By Carmen Roverez
It's taken a while to admit, but I had
an eating disorder. I fell under the influence of it all.
To be a model you're supposed to be perfect, aren't you? I
thought the only way to guarantee success as a model, was
to be as thin as I could be. I'm lucky, I got out in time,
and I've had no irreversible damage done to my body because
of the disease. Here's a bit of information to help you understand
just how serious eating disorders really are.
What are eating disorders?
There are many eating disorders, but the
main ones are:
- Anorexia Nervosa: limiting food intake to less than half
the recommended calorie intake for a day or eating no food
at all (fasting).
- Bulimia Nervosa: eating a lot of food (binging) in a small
amount of time and then vomiting (purging) it all up. Bulimics
also often use diuretics (to urinate frequently) and laxatives
to purge their systems.
- Binge Eating: eating a lot of food in a short span of
time and not purging the food, and then experiencing feelings
of guilt and shame for eating.
- Compulsive eating: eating too much, too often and feeling
out of control.
It's important to recognize that eating
disorders can accompany one another. It is rare for an Anorexic
to have never demonstrated characteristics of a bulimic and
gets an eating disorder?
- Anyone at any age can develop an eating
disorder. There are cases of girls, boys, men and women
suffering the effects of eating disorders.
- Control. As an anorexic or bulimic you
feel that taking total control of what goes in and out of
your body is the only way to feel like you have control
over your life.
- Eating disorders are born out of a negative
self-image. We are overwhelmed by a warped sense of what
is attractive and most of those images show very thin women
with little to no body fat. These images are not healthy
and are not even normal, but more seriously, they influence
the way people think about their own bodies.
What are the dangers of eating disorders?
- Weakened immune system
- Bone density is weakened and bones break easily
- Heart beat becomes irregular
- Brain can start to shrink as it is starved
- Menstrual cycle will be effected in women, which can hamper
a woman's ability to have children
- Metabolism is seriously altered - slowing down to hang
on to all the calories it can
- Death. The biggest risk of anorexia nervosa is death.
Without body fat and nutrients, the human body can no longer
function. Starving a body will shut down the liver, kidneys
and eventually the heart if left untreated.
- Bad breath
- Rotting teeth - caused by the acids being regurgitated
and staying in the mouth
- Menstrual cycle is absent or irregular, which can have
lasting effects on a woman's ability to have children
- Decreased blood pressure
- Mood swings
- Sleep disturbance
- Digestive tract disorders
How to tell if someone has an eating disorder:
- They play with their food
- Never have time to eat
- Spend an unhealthy amount of time doing
- Are very critical of their weight and
the body size of others
- Are always watching what they eat
- Eat very little (in the case of Anorexia
- After eating, disappear into the bathroom
for an extended period of time
- Have a number of strict routines relating
to food and food preparation
- May have marks on knuckles from inducing
- Wear really baggy clothes in order to
hide their weight loss
- Hair loss
- Pale or grey skin
- Complain of feeling cold, dizzy, headaches,
frequent sore throats
Eating disorders are serious. If you suspect
someone you know is suffering from an eating disorder, talk
to them and try to get them to seek help. There is a growing
awareness about ED's and support groups are there to help.
And if you're experiencing an eating disorder, remember, you
are not alone and you need to stop before you do some irreversible
damage to your health.
Want more info? Click here to go to Resources.