|Eating Disorders: Fun, Food, and Fitness
With all this talk about dangerous eating disorders, it's important to remember that eating and exercise don't have to be such downers. They can be a fun part of all of our lives, and the sooner you develop a positive, balanced attitude towards them, the more likely it is that you'll feel good about your body...now and for years to come.
Eat For The Right Reasons
Food nourishes the body and spirit. Think about how much you look forward to your favorite yummy dish, or the great memories attached to certain meals. But when food becomes a replacement for something, like love or friendship, or if we see it as an enemy that's keeping us from looking the way we want to, that's when problems start. Here's a good first step to developing a healthy relationship with food: if you automatically reach for your favorite snack every time you feel depressed, angry, or stressed out, think about other ways to make yourself feel better. You could take a walk, write in your journal, call up a friend -- or just punch your pillow as hard as you can.
Exercise builds muscles and confidence. The trouble starts when you're eating and exercising not to feel good, but to look a certain way or reach a number on the scale. That takes all the fun out of it, plus it can lead to some pretty serious physical and emotional problems. Whether you're a born athlete or a total klutz, there's an activity out there for you (you may just have to experiment to find it). Find something -- a team sport, a solo sport, or just riding your bike every Sunday -- that you enjoy doing, and that makes you feel strong and ALIVE!
Talk To An Adult
If you need help finding a balanced, healthy approach to eating and exercise, the best thing you can do is talk to your doctor or school nurse about it. There are also nutritionists who specialize in developing healthy meal plans for young people.
Think you really need to lose weight? Instead of trying to shed pounds on your own, ask a pro. He or she can talk to you about how you're feeling and give you some safe options.
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