Eating Disorders ~ Societies Standards...
It is not surprising that eating disorders are on the increase because of the value society places on being thin. In America (among other nations), women are given the message at a very young age that in order to be happy and successful, they must be thin. Every time you walk into a store, you are surrounded by the images of emaciated models that appear on the front cover of all fashion magazines. Thousands of teenage girls are starving themselves this very minute trying to attain what the fashion industry considers the "ideal" figure. The average model weighs 23% less than the average woman. Maintaining a weight that is 15% below your expected body weight fits the criteria for anorexia, so most models, according to medical standards, fit into the category of being anorexic. Teenagers need to realize that society's ideal body image is not achievable. The photos we see in magazines are not real either. Many people don't realize that those photos have gone through many touch ups and have been air-brushed to make the models look perfect. Teenagers striving to attain society's unattainable ideal image will just end up increasing their feelings of inadequacy.
Diet commercials are constantly appearing on our television screens telling us that once we lose the weight, we will be happy. While you're standing in the check out line at the grocery store magazines claiming to have the newest and best diet surround you. Each month another new diet appears claiming to be the diet to end all diets. Whatever happened to last month's diets that claimed the same thing? Dieting has become an obsession in North America. We spend billions of dollars each year trying to look the way society tells us we need to look. If diets really worked, then why are there so many of them? The reason a new diet pops up each month, is because last's month's diets did not work. You know the ones that claimed to really work. The truth of the matter is that DIETS DON'T WORK. As soon as you start to diet, you automatically set yourself up for failure. Many of the diets on the market right now are also unhealthy. They deprive you of the proper nutrition your body needs to survive and these diets can lead to health problems.
The diet and fashion industries are not the only ones to blame for society's obsession with thinness. We are the ones keeping them in business. We buy into the idea that we can attain the "ideal" body image. We allow ourselves to believe the lies being thrown at us constantly. We buy their magazines, diet books, and products, hoping that this time they will work. We are throwing away our hard-earned money trying to live up to the standards that society has set for us. Be prepared to spend lots of money on your quest for the perfect diet and be prepared never to find it, because there is not one. You just need to eat healthy and get physical activity.
The recovery process will take time and it will not be easy. Many people have asked me how long it will take, but I cannot answer such a question nor should anyone else feel that they can. Everyone is different and everyone will recover at their own pace. You cannot put a time limit on recovery. I can tell you that the eating disorder will not disappear overnight like many people wish for. Going to bed at night, hoping and praying it will not be there in the morning, will not help you. You will only feel worse when you awake to find it still present in your life. Acceptance is best. Accept that for now you do have an eating disorder, but remind yourself it is only temporary. The more you move forward in your own personal recovery, the more the eating disorder will be left behind to become part of your past. Recovery is difficult, but then again, so is living with an eating disorder.