The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

Junior G Wade Taylor IV (4) covers his face after a missed point during Texas A&Ms game against Arkansas on Feb. 20, 2024 at Reed Arena. (Jaime Rowe/The Battalion)
When it rains, it pours
February 24, 2024
Ali Camarillo (2) waiting to see if he got the out during Texas A&Ms game against UIW on Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2024 at Olsen Field. (Hannah Harrison/The Battalion)
Four for four
February 20, 2024
Dr. Weston Porter (top left) and researchers from the breast cancer lab. (Photo courtesy of Dr. Weston Porter)
New A&M research initiative provides cutting-edge cancer treatments
J.M. Wise, News Reporter • April 8, 2024

It has been 20 months since Michelle Pozzi, Ph.D, of Texas A&M’s Biochemistry and Biophysics department was diagnosed with cancer. However,...

Light Middleweight boxers Francis Cristal and Frank Chiu throw crosses during Farmers Fight Night on Thursday, April 4th, 2024, at Reed Arena.
‘One day there’s going to be a ring in the middle of Kyle Field’
Zoe May, Editor in Chief • April 11, 2024

“Throw the 1, follow with the 2!” “Keep your hands up!” “Tie him up!” It was the sixth fight of the night. The crowd was either...

Students, residents commemorates Eid Al-Fitr
Lasan Ukwatta Liyanage, Life & Arts Writer • April 11, 2024

This year's Eid Al-Fitr celebration, hosted by Texas A&M’s Muslim Student Association, or MSA, drew over 1,500 attendees on Wednesday,...

Student housing located right outside off campus boundaries on George Bush Drive. 
Guest Commentary: An open letter to City Hall
Ben Crockett, Guest Contributor • April 11, 2024

City Council, As representatives of the Texas Aggie Classes of 2024, 2025, 2026 and 2027, we write to you today to urge a reconsideration...

Distorted Realities

After the death of a close friend, a student who prefers to be known as Jane said she didn’t eat for a month and a half and survived only by drinking orange juice. Jane said she used her eating disorder as a comfort from the outside world.
“Even though the reasons I starved myself and indulged myself were to gain some control of the world and people in my life for just a moment,” she said, “I ended up losing control over my body and my perception of life.”
Eating Disorders Awareness Week, today through Feb. 28, was designed to educate people at Texas A&M Universityabout the dangers of eating disorders such as anorexia, bulimia and binge-eating.
“Eating should not be a struggle, or something you have to think about every time you sit down to a meal,” said Rhonda Rahn, a health educator at the A.P. Beutal Health Center.
Rahn said a person with an eating disorder does not maintain a healthy diet and is obsessed with cutting certain foods from their diet.
People can develop eating disorders as young as 6 years old to as old as 92 years old, though most people develop the disorders early in high school. An eating disorder is a learned behavior, usually picked up from family members or close friends, Rahn said.
Leigh Henke, a junior community health major and health center student worker, said she knows from experience how people are influenced by their peers and relatives.
“I had an 8-year-old family friend who would only eat vegetables for fear of getting fat,” she said. “She had a strong influence from a teenage sister who was a yo-yo dieter.”
Henke said she tries to be a good role model by eating what she enjoys. She said that when she goes to a restaurant and a friend complains about the fried chicken being too fatty, she will order the fried chicken to show that you can be healthy while still occasionally indulging.
After dealing with her friend’s death, Jane gradually overcame her eating disorder.
“Now, I can be content alone and comfortable with myself, despite a few extra pounds from lack of exercise,” she said. “I try really hard not to maintain any sort of relationship with my food and use it to keep healthy.”
Henke said many underlying issues, other than an intense fear of becoming overweight, cause eating disorders. Perfectionists and people exposed to traumatic situations such as death or divorce are also at a high risk for developing disorders.
According to the Student Counseling Services, potential issues include a need for control, a distorted body image, a set of rigid physical standards and an insecurity with oneself and others.
“Every time something bad happened to me that I couldn’t change,” Jane said, “I would build a wall of protection using food and weight control.”
According to the SCS, some short-term effects of not eating properly include dizziness, disrupted sleep patterns, weight loss and hair loss.
Long-term effects on the body caused by anorexia and bulimia are severe weight loss, malnutrition, a weakened immune system, a loss of muscle mass and strength and even death.
Jane said her anorexia made her so weak and lifeless that she couldn’t hold herself up straight.
“In all, I have loved and lost myself for many reasons, all very dramatic and tragic,” Jane said. “But, none (were) worth losing my health, over 30 pounds, one third of my hair, and any sort of a normal metabolism and respect for myself.”
Recovery time varies, but usually takes three years, Rahn said, and relapse is extremely common.
Jane said she doesn’t know if she won’t starve herself again, but each relapse gets less severe and doesn’t last as long as the previous one. She said starving herself never accomplished anything. Knowing this, she said, gives her courage to face her fears instead of masking them in an eating disorder.
Rahn said many students come to her who want to know how they can help their friends or roommates. She said it is most important for people to approach their friends with a caring attitude about health instead of scrutinizing them about not eating.
“It is extremely difficult to talk to a roommate,” Rhan said, “but it is imperative that you leave food out of the discussion.”
To help someone with an eating disorder, the SCS advises that friends avoid calling the person with the eating disorder crazy, ignoring them or commenting on their weight. Friends should listen with understanding, should be supportive, and should give them hope that with professional help, they can overcome the disorder.
According to the SCS, those wanting to help themselves should first admit that they have a disorder, and then tell someone they trust.
The SCS will host activities throughout the week that promote eating disorder awareness.

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