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Eating Disorder Related Deaths Don’t Discriminate

Posted Sep 18 2009 10:03pm

I wrote an article for a few days back about Samantha Clowe, a young woman desperate to lose weight for her wedding and to gain the respect of her coworkers. She did the LighterLife diet, which puts people on 530 calories per day for up to 12 weeks. Her 11th week on the diet, she died of heart failure.

You can read the whole story here.

The results were inconclusive as to wether or not the diet is actually to blame, but wether it was or not, I took the stance of not blaming the diet per se, because everyone is a free thinking individual, and should arm themselves with knowledge before plunging head first into something, especially a crash diet, even if you are desperate. I also pointed out that just because you are over weight doesn’t mean you can safely starve. You cannot live off of stored fat- its toxic.

Some blame the diet, some blame the girl, some blame society. More than anyone, I blame her doctor who was monitoring her and should have known better, and saw her rapid weight loss and knew of her diet- yet let her continue.

It brings up another point, however. You have a thin woman, say 120 pounds. Then you have a heavier woman, say 225 pounds. Both tell their seperate circles they are trying to lose weight, and are going to do it by consuming only 530 calories per day (on their own, no diet plan.) What would the respective reactions be?

The thin girl would be met with concerns, reassurances she doesn’t need to lose weight and that eating that little is starvation, borderline anorexic behavior.

The overweight girl would be met with congratulations for finally doing something about her weight, sticking to a plan, and having the self control to restrict to such a low number of calories.

Both are on the exact same “plan” yet since one doesn’t “need” to lose weight, and the other “does” (by society’s standard, at least) they get opposite reactions. The intake is just as dangerously low for each woman, but we think its “safer” for the over weight woman because she has fat to lose.

This is so wrong, and how people die.

There are SO MANY over weight girls with eating disorders, yet no one notices or voices concern. They are in just as much danger as those that are thin. In fact, most bulimics are normal to over weight simply because you can’t ever purge everything, and they binge so often that those remainder calories add up. Most people who die from eating disorders don’t die from starvation- they die from organ and heart failure due to electrolite imbalances. You don’t have to be painfully thin to be in danger.

I cringe everytime I hear someone tell an over weight person to “just stop eating.” Because what if they listen? A person’s weight is not an indicator of how in danger they are. Someone who is over weight’sr body needs just as much nutrition as anyone else’s and if it doesn’t recieve it, it will give out. If you see someone exhibiting eating disordered behaviors, don’t dismiss them because they are over weight. And if you are engaging in binging and purging or starvation, and feel that it isn’t a big deal because you aren’t stick thin, don’t fool yourself.

You could end up just like Samantha.

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