Friday, February 20, 2015

Can Fashion Week Cause Eating Disorders and Poor Body Image?

Another Fashion Week has come and gone.  But could this bi-annual event have long-lasting negative effects on how average women view their bodies, or worse, plant the seed for an eating disorder? 


How thin is too thin?/IBTimes
The weight debate has raged on for years amongst fashion industry insiders, feminists and fashion spectators, and some designers have admirably refused to hire rail thin girls for their runway shows. In a bold step, Israel recently enacted a skinny-model ban and requires both female and male models working in the country to have a body mass index (BMI) of at least 18.5. As reported by the IBTimes, that means a model who is six-feet tall must weigh at least 136.5 pounds and a model who is five-feet, eight inches must weigh at least 119 pounds.

According to Stanford psychologist Dr. Megan Jones, also Chief Science Officer of Lantern — an innovative mobile tool that helps prevent the onset of eating disorders and other emotional health issues — many eating disorders begin with modest attempts to lose weight that can quickly spiral out of control.

Dr. Jones, who survived an eating disorder she developed as a college student, says that aspiring to be as skinny as the fashion models who grace the catwalk during Fashion Week can cause many teenage girls and young women to adopt thinking patterns that put them at great risk for future body image and eating control issues.

So could you be at risk for a “subclinical” eating disorder without even knowing it?  Here are six warning signs Dr. Jones shared with Everything She Wants (consult a medical doctor if you think you have an eating disorder.):

1. You describe fat as a "feeling."

2. You eat a limited variety of foods or become a vegetarian to restrict food intake.

3. You avoid eating meals or snacks when other people are around.

4. You constantly calculate the amount of fat, carbs or calories you consume.

5. You feel ashamed, disgusted or guilty after eating.

6. You dream of having the body attributes of friends, models or celebrities.


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