It’s not easy being a teenager, and all of the weird and wonderful changes our body goes through during puberty don’t help matters either.
If you are feeling self-conscious about your body shape, it is important to keep in mind that fad diets and crash dieting don't provide long-term weight loss.
They can provide short-term results for some people, but most people put the weight they've lost back on very quickly once they stop the diet.
The best way to stay in shape is to enjoy a wide variety of healthy foods and be physically active.
By adopting balanced eating habits you not only feel better about yourself, you are better equipped to deal with the pressures of being a teenager.
Types of eating disorders
Anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa are two common types of eating disorders.
Someone diagnosed with anorexia nervosa deliberately maintains a very low body weight. They can do this by starving themselves, limiting their food intake, purging any food intake, obsessively counting calories and fat and/or overexercising.
People experiencing bulimia go on regular eating "binges" and consume large amounts of food. This is usually followed by feeling of guilt and anxiety about getting fat, and so it often results in the person taking desperate attempts to get rid of the food. Common methods include vomiting, over exercising, taking laxatives or starving your body of food for a number of days. Some people binge eat, but don’t get rid of the food after eating.
Someone suffering from anorexia nervosa is generally painstakingly thin, whereas someone with bulimia may look healthy or even be slightly overweight.
Both eating disorders wreck havoc on your body. Irregular or absent periods, dry skin, hair loss and bad circulation are all common symptoms of anorexia. Decaying teeth, sore throat and weight gain are common symptoms of bulimia.
What causes eating disorders?
While eating disorders all appear to revolve around food, weight, dieting and appearance, the real causes can be very wide ranging. Depression, stress, anxiety, low self esteem, guilt, a need for attention, grief and relationship issues are just a few of the possible underlying causes.
The following methods don’t work to control your weight long term:
- vomiting up your food after you’ve eaten it
- starving yourself
- using laxatives
These methods are useless - they don't lose fat, they lose fluid. And they are also incredibly dangerous, and have been known to result in sudden heart attack.
Where can I go for help?
If you or a friend appear to be suffering from an eating disorder, it is important that you talk with someone you trust like a family member, teacher, counsellor or local doctor.
There are also a number of organisations that can help you out:
- The Butterfly Foundation
- Eating Disorders Foundation of Victoria
- Tasmanian Easting Disorders Website
- Eating Disorders Foundation of NSW
- Eating Disorders Association Resource Centre
Food for thought- Girlfriend Magazine
Way back in the renascence, voluptuous women with more than a little junk in their trunks were considered the 'ideal".
Even as recently as the 1954s, Marilyn Monroe was the height of hotness and she was a size 12 and weighed about 63kgs. A totally normal, healthy weight-but If she were alive today, she'd be plastered on gossip mags with headlines like "She’s a BlG star'.
The good news is that if the perception of beauty can change for the worse, is can also change for the better.
Being ultra-thin is so ’05. We’re all about celebrating healthy body shapes, no matter what the size!
Forget the scales- see your GP to chat about your body if you're at all worried about your weight or health.
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