The article and survey done by BLISS Magazine sites mothers being responsible for guiding their teenagers to being dissatisfied with their body image; in reality, the causation of ones dissatisfaction with body image comes from a multitude of factors. Although I am partial to this survey, overall stats do paint a bleak picture regarding the prevalence of body image obsession in society.
This article hit home recently being an individual who is in her 30's, recovered for almost a decade from Anorexia and Bulimia Nervosa, and facing the truth that is being in her 30's (with a body no longer in her 20's) thinking about future generations and ageing gracefully, all the while shouldering a history with recovery from eating disorders. I find myself having to create my own alternate path that is separate from convention. For example, if I am feeling a bit sluggish and out of shape (hypothetically speaking), a simple statement such as; go join a fitness class or just go to the gym, is actually not that straight forward to someone like myself. 1+1 does not = 2 so to speak. The MOTIVATION for such action needs to be taken into consideration, as for us it doesn't just mean 'I feel sluggish, therefor I should go work out', but 'what are my motives for this need to work out, and feeling sluggish', as the motives could be a detriment to our mentalities; such statements as 'I feel fat', or 'I want to look a certain way', 'achieve a certain number', 'burn off calories', are all 'trigger' happy phrases to a person who has had experience with eating disorders, that should not be acted upon as they may escalate further into unhealthy behaviours (especially if your purging behaviour was once over exercising, in this example). This is so difficult to explain as it is such a fine fine balance. I have had to reinvent an ulterior definition of what 'fitness' 'working out' 'health' means to me, regardless of the fact I am recovered, proud of, and am grateful for my body. And to professionals I pose a question as to how you would guide your former RECOVERED eating disorder patients to traverse through the reality that is: society's obsession with body image, and a 'drug/substance' we've no choice but constantly face; in food, in media, in the many stages of life, in indirect messages, and masses? (fine tune all the way?)
As I go about experiencing life, I am discovering many aspects I am having to redefine and create for myself that oppose societal, stereotypical, or 'usual' ways. To operate on different, often invisible dimensions. Having been touched with mental illness you are made to improvise and invent the ways that work best, at any given time, wherever you are at that moment. It is at times a mind-f***, but one that keeps me on my toes and constantly adapting, flexible to change (which can be a benefit in this unpredictable uncertain journey we call life, as well as an added level of complexity). One thing I do know for certain is how I would go about raising future generations to be best equipped to face the illusory challenges that society presents. If I were to respond to the Bliss article, I'd say 'don't keep repeating history, but learn and recreate a better set of standards and practices that positively encourage future generations into healthier well rounded individuals', also 'to take responsibility for your own shortcomings and deal with them first before/or to not transplant them down generations', and 'have the courage and awareness to learn, change, and teach healthier patterns for the better'.
Ralph Waldo Emerson once said: WE MUST BE OUR OWN BEFORE WE CAN BE ANOTHER'S
I am grateful for being. I haven't owned a weighing scale for over ten years (I literally threw the lot out the window), I will never weigh myself, and will probably forever have a habit of getting on the scale at doctors offices backwards.
Eating disorders such as Bulimia Nervosa and Anorexia Nervosa are the number one killers amongst psychiatric illnesses; more info at sites such as http://www.anad.org/get-information/about-eating-disorders/eating-disorders-statistics/ and support through organisations such as http://nied.ca
For a more comprehensive update on recent biological, scientific research regarding Eating Disorders, see such publications as http://www.biologicalpsychiatryjournal.com/issue/S0006-3223(15)X0003-5 which will have a whole issue dedicated to Eating Disorders coming in April, as well as major university publications, amongst many others.