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'It Became a God': When Weight Rules Your Life

A local woman tells KNWA News about her battle with her weight, and her heart.
By all accounts, Brooke Robinson has a picture perfect life.

But looking back on the picture of her past - can bring pain.
"I really struggled with it," Brooke said.

Brooke grew up in a family focused on fitness.
"It almost became a God in our family," she said. "Not the God up there, but an idol. The eating, exercising became more important that what was true."

In college Brooke became obsessed with her weight.
"I remember laying in bed starving," she said. "I couldn't even sleep because I was so hungry. I didn't have a period for nine months."

"There is a huge emphasis on healthy eating and that can go to the extreme," said Clinical Psychologist, Dr. Kate Kling.She also said that Brooke's story is not unusual.
"Between 3rd grade and 6th gracde, 80% of girls had negative feelings about their bodies," she added. She also said that without even realizing it parents often say things to children, or even about themselves, that affect a kids body image.

"Children are little sponges," Dr. Kling said. "If a mom says 'I hate my thighs, or I ate an extra brownie, I am so bad' children will learn from that."

According to a Centers for Disease Control, more than 1/3 of kids are overweight or obese. With those kinds of statistics, Dr. Kling said that it's important to talk to kids about health - but she also said that there are ways to talk to children about what they are eating without making them feel insecure about the way they look.

"When parents talked about healthy eating those children had protection from eating disorders," Dr. Kling said. "For parents who said 'don't eat that it will make you fat,' they were more likely to have unhealthy eating."
She also says to compliment children on things that don't have to do with appearance, and to cook healthy meals with your kids. Also, as Brooke now tries to do - lead by example.

"They see us a lot more than they hear us," Brooke said.

She now teaches fitness - and eats - but keeps it healthy. At one time a doctor told her she may not be able to have children because of her weight, now she keeps her health on track because of them. She works to help shape the positive picture they will see of themselves, and she also has a message for others struggling with negative body image:

"Those are lies," Brooke said. "They feel so real. You have to stop it here (points to head) before it gets to here (points to heart)."

For the warning signs of eating disorders, click here: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/eating-disorders/DS00294/DSECTION=symptoms

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