Dying to be Thin by NOVA

By Laura Moncur @ 5:00 pm — Filed under:

I just finished watching the online episode of Dying to be Thin from PBS. You can view it here:

The show is packed with interesting quotes:

“Everyone wants to know the secret to being thin because that… that’s success… that’s love, that’s glory, that’s power – that’s a crock.”

“Sometimes they make it look so glamorous to have an eating disorder.”

“In some ways we all have distorted views of what is beautiful. And the repeated exposure to a particular image teaches you to like that particular image. And we have become so used to seeing extremely thin women that we have learned to think that this is what is beautiful.”

“The whole society is involved in the perfection game; that we can all fix our bodies, make our bodies over. “

“I see the common theme in all of this is that women are using the appetite as a voice and they’re using the appetite to express different things depending on their situation.”

“When I was heavy, I was ignored instead of nurtured. And when I was really thin all of a sudden I was nurtured and taken care of and the teachers loved me and they cared about me. Gaining weight was the worst thing. I was just so ashamed of my body. I felt like I was the biggest failure.”

“The scale becomes your altar. It becomes the site where you pray every morning. You pray that it will be down another pound or another ounce or anything to show that the work that you’re doing – and the work is starving – is working, because other things in your life aren’t working.”

“I believe that very few women escape a battle with their bodies.”

“During a binge people will typically report something changes. At least they feel numb – they’re not thinking about whatever it is that they were worrying about. So there is a reward there. They don’t feel good, but they feel different and they feel some relief.”

“Plus size is no different than being skinny. It’s just another way of being beautiful.”

It was a little glurgy at the end with the “cured” girl writing a letter to the hospital that treated her. but it had a lot of good things to say also.

The most interesting portion of the show for me was the section about bulimia. I don’t have purging problems, but I have dealt with bingeing ever since childhood. I was surprised to learn that it takes about three months of staying away from bingeing before the body recovers and starts acting like a normal digestive system. The signal of fullness isn’t as strong with someone who has regularly binged as with a normal person, and it takes three months of not bingeing to start getting back to normal.

I’ve never gone three months without bingeing my entire life.

That’s probably why weight loss is still a struggle for me, so my new goal is to refrain from bingeing for over three months. That is what I’m striving for to get my body back to normalcy. This was a very helpful documentary for me, even though it focused on anorexia nervosa instead of binge eating.

Via: Online Documentary Illustrates Devastation of Anorexia


5 Responses to “Dying to be Thin by NOVA”

  1. Ali Says:

    I read with interest when you stated that you’ve never gone 3 months without bingeing, even though you’ve really worked hard to lose weight, get healthier and more fit.

    In the past 5 days I have had 1 day of following my plan, smack right in the middle of 2 days of overeating and two days of bingeing. I want very much to accept my body no matter what size I am, but I just can’t seem to get there. I caught a glimpse of my reflection in the window glass last night and it so depressed me.

    I just realized that I’ve been waging a war on my body since I was 12 years old (my mother put me on a diet of one hotdog and bun, one pepsi and one orange a day) and I am 41 now. After 30 years of feeling my body was wrong, one might think I’d start to give it a break and just learn to love it. After all this is the body that carried my 3 children and its the same one that got me through 4 years of college as a single parent.

    How did I go from being a cute kid to one that struggles with this EVERY day as an adult? I don’t have the answer, but wish that I did.

  2. Laura Moncur Says:


    I’m sending out good karma to you and anyone else who is struggling with these issues. You’re right, this can be a struggle, but when we truly are able to love ourselves and our bodies, it’s SO much easier.

    I still struggle today, but I’m struggling less than I did five years ago. I hope to eventually get to the point where I can eat healthy and enjoy exercise without any struggle.

    Good Luck! Laura Moncur

  3. You Can Do It ! Says:

    Yes. Accepting yourself as you are is a big part of losing weight. When I did this exercise (learning to accept myself) I removed all clothes that were too big or too small and only left the items that fit. If I did not like the ones that fit, I remove them as well and went out shopping for clothes that “fit” not clothes that will fit later. I also purchased a full length mirror and told myself everyday that I was beautiful, kind, caring, etc. (first several days I laughed and said “ya, right”). I soon believed it and worked hard at taking care of my FULLSELF not just my weight.

    This was not an easy task nor the next one which was to live the life I would live if I were thin. At 263 pounds, this caused alot of tears.

    Now at 151 pounds, I too still struggle, but after a binge or a moment of overeating, I always tell myself that it’s OK and I ask myself “What’s hurting you?”.

    In other words, I mother myself as a mother would mother her child that fell. She would help him back up, encourage him, then push him back out to play.

    Take care of yourself and LOVE yourself.

  4. sally Says:

    i really want to lose some weight quite fast for the summer i have just had a baby and feel so depressed about my body i just want to be thin be dont seem to be able to shed any thing

  5. Calypso Says:

    The push for extreme thinness is a war on people, especially women. Obsess about food, appearance etc, at the expense of feeling ok with life, loving yourself and thinking about more important things. We are slaves to a horrific system of brainwashing, and until we can empower ourselves and others to get free, we are stuck as a race. If you want to feel better about yourself and be less depressed about it all, boycott fashion magazines for a start. Stop watching adverts. Don’t watch films with obviously anorexic actress who are denying that they have eating disorders. Pull yourself away from conventional media and actually look at the women and men around you in real life. You will find quite quickly that people come in all shapes and sizes, and you’ll start feeling human again as opposed to an ugly freak, which is what the fashion/diet industry WANTS you to feel like so that you keep buying their crappy ill fitting clothes. We are being held down. Break free. It’s not about weight, it’s about your value as a human being. And the fashiona nd diet industry want to make you feel as though you are less of a human being. Are you going to let them?

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