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Be comfortable in your genes. Wear jeans that fit the TRUE you

By February 26, 2008 - 4:06pm
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February 24-March 1, 2008 marks the National Eating Disorder Awareness Week (NEDAW).

Eating Disorders are illnesses that are still largely untouched as far as being under-reported, under-researched and under-funded for treatment facilities. Eating disorders are life-threatening, and it is estimated that as many as 10 million females have an eating disorder, which include anorexia, bulimia, binge eating disorder and EDNOS ("eating disorder not otherwise specified").

Eating disorders are much more than about food and dieting; they are physical and psychological illnesses with social and cultural factors. The NEDAW is in it's 20th year, with a goal of bringing awareness and information to the forefront. At the University I used to work at, we held a NEDAW event every year, where college women would give us their "skinny jeans", as a symbol of them being comfortable in their real genes (jeans), and in return, they would receive a NEDAW T-shirt. The skinny jeans were donated to charity. This event received a great turnout, and women (and men!) were able to talk about eating disorders, body image, and their struggles with food and weight.

We would love to hear from you, if you've also experienced significant struggles with food and weight, or have been diagnosed with an eating disorder.

The National Eating Disorders Association (www.nationaleatingdisorders.org)

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There's another side to all this...I used to be one of those waif-ish models, but, you'd never know it to see me now! Menopause weight has been clinging to my skinny bones for a few years, now, and doesn't want to let go. Were you to see my mom or my daughter, you'd wonder what happened to me, lol! So, can you imagine how it must feel to see old photo shoots of me, and to see myself in the mirror now - shudder!

It has taken me at least 4 years to get back into single digit sized jeans, stretch of course; but, I'm still fluctuating a bit between those and the double-digits, in spite of all the running and training I do. However, my body has been changing ever so slowly and my "fat clothes" are starting to feel too big (yay!).

There ARE grandmothers having procedures done, it's rather ridiculous to me. I'll never have my 20-something face or body again, and there's no way a knife will touch it. We do have to learn to love who we are, not just what we look like. I'm going through a lot of the middle-aged crazies, and it's hard to love who I am. So, I just try to like me, hahaha!

February 27, 2008 - 5:52pm

I have also read that anorexia is on the rise amongst women in their 30s/40/50s and what used to be a "teenage" issue is no longer a teenage issue. Pregnancy can also trigger anorexia and that's one time you DON'T want to diet.

I wonder if it's on the rise with older women because of the media in addition to eating disorders in their teens beginning to resurface. And the whole 40 is the new 30 and 50 is the new 40 nonsense. No, 40 is 40 and 50 is 50 and when we all accept that and stop acting like there is something wrong with a 50 year old actually looking like one, body acceptance will be easier for all of us.

I wonder how much pressure we will ultimately put on ourselves to stay young and thin? I mean, when we are 80, will it be ok to have white hair and a wrinkle or two or will us Great-Grannies be getting boob jobs and botox at the nursing home?

I can see the Senior Activity Calendar now - Instead of Thursday Trivia we'll have Tummy Tuck Tuesday! Grrr!

Deep breath! Stepping off my soap box now!

February 27, 2008 - 3:54pm
EmpowHER Guest

This really is a major issue among women of all ages, and I agree with Tina that it seems especially prevalent among women in middle age. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, 24 million Americans are battling an eating disorder. This is staggering. More needs to be done to look at the causes.

Just yesterday I was flipping through the latest issue of Women's Health magazine, and my 11-year-old daughter was looking over my shoulder. She commented on how unhealthy the models looked. She asked me why the magazine is called "Women's Health." It hadn't really occurred to me how anorexic the women in the photos looked. I guess I'm so used to the images of women that we're barraged with every day in the media.

My daughter really made me think: it is so not acceptable for a so-called "health" magazine to support images like this, especially on their cover. We need to speak out and let them know this. I also must say that I'm really proud of my daughter -- that she has not gone over to "the dark side" and has an extremely healthy body image concept and feels good in her own skin. Sadly, I was not like this at her age. I was all too aware of looks and the societal expectations that young girls face. I wanted to look like Barbie -- nothing else was acceptable.

I can only hope that my daughter can hold onto this healthy perspective as she goes through adolescence and begins to feel the pressure from her peers to conform to the unrealistic expectations thrown out there in the media.

Are there things that other moms do to teach their daughters how to retain a healthy body image?


February 27, 2008 - 9:59am

Absolutely love that program! It seems that if you can instill that type of acceptance early on, it may help later in life as well. Health professionals nationwide are allegedly seeing a growing trend in eating disorders among women in their 30s, 40s, 50s, and beyond. Here's a few other facts that I found surprising.

* Some females first develop eating disorders in their teens, recover, and then relapse in middle age.
* Some studies suggest that nearly 80 percent of anorexia-related deaths occur in women who are over the age of 45.

Eating disorders are commonly attributed to trying to gain some control in lives that may have spun out of control according to PBS. For women hitting middle age, such issues may include:

* Relationship problems
* Divorce
* Parenting troubles
* Death of a parent
* Career difficulties
* Financial strain
* Empty-nest syndrome
* Emotional and physiological changes brought on by menopause
* Fears associated with aging
* Desires to look younger and slimmer than your age may allow;

Kudos to you and your team for trying to stem that tide!

If you have a body image issue, are you reared or committed to getting it under control?

February 27, 2008 - 8:36am
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