The Obsession with Anorexia

The Obsession with Anorexia

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Terry Yarber, a single overweight mother of a sixteen year old and two adolescents, wipes away the salty tears from her pale face so that her daughter does not see the fear inside her. Weighing only ninety one pounds, strapped to a hospital bed with a tube down her throat is a girl named Sherie. Sherie thinks the thought of food is repulsive. For instance, she doesn't bother to count calories, carbohydrates, or watch out for bad fat or good fat. Sherie does not bother to eat at all. The most she has had to eat in the last three days are two baby carrots, one slice of low carbohydrate bread, and one leaf of lettuce. While Ms. Yarber sits next to her daughter, she try's to look in to her deep blue crystal eyes but all she sees is a hallow glaze staring back at her. She tells Sherie the news that was just given to her by the doctor. "Unfortunately, she is isn't letting her body get the kind of nutrients it needs. If she does not start eating she will die a painful death. In fact, she is starving herself" said Dr. Roth. Teenage anorexia is a simple diet that has become an obsession. That person concentrates extraordinary energy on the diet, which can become more important, then anyone or anything else in the world. (Sacker 10)

Airbrushed models and teen superstars are only two of the types of influences on teens. The signal that is given is "Thin is in." Regrettably, these superstars project an image of perfection that is, consequently, unattainable and unrealistic. What teens see on the T.V. may shape their view of reality. T.V. produces images like Paris Hilton. She is skinny, sexy, attractive, and she fits into the smallest size of all the number one fashions. She may act as if she loves the delicious taste of home cooked meals like juicy sweet barbeque ribs on her television show "Simple life", but behind the scenes she was probably throwing it all up. The media knows that young girls dream of becoming just like her, but still they will try to make her look even skinner. What young a girl like Sherie does not see is what it takes to makes a great picture. The making of an impressive picture is usually done on a computer, they smooth the face out for a great complexion, add a smaller waist, and erase any "imperfections" they feel may exist

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The young children now teenage super stars Marry Kate and Ashley are excellent examples of teens that are starving themselves. The recent media frenzy of Mary Kate's eating disorder has made some impact but still Sherie only sees what she wants to see. What she sees when she looks in the mirror but all that is there is a hideous reflection looking back at her. After so many years of chronic dieting, she has finally reached the lowest weight she has ever been able to achieve. In her eye's, she is gaining weight faster then she can lose it. She can not stand the touch of her own skin; the wrinkly skin just makes her feel more revolting. In reality she is destroying her immune system and becoming very unhealthy. Today role models are a thing of the past; models on magazine covers are what girls look up to now.

Sherie is being treated for anorexia ever week by a Psychiatrist name Dr. Phillips. Offering support to Sherie can become exhausting. Many Psychiatrists do not agree about what they should do when patients with anorexia nervosa refuse or resist treatment said Jacinta Tan (Lancet 1246). Properly dealing with Sherie is especially serious. Dr. Phillips needs to know if Sherie is able to reason properly, due to the risk of starvation and the risk of becoming bulimic. "If anorexia nervosa represents a desire to achieve safety by over controlling eating and weight, then bulimia accompanied by vomiting becomes the safety valve to release the deprivation-spawned rage." (levenkron 66) Sherie's resistance in support shows her inability to make wise decisions for herself. For example, this new value system has made her decide that the risk of death is preferable to the prospect of gaining weight (1246). Sherie does not comprehend the damage it will do to her two sisters and mother if they were to lose her. Anorexia nervosa has an effect on competence (1246). That is why Ms. Yarber now has the legal right to make all Sherie's medical decisions for her. In Ladies Home Journal, Mithers writes "among those adolescents who'd been sick fewer than three years, more improved with family than traditional therapy. (Journal 56)

Shaping Sherie's self image at an early age would have been the best way to prevent any eating disorders in her future. This was the responsibility of Ms. Yarber or her grandmother, Gloria Yarber. What Ms. Yarber says can boost, or burst Sherie's self confidence. A home cooked meal eaten at a table surrounded by Ms. Yarber, Gloria and her two sisters, Tami and Lisa, can make all the difference. It gives Terry a chance to encourage her children to eat three healthy meals a day. While sitting around the table the Yarber family can talk about how their day has gone and will have a chance to approach each other and ask questions and express them self to one another. If Ms. Yarber knows more about her three beautiful children's personal life, she would be able to see signs of eating disorders earlier. It is very important for Sherie to be able to talk about anything to her mother. With out a firm foundation of self confidence, sense of worth and strong morels in a home, Sherie, Tami, and Lisa will have no path to climb but instead will fall.

Sherie's story relates to Samantha story in "Saving Samantha." "Put in grossly simplified terms, Samantha and Sherie starved themselves as a ways to assert independence from controlling parents, usually a mother." (Journal 56) Sherie is now out of the hospital and doing very well. Sherie is trying to be a good rule model for Tami and Lisa. Mary Kate was seen partying at the trendy Fenix with her sister Ashley Olsen on August 3 after just being released from the rehab center ten days prior stated People (21). Hopefully both of these talented kids will be successful in life in their own special way.

Work Cited:


Sacker, Ira M. and Zimmer, Marc A. Dying to be thin. New York: New York, 1987

Lawrence, Barbara Kent. Bitter Ice. New York: New York, 1999


"Mary-Kate Steps Out." Editorial. People 16 August 2004: 21

Electronic Sources:

Tan, Jacinta. "The Anorexia Talking?" Dissection Room. October 2003: 1246 academic search premier. EBSCO host. San Bernardino Valley Coll. Lib., San Bernardino. 2 March 2005 <http.//search.>

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