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  1. Celebrity Eating Disorders: How Media Feeding Frenzy Affects Us


    Thin celebrities. They look soooo good, but are so sick. We not only admire and critique them, but often seek to emulate their thin appearance.

    How many of us have ever said, "OMG - did you see how much weight she gained?" Women are judged harsher than men on screen and in real life, and by comparison, the great majority of us come up short... and fat.

    Never mind the team of decorators who correct celebrity flaws through computer imaging, air-brushing, flashy clothes, knockout makeup, and other seductive manipulations. We want to be thinner, like them. We want to bathe in the rewards, real and imagined, of looking and feeling thin.

    You say you're not affected by celebrity weight? Conscious or not, I believe most of us are influenced by media bombardment of the unrealistically thin ideal. Let's face it ladies, if we lived in a cave, would we really endure serial dieting and high heels?



    Paula Abdul (right), Victoria Beckham, Jane Fonda and Michael Jackson. Elton John, Alanis Morisette, Mary-Kate Olsen and Joan Rivers.

    This handful of self-proclaimed eating disorder sufferers can join Ally Sheedy, Calista Flockhart, Meredith Viera, Kate Winslet, Ashlee Simpson, and scores of other famous people who have publicly admitted struggling with food, weight and body image disorders, according to the Eating Disorder Referral and Information Center.

    Although anorexia and bulimia are extreme forms of disordered eating, I would also lump yo-yo dieters into same dysfunctional dump. Tabloids scream about celebrities being too fat or too thin, which perpetuates the problem and feeds the frenzy.

    The death of Michael Jackson ignited speculation that an eating disorder contributed to his death. Since then, some interesting facts have come to light. Phentermine was discovered during a raid of Mr. Jackson's doctor's premises. Phentermine is half of the infamous phen-fen weight loss plan, which was removed from the market due to heart-valve abnormalities.

    Michael Jackson has previously disclosed bouts of bulimia, and I wondered if his doctor had been complicit in feeding his eating disorder. In a Larry King interview, Mr. Jackson's manager said the doctor would be traveling to England, to make sure Michael ate properly and received enough fluids, during strenuous routines.

    It was comforting to hear of medical monitoring, but questions abound regarding this doctor's ethics and judgment, especially regarding improper use of sleep anesthetic. Mr. Jackson's painfully thin frame suggests an ongoing struggle to maintain a healthy weight.

    My concern was that intense exercise, not properly managed with fluids and electrolytes, could easily cause heart problems - the plausible cause of death. This is often what kills eating disorder victims, along with emaciation caused by malnutrition.

    Too many celebrities and other victims look great - lying in their coffins, as the world and loved ones mourn their death.

    Check this link for more information about celebrities and eating disorders http://www.edreferral.com/Celebrities_who_died_or_have_Eating_Disorders.htm

    Dr. Abby graduated from Columbia University, and holds 2 masters degrees and a Ph.D. She is a member of the American Psychological Association and Mensa. As a psychologist in private practice for 16 years she helped people with a wide variety of concerns, and has spoken on many topics related to weight loss, mental health, parenting and relationships. Dr. Abby is also president of DAA, Inc. For information regarding coaching, speaking, or therapeutic products, please visit her website at www.DearDrAbby.com.

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