Posted by: smartcoalition | April 9, 2011


There are a lot of different treatment options for someone who has been diagnosed with an eating disorder. Treatment is difficult and can often take a long time. Some of the different types of treatment are:

Group Support – this can be good because you get the support of others who know exactly what you’re going through, and exactly how you feel.

Therapy – this can be a good option because you get a lot of interaction with someone who is very experienced in treating disorders. There are tons of different types of therapists and types of therapy to choose from.

Dietitian – Dietitians will focus on the health and nutritional aspects of your recovery. They can promote a healthier relationship with food.

The Maudsley Method – this method is designed for children or adolescents with an eating disorder. It puts the parents in charge of monitoring the child’s recovery. It involves every family member.

12-Step Programs – One of the main components of the 12-step programs is the idea of having a “sponsor” to hold you responsible for your actions.

Eating Disorders Anonymous or EDA has groups all over the country. They have two regularly meeting groups in Utah. One in Salt Lake and one in Orem.

Posted by: smartcoalition | April 6, 2011

Changes over Time

One interesting aspect of the “ideal body” or body image in general is that it changes. It changes over time and it changes among different cultures or geographic areas. This article shows pictures of what idealized bodies looked like at different points in history. Rubens’ The Three Graces, painted in 1639, portrays three beautiful, naked women. These women are of course a little bit larger. Rubens if famous for his love of larger women. In fact, the term Rubenesque is often applied to such people. The article then briefly goes through history showing various women representing the ideal of the time.

Two women show the end of a love of “big beautiful women” and a transition into the age of tall, thin, undernourished models. These two women were Marilyn Monroe, about a size 8, in the 1950’s, and Twiggy, a famous model of the 60’s, representing the first time in history that an underweight woman became ideal.

The ideal body also changes depending on where in the world you are, even today. This article talks about on African culture that force-feed their women thousands of calories each day. In these cultures largeness is associated with abundance, fertility, and erotic desirability.

Posted by: smartcoalition | April 5, 2011

It’s All in Your Head

I recently came across a blog that had a very interesting take on womens’ views on eating disorders and eating in general. The post that I first came across talks about what dieting says about what you think about yourself.

Here are some of the things that she said about it.

  • Choosing Splenda or Sweet & Low or NutraSweet over sugar translates to, “I don’t deserve what I want, what I like, or what is available to me. I will settle for second best.”
  • Refusing to bring certain food items into your home (especially those you crave), or to have just a couple of cookies (because that would mean you wouldn’t stop) communicates, “I don’t trust myself.”
  • And exercising to the point of discomfort, pushing yourself when you’re tired, sick, or plain, just don’t want to, communicates, “I deserve to be uncomfortable and to be punished.

In this post she also talks about “good” food vs “bad” food and what that really means. Her conclusion? It doesn’t mean anything. Good and bad are too relative of terms to universally apply to any one food. Every women just needs to focus on doing what’s right for her body.

Posted by: smartcoalition | April 5, 2011

Binge Eating Disorder

Binge eating has only recently been classified as an eating disorder. For some this seemed like merely justifying indulgence. They were afraid that people who just old-fashioned like to eat would claim they had an eating disorder. However, binge eating can be a really traumatic problem. There is a story in this book about one girl who has a really big problem with binge eating. Her parents did everything they could to help her finally resorting locking the cupboards that contained all of their food. Her disorder was so bad that she found herself slashing through the cupboards with a sledge hammer in the middle of the night. It took a lot of intense treatment to be able to provide this girl with a healthy attitude toward food. Conclusion: there is such a thing as binge eating disorder.

This article talks about the issue of whether or not to first address the obesity issue or the psychological issue when treating those with binge eating disorder. Either way, both need to be addressed and both take time, money, and a lot of effort to fix.

Posted by: smartcoalition | April 5, 2011

Improving your Body Image

So I’ve talked a lot about the benefits of a healthy body image, and the problems associated with a negative one, but now I’m going to give a few ideas on ways you can improve your body image.

This article has a lot of good information about this topic as well as these simple tips:

1. Listen to your body. Eat when you are hungry.
2 .Be realistic about the size you are likely to be based on your genetic and environmental
3. Exercise regularly in an enjoyable way, regardless of size.
4. Expect normal weekly and monthly changes in weight and shape
5. Work towards self acceptance and self forgiveness- be gentle with yourself.
6. Ask for support and encouragement from friends and family when life is stressful.
7. Decide how you wish to sp
end your energy — pursuing the “perfect body image” or enjoying
family, friends, school and, most importantly, life.

The National Eating Disorder Association published this paper that also gave some very good tips for improving body image.

Posted by: smartcoalition | March 26, 2011

An alarming trend: Pro-Ana sites

Free speech is wonderful. The internet is amazing and revolutionary. But the downside to these things is harmful information that should never be shared gets passed around the internet every day. Pro-Eating Disorder websites, called pro-ana sites, have been popping up all over the internet despite efforts to eliminate them.

These sites can include images of skinny girls and women. These images have been given the moniker “thinspiration.” They also typically include tips for limiting calories, or pep talks for “staying strong” when the hunger cravings begin. These sites can be very influential, especially to young girls. It’s very sad that instead of trying to help people with this disease, sites like this facilitate them. This article gives examples of a few sites and what effect they have.

Posted by: smartcoalition | March 26, 2011

Much too young?

Dieting and negative body image issues are affecting increasingly young girls. According to figures provided by the country’s first residential eating disorder treatment facility, the Renfrew Center, and the Journal of American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 40% of 9-year-old girls diet regularly. According to the Harvard Eating Disorder Center in Boston, 42% of first-, second-, and third-grade girls want to be thinner.

One problem with young girls wanting to diet is that they don’t have the cognitive development to know the difference between wanting to lose weight for health reasons, and wanting to lose weight because you have unrealistic expectations about how your body should look.

This article talks about how at a very young age children learn to associate skinny people with success, popularity, beauty, and even congeniality. Larger people are then associated with failure, unpopularity, ugliness, and meanness. These perceptions are carried with them for a very long time, and can be very difficult to change, especially when society as a whole appears to agree with those stereotypes.

Posted by: smartcoalition | March 26, 2011

Effort to Lose Weight

One almost universal problem among women is the struggle to lose weight. This is a touchy subject, especially in the public health field. Too much weight gain isn’t good. There are very real consequences to being overweight or obese. Overall, losing weight is a good goal to have. It’s a good healthy thing to do for your body. The problem comes when this effort to lose weight makes you do unhealthy things to your body. This can include losing weight when you don’t need to, or doing unhealthy things, like not eating enough, to lose that weight. The best way to lose weight is to eat smaller, healthier portions, and to increase exercise. Losing about 1 or 2 lbs a week is a good goal to have. This takes patience. America is not very good at patience.

This article talks about what some people would do to lose a few pounds. In a study done by Harvard Medical School nineteen percent of overweight and 33 percent of obese people would risk death for even a modest 10 percent weight loss. 31 percent of obese patients said they would give up 5 percent of their remaining years to be 10 percent thinner.

Weight loss goals should be healthy and realistic. Mayo Clinic gives these 10 weight-loss tips.

Posted by: smartcoalition | March 25, 2011

Advertising’s effect on Body Image

Photoshop and airbrushing are advertisers’ most valuable tools. Unfortunately, this means that everything that we see in magazines and on TV is unreal. These pictures show the before and after pictures of a photoshop tutorial.

The saddest part of all of this is that the media’s representation of “beauty” is unattainable for most women. The perfect women is skinny and young. Even the lucky few who are naturally tall and slim get older and start to show signs of aging.

The media today forces people to focus too much on their appearance. Women especially constantly compare themselves to the images they see in magazines, billboards, and TV. The number one wish for girls 11 to 17 is to be thinner. At any one time, 50% of women are currently dieting. Studies have shown that one third of American women and teens have begun smoking to control their appetite. source

Posted by: smartcoalition | March 25, 2011

For Starters

So I’d like to dedicate this first post to an overview of the problem and why I started caring. Body image is not something that can be diagnosed. A negative body image isn’t something that can be treated with a pill or a dose of antibiotics.It’s not black and white; people aren’t split into good body image and bad body image. Someone’s perception of their body changes every day. Some days they feel great about their body, some days they want to curl up and never leave the house. Having a negative body image makes you feel inferior, unworthy, and depressed. Here are some shocking statistics about body image.

A negative body image can have some pretty severe effects. Depression is the most common; they typically go hand-in-hand. The next most prevalent effect is eating disorders. Eating orders can be diagnosed. Eating orders can be treated, but it’s a long, hard road to get there. An easier solution would be to stop them at their source, aka, addressing the issue of body image. We need to address the warped view that society has on bodies: their purposes, their limitations, their fragility, their strengths, and most of all, their natural beauty. That is my goal here. Celebrating bodies for their natural strengths and their natural beauty, and preventing eating disorders before they have a chance to develop.