Life in Balance

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In the war against body image obsession, these women have won healthy victories

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By Special to The Oregonian 

“There wasn’t any pushback or conversation of ‘You don’t need to diet,’ or ‘Why would you feel like you have to diet?’” Kearns recalled. “It was like a right of passage. To become a woman, you have to go on a diet. It’s what all women do.”

However, studies have found that more than a third of “normal dieters” progress to pathological dieting and that nearly a quarter of those will develop some type of eating disorder.

“It all comes down to how we want to feel connected, accepted and loved,” Kearns said. “It comes down to the question of ‘Am I enough?’ When you try to control something – the clothes you wear, your hair and makeup, or size — it gives us something to focus on, something to do to answer that question ‘Am I enough?’ If we don’t know how to answer that question, then we just fall into the trap.”

“When it comes to determining value and worth, weight has become the social currency,” Foxen Duke said. “It is socially acceptable to be weight hating. As long as that’s the case, we will always have this problem.”

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