I. Anorexia nervosa, one of a number of eating disorders, is a disorder of self-starvation.
a. Simply put, a person who is anorexic refuses to eat normal amounts of food.
b. An article in Maclean’s states that there are four characteristics of all anorexics:
i. refusal to maintain normal body weight,
ii. loss of more than 15 percent of original body weight,
iii. A distorted image of one’s own body,
iv. an intense fear of becoming fat.
c. The refusal of anorexics to eat has many serious physical consequences.
d. Hair and skin become dry and brittle, and a fine growth of hair may cover the entire body in an attempt to compensate for a lower body temperature.
e. As the anorexia progresses, lack of calcium causes bones to become brittle and break easily. According to an article in Sports Illustrated, “The X-rays of a young person who has been anorexic for five to six years and those of a 70-year-old are almost identical.”
f. Lack of nutrition can also cause brain damage, blackouts, and a decreased pulse rate.
i. In the most severe cases, anorexia can prove fatal.
II. In Julie’s case, she suffered from many of the symptoms of anorexia.
a. I saw her 5-foot-7-inch frame drop to 86 pounds. She became weak and pale.
b. Even in the middle of the summer, she was cold all the time.
c. I just wanted to say to her, “Julie, please, can’t you see what you’re doing to yourself!” But, like most anorexics, she just couldn’t see.
d. What causes people like Julie to become anorexic? Scientists have identified three main causes of anorexia.
III. An article in Newsweek attributes the rise in cases of anorexia to the pressure in our society to be thin.
a. The media constantly bombards us with images of thin people as ideals.
i. Fat-free products and diet aids have become multimillion-dollar industries.
b. These images and these industries project the idea that being anything but slender is something to be feared and shunned.
IV. The second...