Anorexia – Dying to Look Good
Jamie-Lynn DiScala of The Sopranos spent most of her teen years trying to survive anorexia. She’s now the spokeswoman for the National Eating Disorders Association, hoping to help other girls understand that “thin” isn’t worth dying for.
At 34, Lara Flynn Boyle shocked audiences when her pathetically starved body barely cast a shadow on the red carpet of the 2003 Golden Globes. She refused to admit to having an eating disorder. Anorexia can happen to the rich and famous as well as to ordinary women (and men) of all backgrounds.
Anorexia is excessive dieting that becomes starvation. But it’s not about food. When you have anorexia, food is a tool of control that you use on yourself. As this emotional and physical disorder continues, you lose all sense of perspective.
That’s why an 80-pound woman can look in the mirror and point out places she considers fat. She isn’t lying – she literally doesn’t see herself as she really is. Remember fun house mirrors at the circus that distort your body? A woman with anorexia sees herself with that kind of distortion.
If only they would get the right kind of help, 20% of the women with anorexia would not die every year. Before shrinking to skin and bones, some of the signs are:
- Fatigue – often feeling cold
- Pushing food around or throwing it away
- Withdrawing from friends
- Avoiding events that involve food
- Setting up extreme food rules
- Obsessing about calorie counting and food contents
- Hair loss, sallow skin
- Dizziness or disorientation
- Normal menstruation ceases
- Depressed or anxious
- Perfectionist attitude about even minor things
If people are telling you that you’re suddenly showing major weight loss and you feel like you have poor social coping skills, it’s a sign of concern. The really hard part is breaking through the wall of denial.
Women with Anorexia have low self-esteem and lack of confidence. Only in controlling food and continuing to lose weight do they feel successful. Family and friends think that if they could only talk you into eating, then normal hunger would kick in and everything would be okay. What they don’t realize is their amateur help just makes the symptoms worse. Without proper treatment, anorexia is a death sentence.
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