First of all, thanks for all the thoughts yesterday. I appreciated them a lot. I am still not sure about the things I want to write about or the point even of this blog, but I am just going to play with it for now.
I was thinking this morning about how the blog-network seems to be filled with people at different stages of their lives. There are students, professional workers, girls, boys, artists, people who just want to talk about life, and people who just want to talk about food.
I guess that is why this kind of network is so interesting at best….and addictive at worse. Where else can you find entire pages devoted to the sweet potato. Strange or fascinating? Whatever your opinion, it is interesting to note the variation in taste…
One thing I have noticed on several blogs is a high prevalence of (usually) young girls chronicling their current struggles with or recovery from eating disorders. Even more frequent is the prevalence “typical” and assumedly healthy girls who make random comments about guilt associated with eating a certain food or certain amount. While I don’t plan to talk about heavy topics too frequently on this blog — I do think that discussing ideas like these can be enriching and even as interesting as watching a documentary or a book of a completely different nature…so I would like to “dip” into various issues on this blog, particularly to spark discussion and to get your thoughts.
Various sources will provide different statistics on the prevalence of eating disorders. The latest I have found to be consistent are that approximately ten million people in the United States suffer from eating disorders, including about 10 percent of high school and college-age youth. Of these individuals, 90 – 95 percent are said to be female. I have also read estimates that anorexia nervosa affects about one percent and bulimia nervosa affect three percent of high school girls.
Kind of crazy when we consider that the US is facing an obesity epidemic. Obesity is the disease that is more frequently highlighted by the media. And its affects on individual health and on healthcare and the economy are enormous and widely recognized.
However, statistics and facts do little to interest me and I have no intention to educate about disorders or issues on this blog. Rather, I would like to just spark the discussion, particularly since I have seen this issue raised recently on several blogs. Particularly the idea of calorie-counting and feeling guilty for the things eaten/not eaten or the quantity eaten/not eaten…
I recently read that persons who have eating disorders spend 90% of their time thinking about food (Himmel, 2009). That is 90%…
That is 90% of one’s time contributed to counting calories, when instead one could be reading literature…that is 90% of the time possibly stepping on and off scales, when instead one could be dancing.
You might often read about a person underweight (or overweight) who can rhyme off every number of a food….and can tell you the numbers in pounds at each stage of life, the calories to stay there, the numbers to crunch to burn it off….I get dizzy thinking about it….all the numbers associated with food, weight and calories are known, just like a swimmer might know the exact numbers of his splits in each olympic trial he does from session to session, and from year to year, etc.
What mental energy that takes!
No wonder persons enduring such thoughts become so run-down, exhausted-looking, and gain a weary perspective on life. The ironic thing is that often a person might worry over the number of calories he/she eats that day or worry he/she will weigh more….but then even that is not enough. If he/she arrives at the “right number” or at the “right weight”, then the worry changes to how to possibly maintain that number on that day. Then the next worry is over the food choices that will be the best choices…worry, worry, worry. Worry over whether eating chocolate is fine…
Nothing is ever enough.
This subject can be explored to such great depth by anyone, but its not my intention to write long posts that detail all the aspects. Truthfully, there are a lot of features of weight obsession that I personally do not understand. Weighing scales mean little to me…so I find it difficult to understand why there is such an obsession with them. Most females will admit insecurities at some point during their life….during their day….when they compare themselves to another. Or there are times (rarely for some, occasionally for others, frequently for many) that a female might bemoan a certain body part that is “just not cooperating”….
What craziness, no? The worry over something so trivial…so silly…so unnoticeable and unimportant to others. It will be nice if one day women in general…women and men…can learn their judge their own self-worth and another’s self-worth based on qualities that matter. Like the ability to think, to articulate, and to love.
Any thoughts? This is just a topic to get your cogwheels churning today, and I am sure I will explore it further (as will other blogs) on a continuous basis.