Twisted as a teenager
For a change I’m blogging about something serious, something that affects millions of people world wide. Personally I have struggled with this for many years, and I made some bad choices about it as a teen.
Early in my twenties I discovered that it was destroying my life and did something about it. Many aren’t that lucky. There were days where the only thing to pass my lips would be a weak mixture of sugar water so that I wouldn’t faint. So yes, it stings a it when people call me fat, it triggers this response in the back of my mind that I should go shove my finger down my throat, and not eat anything for the rest of the day.
If you haven’t guessed yet, I suffered from Bulimia Nervosa when I was a teen, which almost took a turn for the worst on my 21st birthday when I started vomiting blood. I was one of the lucky few who actually had the right people around me.
It started when I was 15, with my uncle parading his skeletal daughter around and telling me how disgusting I must feel in a size 32 pants. Soon after that I started dieting and losing weight but it wasn’t happening fast enough for my tastes. Every single magazine I paged through had these images of gorgeous skinny models. And huge surprise, ads for diet pills, which I used repeatedly, sometimes even tripling the dose just to suppress my hunger.
I went from being a care fee 15 year old to being so overwhelmed by weighing 45kgs that I felt I needed to do something. Then I watched this doccy called Pro-Ana….
Soon after that I was a healthy 33kgs at the age of 16. I found myself an expert at hiding food, sneaking it away from the dinner table in my pants pockets and later feeding it to the family dog. At 18 I weighed in at 39kgs and I still felt hideous and fat. I never saw myself as skinny.
I realized I had a problem when my brother dubbed me skeletor, but I refused to gain weight for fear of being called fat or plump or chubby. You have no idea how much it hurt me at that age to hear my uncle compare my body with that of a lump of lard and then proudly say his daughter is built like a supermodel.
It wasn’t until my mid twenties that I had forced myself to look into the mirror and say “you are gorgeous, curves and all”. Now even as my 28th birthday approaches I still have that deep burning desire to be supermodel skinny, but seriously…. I would honestly rather be curvy with my wobbly bits than to have to go through what I did as a teen. The damage it did to my body was irreparable. The damage people did to my self esteem is even more so.
So there you have it.... this is the sole reason I despise skinny women, the naturally skinny women of this world ...good on you.... but those of you who promote dieting, make young naturally curvy women feel insecure....shame on you.
• Almost 50% of people with eating disorders meet the criteria for depression.
• Only 1 in 10 men and women with eating disorders receive treatment. Only 35% of people that receive treatment for eating disorders get treatment at a specialized facility for eating disorders.2
• Up to 24 million people of all ages and genders suffer from an eating disorder (anorexia, bulimia and binge eating disorder)
• Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness.4
• 91% of women surveyed on a college campus had attempted to control their weight through dieting. 22% dieted “often” or “always.”5
• 86% report onset of eating disorder by age 20; 43% report onset between ages of 16 and 20.6
• Anorexia is the third most common chronic illness among adolescents.7
• 95% of those who have eating disorders are between the ages of 12 and 25.8
• 25% of college-aged women engage in bingeing and purging as a weight-management technique.3
• The mortality rate associated with anorexia nervosa is 12 times higher than the death rate associated with all causes of death for females 15-24 years old.4
• Over one-half of teenage girls and nearly one-third of teenage boys use unhealthy weight control behaviors such as skipping meals, fasting, smoking cigarettes, vomiting, and taking laxatives.17
• In a survey of 185 female students on a college campus, 58% felt pressure to be a certain weight, and of the 83% that dieted for weight loss, 44% were of normal weight.16
• An estimated 10-15% of people with anorexia or bulimia are male.9
• Men are less likely to seek treatment for eating disorders because of the perception that they are “woman’s diseases.”10
• Among gay men, nearly 14% appeared to suffer from bulimia and over 20% appeared to be anorexic.11
Media, Perception, Dieting:
• 95% of all dieters will regain their lost weight within 5 years.3
• 35% of “normal dieters” progress to pathological dieting. Of those, 20-25% progress to partial or full-syndrome eating disorders.5
• The body type portrayed in advertising as the ideal is possessed naturally by only 5% of American females.3
• 47% of girls in 5th-12th grade reported wanting to lose weight because of magazine pictures.12
• 69% of girls in 5th-12th grade reported that magazine pictures influenced their idea of a perfect body shape.13
• 42% of 1st-3rd grade girls want to be thinner (Collins, 1991).
• 81% of 10 year olds are afraid of being fat (Mellin et al., 1991).
• Women are much more likely than men to develop an eating disorder. Only an estimated 5 to 15 percent of people with anorexia or bulimia are male.14
• An estimated 0.5 to 3.7 percent of women suffer from anorexia nervosa in their lifetime.14 Research suggests that about 1 percent of female adolescents have anorexia.15
• An estimated 1.1 to 4.2 percent of women have bulimia nervosa in their lifetime.14
• An estimated 2 to 5 percent of Americans experience binge-eating disorder in a 6-month period.14
• About 50 percent of people who have had anorexia develop bulimia or bulimic patterns.15
• 20% of people suffering from anorexia will prematurely die from complications related to their eating disorder, including suicide and heart problems.18
Although eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental disorder, the mortality rates reported on those who suffer from eating disorders can vary considerably between studies and sources. Part of the reason why there is a large variance in the reported number of deaths caused by eating disorders is because those who suffer from an eating disorder may ultimately die of heart failure, organ failure, malnutrition or suicide. Often, the medical complications of death are reported instead of the eating disorder that compromised a person’s health.
According to a study done by colleagues at the American Journal of Psychiatry (2009), crude mortality rates were:
• 4% for anorexia nervosa
• 3.9% for bulimia nervosa
• 5.2% for eating disorder not otherwise specified
• Risk Factors: In judged sports – sports that score participants – prevalence of eating disorders is 13% (compared with 3% in refereed sports).19
• Significantly higher rates of eating disorders found in elite athletes (20%), than in a female control group (9%).20
• Female athletes in aesthetic sports (e.g. gynmastics, ballet, figure skating) found to be at the highest risk for eating disorders.20
• A comparison of the psychological profiles of athletes and those with anorexia found these factors in common: perfectionism, high self-expectations, competitiveness, hyperactivity, repetitive exercise routines, compulsiveness, drive, tendency toward depression, body image distortion, pre-occupation with dieting and weight.