Stories about: body image

"What I wish parents knew about eating disorders…"

In the following blog, a teenager who has overcome an eating disorder reflects on what she wishes more parents knew about the condition. For more information visit Children’s Center for Young Women website, or this parent’s guide to eating disorders.

It was never about weight. I just wanted to feel like I had some control.

I never thought I was fat. In fact, I liked the way I looked before I developed an eating disorder and liked my body less and less as I continued to lose weight. What a lot of people, including my parents, didn’t understand is that an eating disorder functions as a coping mechanism for other problems in someone’s life.

As I met more people who suffered from eating disorders, I realized that many of us had something in common. Many felt some sort of loss of control in their life and had used their eating disorder as a reaction or way to deal with it. Although for some people bad body image did play a large role in what started their eating disorder, for a lot of people it was the feeling of losing control in their life that they discovered was the initial cause of their eating disorder.

People with anorexia nervosa feel like they are able to gain control through extreme dieting and strict rules around food. They control what they eat, and eventually the shape and size of their body. Although it is an unhealthy coping mechanism, the eating disorder gives them a sense of relief that there is one thing in their life they can completely control without anyone else being able to have an influence.

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Walking the balance beam—giving the best messages to your teen about diet and exercise

Sometimes, parenting can be like walking on a balance beam. You lean too far either way and, well, bad things can happen.

This is especially true when it comes to teaching your kids healthy eating and exercise habits. You don’t want your child to be obese—and yet, you don’t want to say things that might push them toward an eating disorder. Since both obesity and eating disorders are on the rise, this is a real issue for parents today.

It can be particularly tough when kids are adolescents. Their bodies are changing, peer pressure and hormones rule their lives, they are exploring their independence and their identities. An offhand comment can have unexpected consequences.

Sarah Forma, MD

I was talking about this the other day with a friend of mine from medical school, Dr. Sara Forman. She’s the director of the Eating Disorders Program at Children’s Hospital Boston, a primary care doctor and the mom of two teens. This is territory she knows well.

“You want to encourage healthy behaviors, but you don’t want to be too controlling,” she said. “Kids need some degree of guidance, but you need to know when to back off.”

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How young is too young for cosmetic surgery?

Botox has long been popular among middle-aged Hollywood stars eager to eliminate frown lines and droopy eyelids. Now, a fresh-faced teen is causing a stir with her admission that she underwent cosmetic procedures in preparation for her debut on the upcoming season of Fox’s television comedy, Glee. Eighteen year old Charice Pempengo, a singer from the Philippines, reportedly had Botox injections and a skin-tightening procedure to narrow her face.

Brian Labow, MD, a pediatric plastic surgeon at Children’s Hospital Boston joins FOX25 Morning News to discuss the topic of teen cosmetic surgery.

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