More Body Image & Eating Disorders Blogs
- Who's Looking Back at YOU in the Mirror?
- Speak out on Gratitude
- Body Image - Speak Out On the MEDIA
- Speak Out on Body Image
- Secret Dieting - What if your period stops?
- When Joking Isn't Funny
- My Legs Are TOO SHORT
- Junk Food Makes Me Feel GUILTY!
- Winning Against an Eating Disorder - true story
- We hate being JUDGED, ...but do WE do it too?
- HELP! My Friend thinks she is FAT!
- Just Tired and Sad? Or is it Depression?
- Do I look FAT today?
- Body Image + Eating Disorders - It hurts the whole family...
- Dealing with Being Teased
- Is losing weight the answer?
- I Want to Be Pretty Too
December 2009 Blogs
- Real Girl: Leah
- Guys, the media?... who's to blame for the way girls behave?
- Bobsledding - The Extreme Toboggan
- Fabulous Festive Decorating Ideas ...for the Holidays
- Holiday Fashion - What are YOU going to wear?
- Secret Dieting - What if your period stops?
- Applying Blush, Coloured Hair Streaks
- Working Your Way Up
- BATHROOMS - 7 Tips To Get Yours Organized
- Ask a Guy - smells, holiday foods, traditions and memories
- Ask a Girl - smells, holiday foods, traditions and memories
Secret Dieting - What if your period stops?
BODY IMAGE AND EATING DISORDERS, December 2009, by Jen Charbonneau
What if your period stops?
I’ve been worried about my weight for a while now and I’ve been secretly dieting. I’ve lost weight but I’m scared because my periods have stopped and I heard that that’s a sign of eating disorders. Is that true? What should I do because my parents will KILL me if they find out!?
~ Scared – Mississauga, ON
Thank you for sharing your challenge. I understand how difficult it is to feel overweight and I’m going to try to help you in two parts here.
First - Biology 101
Dieting in an unhealthy way is never, ever, ever a good idea, no matter how old you are.
In adolescence, your body is going through some pretty major growth and development changes and fat is an important part of making sure those changes happen.
Fat not only provides essential fatty acids and carries fat-soluble vitamins in your blood but a certain amount of fat IS necessary to ensure menstruation (the fancy word for your period).
When you lose weight and your body fat dips below a healthy certain level, your period stops and THAT is a clear indication that things are NOT ok.
The bottom line is you cannot be healthy without eating some fat.
Many adolescent girls (and older women too) think that if they eat regularly, they will gain weight. But the truth is that eating regularly allows the body to find a healthy weight and STAY there.
Balance and variety are the keys to keeping your metabolism working efficiently.
With all kinds of fad diets, starvation and then binging (otherwise known as ‘pigging out’), the body becomes confused and can’t find an ideal weight. The result is a body that stores up food for times when consumption is low.
Unhealthy dieting is like holding your breath. Sooner or later you will gasp for air and end up taking in more than you would have if you hadn’t restricted yourself.
Something else to consider is that poor nutrition results in dull, lifeless and brittle hair and nails. When you cut too much fat from you diet, other parts of your body suffer too. Glossy hair, clear skin and strong nails are achieved through good nutrition and a healthy diet.
So there’s your Biology 101.
Now, I don’t know what your weight is and if the weight you lost is why your periods have stopped... but if it has, you should know that eating disorders have many, many factors contributing to their development and experts agree that many eating disorders do begin with unhealthy dieting.
It Happened To Me
I’ve experienced an eating disorder creep up out of nowhere and take over my life. By secretly dieting, you are flirting with a dangerous and all-consuming disorder.
When I was a teenager, I didn’t think it could happen to me. I thought I could just stop whenever I wanted to. I thought it was something that happened to other girls who weren’t in control like I was. These were just lies I told myself and for many years the eating disorder controlled me and my life.
I encourage you to ask yourself why you feel the need to lose weight. Are you really overweight? What are you really feeling?
Sometimes we feel if we just lost a few pounds, all our problems would be over. But the truth is, dieting and weight loss for me was just the beginning of problems I never could have imagined.
I feel like I might be lecturing here and I apologize! Try to talk with your parents or another trusted adult. And please consider some of what I’ve said. Lives are lost to eating disorders everyday. Don’t let that happen to you.
December 2009 - Partners
See Back Issues
eating disorders, body image, Jen Charbonneau, vitamins, secret dieting, what happens if your period stops, overweight, biology 101, unhealthy dieting, growth and development changes, essential fatty acids, menstuation, adolescent girls, healthy weight, poor nutrition, dull lifeless brittle hair and nails