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Guest Post: Teenage Eating Disorders

Posted Jun 09 2010 10:11pm

Hi guys,

Today we went to Yellowstone and it was amazing! We saw so much wild life. Just a few miles away from our condo there is a family of moose hanging out down by the river. It was so awesome to see. When we stopped in at the visitors center the old guy working there said that moose are the hardest to spot, so I thought that was so cool that we were able to see some. We took tons of pictures today so I cannot wait to show you all. In the mean while, don’t forget to enter our 

 

VOSKOS YOGURT GIVEAWAY!

Also, this week we want to shed light on an important issue: eating disorders. This is a serious issue that affects many people, and Emily Lou from the pursuit of healthfulness has agreed to do a guest post for us and give her perspective. She is somebody who has dealt with an eating disorder herself and is overcoming it. I hope this story inspires many of you and that you really get something out of it.

Teenage Eating Disorders

Aside from my fear of flying in airplanes, my greatest fear while growing up was of becoming a statistic. I didn’t want to be simply average—I stopped at nothing less than my best when it came to school, activities and sports.

Ultimately, however, my attempt to avoid becoming a statistic, put me on a road to becoming exactly that: I am one of the eight million Americans who have an eating disorder.

For me, perfectionism spilled over from a healthy enthusiasm to do well with things such as school and into an unhealthy desire to maintain rigid control of my body. I became obsessed with everything I ate and how much I exercised. This led to an eventual weight loss of about 30 pounds from my already healthy body.

Fortunately, I was surrounded by a great system of people who were willing to stand by my side as I overcame my eating disorder.

Times weren’t always easy, even after I began recovery. My eating disorder was about more than calories—it was about a mental struggle to find control amidst a chaotic life. That was something that couldn’t be changed after a session or two with a nutritionists and counselors.

Keeping committed to recovery was worth it in the long run, and I am glad to say I am as happy and healthy as ever.

My experiences have reinforced my dedication to helping others avoid similar struggles.

But, this is a large task to take on.

Body dissatisfaction is deeply entrenched in our society. Everything from magazine covers to mannequins in a shopping mall serve to promote a singular image of beauty.

From a young age, girls subtly feed this Barbie-esque standard of beauty—and they are inevitably met with disappointment.

    

Consequentially, by the age of nine or ten, 40 percent of girls admitted to having dieted, according to a survey by the National Lung, Heart and Blood Institute. And the statistics only get worse from there: by the age of 17, 78 percent of girls report dissatisfaction with their bodies.

Eating disorders rest at the bottom of a slippery slope. They may start with the innocent dieting, then become skipping a meal or trying to purge, then they devolve into something beyond control.

So, what can be done?  First of all, it is important to recognize that eating disorders are about more than control, glamour or health. Instead, they are about the lack of these traits. They represent a complex and often personal struggle with other things in life.

Also, recognize that eating is a part of life, but it isn’t all of life. Go on with other interests. Try volunteering. Take the focus away from superficial characteristics and acknowledge beautiful internal traits.

However, one of the challenges of eating disorders and body dissatisfaction is the inevitable fact that we eat every single day. There is no avoiding it, so it is best to make eating a positive experience. Try to make and eat meals with friends and family and remember that food as fuel for life.

Finally, if you are seriously concerned with eating habits, talk to a nutritionist, counselor or doctor right away. The sooner you address worries about eating, the more likely you are to return to a happy, positive relationship with your body.

Always pursue healthfulness, but don’t allow it to pursue you.

Note: Emily Lou operates “ Pursuit of Healthfulness ,” a blog about balanced living. She is not a professional and cannot offer any medical advice. Her words are only influenced by her own experiences with overcoming an eating disorder.

 Before we go, we would like to think Emily! This is a sensitive issue to talk about, and we are very glad she opened up to us. For further reading, check out her blog:

xoxo Court & Whit


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