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Friday, June 25, 2004

A Bit More Serious 

I'm trying to catch up on what's going on in the world. You are probably aware of my involvement fighting domestic abuse. If you aren't you will be. That soapbox is about to be drug out again.

But right now I find myself thinking about eating disorders. Yeah - me the queen of food talk, worried about eating disorders.

I was reading this article and it got me to thinking. One of the Olsen twins admits to an eating disorder and everyone is worried it will spark a resurgence of the problem in teenage girls. Well, they are right and they are wrong.

Right - unfortunately it will draw attention to how she stayed so thin, and many young girls don't realize it's all bad.

Wrong - Anorexia and bulemia are already issues, wide spread issues.

I speak from experience. I mentioned in an earlier post that I had modeled in my younger days. I've always been tall, and have (for the most part) been thin most of my life. However, that did not stop me from worrying about putting weight on. So, back in college I found what I thought was the perfect solution.

I eat what ever I wanted. I was active in sports, so I got plenty of exercise. But even then if you live on donuts and french fries you will put on weight. So I'd eat and take a box of Exlax. Yeah, every time. I thought it was better than the alternatives, since no one ever mentioned any long term effects, plus I was just helping nature along doing something it would do in it's own time anyway. What An Idiot I Was.

Oh, there are long lasting effects. I will never be the same. I won't go into the medical issues involved, I'll just leave it that Exlax is no longer a luxury, it's a necessity. That and occasional ER visits. Who would have thought.

I still fight the old thought process. I know how to eat healthy. I had to go to classes for it, but I learned. I love food. Love It Love It Love It. I just can't eat what I want when I want.

I also have to Make Myself Eat. Isn't it a shame that those that know me usually start a conversation out with - Did you eat today? or When was the last time you ate?

So how do we keep from passing this along to the young women (and men) in our lives? Talk to them. Yeah - it's that simple.

Build their self image. Don't over inflate it, just build it. Show unconditional love. Constantly. Tell them that beauty comes in different sizes and shapes. Then show them it's true. Actions speak louder than words. Watch those snide comments. Watching TV, don't just blurt out how horrible JLo looks now that she's put on weight. Comments like that register, and not always the way we need them to.

Watch for the signs. Not just running to the bathroom after they eat, or not eating. Watch what they eat. Are their habits changing? Will they talk about it? Teach them good nutrition (it won't hurt you to eat healthy). Teach them to eat little bits throughout the day.

Our children are precious, but you know what - some of them don't realize it. Some of them, despite all we do, think they are fat, that they are ugly. We have to give them a strong base to combat what they will hear from the idiots outside of the home. The saying that "children can be so cruel" is truer than we remember. Not all families encourage good manners, not all families teach their children to be kind.

I'd hate for one child to have to deal with the medical issues and mental wars I deal with every day. So, pay attention. Talk with the children in your life. It'll get through to them, whether you see it or not - they are listening. Help them see how beautiful they are, on every level.


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My "Other" Family - Fizzen Sparks