Like many women and young girl, there was a time in my life when I didn’t have the most positive image of how I looked. Back in middle school, when I stated reading fashion magazines like Seventeen and YM, I noticed that models and celebrities were built quite different than I was. I would diet and exercise not for health, but to look like the ideas I saw on glossy pages. It wasn’t until my mid twenties that I began to really accept myself and embrace a broader definition of beauty. Even in 2015, not much has changed in the way the fashion industry presents beauty. There has been a push for the industry to include a larger representation of all body types in ads and on the runways, but for the most part, the tall, thin figure remains dominate. This constant bombardment of a mostly unachievable standard of beauty can be a dangerous cycle for some and with today (February 22) being the first day of National Eating Disorders Awareness Week I wanted to share some ways you can tell if you or a friend may have an eating disorder.
According Stanford psychologist Dr. Megan Jones, who also serves as Chief Science Officer of Lantern [www.golantern.com] — the groundbreaking mobile tool that helps prevent the onset of eating disorders — many eating disorders begin with modest attempts to lose weight that can quickly spiral out of control. Herself an eating disorder survivor while a college student, Dr. Jones says that in a quest to look fashionable and slim like the models on Fashion Week catwalks, many teenage girls and women adopt thinking patterns that put them at great risk for future body image and eating control issues.
Could you or a friend be at risk for a “subclinical” eating disorder without even knowing it? Here are six warning signs:
WARNING SIGN #1:
You describe fat as a “feeling.”
WARNING SIGN #2:
You eat a limited variety of foods or become a vegetarian to restrict food intake.
WARNING SIGN #3:
You avoid eating meals or snacks when other people are around.
WARNING SIGN #4:
You constantly calculate the amount of fat, carbs, or calories you’re eating.
WARNING SIGN #5:
You feel ashamed, disgusted, or guilty after eating.
WARNING SIGN #6:
You dream of having the body attributes of friends, models, or celebrities.
Always remember that beauty is is about who you are not what you look like. If you need help, know that you are not alone. Reach out to a friend or family member who will help.