For some, the
thought of looking at themselves in the mirror is almost a form of punishment.
While an outsider may see skin and bones, an anorexic only sees a fat body
staring back. A fat, overweight body they battle with each and every day.
Anorexia is a serious disease that affects a person both physically and
emotionally. Young women are most at risk for anorexia; here’s a typical day
for a young anorexic girl….
Wake up and get on
the scale. Immediate disappointment. Try to think of ways to burn calories,
maybe go for a run? Walk for an hour? No time. If there’s no time to exercise,
there’s certainly no time to eat. Brush teeth several times so as not to think
of breakfast. Get dressed and curse at my reflection – how can anyone be so fat
and disgusting? My clothes look horrible on me and I can see rolls in my
stomach. Begin the day, but already start planning activities to stay busy and avoid
food. Typical morning headache and trouble concentrating throughout the day.
Feeling lightheaded, but food is not an option. Food has calories. Food will
make me fat. Walk everywhere, even park in the furthest lot so I walk more
during the day. People tell me how thin I am. I don’t see it. I only see fat
thighs. Starting to worry about dinner tonight. How will I make my parents
believe my celery stick and water is
dinner? Exercise for 2 hours. Mealtime is always a struggle; deciding if half
an apple will make me fat or cause me to gain weight. I weigh myself and obsess
over how many calories I took in, and how much exercise will be needed to burn
off those calories. Is the apple worth it? Stay busy after dinner and avoid the
kitchen. I cannot go near the kitchen. The kitchen has food in it. Food is
taboo. Weigh myself again and brush teeth. I fall asleep hungry, but was told
sleeping burns calories. Wake up tomorrow and hope the scale shows I’ve lost
account is unfortunately a grim reality for some young women.
If you recognize
these symptoms in a loved one, seek professional help immediately.
to maintain minimal body weight
exercising with little or no eating
concern with body weight and/or shape
of weight gain or being ‘fat'
of menstrual periods (amenorrhea)
Left untreated, anorexia
can be life-threatening. There are numerous treatment programs that can help
young women with this disease. Contact Great Plains Women’s Health Center for
information on eating disorders and referrals on specialists.