Is Eating "Healthy" Killing Us? This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   "Lose weight, feel great! Shed ten pounds in only a week! Call now and take control of your life!" Does this sound familiar? It should. Just turn on the television for five minutes or flip through a magazine and the manipulation begins. For many years nutritional experts have criticized Americans for being "too fat." First we ate too much meat, then too many sweets, then it was carbohydrates. Quickly, maintaining a "healthy" lifestyle became a major focus in the media.

Being "healthy" sounds great. The problem is that over the past fifty years especially, our conception of being "healthy" has become maliciously distorted. The overemphasis on eating right and exercising has contaminated our minds. Rarely do we eat anything nowadays without wondering how many calories it contains or how much fat it has. For some people, weight watching is simply a small addition to their list of "Things I Should Do." As opposed to monitoring fat intake and keeping daily amounts to an average of thirty percent, many people, especially women, try to cut out fat altogether. We do not dare touch a product unless it's low-fat or fat-free. "Fat" is no longer recognized as a nutrient needed by our bodies, but rather a word that for some causes as much fear as cancer or AIDS. It is the enemy and should be avoided at all costs.

The horrible misconception about fat has affected us more than many care to acknowledge. It has led to a "new" method of suicide through eating disorders. In the past half century, anorexia nervosa (self-starvation) and bulimia (self-induced binging and purging) have grown to be epidemics. Today, one in every eight girls suffer from anorexia, and two in every eight are bulimic. Eating disorders are not primarily initiated by food but are actually a symptom of emotional problems. It is the fault of the media and society, however, that so many individuals have chosen to act out through self-destructive means instead of openly dealing with stress in a positive manner.

Eating disorders are detrimental to both a person's physical and mental state. Over obsession with food and weight first steals the energy, excitement and social activity from one's life. Then, as a person fades away into nothingness, they approach physical mortality knowing they are already spiritually deceased. Loved ones weep and ask why. The only answer they receive is, "I just wanted to eat healthy."

Every year thousands of women and men die from eating disorders, but many thousands more seek help and move toward recovery. If you suspect that you, or someone you know, may have an eating disorder, please speak to someone you trust and ask for help. You have a long life ahead of you. Don't let a few turbulent years steal that future. You are loved and needed more than you know. tf


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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crazygracie said...
Dec. 2, 2012 at 11:38 am
This was really well written and it shows that you care about the subject and really want to make a difference. Congratulations on getting published!
 
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