The Renegade Rip

Seminar targets eating disorders

Vanessa Boutwell

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RELATED LINKS
edreferral.com: Dedicated to prevention and treatment of eating disorders and provides free information.

something-fishy.com: Chat rooms and message boards for people suffering from eating disorders.

tel-a-teen.com: Help line for youth victims.

zyworld.com: Essays, poems and old diary entries from a bulimic.

Today, society considers the “ideal” woman to be tall with long legs, large breasts and a thin build. That’s according to BC psychology professor Sally Hill, who calls this the unrealistic Barbie stereotype.

Hill, who spoke at a Women’s History month seminar at BC, shared the reality of eating disorders and her life-threatening struggle with bulimia.

“There are two types of eating disorders — anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa,” Hill said. “It’s been 25 years (since I was bulimic) and I can talk fairly easily about this now. I think as you’re experiencing an eating disorder, it’s not something you can easily talk about.”

According to Hill, women all over the United Sates are faced with eating disorders. Anorexia mainly strikes females and is increasing among college students. Hill said statistics show that 59 percent of college women diet.

“If you rebel against your diet, you take more extreme measures,” she said. “On the other hand, when this is occurring you feel out of control.”

“Approximately, 4 percent of women between 18 and 25 suffer from anorexia,” she said. “And 15 percent of these women die.”

BC psychology professor Becky Whitson suggests that therapy is important. Although, she said if you don’t include the entire family in therapy, you’re almost wasting your time.

“Mothers who have anorexic daughters are usually high achievers, they are often conservative to their husbands and are frustrated in reaching their own goals,” Whitson said. “Fathers are very successful, good looking, athletic, and feel second best.”

Eating disorder patients have very high expectations of themselves and if they don’t reach these expectations they feel guilty, according to Whitson.

“When you’re a perfectionist you set goals that are associated with are all healthy and normal styles of dealing with stress,” Whiston said. “Their eating disorder is how they deal with everything, it’s a cry for help. They need acknowledgment, acceptance and recognition.”

There are many organizations designed to help with eating disorders. The Internet has information, links and chat room for those facing a disorder.

“Anorexia and bulimia are very serious disorders,” Hill said. “If you know anyone with these disorders it is important they receive professional help.”

Eating Disorder Links
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Seminar targets eating disorders