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Old 25th October 2005   #1
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Join Date: July 2005
Posts: 441
Default ''When dieting becomes deadly''

I came across a very important article about eating disorders that I really think needs to be shared here. Its from a college newspaper, so lacks polish, but it is very graphic in its depiction of the destructive effects of eating disorders, and how dieting leads straight to these ailments.

It also tragically indicates that while the media-fuelled myth of a weight ''epidemic'' in America is putting billions of dollars of profit in the hands of diet companies, these SERIOUS and genuinely fatal illnesses are chronically underfunded, and under-studied.

This is the truly ugly (and almost criminal) side of curve-o-phobia.

Here is the link, but Ive posted much of the article below.

When Dieting Can Become Deadly
By Rochelle Siegel

Around 90% of female college students try to control their weight, and 22% say they diet almost constantly.


Anorexia accounts for more deaths than any other mental illness. Anorexia starts with body dissatisfaction and people decide "I want to go on a diet" or "I want to become a vegetarian." Sometimes it is even encouraged - "dieting and exercising are good for you; this is beautiful," or so we hear everyday. We live in a culture where we look at extremely thin models and call that normal, and call that attractive. We have become so used to seeing it everyday on T.V. and in magazines that we have lost our level of suspicion for someone who is at a low weight.

By the time the disease is discovered, much of the damage has already been done. Hair falls out. Skin turns orange, or yellow. Teeth and gums erode. Menstruation stops. Bones become weak and brittle. The heart, kidney, liver, stomach and other organs become seriously damaged and start to shut down. The brain shrinks. That makes potentially deadly eating disorder, like anorexia, a serious issue for young women - but getting them to seek out help can be a challenge.


Targeted prevention refers to programs or efforts that are designed to promote the early identification of an eating disorder - to recognize and treat an eating disorder before it begins to spiral out of control. The earlier an eating disorder is discovered and addressed, the better the chance of recovery for that patient. It is important to learn how to channel emotions positively instead of destructively inward. Food is our body's fuel, not a deadly weapon.

There are millions of women and even men in the United States who are walking skeletons, dying to be thin. Most anorexics are in denial, they do not believe they are doing anything wrong.

As they seem to fade away on the outside, so do their inside organs, including the heart and the brain. Once their brain starts to deteriorate they lose cognitive skills, such as being able to concentrate, remember things, or even learn new things. Their heart rates can drop so low while they are sleeping that they may not ever wake up again.


The National Association of Anorexia and Associated Disorder sat the problem has reached epidemic levels in America, and affects everyone - young and old, rich and poor, women and men of all races and ethnicities. Statistics show that seven million women and one million men are sick with an eating disorder. More than 85 percent report the onset of their illness by age 20.


There are still a lot of misunderstandings about the disease, however, even among health professionals. Treatment is hard to find - few states have adequate programs or services to combat anorexia nervosa and bulimia - and it's also very expensive. Treatment should be multi-disciplinary, with therapy, a nutritionist, and a physician. Those should be the minimum requirements.


Recovery cannot happen overnight, it usually takes between two and nine years. About one third of anorexics recover and another third may relapse and remain symptomatic. Those who remain symptomatic have a shorter life expectancy or they will die. Words cannot adequately describe what the disease does to self-esteem and how badly it damages relationships.

The problem is, that starving to death does not fix what's wrong on the inside. True happiness and deep contentment are achieved only through psychological growth, personal growth and ultimate realization of one's worth and place in the world, not by abusing the body. It takes wisdom to realize and accept this hard truth, and the young people most vulnerable to eating disorders are those who most lack those characteristics.

It is important for all of us to be accepting of our own bodies. The whole ob_____ epidemic is very dangerous; the amount of press that ob_____ is getting is leading to so much press for diets and it's such a dangerous, dangerous place to go. People need to eat what they want, when they want, and stop when they are satisfied.

It is important to model body acceptance. Then people aren't so susceptible to the media, and to diets. It's important to point out all the ways that our culture gets women to be unhappy with themselves. Don't say, "Do these jeans make me look f__?" or "I can't have dessert; it will go straight to my hips." It's the kind of stuff that others just can't hear. They need to know that they don't need thin thighs or a flat stomach to love their body. Everyone should be able to stand up, be positive, and say, "We are happy with ourselves, our bodies, the way they are."
MelanieW is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 25th October 2005   #2
Join Date: August 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 61
Default Re: ''When dieting becomes deadly''

Melanie, thank you for posting this sobering article. All the more reason to promote plus-size models.

As someone who suffered from anorexia as a teenager and anorexic thinking as a young adult, I can attest to and can speak with passion about the physical and psychological damage that it causes. I recently found a photograph of myself at 16 and was stunned to see how thin my hair was. It was like brittle straw, lifeless and colorless. I didn't regain those "luxurious tresses" we celebrate here until I began eating balanced meals.

Anorexia - an illness tailor-made for a society made ill by distorted thinking.
kirsten is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 26th October 2005   #3
Join Date: July 2005
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Default Re: ''When dieting becomes deadly''

Kristen makes an important point when she intimates that this particular illness (anorexia) is emblematic of the illness of modern society in general. The very concept of young women willingly depriving themselves of food (and thus, of beauty) is completely counter-intuitive; but somehow--insanely--it has become normalized, by the same process that upended the natural order of aesthetics, and set bone-thin starvation over gorgeous fullness of figure.

Our culture has made itself sick--and is making millions of young women sick--by trying to turn them into something that they were never meant to be. The ideological campaign to eradicate all traditionally feminine qualities--even physical ones--has done nothing except give us a society that is starving for true beauty, just as so many girls are starving for nourishment.

But the restoration of the timeless ideal of full-figured beauty, and the renewal of our culture's health, is slowly taking place. Thank goodness that today's plus-size models are reviving the genuinely healthy ideal of the past, and pointing the way forward to the saner society of the near future.

Hopefully, many young women will heed the advice of the writer of the above article, and "eat what they want, when they want"--and as much as they want--and love their figures, just as they are.

"Torrid generation" beauty, showcasing ideally feminine apparel:

HSG is offline   Reply With Quote

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