Tag Archives: romance

Stress Fracture

Part 1 of Chapter 3 of Runaway Eating: what causes Runaway Eating, and who’s at risk?

Earlier on, we talked about stress and how we women can easily turn turn to food for comfort as a result. Why do only some actually become runaway eaters?

luisa_cerano_ladies_fashionThere are some risk factors that are especially responsible. These are as wide-ranging as the media’s emphasis on thinness as beauty, or as personal as family history, or depression. The driving forces do remain the same. While having risk factors don’t ensure that you will get the condition, it does set the stage, so to speak. It might not actually start a fire, but the tinder is built up.

First, we’ll look at the beauty factor. For years and years, women has been valued for her beauty. From Helen of Troy to Paris Hilton, those with beauty seem to have everything. They have wealth, love, adulation, jobs, and career advancement. Many of us spend lots of time and money on cosmetics, manicures, and pedicures. We flip through catalogues and women’s magazines looking for the latest styles.

The sad part is that to society, beauty equals thin/skinny/slim/slender. Most people cannot achieve the desired  weight. They were not made for it. How can a big-boned woman like Oprah ever become a waif like Nicole Richie? It brings a terrible price, this pursuit.

The writers have compiled a short timeline for this.

Camille Clifford: the ideal Gibson Girl

Camille Clifford: the ideal Gibson Girl

The early 1900s. Thin becomes in. This is perhaps when it all started. Before this time, plump, full curves were the ideal. They indicated that the well-endowed woman was well-fed and didn’t have to work.

The early 20th century ended this trend of round people. Slim, trim, and slender was desired, perhaps to differentiate from the stocky immigrants that were pouring into the States. It was a symbol of good breeding and discipline. Heaviness, the women thought, meant laziness, greediness, and lack of self-control.

Charles Dana Gibson revolutionized our perceptions with the Gibson Girl. This woman appeared tall, very slim, fit, and athletic with a small waist. Her face was gorgeous. Naturally no one looked like this, or very few people. After all, she was merely a figment of the artist’s imagination, based on what he felt the ideal woman should look like. However, women felt bad about themselves or not achieving this goal.

Just then, a physical fitness craze hit the country. Clothes started to reveal more, making women feel self-conscious about their appearance.

A typical flapper, but a modern picture from a costume shop

The flapper.

1920s: This was the age of the flappers. These girls wanted to be free to dance, play sports, and lead more active lives than their mothers and grandmothers. No more corsets, sleeves, or skirts. Well, not really. But whatever was there barely scraped the top of their calves. Women’s anxieties skyrocketed, especially since the perfect flapper’s body was small, slim, and flat chested. Fad diets were in. Self-induced vomiting was in. Laxative abuse was in.

Advertisers took the chance to take advantage of women’s insecurities about themselves to talk about weight-loss equipment, fad diets, and much much more. The message here was: “Slim down and you’ll be beautiful and happy.”

1940s to 1970s. Thin becomes a fashion statement. We know from other reading that designers prefer skinny models. Why? Because skinny works like a hanger. Clothes hang on the lady with fewer wrinkles, while people with a little shape have more wrinkles because of their curves.

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Twiggy

Along the way, the hanger lady became an object of beauty. But no one looked like a hanger. Big problem. Instead of seeing that this ideal was not only unattainable but also quite ridiculous, women conformed it. They lusted after it, starved to fit into it. The result was despair.

Twiggy, a 95 lb, 5 feet 6 teen model, exploded onto the fashion scene during the late 1960s. Her sticklike figure made everyone feel heavy, even slim women. Fashions left little to the imagination. People believed, “You can never be too thin or too rich.” Eating disorders, as a result, suddenly abounded.

Fonda

Fonda

1980s. A fitness craze hit the nation. Jane Fonda turned out her famous exercise videos, urging women to “feel the burn.” The thin woman was apparently not only supposed to be hanger girl, but also have well-defined muscles, flat stomach, and a small, tight butt. Jane Fonda had all these things. Only later did people find out that she was bulimic. However, this look was impossible for most women. Those that succeeded did so only by spending hours at the gym, or starving, or purging.

1990s. Welcome to the era of the middle-aged woman who never gets old. Think about the 40-50 year olds (like Goldie Hawn or Demi Moore) who look like 20 year olds. These woman have an unusual combination of genes, along with personal trainers and plastic surgery. They have set a higher standard: looking your age is bad. You should be doing all you can to look young.

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Demi Moore

I can’t deny that. It seems that every single magazine I open is filled with spreads and spreads of anti-aging commercials. It’s not just the commercials, either. Most women’s magazines include a beauty section which will inevitably include some creams and serums which will make you look younger. The product testing department also has a few products. Why? Because right now there’s a demand for such products. We want to look young. We want to look young now. We also want to continue to look young at age 50-60, just like Demi Moore. I don’t think Moore or Hawn are responsible for the problem, but the fact that the media commends them and emphasizes the fact that they still look young even at such an age makes most women feel inadequate for not being like that.

Goldie Hawn

Goldie Hawn

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Cheating Rant

1463770079_9512d2f392Glamour recently published a blog post with the question, “Would you ever cheat on a guy?” They continued by giving an example of four women who did cheat, and asked the readers for their thoughts.

They also gave the four women’s reasons for why they did what they did.

This post received 37 comments, generating a lot of buzz.

The blogger only revealed later that she was on the same page with many of the commenters. She, too, believed that adultery was wrong. However, in the post herself, she tried to be impartial and asked everyone what they really felt. Would they have ever dared to do something like this?

The first woman, 42-year-old Rhonda from Colorado, has been cheating for seven years. She got married when she was 24. However, she felt neglected as their business became more and more successful. After a while, she felt unattractive and old. Then her first affair was with a young man 12 years younger than her. After online dating, she met many more men to have sex with. “They just ‘get me’ on a level that my husband never had,” she says.

Martina, a 38-year-old from Florida, has done it for five years. “I just don’t see anything wrong with it. I am pretty certain my husband does the same thing; we just don’t talk about it.” She goes on to tell the interviewer that the spark and chemistry has long since faded and she finds guys online to make up for that. She finishes with the statement, “I just want to have fun and then go about my life.”

3523581062_92e2557085Loretta Lynne, our third woman, is 49. She has been cheating for 15 years. Her first marriage was a disaster. She actually started out by having an affair for several years. The marriage fell apart because of it… and then she married the man she was having the affair with. “We were enjoying our second chance at happiness, but that too does fizzle out soon enough.” She doesn’t want to make the same mistake twice, so she keeps the sex casual and friendly. After all, she can have her pick of younger men who would like to experiment with her. Loretta Lynne is still married.

The last woman, Giannia, age 33, has done it for less than one year! “I’m married on paper. ‘Nuff said.”

That is all.

The commenters were outraged. There were many women from different walks of life. Some had been involved in nasty affairs and regretted it. Some had never been involved in an affair. Some had been the ones cheating. Some had been cheated on. There was, however, one consensus that prevailed. Most of the women agreed that such adultery was wrong. Period. Many said that even getting a divorce would be better than cheating on each other behind each other’s backs. Most of the commenters felt that these women should talk to their husbands and try to bring communication back into the relationship.

Many of the comments were about the women. Many comments were about cheating, period.

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Who knows what happened? Maybe at first it nagged at their conscience, but after a while they got “used” to it in a way. To them, it was either something that “happened” after time, something that couldn’t be avoided, and the solution to their unhappiness was to have an affair. For the last woman, though, she has been married for less than a year. To her, her marriage vows are nothing. She merely describes her marriage as being “on paper” and nothing else.

However, I also believe that these women are hurt and broken. Maybe it’s because of life, maybe it’s because of how their husbands treated them, like the first wife who felt so very alone.

Perhaps that doesn’t excuse what they did. There are two sides and maybe both sides were at fault for what happened. But adultery really is a horrible thing.

There’s many things that it can do.

It hurts people.

A married woman, says,

Wow… that’s just terrible… I don’t agree with this at all. Cheating is the worst thing ever. My husband and I have always had the understand that we would talk about things and if we felt like we had to go someone else that we’d re-evaluate… you get married for life – people are getting married SO young and for the wrong reasons – people don’t realize that forever is a LONG time… take your time and find the person who is REALLY right for you. I would never dream of cheating on my husband ever… i’ve been cheated on before and it’s the worst feeling in the world, I couldn’t imagine doing that to someone else.

Even in this modern day and age where so many things are excusable, to many, marriage still stands as an important commitment.

3636271012_5e96d53490One poster, horrified, writes:

Thats so horrible! Whats the point of getting married if your not ready to commit to it? Why would you bother if you enjoy having CASUAL sex that much?

She believes that marriage is a commitment made to that person. If you’re not ready to commit, please don’t get married. If you just want to have casual sex that much, don’t get married.

It also involves living  a lie. One of the commenters had been in that situation. She had been an army wife, and was only 18. They “couldn’t bear to be separated.” Soon, within a year, both of them were cheating. Then they sought counseling and stopped. Though they tried their hardest, they never seemed to be able to let go of past betrayals. However, she said something that really struck a chord in me.

Cheating may never be right but just because you’ve done it doesn’t make you an awful person or mean you’ll always do it again…these women need to get divorced or seek help to put their marriages back together. Why live in a lie forever? If you don’t want to be married to him, don’t be.

Cheating is wrong, she says. That doesn’t mean that you’re an awful person. However, you need to seek a way out. Don’t live a lie.

Cheating makes things worse.

This is so horrible, I wonder if they realize why cheating they are lying and actually making their marriages worse by not putting they engery they spend screwinga round into fixing what is wrong with their spouse. So self centered

429965328_79d25fa587Cheating really hurts. Cheating is seen by many as a breach of commitment in a marriage. Even some women wouldn’t have dared cheat on their boyfriend, though the depth of commitment may not have been as deep as in a marriage, as this poster says.

if these women are so unhappy in their marriage why dont they just get divorced? i think is a sick violation of the trust and promises between two people that at one point loved eachother enough to pronounce it to the world. i would NEVER cheat on my boyfriend. i was cheated on soo many times with the last loser i dated and always took him back, i never retaliated because i didnt want to be “that woman” thats just aweful. i feel bad for their husbands

Finally, cheating, in some cases, is basically living out a lie, for whatever reasons. You need to find a way out of living a lie, because it will eventually destroy you. I don’t believe that these women are happy doing what they’re doing. There’s no indication as to such. However, it’s become acceptable because just maybe they don’t know what else they can do. They want to be happy, and they’d cheat if it meant happiness, even though it would be a lie. It really ends up making things worse.

But isn’t such happiness fleeting? No wonder some of them have to find a new guy every so often.

In any case, the comments made me realize some faith in humanity yet.

This is terrible. These women must be so self-conscious and unhappy with themselves. Marriage is a commitment, and if you’re not ready for it, don’t do it. If you want to live the single life, stay single. Some of them almost sound proud of themselves in their blurbs, which makes it even worse. This is shameful behaviour and should not be glorified.

I agree.

Waiting to be Filled

I started a book, but never finished it because I felt that it was too heavy. And it made me depressed for a while because it didn’t talk at length about the solution to the problem but rather focused on the problem itself. Which isn’t a bad thing, but it just didn’t suit me. I recommend this book to anyone struggling with an eating disorder. I really think it’s a good book. Just heavy and packed with information.

400000000000000052548_s4Also, I’m not feminist. That’s another thing.

Here’s what I wrote. This is just from reading the introduction.

The book is titled Perfect Girls, Starving Daughters: the frightening new normalcy of hating your body by Courtney E. Martin. You can check out the writer’s website at www.courtneyemartin.com. This book was published fairly recently, in 2007.

Martin writes in the introduction that eating disorders affect more than 7 million American girls and women, 70 million people worldwide. Over half of the females between ages 18-25 surveyed would rather be mean or stupid. Anything but fat. A survey of parents found that 1/10th of them would abort their child if they found that he or she had the genetic tendency to be fat. (Thanks, Mom and Dad. They were your genes to start with.)

She states that we live in a time when getting an eating disorder, or at least being obsessed over weight, is thought of as a rite of passage. The writer talks about her many friends who bought into this kind of thinking. They sound like my friends. Many women use what they put into their bodies or/and the amount of exercising they do to define their worth.

It is not our kindness, or courage that we count at the end of the day, it is our calorie intake.

310967011_2dcab45a8bI, too, know people with really screwed up ideas about health and fitness. There are the girls who believe that any food is bad and that they have to exercise to get the Tic Tac or chip out of their system. There are my friends who daily post stats on how much they eat per day. Their limit is 210 calories. Not per snack. Not per meal. For the whole freaking day, they restrict themselves to 210 calories. What goes in those 210 calories? An apple.  A 60-calorie lollipop. That’s it. It’s not about eating healthy, it’s about eating less. Then there’s the miserable girl who eats food – lots – when she’s depressed, and then purges it later.

I know girls in my church who struggle with this as well. There’s one who exercises often. She’s 13, goes to the gym, and does weights. In front of people, she talks about how fat she is, and picks at her food when eating in front of others. She always worries that she is too fat, even though everyone else could tell her that she isn’t.

364637840_761d56792dIn fact, I recently talked to one who was stressed out about her homework. She’s 12. She said she was eating like a pig and was fat. I told her she wasn’t fat. “Ask your big sister,” I said.

She replied, “She says that I’m fat.”

I think this kind of thinking is so ingrained in our culture that we cease to notice it.

Martin puts it well when she writes that we’re not apathetic, we’re distracted. What about the starving children in Africa? I’m thinking about whether to have a granola or skip lunch altogether. She continues that we can’t see the the needs of others because we’re too busy looking at ourselves in the mirror. We don’t want to go to the beach because we don’t want others to see us in bathing suits. It’s all about us and how we feel.

What can we do about it?

This is a social problem as well as psychological. Some people believe that this is normal. I say that our culture must be pretty messed up, then. I knew a bulimic girl who wrote on her public food diary, “I don’t want to be normal. I don’t even know what normal is.” It seems that “normal” nowadays means women and girls stressed out about what goes into their mouths.

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Something you should eat and not compare your body to

Martin says that womanhood “was about something solid and beautiful right in the core — a vulnerable yet unbreakable center of strength and openness.”

I can identify with that. That sounds like the definition of a woman from the Christian book Captivating. Except that God is our core.

Martin continues,

At the center of most of the young women I know today are black holes.

On the outside, we’re busy and active. On the inside, we’re crumbling. We have these holes that we try to fill with anything and everything. But they’re still there. We’re starving, because the distractions are never enough. We’re just not enough. Not good enough. We have no control.

131_BlackHole

Black holes at the center of us

Our ultimate goal is “effortless perfection.” We’re to be everything we’re supposed to be, without showing any apparent effort. Of course, this is impossible. I know another girl who said, “I want to be able to fast for days at a time without struggling. I want to be able to have no desire for food. I want to be able to stay skinny without such hard work.” Effortless. Perfection.

The perfect part really does get us into trouble, either with an eating disorder or with an unhealthy obsession with food and exercise. It really turns out to be such hard work.

The truth is, we waste a lot of time on our bodies. How much time do we spend thinking about what to eat when we could be organizing a fund-raising event devoted to some cause?

Martin puts forth the mission of this book: a call to action. She wants this book to move us to admit that we are sick, but also tired of  being sick and ready to do something about it.

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The price she paid was her dancing.

Note that this isn’t a purely American problem anymore. I remember the ballerina from Denmark. She had been struggling with anorexia for some time. The disorder came to a point where her bones were too weak for her to stand on her toes. I’m a ballerina too, and to stand on your toes, you need to have very strong bones. Because of the disorder, the calcium was steeped out of her bones, leading to brittleness. She loved dancing. Really loved dancing. But what could she do? This was the price she paid, and she felt that she couldn’t do anything about it.

There was the girl form Brazil and the girl from Taiwan. There was the girl in Spain and the girl from Wales who messaged me on facebook begging for help. There was also the girl from Qatar, a country so tiny that people don’t even know it exists.

The Independent, a London paper, reported that 1 million in Britain have eating disorders.

Martin closes the introduction by saying that she believes “in the possibility of a world where a girl doesn’t learn to count calories at the same age she learns algebra.”

That’s the world I’m fighting for, now.

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Conclusion

My conclusions about the book Looks

In conclusion, I’ve learned several things from reading this book. I’ve learned that I may not be as rational as I thought when it comes to choosing friends. I’ve learned that even from the beginning, we’ve thought a lot about beauty, but in recent years, with the media permeating every area of our lives, we’ve been manipulated into new levels. Media has fueled the craze and exaggerated our fears of aging. All this, they say, is to our benefit, but at the same time the beauty industry are the ones earning the big bucks while we have to pay the price.

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What is the price? Often times it may amount to a loss of valuable time that could be used for more useful things. It can amount to a loss of money by spending it on plastic surgery and expensive cosmetics. Or it may be worse. Huge numbers of people suffer every day from eating disorders, or disorders like BDD. Some people have even paid the price for the pursuit of beauty. What price? Their life.

The pursuit of beauty can be an expensive one. It has on several occasions been deadly. However, no matter how hard we try and no matter what we do, we end up feeling empty, and looking a lot less than beautiful to our own eyes.

Yearning to be Prettee

There are several motivations that cause you to pursue cosmetic surgery.

First is genetics. You may have inherited your mom’s nose and dislike it. If you’re Asian, you might have a bra size that is much less than desired. 

Aging is next. Wrinkles! No! Parenthesis have a place, but not on your face! Not on mine!

Also sun damage. I know that that tanning bed couldn’t have been good for me. Or being at the beach constantly, trying to make my skin all of one color. Leathery skin? Age spots? Bah.

There’s also post-traumatic injuries and scarring. Maybe the time that the lamp fell on your head. Or the time that you fell down the stairs. Many cosmetic surgeons have remedies for scarring. I was offered this option after my surgeries (which left unsightly scars), but refused it because who knows what else could happen.

Some physical conditions, like losing a lot of weight.

cigarette_buttSmoking induces premature aging. Smoking makes you older, faster. Don’t smoke, kids. 

But why might you want a change?

You might be career minded. It’s a fact that many companies like to choose attractive people for jobs with better pay. Also, getting better “equipment” can get you ahead at work. (Just click the link to find out how.)

Or you might look old, but feel young. Cosmetic surgery can be a way to reconcile this, so that you look young and feel young. Unless you do want to look old and feel old…

Fitting in: Ok, I think this is the worst reason, ever. Today’s cultural ideal (models) are really skinny. You can’t get that skinny without some unhealthy habits. What a lot of people don’t know is that these models turn to things like smoking or starving to keep their natural weight off. If your friends expect you to be skinny before you can hang out with them, then they’re not good friends. Or if they expect you to have the perfect body.

Helping  your child is another reason. Please! Help! My child’s ears stick out! Permanent social consequences will ensue! At least they draw the line to when a 16 year old wants bigger bazooms.

Life changes: This may be a way to cope. “I got divorced, so I’m going to get breast augmentation to make myself feel better.” Something like that… Hilary Swank did it after all.

After childbirth. *sigh* 

Today’s fashions emphasize breasts and tummies, and if your breasts are saggy and your tummy skin is wrinkled, then you may want to do something about it.

I can’t wait from the day when fingers are emphasized.

rosepetalsIf you have excess fat and skin: Well, ok, this is a good idea. Localized fat deposits may require liposuction. It can help restore your self-esteem and sexiness. Getting a procedure might help you feel better about yourself and bring the romance back in the relationship. I have no argument against this type of surgery, actually. There was this guy who was really morbidly obese. He was on Oprah’s talk show. Anyway, he decided that he should have a change for the better. He lost all the weight, but there was all this loose skin and some fat flapping around. He ended up having surgery, and he looked amazing. It really helped him out there.

The writer’s have several reasons why you should NOT do it. Don’t do it if you’re bored, or depressed, or think that you have a problem that no one else sees. (Sadly too many people do it for these reasons.) Or if you have an eating disorder. Or because you want to impress the hunk down the road. Such reasons are foolish and you could wake up one day and moan, “What possessed me to get a rhinoplasty?” Yes, what possessed you, indeed. Maybe it was the gods of Nicole Richie or some other. If you have an eating disorder, surgery could be quite dangerous. In that case, the surgeon will have to see approval from your psychiatrist. 

95_cash_1You also need to have lots of moolah. In one of my other blogs, I wrote about the costs of breast enlargements. Big bucks. You also need to be prepared for a worst-case scenario, because it CAN happen. 

And you just might not like yourself after surgery.

That would put a wrench in it, wouldn’t it?