POSTS WITH TAG: body image

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    We can point the finger at PhotoShop or even the time-honored "fall gal" Barbie, but no matter who's to blame, there's no denying an epidemic is affecting our teens. Approximately a half million teens struggle with eating disorders or disordered eating, according to research published in the Archives of General Psychiatry. One out of every 100 women between the ages of 10-20 is suffering from anorexia nervosa, defined as refusal to eat adequate calories out of an intense and irrational fear of weight gain. Meanwhile, 4 out of every 100 college-aged women have bulimia, a disorder that involves binge eating and then vomiting or using laxatives to prevent putting on pounds. That said, it's no wonder moms find themselves fearing that their teen may too battle an eating disorder.

    Thankfully, there are some red flags experts say parents can look out for. Here, 8 telltale signs your teen may have an eating disorder, and what you can do if you suspect that's the case.

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    "My tummy is an area that I'm still learning to love," Tess Munster writes, revealing two selfies of herself wearing a bikini. Munster is a plus-sized model who shared the photos on her Facebook page and Instagram over the weekend. This is a beautiful woman with the confidence to be photographed regularly in swimwear. But in her post, Munster confessed that she's always been afraid of wearing bikinis that aren't high-waisted -- until now.

    Because she appreciates everything her belly has done, including carrying her son, and because her fiancé loves it and touches it, Munster says, "I recently decided to be kinder to it." When was the last time you thought of your body, or a part of your body, that way? Being kinder to it? Well, it's easier said than done, even for Munster. Here's what she says is the key to self-acceptance.

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    The “F” word in my house is a three-letter word: FAT. We don’t use the word in reference to people. We’ve determined it’s OK to use as a descriptor for Santa Claus or maybe even our dog who was getting a bit pudgy, but that’s about as far as it goes. No one calls anyone else fat. Especially because it’s so rarely true and has become just another derogatory name.

    My daughter was thin when she told me she was fat. At least by any reasonable adult standards. Sure she had a little bit of a belly, but she was also in middle school and I knew that’s where the negative body image was coming from. But no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t convince her that she had a beautiful body.

    She wanted to go on a diet.

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    I'm mid-suicide run. Morbid name for it, to be sure, but the drill-style workout -- in which you run to and from a starting line to a progressively farther line -- can have you feeling, well, like you're going to die. But somehow, I feel stronger, more powerful, and more capable than I've ever felt while moving my body this way. Yet, for the most part, I'm struggling to accept this, because part of me still feels like an overweight 10-year-old trudging behind her peers in gym class, coughing and heaving and scowling at the teacher who has tasked us with the state-required one-mile run.

    Maybe that's one reason why a startling statistic, cited by Jes Baker's now-viral TED Talk, hit me -- hard. Baker says young girls are more afraid of getting "fat" than they are of cancer, nuclear war, or losing their parents. She also notes that 81 percent of 10-year-olds are afraid of being fat.

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    "I'm a better mum after having a boob job," claims 19-year-old Tamsin Wade, who took out a loan to pay for 32G implants. The young mother says her breast size went from D-cup to AA-cup after she had her son, and the dramatic change was so traumatizing, she was "'forced to wear baggy clothes to hide my figure." Wade adds, "Getting into a bikini made me feel so uncomfortable that me and Finley had never been swimming."

    It's easy to mock a young woman who loses all sense of perspective just because her breasts are smaller. I mean, it's not like the boob police are literally forcing her to wear baggy clothes. And is being petite really so distracting that you can't focus on your job as a mother?!? But maybe we're being too hard on her.

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    Have you heard of Sabina Altynbekova? She's a 17-year-old rising volleyball star who's been getting plenty of attention lately. And it's not for her impressive skills on the court or for her style of play. No, it's for her looks, because according to her coach, Sabina is "hampering" her team because she's so beautiful.

    The teen, who's been playing for years in Kazakhstan, is now a complete distraction to the entire sport. And it all came to be after a tournament in Taiwan, where she became a bonafide online sensation. Her Instagram followers skyrocketed, multiple fake Facebook and Twitter accounts were opened in her name, and videos of her on the court were viewed hundreds of thousands of times.

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    In their latest attempt to peddle hate and lady-on-lady crime in exchange for dropped jaws around the globe, The Daily Mail ran a piece yesterday entitled, "Why are today's young women so unashamed about being fat?" written by Linda Kelsey, a self-described, unapologetic "fattist." In her own words, that means she believes that extra weight is "unattractive ... unhealthy, and, given the problems that being fat can cause, it should be as unacceptable as smoking."

    Kelsey illustrates her spite with an anecdote about three young women she witnessed at the airport who were "not chubby, but fat. They had bulging bellies and billowing pillows of back and shoulder stuffing, punctured by flabby arms and lardy legs that no amount of fake-tan could disguise." As a result, Kelsey seems to believe these girls would hate their bodies and be "racked with self-loathing," but instead "they were doing a grand job of projecting exactly the opposite impression." Gasp!

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    Summer is just around the corner -- which means it's time to put THIGH GAP at the top of your worry list. You know, that space between your thighs that lets the world know your body is bikini-worthy? That little bit of emptiness we should all be using to measure our self esteem? I jest. No one really needs one. But apparently a lot of women really want one. Which is why a Dallas salon is offering "thigh gap therapy," a laser treatment that zaps away that little bit of pudge that keeps you from looking like Heidi Klum. Oh yeah -- and it won't hurt a bit! 

    All you have to do is fork over a thousand dollars and allow someone to point a laser at your crotch. Totally worth it!

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    Brooke Birmingham is an inspiration. A blogger who has chronicled her journey to fitness and her weight loss of 170 pounds on her site, Brooke: Not on a Diet, she was initially excited when Shape magazine reached out to her. Wouldn't you be? It's one thing to be proud of your own accomplishments, but to have such incredible validation coming from the greater world at large? That's got to feel like the proverbial cherry on the sundae.

    They asked Brooke to send in a photo for them to post to their site along with her story. She was happy to oblige, and taking a cue from other success stories like her own she'd seen on the site, she posed in a bikini. Shape got back to her and asked her to send in another photo -- one where she was covered up. Alarm bells sounded in Brooke's head. They said it was just their policy. But Brooke was sure it had more to do with the fact that they didn't want to feature the excess skin her tremendous transformation left behind.

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    There are always going to be mean people in the world who think it's within their right to say inappropriate things to you -- whether you're overweight, underweight, or the perfect weight. Cearra Swetman was out to dinner a year ago when she had the misfortune of running into a big jerk who felt compelled to remark that the Hooters chain restaurant T-shirt she was wearing should not be worn on a girl her size. Cearra weighed almost 250 pounds at the time. Instead of telling him to mind his own beeswax, she used his comment as inspiration to drop a remarkable 130 pounds. Good for her! But what she did after losing all of that weight makes me a little sad.

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