Sharona, 17, is standing in front of the fridge at midnight, looking for something.... Hello refrigerator, you good friend. You are there for me, all right. Yeah, who else can I turn to at 11:45 PM on a school night, when I'm bored and I'm all alone? Who else has something to make me feel good? Okay, some turkey, some nice white meat turkey, that's not too fattening, but hey let's whip up a little Russian dressing and how about some chips on the sandwich and on the side? Hey, that's good
Melanie, 13, is disturbed about her weight. Her mother thinks she looks fine, but she doesn't quite make it into her bikini. Summer is coming, and she's beginning to panic. Could this be the beginning of anorexia? I cant stand looking in the mirror. I'm so fat - all these bulges and rolls of lard on my legs and hips - at least 8-10 pounds worth! I wish I could look like Amy. She looks great in those jeans she wore today, and I saw all the guys looking at her. I even saw Steve staring at her when she walked past us at lunch. I wish.... My Mom says I look just fine, but what does she know? In a few weeks we??ll all start going to the beach again, and I'll just die when everyone sees me in my swimsuit with all this fat.
Body weight, fat and dieting have captured the minds and imaginations of teenagers and adults alike. "Thin is in" and has stayed "in" for a long time now. The intense fear of becoming fat is usually not alleviated by any weight loss that the person achieves. To give you an idea of how much of a hold weight loss has on us, consider this: an estimated $33 billion is spent in the U.S. each year on diet books, over-the-counter medications, health club memberships and low calorie foods! Melanie is no different than millions of other teenagers and adults around the world.
By Anonymous, age 16: One morning my father caught me spilling my breakfast down the sink. It would not have been a big deal, except that he happens to be a pediatrician, and I happened to have just lost twenty pounds in the last two months. He put two and two together, and freaked out. Welcome to Parentsville. The confusing thing is, everyone, including my mother, has been telling me how great I look lately. The woman whose kids I take care of in the evenings said that I was her "inspiration" to go on a diet.
By C, age 20. My eating disorder really started when I had the flu and I lost a few pounds. When I went back to university, I stopped eating carbohydrates (I liked that I was getting thinner) and I lost more weight. On spring break I lost even more. I wasn't really aware of what I was doing really - just that I couldn't eat much at all. I think this may have been due to breaking up with my boyfriend at that time and other men problems previous to that AND the transition of going to university 200 miles from home.
Have you been wondering why your 12-year-old daughter is gaining so much weight? Have you been concerned that your 15-year-old looks too thin? To find out about teenage girls and body image, we interviewed Martin Fisher, M.D., chief, Division of Adolescent Medicine, North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset, New York. Dr. Fisher shared his views, based on 20 years of experience in adolescent medicine. According to Dr. Fisher, girls experience their major height spurt early in puberty (the time of hormonal changes which bring about physical changes,) about six months to a year before their first period. (It's interesting to note that in the 1850s, the average age for a first period was 16; the average age dropped a year every generation until it stopped at 12 1/2.
Teenage girls growing up today are bombarded about weight, diets, body image, and how they look from a very young age. The messages are constant, contradictory and confusing. On the one hand we are constantly being told : " you can't be too thin," " don't eat too much," " watch the fat," "exercise." On the other hand our mothers, teachers, and doctors are concerned that we might be too thin. So what's the scoop? How to find the balance? I think that is the million dollar question of the twenty first century.
Have you read Did You Eat Anything: A Drama yet? By Dr. Chane Deitcher, PhD. This is a classic example of a conversation between Mother and daughter who want to connect, yet lack the skills to communicate. The Mother is clearly concerned about her daughter's well being. She is attempting to convey the message that she cares. The daughter, on her part, is expressing her anger, yet at the same time indicating a need for the Mother's approval. Each is attempting to reach out, yet neither side knows how to connect. The overall experience is one of frustration and distance. The Mother begins by focusing on the food. Through the food she is expressing her concern for the daughter's well being.
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"The Battle of Parents and Teens"