Most women are conscious about physical appearance and spend a lot of time meticulously curling their hair, polishing their nails, or doing their make-up. Aside from being current about the latest trends in fashion and lifestyle, many women are also spending huge amounts of time and money to lose weight. They try out the latest diet fads in their seemingly endless effort to shed of those unwanted pounds.
Unfortunately, the obsession with weight loss has also posed a very serious health risk on women who have swayed too far in their crash diets and “miracle weight loss programs.” The glitter and glamor of Hollywood made Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie icons among twenty-somethings and even adult women. Their stick-like figures have been idealized as bodies that every teenager should grow into. In fact, many teenagers do not grow into these idealized body shapes…they shrink into it. Gone are the days when being sexy was about having the right curves and bulges. Today, sexiness is seen as being the same as becoming deathly pale and famished.
To make matters worse, the obsession with weight loss and having that super-thin, super model body has resulted in the increase of the number of cases of eating disorders. Bulimia is one such health risk that is characterized by excessive eating (binging) which is immediately followed by purging or vomiting. Almost 80 percent of bulimia nervosa patients are female. A patient with bulimia is scared of gaining weight yet still has an uncontrollable urge to binge on food. After eating all they want, they try to get rid of the calories by using unhealthy methods such as vomiting, use of water pills, use of laxatives, fasting, and/or by doing extreme exercises. These women think that vomiting is actually a method of weight control. Without knowing it, many women already have full-blown eating disorders.
Seeing women suffer from this kind of eating disorder has the opened eyes of many people. They have seen different women suffering from bulimia, especially by means of the media. In very graphic videos, people have learned about the path of self-destruction taken by many women who have lost control over their desire to lose weight. The self-destruction that comes in the form of binge eating and vomiting are not to be seen as simple problems of eating. At a deeper level, this problem is caused by insecurity and emotional distress. But aside from the emotional and psychological torment of having bulimia, women patients also have to contend with the not having the right amount of potassium and other important nutrients which are necessary to maintain a healthy body.
Women suffering from bulimia nervosa need professional help. The support of family and friends is crucial in assisting them in the process of accepting their psychological disorder. The next step is to help the patient accept treatment from a psychiatrist and a nutritionist. Counseling plays a central role in treating bulimics. After proper counseling, then the patient will rely on a nutritionist-dietitian who can provide a proper diet plan and monitor the progress of the patient.
More than just eating the right kind of food in the right amounts, many women today need to be empowered and helped especially in terms of accepting themselves. A healthy self-image is necessary to achieve happiness and confidence. But surely, starving one’s self to death or overeating only to vomit everything are actions that no woman should ever have to suffer from.