The Fountain of Youth: Fruits and Veggies Q: Chuck, I'm skeptical that eating well can really prolong our lives significantly. My grandfather had fried eggs (cooked in bacon grease) just about every morning for breakfast until the day he passed at 91. I'm not espousing a diet of Twinkies, …Read more. Chicken Soup for the Soul Q: Chuck, I love the Chuck Norris "facts" all over the Internet. One of my favorites is: "Chuck Norris' tears can cure cancer. It's too bad he never cries!" That's hilarious, but it's also very personally helpful to me. Sir, I'm actually being …Read more. More Powerful Than Good Health Q: Chuck, I know good health is one of the greatest things we can possess in this life. But eventually, we all break down, and I just feel that as important as good health is, there are things that matter even more, such as the legacy we leave or …Read more. Natural Remedies for Depression Q: Chuck, I've been in a slump for weeks. I am generally pretty optimistic but am finding it difficult to pull up from my depression lately. I'm not against antidepressants, but I'd just like to try a few natural remedies before I go there. Any …Read more.more articles
No 'Weigh' To Live (Part 1 of 2)
Q: Chuck, I'm a senior in college, and my major is nutrition. Lately, I've watched an alarming trend of males starving themselves in order to obtain the perfectly ripped body. It seems as if what used to be an obsession for women has become a huge problem with men, too. Agree? — "Some Things Are Worth the Weight" in Nebraska
A: According to the National Eating Disorders Association, an alarming 1 million males ages 12 to 25 are suffering from eating disorders, such as anorexia and bulimia.
These diseases, which normally are associated with women, are genuinely indiscriminate. They are equal-opportunity disorders. Girls' obsession with weight and calories is now guys' preoccupation with fat indexes and muscle mass.
"NBC Nightly News" recently highlighted a story of a 22-year-old man who died after being secretly obsessed with diet and exercise. He was a star athlete and a straight-A student.
"He didn't want to be skinny," his mother told NBC. It all started because "he wanted a six-pack; he wanted rock-hard abs; he wanted muscles."
He died doing his nightly routine of 1,000 situps.
Dr. James Hudson, a Harvard psychiatry professor who has been researching and treating eating disorders for more than a quarter-century, told NBC: "It appears that the prevalence of the disorder is increasing among boys. It may be that boys are simply more comfortable coming forward now than in the past."
In 2007, Hudson led a large study on eating disorders in the United States. The study discovered that 1 in 4 people suffering from bulimia or anorexia are male, which flies in the face of previous estimates that purported that males constitute only 10 percent of those with eating disorders.
Experts say that it takes certain personalities or mentalities to take diet and exercise to an obsessive extreme but that our culture also may be breeding them. Though the origins of eating disorders can be complex, Dr. James Lock, a psychiatrist at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital, told NBC that sometimes driven-ness can lead to despair. Obsessive perfectionism can lead to compulsively cutting one's diet.
Lock said: "It's very unusual for someone to come into my office for an assessment of anorexia if they do not have straight A's. And this is true for boys, and this is true for girls. And in sports, these are great athletes, usually, who drive themselves to the next level."
That isn't to say that being driven is negative, only that it is a common trait among those battling eating disorders. Lock clarified that enhancing athletic performance and being in optimal health for competition should not be confused with anorexia.
Of course, it isn't helping that our culture is bombarding young minds with messages everywhere that if their looks can't equal the airbrushed cover images of many magazines, movies and media stories, they're not worthy of being loved, liked or even noticed.
Moreover, in order to obtain their ideal look in record time, young people are taking greater risks by inducing a plethora of new hyper-fat-burning, muscle-building products that promise to make you "ripped" and lose massive amounts of weight very fast.
Dr. Jennifer Hagman, program director for eating disorders at Children's Hospital Colorado since 1993, said that though it was uncommon just five years ago to see boy patients, now she "almost always (has) one to three boys in the program." When asked why, Hagman — according to NBC — said that these boys are "victims of society's obsession with appearance and the increased focus on childhood obesity."
Obesity is a growing problem (no pun intended), but dieting can turn obsessive, too, and is no "weigh" to live. We need to help young people temper all things with moderation and balance, gain victory over their thoughts and desires, eat a balanced diet, exercise regularly but not obsessively, and be willing to seek help when they need it.
If you think that you or a loved one may be suffering from an eating disorder, here are some helpful resources:
—National Eating Disorders Association live helpline: 800-931-2237 (weekdays, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Eastern time)
—National Eating Disorders Association: http://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org
—The National Association for Males with Eating Disorders: http://namedinc.org
—National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders: http://www.anad.org
—International Association of Eating Disorders Professionals: http://www.iaedp.com
—Eating Disorders Coalition: http://www.eatingdisorderscoalition.org
—Eating Disorders Resource Center: http://www.edrcsv.org
—Families Empowered and Supporting Treatment of Eating Disorders: http://www.feast-ed.org
Next week, I will give you six critical actions you can take with your children of any age to reduce their risks of eating disorders.
Write to Chuck Norris (email@example.com) with your questions about health and fitness. Follow Chuck Norris through his official social media sites, on Twitter @chucknorris and Facebook's "Official Chuck Norris Page." He blogs at http://chucknorrisnews.blogspot.com. To find out more about Chuck Norris and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.
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