Frank Mikulka's Weekly Fitness Tip
Difference Between Anorexia and Bulimia (December 13, 2005)

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As a mother of a 14 year old daughter and knowing our family genetics, my daughter is looking real different and in my opinion in a short time. Okay, my question: What are anorexia and bulimia and what is the difference between the two? I need some educating. Thank you, (Sonia, New Hyde Park)

First, your concern is warranted. Second it is wise to get educated before you confront her. Both anorexia and bulimia are rooted in body dysmorphia – a distorted view of the body. So when an anorexic or bulimic sees herself in the mirror, no matter how thin she is, she sees an overweight, unattractive body. The media pressures women and especially teens to believe that a girl can’t be too thin. That’s why it is so important to give your daughter a gentle kind of guidance. Show her your approval and build up her self-esteem, even the way you look at her. Remember: whatever you do, how, what, and when you eat, a girl is watching you. Here are some general definitions:

  • Anorexia – a severe restriction of food intake. An intense fear of gaining weight and the belief that one is fat even when others try to prove that the anorexic has a false self-image.
  • Bulimia – A person might eat a lot, but then will purge by self-induced vomiting right after the meal or through an overuse of laxatives and diuretics.
  • Exercise addiction – Exercising excessively and may be accompanied by little caloric intake.
Please use the internet to get more detailed information on these and other related disorders. Strongly consider consulting your pediatrician and a therapist before this condition gets out of hand.

Listen to Frank Mikulka’s Weekly Fitness Tips every week on Debbie Mandel’s Turn On Your Inner Light Show every Tuesday evening from 7:00 to 7:30 pm on WGBB 1240AM. Also available on