May 21

Cadence Thomas (Sports Drinks: Physical Enhancers or Athletic Alcohol)

Sports Drinks: Physical Enhancers or Athletic Alcohol

Cadence Thomas

Sahar Al- Shoubaki

English 101 Composition 1 Section 041

November 20, 2017

Sports Drinks: Physical Enhancers or Athletic Alcohol

          I am sure we have all visited the drink aisle of our local grocery stores. We walk through the aisles, navigated by the signs above that read water, soda, juice, and sports drinks.  For decades, sports drink companies have been competing amongst each other to develop the ultimate product. A drink that hydrates, gives energy, and replenishes electrolytes. These companies more notably include Gatorade, Vitamin Water, Powerade, and most recently, Body Armor. These companies claim that their products are healthy and helpful to and for the human body in all assets, but there are those who argue against this. I believe these drinks do more good than harm. I also believe that they do what companies claim. Sports drinks are effective in terms of helping enhance athletes’ performances and are healthy for the human body when used correctly.

Let us take a step back to the year 1965. In 1965, The Unites States was at war with Vietnam, African Americans were given the right to vote, and Gatorade was invented. Gatorade was introduced to the public on September 9, 1965 (Gatorade 1). It was created by a group of scientists at the University of Florida located in Gainesville, Florida. It’s goal, to replenish electrolytes being sweated out by athletes thus restoring the athlete’s energy and bettering their performance.  Gatorade was the first drink of its kind and set the bar for all other companies and brands.

Many have asked the question, do sports drink actually enhance an athlete’s performance? I think this question can be answered with another: is there a difference in the performances between an athlete who consumes these drinks and one that does not? In either case, I believe the answer to be yes. There have been several studies and experiments conducted to find the answers to these questions. It has been proven that sports drinks rehydrate the body thus enhancing the athlete’s performance. According to the sports medical journal, hydration is imperative for optimal performance for all athletes. Athletes who develop a systematic method of ensuring they are consistently hydrated have better recovery and higher energy levels. When an athlete is adequately hydrated, their body is able to transport nutrients and oxygen to working muscles and aid muscle repair, remove lactic acid build up, eliminate nitrogenous waste and regulate body temperature. Losing as little as two percent of body weight through sweat can impair an athlete’s ability to perform due to a low blood volume and less than optimal utilization of nutrients and oxygen (SportMedBC). Hydration is key in terms of athletic performance. An athlete that is properly hydrated will almost always perform better than an athlete who is not. An argument can be made that sports drinks will dehydrate the athlete, but this is only if used incorrectly by the athlete. Sports drinks are only successful when used correctly. They should only be used if physical activity last for one hour or more and in combination with water.

Not only do sports drinks enhance performance by hydration, they also offer small energy boosts to the athlete, which can help result in a better performance. We can all recall our parents saying, “That’s enough candy, too much will make you hyper.” This is because candy possesses glucose, or sugar. Sports drinks also possess an exceptional amount of sugar. Once the drink is digested, this sugar begins circulating through the blood. The sugar is then transformed into energy, which is used by the athlete. Some may argue that the amount of sugar in sports drink is unhealthy however, once again if used correctly, the sugar poses no immediate threat to the health of the athlete (Kravitz 4).

Another question often asked, can sports drinks be harmful to the human body? Sugar is but one ingredient that leads people to believe that sports drinks are harmful. I think an effective way to answer this is to take a look at the main ingredients used and what exactly they do. They include water, citric acid, salt, potassium, vitamin A, vitamin B, and artificial dye. Water is used as the base of almost all drinks. Citric acid adds flavor to the drink. Salt is used in the drink to replace the amounts of salt be excreted through the athlete’s sweat. Vitamin A is a good way to include antioxidants, which help to keep the body strong, as well as defend cells against free radical damage (Jureviciene 5). Vitamin B is also used, but as an energy supplier in order to increase the body’s stamina. The artificial dye is used for color. All of the ingredients listed pose no threat to the human body unless consumed in mass quantities at a time (Anderson 45). It is true that overtime, the consumption of sports drink can lead to health issues like dehydration or kidney stones. However, this is one again only if used incorrectly. If athletes are using the drinks properly, under the right circumstances and with water, there should be no reason to fear these products.

When is come to companies such as Gatorade, Vitamin Water, Body Armor and Powerade, one question still remains. Which product is the best? Now that we have an idea of what exactly sports drinks do to help athletes, we can begin to take a look into which companies have the best products. Since all products have the same goal, to hydrate and replenish electrolytes, taking a look at the nutrition facts will help to distinguish the top product from the worst. When it comes to sports drinks, there are three main things to check for on the nutrition facts label; sugar, sodium, and carbohydrates.

Gatorade and Powerade both contain thirty-five grams of sugar per bottle, while Vitamin Water contain thirty-two grams and Body Armor contains seventeen. In terms of sodium, Gatorade once again has the highest amount with 275 milligrams per bottle, while Powerade contains 250 grams. Body Armor and Vitamin Water are much lower. Body Armor ranges from thirty to forty-five milligrams depending on the flavor while Vitamin Water posts a zero in the sodium category. Carbohydrates are the most important factor in an energy drink. They are what the body creates energy from. In a sports drink, carbs are often equal to the amount of sugar. This is because the source of the carbs comes from a mixture glucose and fructose, both sugars (SportMedBC). This means that Gatorade and Powerade will both contain thirty-five grams of carbohydrates, while Vitamin Water contains thirty-two grams and Body Armor contains about eighteen.

According to these three categories, Gatorade is the ultimate sports drink. While it does have the highest amount of sugar, it also has the highest amount of sodium and carbs, two things that are crucial for a sports drink to accomplish its purpose. The sodium in the drink replaces that sweated out by the athlete. The more exerted the athlete, the more they will sweat. The more the athlete sweats, the more sodium there is being excreted. This sodium must be replaced. As mentioned earlier, carbs are what gives the body energy. Second, we have Powerade, which like Gatorade is high in sugar, but also high in sodium and carbs. Body Armor comes in at third due to the fact that Vitamin Water contains absolutely zero sodium, which is key in enhancing an athlete’s performance.

Now as we walk down that drink aisle, we should be able to better recognize sports drinks and how they benefit us as athletes, as well as what to look for in a good product. Sports drinks are effective in terms of helping enhance athletes’ performances and are healthy for the human body when used correctly. If used correctly, there should never be any question of negative effects. These drinks rehydrate the body while simultaneously providing it with energy. Athletes across the globe have used sports drinks for years and have no plan on stopping, so long as these products continue to prove effective.


Works Cited

Anderson, Nina, and I. Gerald. Olarsch. Analyzing Sports Drink: What’s Right for You?                             Carbohydrate or Electrolyte Replacement? Text. Safe Goods/New Century Pub., 2000.

“Gatorade .” Gatorade History Comments, Gatorade, 1 Jan. 2012,` Accessed 25 Nov. 2017             

Jerry, Mayo, and Kravitz Len. “Sports & Energy Drinks: Answers for Fitness Professionals.”                   Sports & Energy Drinks, University of New Mexico, 20 June 2013. Web.                            

Jureviciene, Leva. “Top Sports Drink Ingredients .” Top Ingredients for Sports Drinks, 4 Nov.                 2011. Web.

“Sports Drinks and Athletic Performance.” Sports Drinks and Athletic Performance |                       

SportMedBC, SportMedBC, 30 Sep. 2014, Accessed 25 Nov. 2017. Web.

Time Magazine “What’s the Best Way to Rehydrate-Besides Water?” Time, Time, 26 May 2014,   

Zelman, Kathleen M. “Drink Up for Sports and Fitness.” WebMD, WebMD, 17 Apr. 2011. Web.               


May 21

Maggie Prutznal (Put it Down & Look Around)

Maggie Prutznal


Dr. Shelly

Section 301

Put It Down & Look Around

We often fear that “robots” and technology will one day take over the world, but the devices we use every day are turning us into robots and are our own worst enemy. Though we may not realize it, tech devices are slowly taking away our self-control and our lives.

It is no secret that, as college kids, we are compelled to tweet, snap, like, and text to stay in the loop. It is easy to think that we don’t spend that much time scrolling through Instagram or Tweeting our feelings, but a study done by Baylor University proves otherwise. Baylor’s study of college students found, “Women college students spend an average of 10 hours a day on their cellphones and men college students spend nearly eight…”

Clearly, our phones are our life, but having them glued to us is a bigger issue that we think. From the book, Irresistible: The Rise of Addictive Technology and the Business of Keeping Us Hooked by Adam Alter, the author focuses on tech addiction and the negative consequences that stem from it. In the chapter, “The Rise of Behavioral Addiction,” Alter explains that this type of addiction is becoming more and more prevalent in society.

According to Alter, “These [Technology] addictions make our lives less worthwhile, make us less effective at work and play, and diminish our interaction with other people.” Alter goes on to talk about how we can no longer think for ourselves, and we give up many of the things we used to enjoy like hobbies and socializing, as we fall victim to our devices.

With all of the distractions that technology provides us with, we end up losing sight of what really matters in life such as family, friends, or goals. We have become so numb that we even have trouble feeling empathy; without looking at someone in person, it is hard to put ourselves in their shoes. In fact, in Alter’s research, “One analysis of seventy-two studies found that empathy had declined among college students between 1979 and 2009.”

Phones force us to live life behind a screen, inhibiting us to really connect. They don’t allow us the privilege of meeting people in person, holding a real conversation, and developing skills to be empathetic, social creatures of society. We take on a different role on social media than in real life. The question is: is our online voice the one we want to portray?

Of course, technology allows us to connect to college students from different countries, cultures, and classes, but how does that help us in the long run? It’s great to learn about others and make new friends; however, what happens when we meet face to face and have nothing to discuss but that new Instagram post or Snapchat feature?

Yes, it is hard for college kids, or anyone for that matter, to unplug. Society makes us feel that the only way to be relevant is to have thousands of followers and likes. On the other hand, we need to be able to see that it’s not the random online “friends” who share a smile when we’re down, who make us laugh uncontrollably, or who high five us for a job well done.

It is simple; technology prevents us from living. We don’t have rich experiences that shape us. We don’t have the motivation to be adventurous. We don’t have the will to explore new worlds. We just have our phones.

It is obvious that technology is only getting more and more advanced. So, there really is no getting around it. We could try, however, to live more and text less. Let’s not keep our phones with us 24/7. Let’s set aside time to enjoy technology, not obsess over it. Let’s remember that there is a world out there that isn’t filtered.

Phones, T.V., laptops, and video games aren’t necessities in life, but they often make us feel necessary. They are a part of our lives, but we can’t give them the power to take away living life.

May 21

Alexis Hoffer (My Experience with Eating Disorders)

Alexis Hoffer

English Composition 101


My Experience with Eating Disorders

                In the words of Flatsound, congratulations, you’re cordially invited to a small list of things that I normally would hide. Let me just start out by saying that on top of all the messed up, undiagnosed issues going on in my head on pretty much a constant, daily basis, I have body dysmorphic disorder (BDD). This basically means that I see myself very differently than others because I obsessively hyper-focus on perceived flaws in my appearance that may or may not even be there. Now, like I said, this isn’t necessarily diagnosed by a registered physician or whatnot, but it doesn’t take a genius to figure these things out. If you aren’t getting any help from anyone and you’re determined enough to find out what’s wrong with you, it’s actually fairly easy to figure it out— or at least this one was. It’s funny how misunderstood BDD is, though— even amongst therapists in my experience.

When I first found out that there was a name for what I’d been dealing with for so long, I approached my aunt about it. Seeing as she has a major in psychology and works as a child therapist, I thought she’d be a good person to talk to about it. I brought it up to her and her immediate response was, “Don’t be silly, that is only a diagnosis for people who starve themselves or throw up and you’re not doing either, are you?” At the time, I hadn’t really considered what I’d been doing as “starving myself” so I answered honestly with a no and she changed the subject. But that’s not what BDD is.

BDD is about how one perceives themselves. An eating disorder is just something that can pop up because of it and an eating disorder isn’t just “starving yourself” (Anorexia Nervosa) or “throwing up” (Bulimia Nervosa) either. In fact, you could have the complete opposite of anorexia, which would be binge-eating and just eat compulsively. I guess I had a combination of binge-eating and anorexia at the beginning, but mostly anorexia. Wow that was really weird to type since I’ve never actually told anyone. I was never too bad about it— never noticeably, of course, so no one ever found out.

I have always had a problem with the way I look— or problems to be more specific. I’m sure you could’ve already guessed that, but because of that, I’ve spent a lot of time in front of mirrors, criticizing myself. It’s an impulse I can’t control. Any reflective surface I pass—a shop window, a trophy case, a glass door— I immediately turn my head and look into it as I walk by, looking at my reflection mirroring my own walk. It’s like clockwork, really. And as the seconds slip by, I stare hard into my reflection, looking for every unmistakable flaw in myself before I’m past it and I have to act like nothing happened. In those short few seconds as I pass the reflection, though, I think of the foulest things about myself and I try to think of something— anything—to fix those things. That’s how I ended up skipping meals in high school. When I was younger, I was always fairly thin. People used to marvel at how they could fit my wrist in the space between their pointer finger and their thumb. As I started to grow out of my high metabolism, though, I got increasingly more obsessed with the way I looked and the fact that I didn’t think I looked skinny enough or pretty enough. Mind you, when I say that I was growing out of my high metabolism and gaining more weight than I ever had before, I don’t mean that I was blowing up like a balloon or anything—I had just gone from about 76 pounds to 110 in middle school and since I was so delusional about the way I looked, I thought I looked horrible and ugly. I struggled with just that for a really long time and I couldn’t think of a way to lose weight fast enough for what I wanted. After all, food and I never really had any problems getting along before since I could basically eat whatever and never gain any weight and I also am a bit on the lazier side so I don’t really exercise although I know I really should. My only solution that I could come up with was to eat less and so I did.

I would get away with it at school more because there was no one there to supervise me and know I wasn’t eating much except for my friends, who never even had a clue anyhow. At first, it just started with me eating less and less for breakfast. In elementary school and the beginning of middle school, breakfast was always just like any other meal (like it should be since it’s the most important meal of the day) and it would consist of pancakes some days, eggs and bacon on others, and so on and so forth always with the usual glass of milk or orange juice. But as I started eating less and less, it became a Special K meal bar on the bus with a few sips of water. That breakfast routine was enough to satisfy me for a bit, but I started to notice that I wasn’t losing any weight. I was, instead, still gaining some and got up to 120. It was the normal amount of pounds that any girl should put on to maintain a healthy weight I suppose, but I thought it was the absolute worst. My solution? Eat even less.

I started to cut down on my lunches, too. Before, I usually ate either whatever the school served in the main line or packed a lunch, but I stopped doing either. Instead, I would go to the a la carte line and buy some yogurt for lunch and that would be it. Some days, I would refuse to eat anything at all and I just sat at the lunch table, sipping my water as I watched my friends eat their lunch. No one ever said anything, really. Sometimes one of them would ask why I didn’t get any lunch and I would just fib and say that I wasn’t feeling well. They always believed me because I have stomach problems and I get nauseous incredibly often so it would be understandable that I wouldn’t be in the mood to eat. Around my mom, I’d always eat a lot to put off suspicion and also because I would just be so hungry by then from not eating much for breakfast and little or nothing for lunch that I would just compulsively eat. Because of my binge-eating problem, I hadn’t really seen any change in my weight like I’d been hoping for, so I started to cut back on what I ate while I was home, too.

My parents are divorced and I live with my mom, but I used to have to visit my dad every other weekend and that’s when it probably was most apparent. My dad really didn’t care much about making sure my brother, sister, and I ate three times a day and there wasn’t much around the house except for food that’d been expired for years and my stepmom’s diet food that we weren’t allowed to eat. Since there wasn’t much around, my dad had grown accustomed to me complaining about being hungry a lot while I was there or eating a lot of any food that they got delivered, which was generally pizza or Chinese. And I mean I really complained about it. I can remember when I was really little that I was so hungry one time that I ate a bit of my chapstick to hold me over. A word of advice, don’t do that— it tastes awful. Anyway, I guess I had stopped complaining about it and when we did get food, I wouldn’t eat much or sometimes none of it at all. As unobservant as my father is, he still must’ve caught on. I can’t quite remember exactly how I found out— my mom probably told my brother who told me— but at one point, my mom had been on the phone to my dad and he told her that he thought I might be anorexic to which she flipped out. I remember being genuinely insulted at the time for such an accusation. I thought that he must have flipped his lid or something to assume I’d be doing something so absurd, but in reality he was kind of right. He never said anything about it to me himself, though, and he never brought it up to my mom again so I guess he must’ve dismissed the suggestion as much as my mom had and that was the end of that.

My problem with eating got to the point where, at school, the most I’d be consuming all day was a bottle of water and then I would go home and eat a meal bar and maybe something else small and that’d be it. It was physically draining. My depression already makes having motivation and energy difficult, but I was at a point where it was almost impossible to have any energy. I was always pale, but I saw myself getting paler and paler and with my fatigue came lightheadedness, dizziness, weakness, and a general bleak outlook on pretty much everything. I was so sickly and tired all the time that I was convinced something must be wrong with me. I thought that maybe I had anemia, a condition in which the blood doesn’t have enough healthy red blood cells and causes fatigue, skin pallor, shortness of breath, lightheadedness, dizziness, and a fast heartbeat, like my friend and that’s why I was so tired all the time. I took it as far as making my mom make an appointment with my doctor about it and get blood work done. As you can imagine, when the blood work came back, it showed I did not have anemia. It did, however, say I was on the borderline of having hypothyroidism, which explained why I couldn’t lose much weight even though I was barely eating anything. Hypothyroidism is a condition in which the thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough thyroid hormone and causes fatigue, mood swings, weight gain, and lethargy. In hindsight, that may have had something to do with my fatigue as well, but I was eating barely enough to offset the hypothyroidism. Yet, I didn’t think of that at the time.

Calorie counting and checking the scale became an everyday thing for me. If I ate anything, I would try to figure out how many calories it was and sometimes, I would get on the treadmill a while after and run for a bit to get rid of them. I think checking the scale made me feel the worst, though, because ours is broken so whatever number it gives you, you have to add on 7 more pounds. I would see a weight that I thought wouldn’t be too hard to get down to my goal when I stepped on the scale, but then I had to factor in the extra pounds and it made me feel really fat even though I knew rationally that I wasn’t. I also had never really liked having my picture taken growing up, but I always went through with it. As I was getting worse with my eating disorder, though, I couldn’t stand the way I looked so much that I would literally run away at the first sight of a camera. I absolutely despised cameras and people would think it was funny and try to mess with me by taking pictures of me when I wasn’t paying attention. I always figured it out though and I would flip out on them and scream at them to delete it. It was completely erratic behavior, really, and it got so ridiculous to the point that I’m not even in my yearbook and I paid like $80 for it.

I was so obsessed with trying to get my thighs to be as thin as my calves, my arms to be as thin as my wrists, and my stomach to be as flat as possible that, that was all I was thinking about. I would be walking down the hall to class, thinking about how fat I am and how tired and hungry I was when I should have been thinking about the test I would be taking in less than a minute. As you can imagine, my grades weren’t doing too great at the time. My mom was valedictorian when she went to school and my older brother was offered to be in the honor’s society every year because he got straight A’s, so it was kind of unacceptable in their eyes for me to be getting bad grades. I knew I had to buckle down and at least try to focus on school or I’d go home to yet another lecture about how bad I was doing at literally everything.

No one helped me. No one told me I needed to start eating like most people who suffer from eating disorders. I had to do it all on my own. I alone recognized my problem and I realized that it was leading to more and more problems. I didn’t have a support system saying that it will all get better or something. I just had myself and everyone else was too oblivious and ignorant to even see that I had a problem or to worry about me getting better. I forced myself to eat more on days that I knew I’d need the energy and on days that I would be testing or making a very sad excuse for a presentation. At first, it made me sick all the time because I had been so used to eating next to nothing in a day and all of a sudden I was forcing myself to eat three times a day. Towards the end of senior year and during the summer, I finally started eating somewhat normally again. Unfortunately, I relapsed quite a bit during this first semester of college. I’m trying to do better, though. Even though pretty much every time I eat, there’s a little voice in the back of my head telling me how disgusting I am and how gross it is that I’m just consuming so many calories without a care, I continue to eat— usually. Some days, it’s harder than others and I’ll just put down whatever I’m eating and not finish it, or I won’t eat anything afterwards. I had to do a project in one of my classes where I recorded everything I ate in a day and how much of it and then turned it in. I ended up losing points because my professor didn’t think I finished it because I only listed two “snacks” and a scoop of ice cream. I ate ice cream. That’s a lot for me and I didn’t want to eat too many calories and overdo it. After all, I just started trying to recover from this not too long ago and it’s a lot better than I had been doing before. Still, no one I know knows about this, so it’s not really her fault for thinking that. My family doesn’t know. My friends don’t know. Nobody knows— except for you now, I suppose.

In the United States, there are 200,000 new cases of eating disorders per year. That’s a lot of people who have problems with eating. Approximately 24 million people in the U.S. struggle with an eating disorder and almost 50% of them also meet the criteria for depression like me. It affects people aged 14-60 the most and usually it’s women more so than men who develop it, although men do make up 10-15% of those with a problem. Eating disorders are characterized as a mental illness, and, while it’s not genetic, it can be caused by psychological issues like coping skills, control issues, trauma, family trouble, or social issues, but there are many causes for each type. Many people probably think that the disorder is harmless, but eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness. The mortality rate of anorexia is even 12 times higher than any other cause of death for women ages 15 to 24 and more than 50% of teen girls and nearly 33% of teen boys admit to using unhealthy methods to control their weight including smoking cigarettes, skipping meals, fasting, vomiting, or taking laxatives. Personally, I started smoking cigarettes, skipping meals, and fasting, but I never did the other two. I would get the cigarettes off my brother for a while during high school, but then he stopped giving me them to me because he didn’t want me to get addicted, and he was concerned about my health, so I got a few packs off of a kid at school.

I don’t think I was too bad about it because I was never the poster girl for anorexia—someone severely emaciated like the media and other public discussions about eating disorders focus solely on. Many individuals with anorexia may not ever appear so drastically underweight. And while someone can make the choice to pursue recovery like me, the act of recovery itself is a lot of hard work and involves more than simply deciding to not act on symptoms and “just eat” unlike a lot of people think. The best thing to do is to just take it one step at a time like I’m trying to do.

May 21

Remington Reichard (A Look Inside)

Remington Reichard

English 101

Professor Slater

November 4, 2017

A Look Inside

No one person is immune to depression. It pays no attention to race, age, or sexuality, it just happens. As a victim of this disease and also a psychology major, I believe these topics are important to discuss. According to the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders, approximately eight million people in the U.S. alone suffer from these related diseases. Eating disorder statistics provided by the National Eating Disorder Association are even higher, indicating that ten million American women suffer from eating disorders.

Unrealistic perfectionism concerning body image and all or nothing approaches remain to be a very common habit in first world consumer cultures. Although the exact cause of eating disorders remains unknown, it is generally believed that a combination of biological, psychological, and also environmental abnormalities contribute to the development of these illnesses. What I want to explore is whether eating disorders and depression fall hand in hand. Why do people choose these lifestyles? What made me fall into these habits? Why is it such a popular diagnosis? And, how can we decrease the number of those affected by it?

Not only does this video,  go into depth concerning these topics, it also gives an actual insight to real people’s lives as well. Young girls who told their stories throughout the video Eating Disorders: Mind, Body, and Society shared similar thoughts, as do many other sources. Julie Harrower states in the video that, “Eating disorders are an atypical type of eating pattern which can have quite serious effects both psychologically and physiologically and can be fatal” (Online classroom Ltd. 2001). In addition to this, Ira Saker, an eating disorders specialist at Langone Medical Center at New York University states, “Depression may lead to eating disorders, but there’s also evidence that eating disorders can result in depression.” In order to determine whether depression is an underlying factor for eating disorders, doctors will often spit out a handful of questions concerning multiple topics. Topics such as feelings of sadness, irritability or anger, loss of appetite, and loss of sleep are often discussed in hopes to discover a diagnosis. To my concern, it is almost essential to be treated for these disorders. Typically, disorders as such begin to develop during adolescent years or young adulthood.

It was during early eighth grade when I realized I was beginning to change my eating habits. For me, everything happened so fast. Depression is often a demon among itself, consistently persuading you how unhungry you are, how miserable your life is, and reminds you of pretty much any negative thing you could think of. I could go from being the happiest girl you could ever meet, to one of the saddest. After a while, I didn’t take notice of the symptoms anymore… it became such a regular thing. For years, I kept this problem to myself. Of course, people would question why I had been thinning out, or why I hadn’t been eating, but I could never truly answer those questions. Honestly, I wasn’t even sure I knew how to approach my disorder, let alone address to others what I had been going through. I think that was the hardest obstacle I had to face. Above all, before any healing process begins, you must first learn to love yourself. At this point in my life, I can honestly say I never thought I would be where I am today. Throughout my senior year of high school, a lot of unimaginable stuff happened. It wasn’t until that year when I learned how to cope with who I was and who I had been becoming. I had just gotten out of a toxic relationship of five years, lost a family friend to suicide, lost my great grandmother due to old age, and lost some close friends as well. I did not realize how much that was going to set me back. I had fallen into depression due to my loss of appetite, hardly eating a single meal. One morning, I approached my mom with the inner pain I had been dealing with, expressing the sense of torture I was putting my body through, both physically and mentally. Because of this, for the first time, I reached out for help.

My experience wasn’t quite what I had expected. In fact, it was the opposite. A Wednesday morning before school, I found myself in a state of mind which insisted I stay in bed. I texted my mom, “I don’t feel good, going in late,” but to my surprise, she had the day off. As I walked downstairs there were so many things running through my mind. After contemplating what I would say, I walked outside, asked her to write me a note for school, and while doing so turned around, no longer facing her. My mom looked at me, her eyes full of questions, wondering what was wrong. She claimed I had been quiet lately and said I hardly even act like myself anymore. At that moment, the words I had been dying to spill for months came flooding out of my mouth, “I think I’m depressed.” Before this, I never pictured having to discuss something so personal with my mom. She was my best friend, but this was different. This was serious. Part of the reason I held off for so long was because telling others made me feel weak. But that day, I felt a sense of pain. I had just told my mom what had been hurting me for so long, answering her question as to why I had been acting so indifferent, and yet, never once did she offer me any sort of help. Now, I wish I never had.

I was visiting the doctor for my yearly checkup when she asked if I, for any reason, would want to take a test concerning depression. Caught off guard, I instantly shot up off the table, spitting out the word, “No!” Moments later, my mom spoke up and explained what she thought had been going on. After talking with my doctor about all I had been facing, she had nothing to say to me. Not one word. As I sat there in tears, I wondered why my mom had put me in this position. Why didn’t she talk to me about it first? Why did she go behind my back? We talked about everything, we were like two peas in a pod, why didn’t she say anything? We left the office that day and I never looked back. I had felt completely alone. Thinking no one was there for me, I realized I needed to find a way to approach the situation myself, and I did. I began by taking little steps, setting an alarm with a positive message attached, leaving sticky notes around the house with a positive quote written on it, eating small snacks throughout the day to help regain appetite, waking up earlier so I would attend school, and lastly, getting rid of all the negative people or surroundings in my life. The thing is, as a victim, you think you’re alone but, in reality, you’re not.

For teenagers, there are so many resources available, but as you get older, that changes. Hotlines, government funded programs, resorts, therapies, at home methods, and sometimes even institutions are open 24 hours for patients seeking help. Due to the complication of adults finding an available treatment, I found that the most popular choice for people suffering from this disease is to enlist themselves into an eating disorders program. At the University of North Carolina, Cynthia Bulik, the director, stated that, “Eating disorders are typically ascribed to the young: in particular, female teenagers. But experts say that portrayal is inaccurate. Adults develop eating disorders too, some much later in life. Because of the lingering stereotypes about who gets sick, they can face lower rates of diagnosis, unique medical complications and limited treatment options, as well as the stigma that comes with having a disease associated with teens.” Buliks program launched in early 2003. Originally, she had expected to see primarily adolescents, but that was not the case. “We are seeing both women and men in midlife and beyond who are presenting for treatment,” said Bulik, including how she had done research indicating that 13 percent of women 50 and older often exhibit symptoms of eating disorders. From a medical perspective, “that’s a serious concern.” After doing a significant amount of research, psychologists found that “adults with eating disorders typically fall into three categories: those who have struggled with disordered eating since adolescence, but don’t develop a full-blown eating disorder until later in adulthood, those who may have successfully been treated for an eating disorder as a kid but relapse as an adult, and those who develop eating issues for the first time as an older person,” stated West Hartford psychologist, Margo Maine. For this reason, and many others, I believe it’s important for those affected by these diseases to understand that people care. They will listen to you.

People often express that our society’s expectations are constantly destroying the individual perspective. Years ago, during the preindustrial societies, thickness on a woman meant she consisted of high standards and a sense of attractiveness, not “fat, overweight, or considered outside the social norm.”  In fact, it was not until recent years when females began altering how others would perceive them. “It’s very different today. Thin is in, and women and girls are bombarded with images of the glamorously starving,” states an anonymous speaker in Eating Disorders: Mind, Body, and Society. While young girls are thin, they often fall to the pressure of those around them. One girl said, “I was pressured to be thin because of all the magazines and stuff. I think that creates a lot of low self-esteem for people. If you’re not a size zero, then people think you have to go on a diet.” But this is not the only factor. I have watched the full length of this video at least four times now, and each time the words of these young girls speaks louder volumes. Many underlying factors have yet to be discovered, both genetically and psychologically. Saker states, “They become obsessed with perfectionism. That perfectionism begins to focus on what they eat. But underlying it is depression and anxiety. Often, these patients have suffered from a lot of emotional trauma.”

Jasmine, an adult woman now, but who suffered for many years, shares her story today. Proudly, as she should be, she explains all the emotions and actions she took to regain self-confidence. As a young girl, she was naturally thin due to sports and biological features. “Never having been a person who works extremely well under pressure, I didn’t think that I measured up to my peers and I didn’t believe I deserved to be in the school. I was constantly comparing my abilities, my grades, and my body to those of other people, judging myself unworthy, and feeling depressed. I had difficulty expressing those feelings and was sinking deeper and deeper into depression.” Jasmine had been exposed to a genetic disposition to developing an eating disorder. Aware of both her mother and grandmother suffering from related diseases, she knew the experience she was about to endure. Ironically enough, Jasmine said “the one thing that had given me a sense of control (my eating disorder) became the very thing that spiraled out of my control.” Several years after graduating high school, she stopped carrying the burden alone and reached out for professional help. She took a screening at the university she had been attending at the time, which then began her many years of treatment. She entered therapy where they told her if she did not tell her parents, she would involuntarily be committed to a hospital. “I felt betrayed and backed into a corner, but the scare tactic worked. Feeling exposed, ashamed and terrified, I told my mother.” Jasmine’s parents fought with their insurance company long and hard, trying to get treatment costs covered in order for their daughter to receive the treatment necessary to cure her illness, or at least attempt to. In the United States, said treatments can range from $500 to $2,800 per day. Shortly after informing the insurance company that their daughter was going to kill herself, they approved only two days in a treatment facility, two days.

Unfortunately, only about 1 in 10 people with eating disorders receive treatment. Eating disorder statistics show that about eighty percent of girls and women who access care do not receive the intensity of treatment needed to stay in recovery, they are usually sent home weeks before the recommended stay is fulfilled. “During my third year in graduate school, I began to have several setbacks. I once again became focused on my weight and body, and started struggling with feelings of depression.” Realizing she would soon be faced with similar obstacles from before, again, Jasmine reentered herself into another eating disorder facility. She admits, if it weren’t for the resources Jasmine’s family and doctors made available to her, who knows where she would be today. With the help of a good therapist, four years later she stated, “In the end, I was very fortunate that my parents were able to find the money for me to remain at the treatment facility for as long as necessary. Down the road, I stayed almost three months, during which time I gathered coping tools and gained a better understanding of myself.” Today, Jasmine is a doctor of psychology, a wife, a mother, and a survivor of both eating disorders and depression. “I consider myself 100 percent recovered and cannot imagine ever going back to my eating disorder. I want to be a role-model for my daughter and I want to break the cycle of eating disorders in my family. I accept the challenges life brings and allow myself to feel everything I should. I am in a place I never thought I would be, and I would not change it for the world.”

Ten to fifteen percent of all Americans suffer from some sort of serious eating disorder. Without treatment, it is said that up to twenty percent of people with serious eating disorders die. Because of this, it’s time we all take a step in the direction of recovery! According to Carolyn Costin, founder of Monte Nido, a residential treatment facility in California, says that recovery is, “When you can accept your natural body size and shape and no longer have a self-destructive or unnatural relationship with food or exercise. When food and weight take a proper perspective in your life and what you weigh is not more important than who you are; in fact, all numbers are of little or no importance at all. When you will not compromise your health or betray your soul to look a certain way, wear a certain size, or reach a certain number on a scale. When you do not use eating disorder behaviors to deal with, distract from, or cope with other problems.” Eating disorders take up a significant portion of your time. From the second you wake up until the moment you go to sleep, you are constantly putting all your time and energy into your behaviors. But, when your eating disorder is no longer present, you feel free, and it allows for so many blessings to enter your life. After experiencing multiple moments of being symptom-free, I know how incredible life could be. I am proof.


Works Cited

Peter, Jaret. “Eating disorders and depression.” WebMD. 2015.

Online Classroom Ltd., 2001.