Have you ever wished you were 10 pounds thinner? Have you bought clothes too small, hoping you will eventually fit into them? Most of us have wanted to lose weight at some time. And there are a whole lot of you out there who need to lose weight.
On the other hand, there are people who spend too much time worrying about being thin. The thinner they become, the younger and better looking they will be, they reason.
Well, too thin can be dangerous. Too much concentration on skinny bodies can lead to symptoms of anorexia nervosa and bulimia, serious eating disorders that need professional help to overcome.
Anorexia nervosa has symptoms of self starvation, and bulimia is characterized by symptoms of purging following bingeing. In both cases, the desire is weight loss, and the final result can be death. Ask yourself a few questions about your eating habits.
n When you look in the mirror, do you always see a fat person, regardless of your true weight?
n When your friends tell you that you look thin, do you argue with them or thank them for the compliment?
n Has there ever been a time when you were happy with your weight?
n For those of you who exercise, do you get a little panicky if you miss your regular exercise?
n Do you overdo your exercise to lose weight?
n Do you have a close relationship with the bathroom scale?
n Are you fanatical about food or drink?
n Do you prefer to eat alone where no one can watch you?
n Do you use laxatives a habitually?
n Are you a perfectionist about your food; does thinking about it consume the better part of your day?
n Is fasting a part of your diet plan?
Most people will answer yes to some of these questions. For myself, I never get on the scale unless my doctor demands it. I think the key here is strong compulsion to diet and the inability to accept the fact that you are OK.
An interesting point about bulimia and anorexia nervosa: People with symptoms of these eating disorders often appear normal, and a lot of them, even after continuous dieting, are still overweight.
Remember that everyone carries body weight differently, and weight loss will not change the fact that you are tall, short, old or young. The keys are safe, nutritious eating habits, safe body weight and lifetime exercise habits.
Anorexia nervosa and bulimia can be life-threatening disorders, but they can be overcome. If you have either one of these disorders, you need support and counseling. Contact your physician for the proper method of recovery.
Jerry Vance is owner of The Sweat Shop/Wet Sweat. She offers classes through Carson City Recreation and Aquatics Center and is a fitness instructor for the Senior Center and Healthsmart.