The feeding tube diet grabbed the headlines this week – one more diet fad in an endless stream of magical weight-loss schemes – promising to shrink future brides just enough to fit their wedding gowns. With each new and ridiculous diet fad, we forget what inspires women to take insane risks and dangerous gambles with their health and well being in the first place. What is it that drives women (and some men) to do anything for that perfect look?
Five minutes of television commercials would tell a space alien that we’re too preoccupied with our visual appearance, but in most cases, unhappiness with the way we look is driven by low self-esteem or an unhealthy concept of who we are. This means you base your value as a person on what you perceive to be valuable and attractive. In the case of eating disorders like anorexia nervosa and bulimia, the desire to be thin may become so severe that it jeopardizes an individual’s health and can result in death if not corrected. Karen Carpenter is perhaps the best know person to die of Anorexia (specifically, from Ipecac toxicity), but if her obvious symptoms were taken more seriously, she might still be around today. Some red flags for an eating disorder are:
- going to the bathroom during or after meals
- constant concern about weight
- skipping meals
- laxative use
- self-induced vomiting
- constant dieting
- a negative body image
- overeating and vomiting afterwards
- sores in the mouth and throat
Serious damage can be done to the body if an eating disorder goes unstopped. Malnutrition, brain damage, tooth decay, irregular heartbeat and stroke are just a few of the side effects. Additionally, the dieting individual may hide their behavior with baggy clothing or deny that anything is wrong with them. Immediate intervention with a mental health professional may be the best option if the individual refuses to stop on their own, and can help with healing the emotional issues that are at the root of most eating disorders. Taking a self-esteem or eating disorder quiz may open your eyes to what you can’t see in the mirror. No matter how bad you might think you look, no amount of thin is worth your health. You don’t want that feeding tube replaced with an IV bag.
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