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Societal Pressures and Eating Disorders

The messages are all around us. Everywhere you look, on television, in newspapers, and in every grocery/drug store in America, we are told that we need to "perfect" ourselves. The diet industry is now a multi-billion dollar industry and is still growing. Yet, the percentage of Americans who are considered "obese" continues to rise. For the average American, this may not have much of an effect, but for a person who is suffering from an eating disorder, or who already questions their worth or identity, the messages may play a large part in fueling or maintaining an eating disorder. For many people, whether they are "overweight" or not, it's become natural for them to purchase a large percentage of diet foods, thinking that this is better for them. Every body has different needs. Each of us has a different genetic body type. But the message that screams to us everyday is that we aren't "good" the way we are. As one who has recovered from the horrible experience of chronic anorexia nervosa, I maintain the strategy of NEVER buying diet products, magazines that promote the diet industry, and while I respect each person's choice, I avoid even those innocent conversations "around the water cooler", which, unfortunately, have also become dominated by diet and exercise talk. Perhaps we should think more about how we can nurture the person inside in a healthy way, and less about how we must change how we look to be accepted.