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When you had an eating disorder, how
did you hide it?
I guess I would make people think I ate
like bringing a small amount of food or
just drinking water or something.
Did people ever become suspcious?
No, never. People Just said I looked
really small which I liked.
What do you think most contributed to
your bad perception of yourself?
People just called me fat and ugly and
stupid, and I beleived it. I felt the only
way to be pretty and noticed was by
being skinny
Did you have a point that felt like rock
When I saw that I lost 30 pounds in a
So did you eat anything at all?
Three or four bites all day.
Accounts of life with an eating disorder from once-anorexic 17-year old, Autumn West.
by Sarah Rohleder
She walked into her room after school, and
lifted the bottom of her shirt—for the third time that
day—looking at her emaciated stomach from every
angle. She hadn’t eaten anything that day.
Alexis Bowles, an 8th grader at Bethaven, is
one of the teenagers who have fought anorexia only
as an adolescent. According to the South Carolina
Department of Health, 95% of people with anorexia
are between the ages of 12 and 25.
“I don’t really know what made me not want
to eat, I would just see myself in the mirror and my
stomach was my biggest insecurity,” Alexis said. “I
guess you could say it was other people around me,
and I see the commercials on TV and think to myself
that I wish I could be that skinny.”
According to the South Carolina Department
of Health, 50% of girls between the ages of 11 and
13 see themselves as overweight. From an early
age, children are exposed to TV commercials and
magazine ads that persuade the mind that in order
to be happy or successful, you have to be thin.
Adolescents may start feeling self-conscious about
their weight, legs, breasts, and other body parts from
photographs of models because their body parts
don’t seem to match up with their own. According to
Rader Programs, an inpatient and outpatient service
for those with eating disorders, 81% of ten year olds
are afraid of becoming fat and 42% of 3rd graders
state that they want to be thinner than they are.
“I never really thought about it, but I think
when I was a kid I did want to be just like those girls
on the show America’s Next Top Model,” Alexis said.
“They were all so tall and skinny, and it did have
some aect on me.”
Children aren’t born with a concept of “body
image”, but the way they feel about themselves
comes from dierent sources. Aside from the media,
adolescents say family is a factor in their discontent
with their bodies.
“My mom, ever since I was about twelve has
either weighed less than me or right at my weight,
and I get so insecure about it because she’s 38, and
I’m 14 and we share clothes,” Alexis said. “I always
asked myself why I had to constantly watch what I
eat when my mom didn’t at all.”
According to the American College of Sports
Medicine, parents could play a big part in aecting
body image on children and teenagers. If parents
comment negatively about their own bodies, they
could make their kids wonder about the body on
themselves. Parents pointing out dierent examples
of body types from TV or magazine ads could also
aect a child or teenagers view on their body. But,
commenting positively about body image could
boost self esteem, especially if the comment is
about a celebrity or on a person well known for their
singing, acting, or talent and not just for their beauty,
looks, or body.
Friends and peers could also aect body
image in someone’s mind too. Studies at the
University of Melbourne show that members of
friendship cliques share similar body image attitudes,
and the same perception of a “good body”.
“It seemed like all my friends were so tiny,
and they barely ate anything at lunch, when I had
a full meal in my lunch and then I always felt fat
compared to them,” Alexis said.
Even having had identied her problem,
Alexis walked in the door after school, raised her shirt
up, and turned sideways once again. With her eyes
glistening she looked away and let her chin face the
by Janie Peterson
Maybe you’re 90 pounds,
excess of facial/
body hair esophageal
peptic ulcers
brain damage and depression
by Sarah Rohleder
heart attack
kidney/liver failure
Hormonal Imbalance/
loss of mentrual period
but now what?
Body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) aects the mental state of its
suerers. It causes them to believe they have a aw that in reality
is insignicant, or even nonexistent. Anorexics and bulimics suer
from this disorder—they see excess weight where there is none.
Losing weight was your goal,
but these eects probably
calories: 4,525
fat: 205
carbohydrates: 566
meal consists of:
standard bag buttered
microwave popcorn, Big
Mac, Large Coca-Cola,
bag M&Mcandies, large
Healthy Eater
calories: 411
fat: 4
carbohydrates: 13
meal consists of: baked
chicken tendorloins
topped with parmesan
cheese, steamed
brocolli and carrots,
glass 1%milk
calories: 6
fat: 0
carbohydrates: 1
meal consists of: half celery
stalk, glass of water
According to the National Eating
Disorder Association, nearly 10
million American women suer from
eating disorders. However, many
eating disorders go unnoticed and
According to Erin Jenkins-
Baker, a psychologist who has dealt
with many eating disorders,“the
biggest problem with eating
disorders is that most of the time
family and friends don’t even notice
the signs.”
Warning signs include:
What do you think
about media’s eect on
teen girls’ body image?
by Sarah Rohleder

“When girls start comparing themselves to other girls and celebrities, they
start to look down on themselves, which can be a good thing to an extent
to improve themselves, but not to where they count every calorie.”
-Merryll Loy
“Most black girls have a butt and I just have a really at butt, so when I see
girls on TV with a big butt, I feel like I need a big butt.”
-Erian Bradley
talking about weight
exercising excessively
wearing baggy or large
bruising easily
avoiding interaction with
others during meals
using the restroomafter
weighing in multiple times
in a week
pinching skin
making excuses to avoid
The National Eating Disorder
Information center recommends
being careful to avoid critical or
accusatory statements, as this will
only bring out your friend’s or family
member’s defenses, focusing on
feelings and relationships, not on
weight and food, telling them you
are concerned about their health,
while respecting their privacy, not
commenting on how they look,
avoiding power struggles about
eating, avoiding placing shame,
blame, or guilt on the person
regarding their actions or attitudes,
and avoiding giving simple solutions.
Research from South Carolina
Department of Mental health shows
that eating disorders have the
highest mortality rate of any mental
illness. A study by the National
Association of Anorexia Nervosa
and Associated Disorders reported
that 5 – 10%of anorexics die within
10 years after diagnosis, 18-20%of
anorexics will be dead after 20 years,
and only 30 – 40%ever fully recover.