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“My life sucks because I’m fat!”

I am asking some friends in the field to share their experiences, thoughts and resources with you in the next few weeks. Today, welcome Annie Fox, M.Ed and writer and incredible resource for parents of teens.

"Every day I get email from a desperate t(w)een with weight issues. No, let me rephrase that. It’s not about the number on the bathroom scale. The girl hates the way she looks. Then the whole guilt-by-associate thing sets in and next thing you know… she hates herself and blames every problem in her life on her body.
Here are some recent examples:
I’m a junior in high school and being a junior sucks. It’s not just the year itself but me that’s the problem. It’s the whole body image thing. I know I should be happy with what I’ve got and blah blah but I still wish I could get out of the training bra section. It’s so awful having friends tell me that they wish they didn’t develop and I should be happy that I’m flat as a board at 16.

Or this one:

I know that I need to lose 10-15 pounds because I’m 5?3? and weigh 130. That’s too high. All my family members say I’m overweight and I am embarrassed every time they talk to me about it. Maybe I don’t need to lose that much but I still need to lose some.

Or this:

I’m very perplexed. I think I’m fat when everyone tells me I’m not. I’m bulimic but no one knows. How do I stop? Because every time I do try to stop I feel guilty and I become worse. I’m 12 years old and I weigh 75 pounds. I still think I’m fat.

We shouldn’t surprised so many girls and women are unhappy with themselves and so out of synch with reality? We live in a thin-obsessed culture. It would be surprising if they didn’t feel this way! So what’s been going on with American females since the early ‘60’s that causes this crippling dissatisfaction with our looks? What does the steady rise in eating disorders (which now includes boys and men) say about our society and our values? And how do we get over it already so we can help our daughters and sons do the same?

As a parent, teen advocate and former thin-obsessed woman, I’ve got plenty opinions. Before I weigh in, so to speak… what are your thoughts?"

Annie Fox, M.Ed. is an award winning author, educator, and online adviser for parents and teens since 1997.
Read excerpts from her books: Too Stressed to Think? And the new Middle School Confidential™ series.
Download (free) her entire Teen Survival Guide to Dating & Relating,
Listen to her podcast series “Family Confidential: Secrets of Successful Parenting”