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Dying To Be Thin
by Heather Vitale, Staff Writer

When you look in the mirror, what do you see? Most people think they are fat, or in some other way, unacceptable. They find one thing wrong, which leads to another and another. But how far will people go to stop the problem?
Teenage girls think they are fat. Period. With some it starts with skipping meals and it turns into anorexia, while others eat too much and think, "Purging once won't kill me." However, in so many ways, they are just plain wrong.
Everywhere we turn, we all see what "the perfect shape" is and has been for years. Girls look at that stereotype and immediately think something is wrong with them. When they see a little bulge or imperfection, they do whatever they can to change it. For some individuals, status is everything. They will do anything they can do to belong and be looked at.
It is scary to think what bulimia and anorexia can do to our bodies. Each time someone misses a meal, the body finds other fats cells to feed on. Soon there is nothing left and the organs start to deteriorate, causing kidney failure and an irregular heartbeat. They are left with a weakened immune system, are constantly cold with low body heat, have a loss of muscle mass and have low blood sugar which cause anxiety, mental fuzziness and shakiness. When people make themselves throw up, their throats become scratched up, leaving a ruptured esophagus, swollen glands and soon they will start to cough up blood. Those teeth, such pretty teeth, will become ruined and loose, and the whole mouth will taste like vomit. When there is nothing in the stomach left to digest, it is almost the same; the body just finds something else to feed on.
These people can soon develop compulsive and strange eating habits. Some people do this because they feel ashamed, lonely, depressed, helpless, and empty inside, all of which might originate from deeply hidden anger. For many of these people, they believe that their self worth means being thin. Hoping for the best when they start out, wanting to feel better and find a solution, most people have no idea what's in store for them.
The amount of teens doing this to their bodies is outrageous. About one in every one hundred young women, between ten and twenty, is starving herself, sometimes to death. Research suggests that about four percent (4%), or four out of one hundred, college-aged women have bulimia. About 50% of those who have been anorexic develop bulimia or bulimic patterns. These disorders affect mainly teenagers and people in their twenties; some studies report young children doing this as young as six. Without treatment, up to twenty percent (20%) of people with serious eating disorders die. Imagine a life of bingeing, purging and thinking about nothing but food. Imagine your whole day revolves around food. Imagine the only thing that matters is what you are going to eat next and where you are going to throw it up. Imagine never eating anything but lettuce and other things with no calories/fat. Imagine leaving your body unnourished, craving vitamins, exhausted and, in truth, eating itself away.
More than half the teenage girls are, or think they should be, on diets. About three percent of these teens go too far, becoming anorexic or bulimic. Admit it, we have all said at least once, "I need to go on a diet." The bottom line is that it is not worth it. You may start out to do no harm, but the truth is these disorders can ruin your life forever. They will be hidden in the back of your mind until the day you die, even if you survive them. There are other ways to deal with things, other than to hurt yourself in such a fatal way. So the next time you take a good look at your reflection, tell yourself you're OK.

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