Here I am with the second and last post for the #unapologeticgirlz blogathon and today I have a confession to make.
Many of us grow up believing that skinny is beautiful. We grow up watching beautiful models in print and digital media advertisements, hoardings covers and even in main stream movies and TV shows. Before we even realize, this idea of ‘skinny is beautiful’ gets embedded into out minds and we find ourselves pursuing this notion. I too had the same belief and this belief messed with my mind so much that I became an anorexic.
Anorexia nervosa has been recognized and classified by DSM-5 as a eating disorder. One is classified as an anorexic when she persistently refuses to eat the amount of food required to maintain a minimum body mass.
Anorexia is like slow poisoning. It’s effects on our physical and mental well being might not be visible immediately but it definitely burns one out. Our brains alone consume about 20% of our daily glucose consumption. In children and infants this is percentage is even higher- 50% and 60% respectively. If we do not provide ourselves with the nutrition required to keep our brains active and functioning properly, it can have dire consequences.
Coming back to my story, my mother, being a doctor, first told me that I was anorexic when I was about seventeen years old. I was often left alone or in the care and custody relatives or sitters in my early childhood. I was a fussy eater. So one of my relatives introduced me to the alluring world of sugar. My tiny brain got hooked on the it and never really gave up. Sweets are my guilty pleasure even now. But my mom would not allow me to have sugar in any form, even with milk. So, we made a deal- she cut out sugar from my milk and I cut out milk altogether. This happened when I was about six.
By the time I was ten, I had heard many fairly tales of beautiful, pale-skinned, skinny princesses who would be rescued by charming princes. I knew for that I have to be skinny to fit the description of “perfect”. There was no looking back from that point onwards. I would take my breakfast to my study, open the window toss it outside. My lunch ended up on the rooftop. There was no escaping dinner. So that was the only meal I ate. And I felt guilty afterwards. I often considered puking it out. Meanwhile, my parents had no clue about what was going on behind their backs. I took great care not to leave any trail behind.
Anorexia is also closely associated with its twin bulimia. There are episodes when an anorexic person binge eats. I binged on fast food and my long lost love- sugar. There were days in my late teens and early twenties when all I would eat in a day is pastries and potato chips. That’s it!
What anorexia cost me is a lifetime of agony. I was diagnosed with a condition known as PMDD which is an aftermath of eating disorders. PMDD is a severe form of PMS. It takes a serious toll on a person’s mental health and happiness. I have also had episodes of depression.
Early detection and intervention is crucial. But the best remedy is preventing eating disorders. It’s important to tell a child that she beauty lies in her strength and not her physical attributes and what’s better than setting an example for her. Love yourself, embrace your beauty. You don’t need to be a specific shape, size or color to be Perfect. Here are a few suggestions that I have for parents besides what I’ve already discussed:
- It’s very important to appreciate your child’s appearance and make them appreciate themselves.
- No, you don’t need to introduce your child to sexism or colorism. Instead, teach them to appreciate the diversity.
- Seek medical help if you think your child has eating disorders of any sort. Eating too much or too little are both red flags.
- Try to eat at least one meal a day with all the family members. Make dinner or lunch time a comfortable and joyful experience for your kids.
- Eat only those foods in front of your kids that you want them to eat. If you don’t want your child to drink pops, don’t drink them in front of her.
- Order kids’ meals at restaurants because those are made specifically for the kids.
I would love to hear your thoughts on this topic.
Don’t miss out on any of the posts from the #unapologeticgirlz blogathon. I am linking two of my friends’ blogs. Here’s Pamela’s blog. You will love it as much as I do. Shweta’s blog is equally delightful.