If you're not hungry now, you will be soon, and then you'll have decisions to make. For serious food addicts these decisions take up most of the day. If your addiction is to drugs and alcohol, it is difficult but possible to learn to live without them. But you can't abstain from food. For people with eating disorders, the object of their addiction is in their faces every day, next to media images of impossibly skinny celebrities.

A few stars are finally admitting to eating disorders, but girls still want to look like them—thin hangers for designer dresses. Some centers of the fashion industry have been scared into setting standards. After the deaths of two anorexic models, the fashion shows in Madrid and Milan agreed to ban models whose body mass index falls below what the World Health Organization considers healthy.

In the United States, the Council of Fashion Designers of America recognized the problem and formed a committee, which recommended "awareness and education, not policing." Meanwhile, tabloid magazines and websites run galleries of shame, with big yellow arrows noting problem areas in legs and butts, and photo contests like "Guess the Celebrity Cellulite! Can you tell the star by her dimples?"

Models, actors, and athletes set the pace, but at least one in every one hundred female adolescents in the United States is starving herself. Two-thirds of women students could be diagnosed with eating disorders at some point during college. College dormitories have their vomitoriums, where, everyone knows, a resident or two regularly throws up.

Excerpted from Hungry by Sheila and Lisa Himmel. Copyright © 2009 by Sheila Himmel. Excerpted by permission of The Berkley Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.


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