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.
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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.
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Eating disorders are more than just "extreme dieting," they are psychological disorders that stem from complex underlying issues. There are many stereotypes and myths surrounding eating disorders, and the resulting stigma can make it more difficult for those affected to seek treatment.
Most eating disorders are focused on food quantity and resulting weight issues. But orthorexic people can be overweight, extremely thin, or everything in between. Their sole concern is the quality of the food they eat and whether it is in accordance with their rules and restrictions.
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There is an association between low BMI and loss of libido, sexual anxiety and sexual relationships. These findings are consistent with the explanation that low body weight impairs the physiological functioning of sexual organs.
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Mandy Gill is a survivor and a dynamic entrepreneur. She recovered from anorexia and found strength in Crossfit and landed a sponsorship with Reebok. She built a business providing personal training s...
A few days ago, I came across a blog post in which the blogger made a comment about how each roll of skin on her tummy represented a happy moment with her family in which she enjoyed that chocolate cake at her child's birthday party or had skipped the Jillian Michael's exercise DVD that morning so she could sit on the floor and colour with her daughter. For the first time in my life, the realization of my sick mindset entrenched in the lost, wasted, hungry hours I chose in order to be the thinnest mom on the block finally beat me over the head with a barbell.
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To be happy not only with the squishy parts of my body but also to simply have so much self-worth that happiness is not directly correlated to my efforts to control my weight is such a foreign concept, and yet, I can't help but feel envy for those who, like Pink, do not rely on their daily caloric intake for their sense of identity.
Fighting an eating disorder is lifelong. And I realize this every time I think my mind is finally free. This week when I was navigating Twitter, I came across a tweet claiming a product which guaranteed weight loss of 20 lbs in 24 days. As someone who has valiantly tried to accomplish this, I finally realized that an eating disorder, although a mental illness, is aggravated by the bacteria in the environment disguised in the shape of advertising.
I recently had the opportunity to interview the documentary filmmaker, Laura Dyan Kezman. She is the creator of a documentary about eating disorders called Just Eat, currently fundraising through an Indiegogo campaign.
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I find it ironic that as we continue the battle against bullying in schools and amongst the A-list, it is in that very same cultural sphere that people use their cause as their weapon. Although I often disagree with comments made in the media, I more firmly believe that it isn't my place to call someone out for their opinion.
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My journey to achieve the perfect body started when I was 14. The objective -- tall, thin, cellulite-free with smooth skin and beautifully toned abs -- you know the look. If 'thigh gaps' and 'bikini bridges' were in at the time, I would have added them to my list of things to obsess over. In some ways I came pretty close to achieving the "dream body" that I obsessed over in magazines but I never expected that I would lose everything important to me along the way.
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The absence of visible symptoms is not the most accurate measure of someone's recovery from this disease. Weight is a physical thing, but anorexia also resides firmly in the psyche. Anorexia is like having the person who hates you the most, the most irrational tyrant you can imagine, living in your head rent-free, trying to burn down your physical foundation from the inside out. It's an interminable abusive relationship that's nearly impossible to leave because it transpires in your own mind. Those voices can cause problems before the weight loss starts to show.
Mental illnesses are like pack animals. There is never just one without others lurking behind corners waiting to jump on us -- their weight holding us down; their teeth ripping through the flesh of our throat until we are too weak to fight back. As we lay bleeding and broken, available treatment is more difficult to reach.
"I've been battling with this disease since I was 17."
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My scale was deweaponized, bedazzled and a thing of beauty, finally. I was using it for the wrong thing -- to reflect my worth as a person. I turned it into wall art so that it finally reflects me, but on the inside. Sparkly. Sassy. Fun. Pretty. Glittery. Girly. Expressive.
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The moment I put on my dream wedding dress, I cried tears of disappointment and frustration. It was exactly as I had pictured, with a corseted top that tied like a ballet slipper in the back, shiny white beads on the front, and a flowing, silky train. The dress wasn't the problem. It was how I looked in it. "You look beautiful," my mother said, thinking I was crying tears of joy. In that moment, I knew I still wasn't "better." I thought I had recovered, and I thought this meant I'd love the way I look. I hate that my eating disorder tainted this precious moment that I cannot have back. I use this hate to empower myself. Today, five years later, I think I'm "normal."
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I have an eating disorder. But the moment I am asked, "Do you cut yourself? Please lift your sleeves and your pant legs so I can check," my spot on the treatment totem pole for my eating disorder drops considerably. Because I don't cut myself. I never have.
Here's the thing: eating disorders are not about a fear of getting fat. The weight gain is not fueled by the number on the scale, but by the feeling of perfection at having maintained self-control.
As I was reading through Twitter accounts and bios of people advocating for the recognition of eating disorders as real and dangerous, I came across the words "ex-anorexic." I was jealous. I am able to eat a meal with my family, and quietly endure the self-loathing afterwards with no physiological consequences; but the mental battle drags me through such an obstacle course, that by the time I've reached the finish line, I am no longer certain of whether or not I want to get better. Unfortunately, part of me is convinced that there is no such thing as getting better from this