By REYHAN ENVER
Some people do not see their true size when they look in the mirror.
Eating disorders are just like any other disease; no one tries to have one, nor can they control it.
When people with anorexia look in the mirror, they see a large body, even if they’re really small. This disease can cause people to not eat at all or to eat, binge and purge. Many people do not realize how serious the illness can become and that it almost always requires professional help for recovery, according to the National Eating Disorder Information Centre (NEDIC).
The first week of February is National Eating Disorder Awareness Week. This week is used to help people understand what eating disorders are like, what to look for in case someone you know has one and how to help either yourself or someone in your life.
People who have eating disorders will try to hide it the best they can, according to NEDIC. It is very important to pay attention to what your friends are saying and doing when it comes to the topic of food. “In the real world, this situation may be evident when an individual performs poorly in school and chooses to derive her sense of self-worth from physical appearance,” said Josée L. Jarry, doctor of philosophy, and Amy Kossert from NEDIC on their official website www.nedic.com.
Sarah Davis, a Waterloo resident, has a friend who has shown warning signs.
“Every meal becomes a conversation about the things that she doesn’t like about her body. She makes comments like that almost all of the time, it’s just often during meals,” said Davis. “She never eats much, she’ll skip breakfast, maybe have a couple bites of a croissant or some veggies for lunch.”
A misconception about eating disorders is that only females have them, which is not true. NEDIC has released a poster and pamphlet to raise awareness about males with eating disorders.
According to NEDIC, a 2002 survey showed that 1.5 per cent of Canadian women aged 15-24 had an eating disorder. It also showed that four per cent of Grade 9 and 10 boys reported steroid use, indicating poor body image.
If you or someone you know are struggling with an eating disorder, make sure the topic is approached with caution. The focus should be on health and relationships, rather than weight and their body size. After talking to family or friends, a family doctor should be seen and counselling may be the next step.