“On any given day nearly 40 per cent of women are on a diet,”
writes Jenny Deam in Women’s Health. “The weight-worry gun is
loaded early. By the time they reach age 10, 80 per cent of girls fret
that they’re fat. Their main ‘thinspiration,’ according to experts?
The ultra-slim starlets glorified in popular culture.”
More Than food
In spite of the many definitions of disordered eating, experts
agree it isn’t about the food. Rather, it’s about the issues behind
the food, driving someone to use food as a
narcotic or tool for self-abuse.
Spiritually speaking, power struggles
over food indicate an identity crisis, says
Len Thompson, one of the counsellors in
my particular case when I was a child.
The Enemy provides alluring lies to the
disordered eater, Thompson explains – that
“control of power is the perfect solution to
their perceived loss of legitimate autonomy,
rather than a loving relationship of trust with
This “control of power” manifests itself
through food intake, exercise, monitoring body weight, and de-
pending on others’ perceptions and emotions to compensate for
a validated sense of identity.
While God wants us to have a healthy sense of self, a confidence rooted in love and the courage to make wise choices
regarding food and body, the world breeds the opposite, encouraging a desire for power instead of identity.
To combat the world’s subtle yet persistent messages, Thomp-
son encourages parents to adopt the parenting style of God the
Father. “He always gives us choices even if He doesn’t like the
choices we make. He affirms our creativity and encourages self-
expression. He is always ready to hear our concerns, disappoint-
ments and pain.”
Don’t give your children a reason to desire power or control.
God never tries to steal His children’s identity. In the same way,
Thompson says, parents should try to allow for an honest expression of their child’s personality – as much as
it might hurt them. This acceptance is what a
child craves, this kind of unconditional love.
Most of us use food
Hungry for Love
as a means of
from stress or anger,
to celebrate a
joyous event – at
As a little girl, all I wanted was for my parents to enter my bedroom and sit on my bed
and ask me what was wrong. Why wasn’t I
eating? Why was I measuring my wrists and
weighing myself on the hour and throwing
temper tantrums? Why wasn’t I happy?
We didn’t know how to communicate.
We were raised in a Christian home that
believed kids should be seen and not heard (or at least pastors’
kids like us), while I desperately wanted to be heard. Not only
that, but being homeschooled I was desperately lonely. Starving,
in fact, for attention. Yet when my parents finally allowed me to
go to school, I realized how different I was from everyone else,
and my eating disorder only escalated.
Art was the only thing to slow my disorder. I vented my
A Model Problem for Women
A behind-the-scenes look at fashion – and is
change on the horizon? By Lisa Hall-Wilson
Have you ever refused to buy a piece of clothing based solely on the size number on the label? Have you
looked at models in a magazine and felt
inadequate? I’m guilty. Even though we
know those photos are unrealistic, we –
and I’m thinking mainly of women here –
still compare ourselves, don’t we?
The average Canadian woman is 5’ 3”
and weighs 153 pounds. In the 1950s
Marilyn Monroe set a remarkable standard for beauty with her curvy hourglass
figure (reportedly 5’ 5” and around 130
pounds), but neither of those have much
in common with the average North
American model today, who is much taller
at 5’ 10” and much lighter at 110 pounds.
(In metric, that’s 178 cm and 50 kg for the
average model, compared to 160 cm and
70 kg for the average Canadian.)
My thirteen-year-old daughter wears
a women’s size zero. As a pubescent teen
she has few womanly curves, yet this is the
size models are wearing on the runways
and in magazines. I can get my arm in the
leg of her jeans, but forget about much
else. She’s 13, so of course I can’t wear her
clothes, but I stare at the models on television and in magazine ads, and suddenly
it’s not such a ridiculous idea anymore.
There’s a significant disconnect
between reality and what’s held up as an
PHOTO: JOHN SAYER
“Many of the models that women
idealize are barely women at all, often
much younger than one might think.
Even Victoria’s Secret models have been
known to start as young as 16, and many
God designed me, He sets my
worth and my value. I’m beautiful
because I’m made in His image:
of the girls you see on billboards and in
magazines are even younger,” says Alicia
Smith, a Toronto area mother of two and