twitter facebook stumble upon rss

Teen Documents Her Starvation on Video

sign up for the momlogic newsletter Tweet This

Karen is gripped with anxiety as she stares at her plate of roasted turkey drizzled in gravy, cinnamon-flavored yams and cranberry sauce. The holiday dish smells delicious, but she can't bring herself to enjoy it. "Karen" (not her real name) has already decided she'll probably vomit after dinner, and she's not alone. In a survey conducted by the CDC's National Center for Health Studies, over 19% of females between the ages of 12 and 15 are trying to lose weight.

Parents, if you think your child struggles with food, ask yourself these questions:
  • Is your child constantly on a diet?
  • Does your child only restrict herself to certain types of food?
  • Does your child disappear into the bathroom after meals?
  • Do you smell vomit on her breath, in her hair, or in the restroom?
  • Does your child have calluses on her knuckles from sticking her finger down
    her throat?
  • Does your child have broken blood vessels in her eyes?
  • Does your child have "chipmunk cheeks" from vomiting repeatedly?

For people who struggle with body image, Thanksgiving is a holiday of obsession and resentment. "Sometimes I can block out the thought of what I'm eating so I can eat it," says the 15-year-old high school freshman. "But holidays are harder to deal with for people who struggle with food because there's so much food in front of them."

Three weeks ago, Karen began documenting her frustrations with food on YouTube. Her video diary is an honest look at her war with weight. Karen recalls her battle beginning as early as 10 years old. "I remember in fourth grade thinking that I had to lose weight," she says. Obsessed with counting calories, the 5'4" teen admits to restricting her diet to 600 calories per day. Karen, who started out at 110 lbs, now weighs only 103 lbs. Her goal is to reach 98 lbs., which she considers the perfect weight.

Karen came up with the idea to turn the camera on herself after watching other girls' weight loss videos. "I was like, 'Wow.' In the beginning, they looked chubby, but in the end, they were thin. They did it." YouTube isn't the only website young teens are divulging their dieting secrets. Girls are also joining Facebook groups like "Ana's Boot Camp," lured by promises of radical weight loss without having to exercise, encouraging its members to dramatically decrease their daily caloric intake.

What appeared to be a healthy proposition is actually a dangerous diet.

Click to view three of Karen's videos below.

While Karen may not believe she has a problem, Dr. Lisa Boesky, clinical psychologist and author of "When to Worry: How to Tell If Your Teen Needs Help," finds Karen's behavior disturbing. According to Dr. Boesky, girls with eating issues often take pride in their weight loss and self-control. "They don't see how damaging it is," says Dr. Boesky. "The more weight she loses, the more proud she is of herself." Karen's willingness to post her weight loss videos on the web also worries Dr. Boesky. "The dieting and weight will take on a life of its own because she has an audience she needs to please. So, the pressure is even greater. She'll be getting a lot of attention, which will only feed her obsession."

Although she opens up on the Internet, Karen is hiding her eating disorder from her family. "I haven't talked to my mom about my eating issues," says Karen. "I don't think it's that bad. I eat enough." Breakfast is usually oatmeal or an English muffin while lunch consists of a granola bar, Fruit Roll-up and an apple. Her mom makes her dinner but, "If it's something that I don't want to eat or I didn't plan on eating and it doesn't seem healthy, I feel like I should throw it up," Karen says.

Another issue is Karen's perception of her mother's diet. "I eat as much as my mom eats. We're not big eaters," says Karen. "We're people who eat to live, not live to eat."

According to Dr. Boesky, "Moms have to watch what they say and how they're modeling normal healthy eating. Daughters pick up on mom's views of diets, weight and eating very early on." The key, Dr. Boesky believes, is teaching children to eat in moderation. "The goal is not to restrict or overindulge, a struggle for most people," says Dr. Boesky.

Dr. Boesky suggests Karen plan ahead by creating a strategy to "eat healthily and joyfully."

She offers the following tips to ease holiday cravings:

1. Try to keep the focus off food. The holidays are about celebration and socialization. It
doesn't have to take over.

2. Don't go to Thanksgiving starving. If you have a tendency to binge around large
quantities of food, you should eat a little beforehand. If you do overeat (which is easy
to do over the holidays), it's important not to beat yourself up.

For Karen, Thanksgiving is just another day of stepping on the scale. "I weigh myself once in the morning, once when I get home and once before I got to bed," says Karen. "When I get to my weight goal, hopefully I'll be happy with it ... and I'll think I look great."

Momlogic strongly supports COPPA and is committed to protecting Karen's privacy.

Related Galleries
90210 Thin ActressesDangerously Thin

next: Thanksgiving Guilt Trip, No Passport Required
65 comments so far | Post a comment now
tennessee communities March 30, 2011, 10:41 PM


book of ra March 31, 2011, 3:11 PM

Hi, Neat post. There’s a problem with your site in internet explorer, might check this… IE nonetheless is the marketplace leader and a big component to folks will pass over your excellent writing because of this problem.

wpolscemamymocneseo March 31, 2011, 6:06 PM

This is really interesting, You’re a very skilled blogger. I have joined your rss feed and look forward to seeking more of your fantastic post. Also, I’ve shared your site in my social networks!

remote repair services March 31, 2011, 6:17 PM

Nice weblog right here! Also your web site loads up very fast! What web host are you using? Can I am getting your affiliate link for your host? I want my site loaded up as quickly as yours lol

it support March 31, 2011, 6:54 PM

Excellent post. I used to be checking continuously this weblog and I’m inspired! Extremely helpful info particularly the last section :) I maintain such info much. I used to be seeking this particular information for a long time. Thanks and best of luck.

program tv April 1, 2011, 7:28 AM

I loved as much as you will receive carried out right here. The sketch is attractive, your authored material stylish. nonetheless, you command get bought an edginess over that you wish be delivering the following. unwell unquestionably come further formerly again since exactly the same nearly a lot often inside case you shield this increase.

small garden tractors April 1, 2011, 2:07 PM

Great – I should certainly pronounce, impressed with your web site. I had no trouble navigating through all tabs as well as related information ended up being truly easy to do to access. I recently found what I hoped for before you know it in the least. Quite unusual. Is likely to appreciate it for those who add forums or something, website theme . a tones way for your customer to communicate. Excellent task..

hemorrhoids April 1, 2011, 5:46 PM

Thanks for the advice. Will put it to work. Tom

rankpay review April 1, 2011, 8:16 PM


Solarpowerforhome April 1, 2011, 10:11 PM

Very good post. I just came across your site and wanted to say that we have really enjoyed reading your site posts. Any way I’ll be registering to your feed and that i we do hope you publish again in the near future

wpolscemamymocneseo April 2, 2011, 5:23 AM

Hello, i think that i saw you visited my weblog so i came to “return the favor”.I’m attempting to find things to enhance my site!I suppose its ok to use some of your ideas!!

remote computer repair April 2, 2011, 7:34 AM

Hello There. I found your weblog the use of msn. That is a very neatly written article. I will be sure to bookmark it and come back to learn more of your helpful info. Thanks for the post. I’ll definitely comeback.

Luxury Jet Charter April 2, 2011, 10:13 AM

This really answered my problem, thank you!

sara mulvanny random house April 2, 2011, 12:35 PM

hey there and thank you on your information – I’ve definitely picked up something new from right here. I did then again expertise some technical issues the use of this site, as I experienced to reload the web site lots of instances previous to I could get it to load properly. I were brooding about if your hosting is OK? Not that I’m complaining, however sluggish loading circumstances occasions will sometimes affect your placement in google and can injury your high-quality ranking if advertising and with Adwords. Well I am adding this RSS to my e-mail and could look out for much extra of your respective fascinating content. Ensure that you update this again very soon..

Homes For Sale In Brentwood CA April 2, 2011, 3:17 PM

Thanks for the information, I rarely find what I’m looking for… finally an exception!

Albany NY Real Estate Agents April 2, 2011, 3:46 PM

I don’t always agree with everything you say, however you always get me thinking! Instead of arguing with you this time, I’ll just say, “thanks for thinking”!

Murrieta Remodeling Contractors April 2, 2011, 4:26 PM

I don’t always agree with everything you say, however you always get me thinking! Instead of arguing with you this time, I’ll just say, “thanks for thinking”!

Gaithersburg Real Estate Agents April 2, 2011, 5:01 PM

I don’t always agree with everything you say, however you always get me thinking! Instead of arguing with you this time, I’ll just say, “thanks for thinking”!

Solarpowerforhome April 2, 2011, 6:10 PM

Thankyou a whole lot for putting up this!

Houston Remodeling Contractors April 2, 2011, 9:37 PM

I don’t always agree with everything you say, however you always get me thinking! Instead of arguing with you this time, I’ll just say, “thanks for thinking”!

Back to top >>