The "Pursuit of Perfection" can be deadly - AmericaNowNews.com

US has most eating disorder deaths

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Did you know the United States leads the world in deaths from eating disorders like anorexia and bulimia? Nearly 10 million women and 1 million men are fighting a life and death battle with an eating disorder, while many others struggle with body image issues.

Like many parents, Patti has always wanted the best for her daughter Abby. In Patti's eyes, Abby's always been "perfect."
 
"Abby's a happy go lucky sort of girl.  Always been a leader not a follower...and she just marches to her own drum," said Patti.
 
"When I was told, 'you can be everything' what I heard in my mind was 'you have to be everything'," said Abby.
 
That pressure to be perfect didn't just come from her parents or herself. Experts say teenagers are surrounded by it.   
 
Dr. Brithany Pawloski is a Psychologist, and according to her, "They get so many mixed messages: be yourself...but be this way.  They're constantly getting 'fit into your prom dress!' 'here are 10 ways to fit into your bikini for the summer' and it's like 'aaaaaahhh what am I going to do with all this information'?"
 
For Abby, like many teenagers, "perfect" meant thinner. She became obsessed with losing weight and just stopped eating.
 
Experts say our modern hectic lifestyle might actually contribute to the problem. Parents are very busy, and they catch what they can to eat and the kids are the same way, they're very busy with school sports and activities, so it's easy for them to hide the fact that they're not eating at all.

Abby says, "When you have that eating disorder and that's all you want, you lie. There were ways I found to escape food."
 
Patti noticed a change in Abby's personality and her physical appearance, but when she confronted her, she denied having a problem. "It was one of her soccer games and I saw her in her uniform...and it really shocked me and that afternoon, whether it was the right thing to do you don't know, but I forced her on the scale and I said okay, we're going for help."
 
Abby got intensive therapy, living at an eating disorder clinic for three months where she learned healthier lessons about eating and body image - lessons many parents don't teach their teens at home.
 
Dr. Pawleski adds, "I don't know too many people that don't think a diet is a good idea, or aren't food conscious about something - people just talk about it like it's common, and it is common, but it does impact people and their thoughts about themselves." 
  
Patti adds, "For women, we really need to do a better job of being better role models for our kids. We cannot be so obsessed with our weight. And when we look in the mirror, we look at the bad things. No, look at the good things!"
 
It's a lesson Abby has worked hard to learn. "You realize there's so much more to life than being perfect, and trying to achieve something you're never gonna achieve."

Now she sees herself as fit and athletic - a perfectly healthy young woman.

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