Eating Disorders

Have you ever been walking in the woods and you come to a little brook or stream?  The water is flowing peacefully, things are growing along the stream line, the rocks in the water are tumbled and smooth, and the water is crystal clear and cool.  It’s wonderful.  Movies use this type of scene to add romance.  Well, an eating disorder is like having this beautiful stream and then blocking the water to it.  It becomes muddy then dried up, cracked and sad.  The little brook has to have water to feed it, and when the water is taken away, it become dried up and ancient looking.  That is the way a person with an eating disorder can eventually look if they don’t get help or help themselves.

I think that there are several reasons for eating disorders and they begin with a poor self image.  I like the show “What Not To Wear.”  On the show a person gets a makeover from head to toe.  At the end of the show, a young woman shows the person how they should use makeup.  Before she starts, she ask the person being made over to look in the mirror and tell her what they see.  Typically the response is a negative one, like “blotchy skin,” or “a big nose.”  Carmandie, the makeup artist stops them right then and tells them the positive things that she sees in their faces.  She then uses makeup to high light those positives.  The transformations are amazing.  What Carmandie has done is make a person with a poor self image realize that they are pretty.  She didn’t have to do surgery or botox, or any other thing.  She just pushed them to see themselves differently.

A problem with poor self image is that when you look in the mirror, you see a distortion of yourself.  The distortion is caused by something that usually has nothing to do with your appearance.  That means that no matter how much weight you lose, the distortion is still there. You’re still going to be dissatisfied and you can end up doing yourself serious harm.

Anorexia is a condition where you literally drop your calorie intake to a point where your body doesn’t get enough fuel to survive.  Your body, in a desperate effort to function, starts to get the fuel it needs from where ever it can.  Any stored fat is used up first and then other organs are shut down so that the main organs can continue to survive.  If this continues, the condition will eventually cause the person to die.  Now, the beginning of this may sound like a good thing to some of you because getting rid of fat can’t be bad; right?  Actually it can be.  Your body needs fat.  It helps us regulate our body temperature, and many other things.  That’s why our bodies store fat.  Stored fat is also our body’s effort to have reserve fuel in case we need it.  If, you survive anorexia, your body will remember what you’ve done, and store fat even more aggressively.  It literally is trying to protect itself from self destructive behavior.

Bulimia is also an eating disorder.  In this case, the person eats whatever they want, but then throws up to get rid of the calories.  Hey, the best of both worlds; you get to enjoy the food without any of the bad side effects.  WRONG!  The side effects are the same as those of people suffering from anorexia, and there’s one more pretty nasty one.  You see, when you throw up, you’re not just throwing up food, you’re also throwing up stomach acid that is used to break down your food.  That stomach acid breaks down a lot of things including your TEETH!  Your teeth can lose their protective coating and begin to rot away.  The longer this continues, the more damage is done, and the damage can’t be undone.

Eating disorders may begin because a person sees themselves as fat.  It has very little to do with weight very quickly though.  It becomes a control issue.  No one can make you eat.  No one can keep you from throwing up.  Only you can control that.  Unfortunately, that need to control things can end up controlling you.  You find yourself literally not able to eat even if you want to.

Finally, if you really want to lose weight, there are some very simple and satisfying ways to do so.  Weight Watchers is great.  You can start feeling good about yourself very quickly and can even “mess up” without quilt.  Your body can handle this type of dieting without causing long term damage, and you’ll get to keep your teeth.

Having the internet is a great source.  Go online and look at images of people with anorexia and/or bulimia.  Those images are real.  They’re not a distortion like the one you may be seeing when you look in the mirror.

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