Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Anorexia in the Jewish World- Part 2

Non-TV Households

As I mentioned previously, I have a yeshivish friend who was anorexic. She actually used to watch TV when she was younger, so maybe that doesn't count.
But even in the yeshivish world, there are many anorexic girls. This is due to four things:
1) peer pressure- (possibly from those who are exposedto the media)
2) influence from their mothers
3) criticism from their mothers
4) Control Issues

1)Peer Pressure
The girls whose friends are on "diets" even if they need not be, tend to want to follow the trend. If everyone else is eating salad, it takes a lot of confidence to be able to down a slice of pizza. That's confidence that many teenagers do not have. Then it turns into a competition of who can consume fewer calories per meal or something. They also want to try to be skinnier than their friends, and girls will go to extreme measures to accomplish that. (I should have titled this "eating disorders" because bulimia is also prevalent, but I'm too lazy.)

2) Influence from their mothers
Think about it. When was the last time a day passed that your mother didn't complain about how fat she thinks she is? That's why second-graders are counting calories!!!!!!!!!! It gets infused in you if you are exposed to it so young. Most people grow up with that. You rarely hear people say, "I look thin," or, "I look good" so it's not cool to be heard saying that. Even if you are 10 pounds underweight.

3) Criticism from their mothers
I was a fat kid from 7th to 8th, but my mother never said a word about it. Maybe that spared me from a full-fledged eating disorder. In 8th grade, I decided on my own to go on a diet, and I lost about 35 pounds by the time i entered 10th grade. I haven't been able to keep it all off, but people say i look better a little fuller like I am now. But anyway, I remember spending Shabbos at a girl's house, (before I got fat) and this kid was chubby, and her mother didn't let her have cake. "_____, you're fat-you can't have that!" Who's shocked that a few years later she was completely anorexic? I'm not. That poor kid was definitely not to blame. Doing that to a child is practically giving them the handbook to anorexia.

4) Control Issues
I don't even mean domineering parents necessarily. I'm talking any failure that leads someone to feel helpless and out of control. When a girl studies really hard and still does badly in school, (Story of part of my life) she feels helpless and out of control. One thing she knows she can control is her eating. Nobody can shove something down her throat and make her chew and swallow. Even if they manage to do it, she'll throw it up anyway. She can't control her social life or her grades or her rules...so she'll control this. The worst part is, this control issue in front and center of everyone's anorexia, whether media exposed or not. And it gets worse with time, not better. When a girl's anorexic, her mind is always on food, and she always has dehydration headaches, so she can't concentrate in school, so she does badly. She also becomes anti-social, and the few times she is with her friends, she's in a bad mood, so nobody hangs with her anymore, so she feels alone, and more helpless. It just goes on and on.

It is imperative that children (girls AND boys) are raised with proper confidence and self-esteem to avoid these fatal diseases. Sometimes a kid can be well-raised and well-adjusted, and still have this problem, but I have yet to come across one.
Part 3 will deal with people who have TVs and then I think I'll move on.


At 11/16/2004 6:11 PM, Blogger Cholent said...

Ok, you asked for comments. I have some very jumbled up thoughts about this, so please bear with me.

I guess that the peer pressure issue isn't prevalent everywhere. I never once felt peer pressure to go on a diet just cuz that's what others were doing. I suppose my friends are the exception b/c they are not obsessed with weight, and I could only count two classmates that are on "diets" or at least wish they were.

My whole life in elementary school I was a skinny pickle, and people were envious. Let me say two things about that. 1. It doesn't feel good when people comment "you're so skinny, oh my gosh!" 2. I know someone who was a skeleton as a kid and had self esteem issues cuz of it. They hated being so skinny. Now that person is dangerously obese. So moral of the story, don't comment about people thinness in a way that it may cause them to feel different and less adequate because of it. While, I never felt this way, you never know... Now, I am average weight and feel no need to diet so I can go back to being a size 2. I'm healthy b"h and that's what counts.

At 11/17/2004 9:08 AM, Blogger Michelle said...

The more you comment, the more I like you. Keep going.

At 11/17/2004 8:03 PM, Blogger Cholent said...

I have comments about your older posts too, but I figured you don't check them anymore. Unless you are set up to be emailed when someone comments. Are you?

At 11/18/2004 4:46 PM, Blogger Michelle said...

I am actually not notified, but I always look back at my old stuff and pout when I see that there are no new comments, so everyone, I welcome, I encourage, I request your comments on all my posts! Thanks a mil!!!

At 11/18/2004 7:51 PM, Blogger Cholent said...

Ok, when I have a chance, I'll go through your old posts again and add my 2 cents. But, you really should set up blogger to notify you when you get new comments. That way you don't have to check all the time.

At 11/24/2004 9:30 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Some people can be brutal when it comes to weight. There was a guy in my school who just came for 5th grade and who was very fat. People would constantly pick on him and call him names. One day, I just had enough. I wasn’t the most popular kid in the class, but I had a lot of friends. I decided to befriend him and act nice towards him. Then other kids in the class noticed, and they slowly followed my lead. Anyway, about a year ago a guy comes up to me at a Simcha and I didn’t recognize him, but it was this same guy without the extra pounds. He lost a lot of weight. He actually thanked me for being so nice to him in 5th grade (he was only there for one year) and for always helping him with his homework. I did not expect it and was very touched that he would remember that. It was the first time in my life that I think I came close to tears.

At 12/04/2004 3:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What about the subliminal messages from advertising even in the Jewish world?--Lose the most weight in 30 Days and get $500 dollars from the Kosher Gym!!
I bet some people out there would love $500 and won't get it from excercising.

At 12/08/2004 11:24 AM, Blogger The Perfect Ema said...

No matter how much we want to think, it just ain't true, we do not live in a ghetto anymore (though the way things are looking, i may b'h be raising my kids in one, :-)....

anorexia....hmmmm, i can write pages and pages on this. But, let me try to get to the point without rambling too much. I do believe that a lot of the problems with anorexia do come from the outside world, whether or not, we directly get it from there, or it is infiltrated from our mothers or even the religous papers, it is still there.

Anon was so write, the Kosher Gym advertises...everywhere we look ads to loose weight, take this diet pill, etc, etc, but anorexia does not just happen. There are so many factors with the biggest one being low self esteem (and biological makeup...many studies being done on that now). There is just soo much competition in the schools. We have to do well academically. That is the only thing that we have to do. If you don't do well well then you will probably not even be popular!! The most popular girls are the smart girls, the teachers don't give much attention to the not smart girls, at least not positive attention!! We have to get into the perfect seminary!! Well, i want to stand out in my class!! I need to be different.

And in the yeshivish community, well, i am one of 11. I need/want to stand out in my family. But my parents are so busy working to put us through school, seminary,e tc, do they notice? Do the teachers notice? Do the teachers care?

I often wonder when i was in the sixth grade, i ddin't eat breakfast, not because i was on a diet or anything, i just thought that when you got "big", you weren't supposed to eat lunch. My sisters didn't take lunches to school, my parents didn't take lunch to work, i thought pashut just little kids eat lunch. I remember once my teacher asked me about this, and i said "well, i had oatmeal for breakfast..it keeps me full for the whole day." (like, right. I would eat part of my friend's lunch, lol--her apple, pudding cover, etc.) Why ddin't she question more? Why didn't she call my parents? Why don't the teachers care more about us?

I wonder how much better i would have done in school then...how much easier it would have been for me...had i just eaten!! Because i was always thin, so who would know if i was just a little thinner one year or the next. What teacher would know that i would exercise and run miles and do steps during classtime?! Certainly not my parents....after all, most of my time is spent in school. I just wish teachers were more invovled and more aware of these problems!!!

for all i know, they are more now, since when i was in sixth grade anorexia was so not in. But, from what i understand, nowadays it's "in" to be anorexic. Hmm, i think i have commented for too long and should really be blogging this on my own blog page :-)...if i wrote too much, sorry!!! I can go on a lot more on this topic, that's for sure!!

At 4/26/2006 7:37 AM, Blogger JBL the first said...

Maybe you're right but check this out;

At 7/18/2006 10:36 AM, Anonymous Chani said...

Ema-In my school it was exactly the opposite-the girls who were the official "popular" girls were not smart at all & had academic issues in school, & in general, the smart girls were the nice girls & my friends(yes, you're included, Michelle!)


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