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When a Diet Becomes a Deadly Eating Disorder, Part 2

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After a while, Ann starts to resemble the girls she sees on TV and in magazines that makes her feel even better. So she decides to take up exercise to burn more calories; now it doesn’t hurt her to exercise like it did when she was heavy. In fact, the high she gets from endorphins is better than the feeling of comfort she got from her favorite Big Mac. She’d rather die than eat one of those now. Ann even lies about the excessive workouts. But one day, her mother catches her frantically running up and down the stairs to the second floor of the house.

Next Ann starts compulsively examining herself. She can’t pass a mirror or even a window without checking herself out. She’s overhauled her wardrobe: if her clothes don’t make her look stick thin, they’re discarded. But she’s depressed because she never feels that she looks thin enough even though everyone is now telling her that she has gone too far.

These behaviors signal that the diet to become healthy has become the dangerous, even deadly, eating disorder of anorexia nervosa. As parents, teachers, and friends we must be aware of these signs: refusing to sustain a normal body weight, compulsive interest in food without indulging, compulsive exercise, distorted body image and especially the constant lying to cover up the behaviors. We ignore these signs and behaviors to the detriment of our young girls.


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