Bikini Ready or Health Unsteady?

She personifies her eating disorder as “a summer companion.”

Wearing a long-sleeved white button down and dark wash jeans, her outfit is that of a typical Staples student. Her weight is technically considered “normal” and there is nothing deviant in her countenance or posture. Nothing bespeaks her condition or tells of her fatal friend.

This junior girl, who wished to remain anonymous due to the nature of the subject, recalls what was in May intended to be a “short-term summer diet,” and how it developed into a dangerous obsession with depleting food intake: .

“Day by day, I became more and more preoccupied with it. More and more, I began restricting what, and more importantly, how much, I ate,” said the student. “I subconsciously rationalized anorexia–I genuinely believed that I was committed to following a diet.”

She grasps a pocket-sized notebook; her professed “health and fitness journal,” which opens with a plethora of wholesome words, and ends with a short numerical list; a calorie count of daily meals and exercise. The entries between June 25 and August 25 are identical:

“Breakfast: Yogurt- 60, Lunch: Pretzels pack-150, Dinner: Apple-100 Elliptical- -500.”

She recalls how her conceived “devotion” increased as her initial weight loss was praised by friends, moreover, by the opposite sex.

“Boys paid more attention to me for my body, which then became my central attention. I was neurotic about my looks and how I thought they were accepted,” the student said. “It became what made me feel strong and special.”

According to WebMD, these tendencies to equate beauty and happiness with thinness are common forces that drive anorexia.

Doctor Janet Woodward, of Willows Pediatrics Group, explains that these fixations with appearance are what make adolescent girls likely victims of eating disorders, and reveals why spring and summer are trigger times for those struggling with self image.

“Adolescents have comparative tendencies, which often expose themselves at pool parties and beach time. The bikini body becomes a subject of discussion and an intoxicating aspiration.” Woodward said.

The warm weather, which magnifies such body image anxiety, encourages extreme weight loss tactics to prepare for bathing suit season. This incentive often characterizes–and frequently blurs the line between a summer diet and a debilitating disorder.

Dietician-nutritionist Abbey Greenspun clarifies such confusion.

“Diets, at least healthy ones, provide the body with vital nutrients. Anorexia is a self-starvation tactic. Diets are motivated by health and well being, eating disorders are driven by self-hate,” Greenspan said.