Through Thick By Dan LemontNational Eating Disorders
National Association of Anorexia Nervosa & Associated Disorders
American Obesity Association
People come in all shapes and sizes. When I was the age of eight, I came in a plump size. Not so overweight that it threatened my health, but I was obese. While I didn't really pay too much attention to it, the other kids in school did. Soon, I could not avoid it. Kids were cruel and I found myself struggling to stay positive in such a difficult environment.
I found that activities in which the kids didn’t already know me were the most difficult. Ironically, the kids in catechism, of all places, caused the most pain. My parents recognized that I began to avoid school activities and had me see a counselor. This helped me through the emotional aspects, but I also needed help with the physical aspects.
To help me get more exercise and reduce the excess weight, my parents tried to get me involved in sports. I had always played football, but that really is not a sport that promotes proper weight management. Usually, the coaches are just happy to have a “stocky” kid on the line to block everyone.
Recognizing that football wasn’t going to erase my extra weight, my parents enrolled me in Judo. There were three aspects of this that were good: (1) I would lose weight (2) I could defend myself against kids that picked on me (3) I would build up my self-confidence. It worked. A martial art is a great avenue for kids that need to exercise and strengthen their confidence.
Through this experience, I have learned how to be comfortable with myself. While I have eventually grown into my body, I still maintain more weight than a doctor would probably recommend. I am ok with that because I know I am healthy, happy and confident. I would suggest to those struggling with their weight, or have kids struggling, to get involved. My parents did a fantastic job honing in on the problem areas and taking clear, objective steps to help me manage them. You must address both the emotional and physical aspects of obesity and by doing so, you will be happier and more confident.
Through Thin By Angela Lemont
Growing up, I was the perfect child. I respected my parents and adults, I played well with other kids and I was always an honor roll student. One might think that because I was such an exemplary kid my formative years would be easy and without cause for concern. On the contrary, it was because I was such a model child that I developed an eating disorder called anorexia.
During my sophomore year of high school, my friends began to participate in many activities that I knew to be wrong and dangerous. They were drinking alcohol, smoking pot and having sex. I did not succumb to the peer pressure to join in, but maintaining my principles came at a high price.
I felt isolated and left out. I began to feel as though I might not be normal or cool. It seemed as though my whole world was spinning out of control, and I would do anything to feel like I was in the driver’s seat again. It was then that I realized the one thing I could completely control in my life – food.
I began to limit how much I allowed myself to eat. It was a challenge to see whether I could consume less than the day before. This was something I was good at. This was something that made me feel powerful.
It took years to come out of the downward spiral of anorexia. To this day I feel ashamed when I see pictures of me at my thinnest. Anorexia was not about the food…it was about control. It was a young girl’s cry for help as she tried to remain true to her values in an environment that pressured her to conform. Anorexia was about a need to feel stronger at a moment when everything seemed beyond control.
Before you can treat the symptom (anorexia) you must treat the problem (emotional stress). An anorexic has little hope of recovering if the stimulus that caused the disorder remains. There will be a constant temptation to deal with one’s feelings through control over food. I overcame my struggle when I became confident in my convictions and proud of my decisions. I no longer doubted myself, and I found a supportive group of friends who shared my beliefs. Before I could truly heal, I also had to forgive myself.
Helpful Information & Links