The Canadian Press
Anorexia survivor Hope Virgo feels she must see the film because she's been warning about its hazards.
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Critics claim "To The Bone" is triggering to those struggling with mental health.
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Men have been suffering in silence under the heavy weight of body expectations; drastically taking measures to fit their own body into the ideals they see on the cover of men's fitness magazines. Think this is outlandish? Men don't have body image issues, do they?
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Millennials, those who reached adulthood at the beginning of this century, are said to be particularly discerning in their choices, from where and how they like to work to what they shop for and what they eat. But this insistence on always having one's needs met is sooner or later bound to encounter a reality check, experts warn.
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It's Eating Disorders Awareness Week in Canada (Feb.1-7, 2017). It has taken me about 15 years to ADMIT that I had an eating disorder (anorexia nervosa) as a child and teenager. If you know someone with an eating disorder, here are a few things to be aware of.
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Growing up, food was always a challenging subject in my house. My mother was hospitalized in her 20s with anorexia. As a result of this influence, my diet history - especially in my teenage years - included a variety of low-fat, low-calorie and fad diet plans.
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I have spent over 14 years hiding this "tiny" part of my life, and it is now, only after writing my memoir, that I've realized that by hiding, I've been chipping away at my heart. I decided that I didn't want to hide anymore. I realized in that moment that I should have SHARED my pain instead of hiding.
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In retrospect, I can say that on some level, I saw what was happening to me. I was just truly powerless to stop it. That's not to say I wasn't in control. No, each hunger pang I endured proved I was in control. Each starving hour that passed between four o'clock and bedtime made me feel focused, disciplined. It was all the fuel I needed to resist another meal. The truth is, anorexics feel a lack of control in their lives, so they take control of one aspect -- food. Alas, this illusion of control can only last so long.
None of the other significant adults in my daughters' life seemed concerned. Hope is a wonderful thing and I am a hopeful person by nature. Being hopeful feels good. Unfortunately, hope is not the basis of a sound health-care strategy when a loved one is on the verge of a mental health crisis.
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There's been a lot of visceral (read: ICK) reaction to the stomach-draining device that was just approved by the FDA. An alternative to traditional dieting and more invasive than traditional bariatric surgeries, the AspireAssist system is definitely a new way of preventing calories from being absorbed by the body.
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I know this disorder has many causes, but the agony of starving oneself, the self loathing that comes with it, I wouldn't wish on anyone. Eating disorders are also difficult for families, who may feel powerless to stop it. Like any form of mental illness, intervention is key, getting professional help early and not playing down the severity of the behaviour.
By and large, we live in a diet-obsessed society, so my health nuttiness went unnoticed. Plus, like most individuals with eating disorders, I was a master at hiding all this dysfunctional behaviour for many years. I was also incredibly successful at outwardly presenting a well put-together front when facing the world. I had been a model student, a star employee, a good friend and doting auntie to my young nephews. Until it all came crashing down on me.
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The one thing I realize now is being beautiful isn't about being skinny or size zero. It's loving every inch and curve of your body and embracing everything about you. If you don't love yourself, the number means nothing. Telling the world my story was the final stage.
Eating disorders don't care if you're male or female, under 10 years old or over 50 years old. They'll destroy anyone who's ripe for the picking. When I speak at school or to parents about body image, the issue of media manipulation always comes up and for good reason. We are definitely influenced by what we see and hear in our magazines and TV screens, but does the media CAUSE eating disorders? I say no.