The 'Skinny' on Eating Disorder Awareness

The 'Skinny' on Eating Disorder Awareness

Why being educated on the topic matters for the future.

In honor of concluding National Eating Disorder Awareness week, which took place in February, I'm going to address the many misconceptions the general public often has about eating disorders. With Eating disorders having the highest mortality rate of any mental illness, it is important to be educated on the topic to create a change.

Here's the true skinny about these life-threatening illnesses:

Misconception #1: Eating disorders are a choice.

There's a large misconception about this, and Demi Lovato said it best. In her three-part documentary, "Stay Strong," Lovato said, "There’s a wide misconception that anorexia and/or bulimia is a choice and you often hear people say things like ‘why doesn’t she just start eating?’ Or even ‘just stop throwing up." But eating disorders don't work like that.

She continued on to say that "It's the ignorance and lack of education on mental illnesses that continues to [put] mental health care on the back burner to congress even though this is an epidemic that is sweeping our nation, and causing more and more tragedy every day."

People don't choose to begin having an eating disorder. It develops and takes hold, and not eating or throwing up a meal is not a diet. Having an eating disorder is a mental illness. People with eating disorders often struggle with body image and it disrupts their normal activities with unusual eating habits to alter their appearance.

This means that you could be 85 lbs and still look in the mirror and see someone overweight.

Misconception #2: People with eating disorders are just trying to get attention.

Again, people do not choose to have an eating disorder. So when the mental illness takes hold, and the effects of fatigue, depression, and self-loathing set in.

Those with eating disorders do not want the attention. They know that they are not healthy, but they physically can't stop. They hide themselves and would rather be invisible than tormented by their disorder and the judgments of others.

People affected by eating disorders are trying to be perfect so they finally just feel normal, and not stand out. The disorders tell the ones who are struggling that no one will love them unless they are this way.

They don't do it for anyone but themselves, because at the end of the day, their disorder is in control.

Misconception #3: The only kind of eating disorders are Anorexia and Bulimia

There are actually four categories of eating disorders. Anorexia, Bulimia, Binge Eating Disorder, and EDNOS (Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified).

Here's the difference:

Anorexia -- A cycle of self-starvation where the body is denied the essential nutrients it needs to function normally. Anorexia is the most common cause of death (up to 12 times higher than any other condition) among young women ages 15 to 24. Thus, the body is forced to slow down all of its processes to conserve energy, resulting in bone density loss, muscle loss, loss of hair, heart damage, and even death.

Bulimia -- Recurrent binge-and-purge cycles of bulimia that can affect the entire digestive system and can lead to electrolyte and chemical imbalances in the body that affect the heart and other major organ functions. Health consequences include tooth decay, heart damage, dehydration, peptic ulcers, pancreatitis, and even death.

Binge Eating Disorder --Regular episodes of binge eating, but use compensatory behaviors, such as self-induced vomiting or over-exercising after binge eating. Health consequences include high blood pressure and cholesterol, type II diabetes, heart disease, gallbladder disease, and even death.

Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified: A combination of two or more eating disorder symptoms and actions. Thus, many of the health consequences fall under those actions above.

Ultimately, there are extreme health risks associated with all four types of eating disorders. Therefore, it's important to be educated on all categories.

Misconception #4: Eating disorders don't happen to young people.

According to a 2009 study, half of little girls 3-to-6 think they're fat. This shows that eating disorders can begin to occur at any age.

In addition, another study surveyed girls 8-15 and even among clearly non-overweight girls, over 1/3 report dieting.

And of American elementary school girls who read magazines, 69 percent say that the pictures influence their concept of the ideal body shape. Forty-seven percent say the pictures make them want to lose weight.

Eating disorders affect so many young girls and their mindset about the ideal body type. Even Demi Lovato expressed how she developed her eating disorder by the age of 12. By bettering education of the seriousness of these disorders, these numbers can lower significantly. No small child should ever think they are fat.

Misconception #5: Eating disorders only affect women.

While women are more often affected by eating disorders than men, men still make up 10 to 15 percent of the population with anorexia and bulimia.

Overall, it's important to recognize that eating disorders affect 30 million people in the US alone. Without extensive research and educating the general public on the truth behind these disorders, the numbers will only continue to rise.

So what's the 'skinny' on fighting your whole life to be skinny? The change is in your hands.

Cover Image Credit: Highland Times

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10 Things I Threw Out AFTER Freshman Year Of College

Guess half the stuff on your packing list doesn't really matter

I spent the entire summer before my freshman year of college so WORRIED.

I also spent most of my money that summer on miscellaneous dorm stuff. I packed the car when the time finally came to move in, and spent the drive up excited and confused about what the heck was actually going on.

Freshman year came and went, and as I get ready to go back to school in just a few short weeks (!!), I'm starting to realize there's just a whole bunch of crap I just don't need.

After freshman year, I threw out:

1. Half my wardrobe.

I don't really know what I was thinking of owning 13 sweaters and 25 T-shirts in the first place. I wear the same five T-shirts until I magically find a new one that I probably got for free, and I put on jeans maybe four times. One pair is enough.

2. Half my makeup.

Following in the theme of #1, if I put on makeup, it's the same eyeliner-mascara combination as always. Sometimes I spice it up and add lipstick or eyeshadow.

3. My vacuum.

One, I basically never did it. Two, if I REALLY needed to vacuum, dorms rent out cleaning supplies.

4. Most of my photos from high school.

I didn't throw them ALL away, but most of them won't be making a return to college. Things change, people change, your friends change. And that's okay.

5. Excess school supplies.

Binders are heavy and I am lazy. I surprisingly didn't lose that many pens, so I don't need the fifty pack anymore. I could probably do without the crayons.

6. Cups/Plates/Bowls/Silverware.

Again, I am lazy. I cannot be bothered to wash dishes that often. I'll stick to water bottles and maybe one coffee cup. Paper plates/bowls can always be bought, and plastic silverware can always be stolen from different places on campus.

7. Books.

I love to read, but I really don't understand why I thought I'd have the time to actually do it. I think I read one book all year, and that's just a maybe.

8. A sewing kit.

I don't even know how to sew.

9. Excessive decorations.

It's nice to make your space feel a little more cozy, but not every inch of the wall needs to be covered.

10. Throw pillows.

At night, these cute little pillows just got tossed to the floor, and they'd sit there for days if I didn't make my bed.

Cover Image Credit: Tumblr

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The 5 Types of Retail Customers

A run-down on the many forms of customers you either encounter as a retail employee or are guilty of being.


We all get summer jobs or seasonal jobs at some place to get that extra cash when we find ourselves broke after spending $300+ on Ubers/Lyfts in under a month (possibly speaking from personal experience). This in turn led me to broaden my job searching horizons and led me to work at a fast food chain that goes by the name of 'Salsaritas' (ironic since my nickname is Salsa, also was not intentional) and currently a retail store at a local mall. So, I guess it's safe to say that I have come across a lot of different people with a whole lot of personality. Working in these types of industries, it can sometimes be really hard and pretty interesting. So voila, here we go:

1. The Always Angry Customer

This is the customer that is constantly angry. They walk in pissed off and they want everyone else to know that they are pissed off. This type of customer also uses at least one of these following sentences: "Let me talk to your manager. Who's your manager?" or the "How long have you been working here for?" Honestly, there's not much you can do to help them other than try to just do what they ask for and get them the hell out of there as quickly as possible.

2. The Messy Customer

Easily one of the most annoying types of customers (sorry). This person will walk and run their hands through an entire counter or rack full of perfectly folded clothes, unfold them, and then just leave them on the counter or on the floor. They also have the "it's fine, it's their job to fold them" mentality. Honestly though, how hard is it to put a jacket or shirt back on a hanger? And if you're this type of customer please, please, please, put what you found back where it came from. Sincerely, every retail employee ever.

3. The Super Nice Customer

This customer is god-send and thank god that they exist. They are the ones who you can just tell are genuinely good people. New at work and don't know how the hell to ring up a customer at a register? No worries, they'll wait there patiently, smile at you, and occasionally tell you that "you're doing great sweetie." They treat you like you're not just a retail employee and at the end of the day, you just wanna give them a hug for making your day feel less shitty.

4. The Talkative Customer

There's two parts to this one. This type of customer is either talking on the phone while you're ringing them up at the register or is just trying to get to know literally everything there is to know about you. If they're on the phone, it's impossible to know if they're responding to you or to the person who they're on the phone with. The worst part is when they hold up one finger to signal to you that they'll be just a minute and leave you to just awkwardly stand in front of them while trying not to listen to their entire conversation. The other part is when they just want to get to know you which is cute and all until they're just trying to analyze your entire background, where you're from, what you're studying, etc. Luckily if you're like me who wasn't born in the U.S. with a very ethnic name, you just scored yourself a talkative customer. Well done and good luck getting out of the conversation!

5. The Last Minute Customer

Imagine that you just did an 8 hour shift and right when you're about to clock out and head out to go home, you see a customer walking in literally a minute or two before the whole mall is about to close. They'll probably ask you if you're about to close even though they can see that there's not a single person inside there other than you. They'll also probably tell you that they know exactly what they're looking for. It's never true and get ready for that OT. But hey, on the bright-side, you'll get a fat pay-check.

So, the next time you find yourself at a mall...Remind yourself to pick up something you might've accidentally dropped, keep in mind that workers are human beings too, and kindness goes a long way because at the end of the day, that employee could be one of your loved ones.

Until next time,


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