Is Vegetarianism a teen eating disorder?
Time Magazine recently studied this topic, which brought back many memories of my early-teen-disordered-eating habits.
I was about 15 or so, when I decided to cut the meat out of my diet. I remember it clearly because I love meat, but no one would know it.
No hamburger, no tacos, no chili, c'mon! And don't even get me going on steak, and pork tenderloin.
My entire decision revolved around one thing and one thing only;
MEAT = FAT
I know now, of course, this is not true.
But it sure is easy to convince yourself of it when Hollywood is all-vegan-all-the-time, and you've got PETA exploiting it with skinny mini actresses showing off their bods to send the clear message "Veggies-R-Us"
The Time study showed;
-20% of the vegetarians turned out to be binge eaters,
compared with only 5% of those who had always eaten meat.
-25% of current vegetarians and 20% of former
vegetarians in the same age group said they had engaged in extreme
weight-control measures such as taking diet pills or laxatives and
forcing themselves to vomit.
Only 1 in 10 teens who had never been
vegetarian reported similar behavior. View complete report.
My experience showed:
-It's easy as hell to hide your eating disorder behind vegetarianism. In fact, people applaud you for it.
-Cutting out meat was a first step to the slippery slope of disordered eating, which then lead to convincing myself chicken and fish should go too.
-When you don't eat any meat…there's not much too eat at family affairs. You've created the perfect excuse at Aunt Betty's house, when she serves an all-meat-buffet, with a side of bacon laced potatoes. Suddenly, sitting there eating 4 lettuce leaves doesn't seem so odd so you fly under the radar.
I do hope this study raises awareness with parents that vegetarian-ism can be yet another warning sign of an eating disorder creeping its way into your child's brain.