Bible Reading: Romans 14:1-12
Can people tell through your dietary habits that you belong to the Lord? This brings us to the topic of bulimia.
Bulimia, also called bulimia nervosa, is an eating disorder. Bulimia is characterized by episodes of secretive excessive eating (bingeing) followed by inappropriate methods of weight control, such as self-induced vomiting (purging), abuse of laxatives and diuretics, or excessive exercise. Like anorexia, bulimia is a psychological disorder. It is another condition that goes beyond out-of-control dieting. The cycle of overeating and purging can quickly become an obsession similar to an addiction to drugs or other substances. The disorder generally occurs after a variety of unsuccessful attempts at dieting.
Bulimia is estimated to affect between 3% of all women in the U.S. at some point in their lifetime. About 6% of teen girls and 5% of college-aged females are believed to suffer from bulimia.
Bulimia is generally felt to begin with a dissatisfaction of the person’s body. The individual may actually be underweight, but when the person looks in a mirror they see a distorted image and feel heavier than they really are. At first, this distorted body image leads to dieting. As the body image in the mirror continues to be seen as larger than it actually is, the dieting escalates and can lead to bulimic practices.
The problem, as you can see, is that the world places so much emphasis on outer beauty.
It is amazingly surprising just how effectively we teach our children to appreciate the beauty cult. Why it is even taught in our age-old children’s stories. Yes, you read this right, our age-old children’s stories focus on beauty. How about…
The Ugly Duckling is a familiar story about an unhappy duck who was rejected by better-looking ducks, symbolizing the plight of every unattractive child. Fortunately for him, however, he had a beautiful swan inside which surfaced during adulthood. Oops, there it is, he was only acceptable after becoming beautiful.
Sleeping Beauty Why wasn’t the story entitled Sleeping Ugly? Because ugly doesn’t sell unless, of course, in the end they become beautiful which makes them acceptable, like Cinderella, which is another story based on physical beauty.
Rudolph You know him, don’t you? He wasn’t accepted because of his ugly shiny nose until his shiny nose could save Santa’s journey of delivering toys to all the good little boys and girls.
And, of course, there is Dumbo, the Elephant, ridiculed for his floppy ears until he could use them to fly.
And what about Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs? You know, “Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who is the fairest [not ugliest] of them all?”
Let’s face it, our children are taught daily the importance of physical beauty. It’s everywhere they go. When was the last time you saw an ugly woman on a reality TV series trying to be the one chosen to be the possible future bride of a “prince charming?”
What a distorted value system we propagate! What irreparable damage is done to those who do not meet up to our “beauty” standards. Parents, our children are learning and often we are the teachers of it, that outer beauty is far more important than inner beauty. Maybe the title of that well-known fairy tale should not be “Beauty and the Beast,” but rather “Beauty Is the Beast.”
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