Editor’s Note: The following is part of an ongoing series entitled “Common Concern Reruns”, where I will re-post a host of material from the previous iteration of Our Common Concern on blogspot. Unfortunately, many of these issues are as pressing in 2008 as they were in 2007 — so please do read them through, share your thoughts, and get involved. A special thanks to all of the guest bloggers who made these posts possible.
(Originally published March 1, 2007)
For Our Eighth Concern, guest blogger Monica Mangual addresses a topic that has probably touched all of our lives at one point or another: Body Image. She’s a family counselor who’s no amateur on the issue, so be sure to take action on her post and look for an update this Sunday, March 4.
As someone who’s felt the unnecessary and sometimes overwhelming pressure of society to look a certain way and be a certain weight, I have always considered myself an advocate for a healthy body, male or female. Although I’ve never struggled with an eating disorder, I have fallen into the traps of fad dieting, over-exercising, and basing my worth as a person by the numbers on a scale. This week, February 25 through March 3, 2007 is National Eating Disorders Awareness Week. In the United States, as many as 10 million females and 1 million males are fighting a life and death battle with an eating disorder such as anorexia or bulimia. Millions more are struggling with a binge eating disorder.
The most important thing you can do if you have a friend who is suffering from an eating disorder is address it with them! Remind them that you are there to talk and to offer support in any way you can, without judgment and without criticism.
Below are some statistics I’ve found regarding America’s dieting and drive for thinness:
- Over one-half of teenage girls and nearly one-third of teenage boys use unhealthy weight control behaviors such as skipping meals, fasting, smoking cigarettes, vomiting, and taking laxatives
- Girls who diet frequently are 12 times as likely to binge as girls who don’t diet
- 42% of 1st-3rd grade girls want to be thinner
- 81% of 10 year olds are afraid of being fat
- The average American woman is 5’4” tall and weighs 140 pounds. The average American model is 5’11” tall and weighs 117 pounds.
- Most fashion models are thinner than 98% of American women
- And more to come later in the week…
This week, let’s make an effort to celebrate our bodies!! What can we do to do this?
Make a list of all the things your body can do – read this and add to it often!
*Wear clothes that are comfortable and fit your body – throw out those jeans that are restricting and uncomfortable.
*Make a list of all the people that you admire and whether their appearance is important in their success.
*Keep a list of ten positive things about yourself that has nothing to do with appearance – repeat these and add to them regularly!
*And more later to come later in the week… post your suggestions today!
Finally, Visit the National Eating Disorders Awareness website (NEDA) to discover ways to celebrate your body and create positive body image. This site has tons of information regarding various eating disorders and what we can do to prevent and help them. Also, be sure to sign the “No Weigh! A Declaration of Independence From a Weight-Obsessed World”.
And post your suggestions today on how we can all create a world more supportive of who we are and how we look!