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Posts Tagged ‘Eating Disorders’

Eating Disorders: Why They are Shaped by Bias and Social Media

April 28th, 2022 No comments

When I was 15 years old my best friend had Anorexia Nervosa. 

Did something happen that I don’t know about? Why is she acting this way? These were questions I constantly asked myself as I watched my best friend struggle with inner demons throughout my first year of high school. She progressively became more fatigued, impulsive, and quiet. At the time, I had no prior knowledge of Anorexia, an eating disorder that causes extensive weight loss alongside a skewed perception of gaining weight and food altogether. I never understood what was happening to my best friend for the longest time. I could only observe the complete alteration of who she was. Eating Disorders are categorized as psychological disorders with disturbed eating patterns and habits. These disorders have a severely detrimental impact on the mind, which is why it can take, on average, six months to two full years for the brain alone to recover from an eating disorder. 

It was not until years later that I realized my best friend was exhibiting the signs of an eating disorder in high school. Over time, she expressed to me how she felt about the illness. As if she was no longer in control, another part of herself decided to forcefully take the keys to the car and not stop driving. It took her years to climb out of the hole she was thrown in. Although even after she shared her story with me, I continued to struggle to wrap my head around the idea of how your brain can entirely change your perception of body image. It wasn’t until I learned about Attentional Bias in my Cognitive Psychology course that I noticed how eating disorders occur and develop in the brain. I find it quite terrifying how our brain controls how we perceive the world around us, especially in recent years, where the idea of “thinness” has been preached across social media platforms and among influential celebrities. 

Some popular social media platforms include Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat, to name a few. Even well-known television shows such as America’s Next Top Model and The Biggest Loser actively normalize the idea that being “too big” is ugly, unattractive, and shameful. They either force contestants to lose weight in an unhealthy way or point out women’s insecurities for why they aren’t physically good enough to be the next top model. Constant advertisements for weight loss, diets, fitness, and cosmetic surgery are also to blame for our society willingness to support “thinness” (Leavy et al, 2006). For generations, our society has set unrealistic beauty standards, especially for women, that undoubtedly lead to low self-esteem and insecurities that have the potential to develop into an Eating Disorder. Even the most recognized celebrities have influenced bad and unhealthy habits with eating. Earlier this month, Kim Kardashian talked about how she lost sixteen pounds in three weeks to fit into a dress for the Met Gala. She spoke of nearly having to “starve herself” but how it was also worth it. From such a well-known celebrity that millions of people watch, to preach the idea of having to completely alter your diet to lose an unhealthy amount in a short time for the Met Gala is destructive to your body and mind. Mass media promoting this image allows Attentional biases to form and keep confirming themselves. Social media can have a firm grasp on how we view ourselves, especially in younger generations. This is extremely important because the most common age to develop an eating disorder is between twelve and twenty-five years old, meaning the most targeted crowd for social media is also the most vulnerable to this disorder(Leavy et al, 2006).

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Why Can’t I Stop Eating?

December 5th, 2020 No comments

Can you ever imagine that you can finish eating all forty cookies, one bucket of pretzels, two packs of chips, one pot of boiled milk, one jar of nuts, half of the pomelo, and two chocolate pies just in an hour without a second of rest? And can you also imagine even after you finish all of that food, your brain still craves for food though your belly is so swollen that you are about to puke? You may think that the person who can eat all of these must be a monster. Unfortunately, that’s not necessarily the case

Kung Fu Panda ate 103 dumplings

Kung Fu Panda ate 103 dumplings

(though you may recall the scene Kung Fu Panda ate 103 dumplings). Or you are probably going to think of those competitive eaters. They can shovel so much food into their stomach in a short period of time. However, what might surprise you is that many people, myself included, even including those skinny, ripped athletes, can finish the amount of food all at once, roughly equivalent to nine meals for an adult. And this behavior is neither normal nor beneficial for people’s mental and physical health. So, what is this uncontrollable, torturous, and unstoppable action of food-intaking? The answer is binge eating disorder (BED), which is defined as the uncontrollable consumption of a large amount of food. Then what led to the creation of “glutton”? Why can’t these people control themselves from eating normally and healthily? And what are some treatments for the abnormal cravings and intaking of food?

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How Eating Disorders Can Lead To Bad Decision Making

November 23rd, 2014 3 comments

What classes do I sign up for? Which restaurant do I want to eat at? How much money is appropriate to spend on a birthday gift? Which is the best highway to take to get home? Whether we realize it or not, decision-making is an essential daily function. We rely on our decision-making abilities to guide us through our actions. But what affects these abilities? Data has shown that individuals with Anorexia Nervosa (AN) and Bulimia Nervosa (BN) have long-term difficulty in decision-making. While serious eating disorders such as AN and BN can have short-term effects such as drastic weight loss and skewed self-image, it is also important to consider the long-term effects that these diseases may have. While some may think that rehabilitation of these diseases mainly involve the process of eating healthy and emotional and mental rehabilitation, rehabilitation, as this article proves, must reach far beyond for these individuals. Differences in decision-making are an important aspect to explore, as treatment in later stages of the disease should be adjusted to these findings. Chan et al.’s study demonstrated the effects of these diseases on what could be life-changing decisions.

girls

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