Can You Be Too Thin?

This photo was taken in Paris 1979. I was 108lbs.

Edward the 8th abdicated his throne to marry the woman he loved—the twice divorced pencil-thin Wallace Simpson. She is long remembered for her view on the impossibility of being too rich or too thin.

Can you be too skinny?

Twenty years ago it was headline news when Karen Carpenter died. She was a famous singer of the 1970s who had toured the world, been on TV shows, and on the cover of many magazines. Her story was news again when it was discovered why she died—from anorexia-related heart failure. Anorexia (an obsessive fear of being fat) was common, but rarely talked about. After Karen’s death—eating disorders became the hot new topic. Since then, other celebrities owned up to their eating disorders including actresses Jane Fonda and Tracy Gold, and former gymnasts Cathy Rigby and Nadia Comenici. In a 1995 television interview the elegant, glamorous Lady Diana—the most photographed woman in the world—shared about her struggle with bulimia nervosa (an obsession with bingeing, purging, and dieting).

On October 30, 2000 the cover of People magazine read “Special Report—Dying To Be Thin—Desperate for a better body, more and more Americans are taking bigger risks—and paying with their lives.”

The worlds of fashion models, beauty pageant contestants, gymnastics, ballet dancers, and figure skaters are full of tales about young girls risking their health and their lives to fit into a preset standard of perfection.
Young girls, in their desire to emulate their role models—start to lose weight—by exercising excessively, restricting calories, making themselves vomit, taking appetite-control or weight-loss pills and laxatives.

In May of 2000 Ladies’ Home Journal printed the results of a poll. It said 60% of high-school girls are trying to lose weight.

TEENAGE GIRLS ARE LITERALLY DYING to meet the standards that they see on television and in the movies and magazines. Advertisers pay millions to reach their prime audience—those between 12 and 34 years old. They are targeting our teenagers. Our daughters watch beautiful women, with surgically modified bodies, carefully styled hair, and custom tailored clothing. How sad that many of our young girls are imitating women that are not real. Many models and actresses live in worlds of promiscuity, drug use, eating disorders, and depression. They are NOT good role models for our children.

The news program 48 Hours had a show titled, The Price of Perfection. It showed a teenage girl who had been struggling with anorexia and bulimia for years. When she was 13 years old, she weighed 28 pounds! She actually went blind in one eye from the stress that constant vomiting put on her body.

The closer I get to thin, thin, thin, the closer I get to perfect.”
—Teenage anorexic, 48 Hours

During their first commercial break of the news program, after showing this “prison camp” thin child, was an ad for Victoria’s Secret. A beautiful model, with a flawless, very thin, body was dressed only in a bra, underwear, and angel’s wings.

Where did that little girl get the idea that thin is beautiful? Is TV to blame?

I read a Harvard study regarding eating disorders in girls from Fiji. It said that symptoms of eating disorders have increased fivefold among teenage girls on Fiji since television came to the Pacific Island nation. TV was widely introduced in 1995, and since then, the percentage of girls that vomit to control their weight has greatly increased.

The study went on to say that the teenage girls look to television characters as role models. The increase in eating disorders was dramatic because Fiji was traditionally a culture that had focused on the importance of eating well and looking robust.
One news show said that eating disorders might be genetic. I think they can be passed on in a family—through example and criticism, not genetics. Our behavior—good or bad—affects how our children see themselves and others.

We need to educate ourselves about the seriousness of eating disorders and realize they can have long term consequences on our bodies—and are sometimes fatal.

If you or someone you know has an eating disorder – check out Remuda Ranch