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Eating Disorders and Self-Image

By , Riverside, RI
It seems like I can't open a magazine or watch the news anymore without being bombarded by diet plans and weight loss programs...And the same people who are writing all this "lose weight, obesity is on the rise", are writing about eating disorders and bullying and having a good self-image. With all the attention being given to weight and looks, it's no wonder people are either overweight or starving themselves. Nowadays, there are hardly any people who are content with how they look. People are taught to judge others based on what they look like. People are taught to focus on their flaws instead of what they like about how they look.

Obviously, the media to blame for alot of this problem. The media encourages people to be thin, and thin celebrities are thrust into the spotlight. When was the last time and overweight actress or singer was popular? People start to believe the only way they can be happy or sucessful in life is by being thin. They are brainwashed that they must look a certain way and be a certain weight.

Never before in the history of the world has there been such an obsession and focus on food, eating, weight, and body image.

Though a number of factors contribute to being overweight or underweight, such as genetics, family, environment, etc., no one can ignore the fact that our society and our culture is obsessed with our bodies. It makes me sick how people have to judge others based on what they look like, "he's fat, he must be lazy" or "she's so skinny, she must be anorexic". Judging others, ridiculing people based on how they look, causes people to have a distorted self-image.

Personally, I suffer from an eating disorder for many years. Like me, a vast majority of eating-disordered people did not choose this disorder, but developed it as a result of other mental problems. However, there are many people who suffer from the disease because they chose to be eating-disordered. Believe me, an eating disorder is not something that I would have chosen, and I would not wish it upon anyone. No one ever tells you about what happens when you're suffering from an eating disorder. They don't tell you about lying in a hospital bed, feeling like you're dying as your heart slowly stops beating. They don't tell you about wrecking every organ in your body in your quest to be skinny. They don't tell you how much pain your stomach will be in once you start eating normally again. They don't tell you about the sick, uncontrollable, involuntary puking that happens when a bulimic stops purging. They don't tell you about how, once you want to get over an eating disorder, it becomes worse before it gets better. Your body doesn't know how to respond to being fed after being starved for so long. It often rejects the food. Once you've chosen an eating disorder, there is no going back. It takes full control over you. You will be sick for a long time. It's much easier to decide, "I want to be skinny" and starve yourself, than it is to find your way back. They don't tell you how an eating disorder ultimately strips you of who you are, wrecks your body, and mangles your mind.

It drives me crazy when people say eating disorders don't exist; or that only vain, middle-class white teenage girls can have them. Eating disorders are very real. Eating disorders know no age, gender, race, religion, color, or class. When people argue that you don't see anyone in third-world countries suffering from eating disorders...the mind can break in mysterious ways. People use what they have when they break down physically and emotionally. In America, it's food. And in third-world countries, do you see a warped society based on looks? No, you do not.

When people give in to what society wants, when they give in to what other people want...it breaks my heart. People shouldn't view others based on how they look. The mirror can only show so much, and if someone is going to like you just because of how you look, it's not worth it for you to give in to them. People should step away from the mirror, step away from everything telling them how they should look, and look inside themselves. Focus on what you like about yourself instead of the flaws. Look at people and not judge them.

It makes me sad that so many things are based on what you look like...and it causes us to turn against our own bodies.



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This article has 2 comments. Post your own!

Duckie430 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Jan. 14, 2011 at 8:51 pm:
thank you, I'm glad you liked & could relate.
 
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Katie-Lynn said...
Jan. 14, 2011 at 7:52 pm:
This is so true, I recently did a speech on eating disorders and it was very hard for me to talk about because I also went through the same thing you wrote about. Its a very true and hard thing to talk about, and it was very well wrote.
 
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