Monday, November 27, 2006

HBO "Thin" -Real Life is More Painful

Over the Thanksgiving holiday I saw some pals from college. One of my friends lives far away and I get to see her about once a year. My friend had bulimia in college----and still fights that battle, twenty years later. Call me shallow but when I was in college, it was not that big of a deal to be anorexic or bulimic. Nearly everyone I knew was on diet, a lot of people had done the "scarf and barf" method of weight loss prior. WT Campers---I am not saying it was right, I am just telling you the way it WAS. At the sorority ( "Delta Delta Delta-Can I Help You Help You Help You") the bathroom by our chapter room was for "Scarf and Barf". It was widely known and accepted that the chapter room restroom was pretty much just for the sisters that barfed up their food. Insert dorm or sorority---it was pretty common everywhere. There is a point here. The point is that the weight/thin issue has been on my mind a lot lately.
  • I have an almost 13-year-old girl who is not "concentration camp" thin----and I have trouble finding her clothes!
  • I have an 8 year old that can wear a size SMALL---for Women's t-shirts!
The documentary that is on HBO has brought a lot of this to the forefront and gotten people talking. But when I saw my friend from college...I just have to tell you that it just HURTS ME TO SEE HER STRUGGLE WITH IT STILL. My friend is accomplished. She has a beautiful family. She is a wonderful giving person. If she could only see herself how others see her...she would realize that she's beautiful inside and out. I know she is still struggling with bulimia (even though she tells me she's fine, tells others she is "over it") I can tell BY HER TEETH. Her teeth are discolored and it is one of the telling signs of someone that is throwing up alot. I know that her obsession and illness is going to take her from this world earlier than she should go. Throwing up on a consistent basis is not healthy and this will do her body harm in ways that have not shown up yet. You can't do that kind of damage to the body without harm. I know this is a rant but I am just so sad. I wish things were different. I wish something could be done so that so many women did not feel the pressure to be perfect, thin. Does anyone have any ideas, thoughts, opinions? Help me try to come up with some positive ways to combat this trend. I can't just sit and watch anymore.

18 Comments:

Blogger Mamma said...

I understand your frustration...I had a friend in college who wasn't fat, but she became anorexic her sophomore year and all of the sudden every guy on campus wanted to date her. Do you know how frustrating that was when we were trying to get her get help? Or how frustrating it was to think (if only for a moment) that that's what guys wanted?

Body image issues suck! And I don't mean that as an understatement.

11/27/2006 7:13 PM  
Blogger ballerinamommy said...

I too have a friend battling an eating disorder. And it sucks to feel like I can't help her - she lives three states away. Even if we lived close, I think it's just one of those things she has to deal with herself. All I can do is just be a friend and listen to her. Is your friend in treatment?

11/28/2006 5:55 AM  
Blogger Josephine said...

Tell women - friends and strangers alike - when they look beautiful to you. I do this. It takes a bit of brass balls, but in the end, it makes me feel warm in my heart. Because I think women are usually beautiful. Especially when they are smiling and not thinking about whether they are beautiful or not.

Maybe if we were all kinder to one another, and less competitive, then our culture would change.

It's not the men who demand we be skinny. It is us. We demand it of each other by being jealous and competitive. Instead of just simply loving.

11/28/2006 6:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As parents, we need to tackle this problem early. My daughter was asked to join a 'diet club' in THIRD grade! She was not and still is not fat. She is 5'10 and wears a healthy size 12. One way to combat this is to NOT subscribe to the teen girl magazines. NONE, NADA, PERIOD! Get rid of your bathroom scale, eat healthier and get your kids active outdoors at an early age - and it doesn't have to be through competitive sports either. When talking about ultra-thin celebrities/women around town, mention how unhealthy they look, not how skinny.

I battled anorexia as a teen and at my thinnest I could put my hands around my waist and touch fingers, front and back. I was still called the "chunky" one in the family. Imagine that. My sister is still battling bulimia in her mid 40's.

It's such a vicious cycle and we buy into it through celebrity worship. It has to stop with us.

11/28/2006 7:48 AM  
Blogger Robin said...

'Girl's Life' is a good magazine for girls. Don't just shelter them from the bad, flood them with the good. Make sure they're involved in activities that will positively influence their lives. Make sure you're involved in their lives.

11/28/2006 11:35 AM  
Blogger Curegirl0421 said...

It's so hard, especially with daughters. I'm a hefty girl, and don't apologize for it, and my daughter is 5 ft tall and now wearing Juniors clothing at age 10. I try to keep her eating healthy and being active, although it's hard sometimes. I do try to keep her aware of how she presents herself, but not make her feel bad about herself... I hope every day that I'm succeeding. Good luck to your friend.

11/28/2006 2:33 PM  
Blogger Susan said...

My sister and I both suffered from body image issues and eating disorders. Our mom didn't notive because she was battling her own demons. I am now overweight and I feel like all the abuse I did to my body messed up my metabolism (just a theory). I now have a 6 year old daughter. She wears a size 8 clothes and nothing fits right because she is not rail thin. She is tall and with an build atheletic, and she is BEAUTIFUL and she is already saying I'm fat and my butt is big. I'm so sick of thin people in commercials- I want to see normal- not obese, not sickly looking, just normal.

11/28/2006 2:44 PM  
Blogger Rua said...

Hey there Darlin'...Been there done that and have the missing teeth to show for it. It took years to overcome and still take a great deal of will power. Sadly, you can't 'fix' your friend or change her mind with kind words. The disorder has hardwired her brain to see a completely different image when she looks in the mirror and completely dismiss what loved ones say in a positive fashion, yet hone in on the negative! It's a vicius disease and one of the few tried and true ways to get help is through counseling. There is a root problem, no matter how tiny the issue may seem to others to those abusing their own bodies it is massive. The hardest part of being a friend is having to stand there and watch. "Each one of here today will at one time in our lives look upon a loved one who is in need and ask the same question: We are willing help, but what, if anything, is needed? For it is true we can seldom help those closest to us. Either we don't know what part of ourselves to give or, more often than not, the part we have to give is not wanted. And so it those we live with and should know who elude us. But we can still love them - we can love completely without complete understanding." --A river runs through it

11/28/2006 7:51 PM  
Blogger Kristen said...

I don't know. I wish I had a brilliant answer- for you and for myself and my daughter. I did see an episode of Oprah that said that moms who have had body issues or eating disorders are more likely to pass the buck to their daughters, so we have to start with ourselves...have a healthy body image and portray that so your daughter can see.

11/28/2006 9:59 PM  
Anonymous Jennifer said...

I agree with Josephine. You've got to tell her how beautiful she is inside and out without making a big deal out of her situation (even though it is a big deal). Hopefully something will click (soon!) and steer her in the right direction and onto the road of being happy with herself, from her own point of view.

I wish you all the luck and am sending your friend lots of love!

11/29/2006 12:16 AM  
Anonymous Jennifer said...

I agree with Josephine. You've got to tell her how beautiful she is inside and out without making a big deal out of her situation (even though it is a big deal). Hopefully something will click (soon!) and steer her in the right direction and onto the road of being happy with herself, from her own point of view.

I wish you all the luck and am sending your friend lots of love!

11/29/2006 12:17 AM  
Blogger Jennifer Hadorn said...

The best thing we can do as parents is to instill a sense of self-worth in our children. Parents shape children's ideas of self long before they are exposed to media images of uber thin, super model types.

Be kind to yourself! Your girls will model your behavior. Even if you never tell your children they are fat or ugly, self deprecation in front of them is just as bad.

11/29/2006 11:46 AM  
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Anonymous rasik said...

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