irrelevant.

                        It might sound like a cliche, but my aim was NEVER to try to be skinny.
                        All I wanted was some aspect of my life that I could take control of, manage.
                        Losing weight was just a by product of this.

                        I lost a lot of weight, quite quickly, and whilst I wasnt teetering at a dangerously low weight, my doctor took note, and arranged help for me.

                        I think, eventually, I realised that I had absoutely no control over my eating, like I originally thought.....it had complete control over me.

                        I put all the weight back on, and then some, and since that time, I have been reluctant to diet in any way....I feel like it would be very easy to go back to the way I was.

                        Every so often, I will still throw up after eating. It still, although its entirely illogical, feels like a release to me.
                        this happens rarely though, when I am feeling terribly frustrated, or powerless.

                        The one thing I can quite honestly say though is that magazines and the media have never been something for me to blame my food issues on.
                        I was sick because of my issues, not because I was trying to conform to what society and the media deems to be attractive.

                        However, I do firmly believe that all body types, provided they are healthy, should be reflected in the media.
                        A fuller figure, again, provided its healthy, is just as beautiful as a slender one, and, slowly, the media seems to be catching on to that.

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                          23.09.2008 22:01
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                          Anorexia DOES NOT equal Beauty or Glamour

                          Hundreds of people suffer (or have suffered) from eating disorders. I admit that when I was younger (about 11, so quite young) I suffered from anorexia.

                          As I child I was chubby. Not fat, just puppy fat that I would eventually grow out of. But that wasn't what I thought. I did think I was fat and later developed an eating disorder.Everyone has a diferent reason for why they suffer from anorexia (or any other eating disorder). Sometimes it's depression, sometimes because you think your not the right shape. The Media is the favourite blame.

                          ~ Disorders ~
                          Anorexia is the most talked about Eating disorder. When you think of eating disorders, you think about anorexia. However there are 3 main eating disorders, Anorexia, Bulimia and Binge eating.

                          ~ Anorexia
                          The main eating disorder is Anorexia. I personally suffered from it as a child. Anorexic sufferers don't eat, because they are either to scared to gain weight (they believe it would make them gain weight) or because they are depressed and makes them feel in control of themselves.

                          ~ Bulimia
                          Bulimic people normally binge eat (or just eat, even if not a lot) and then eventually make themself throw up.

                          ~ Binge Eating
                          Binge eating is an eating disorder, even if it's not as publicised as anorexia. Most people who have eating binges try to hide this behaviour from others, and often feel ashamed or depressed about their overeating. Binge Eating can lead to Bulmia.

                          ~ Media? ~
                          So the media is always blamed for eating disorders. Magazines, T.v, Advertisements, are all some of the "causes". This is because People shown in the media are normally thin, and people in advertisements air-brushed. Then people start to think that they are supposed to look like what these models and celebrities look like. However, this isn't always strictly true. As I've said, eating disorders can be trigerred by depression, e.g losing someone you love or being dumped. For me, personally the media did contribute towards my eating disorder. Being Surrounded by thin beautiful people makes you feel like your supposed to be thin. Some people think that they will be beautiful if they lose weight. People also blame celebrities for eating disorders. Celebrities such as Victoria Beckham are tiny, size zeros and twos. Celebrities can make people think eating disorders are glamourous. They can think "if she does it, and she's beutiful, it'll make me beautiful and glamourous.". I'm not saying everyone thinks like this who has an eating disorders, I'm just speaking from personal experience. Despite all of this, I don't think that the media is completely to blame for eating disorders.

                          ~ Depression
                          Eating disorders are triggered by depression. Eating disorders can make you feel in control. Bullying and being called fat by someone else also helps make someone have an eating disorder. Getting dumped by a partner can also make you lose a lot of self confidence that would later lead to an eating disorder. People who are depressed and have an eating disorder need help.

                          Eating disorders don't even deserve 1 star on the rating meter! They can be life threatening and are overall, not very nice. I've now recovered completely, I don't feel guilty eating or feel fat. People who have eating disorders really need help. They shouldn't be ashamed about telling anyone. The most important thing I've learnt is that Anorexia DOES NOT equal Beauty or Glamour

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