Photographer MARY ELLEN MARK

Why do thin women see themselves as fat?

While it's great to discuss the effects of anorexia and bulimia ["Starving for Help," November], where do you think these harmful self‑images come from? Look at any TV show, magazine or movie, and 99 percent of the women you see are unrealistically thin. When the media finally wake up and stop the damage they're doing to all of us, maybe then we can finally learn to be happy with our bodies--round, thin, flat--as they are.
‑Sara Finn, Santa Monica, CA

I am 27 and I've been living (if you can call it that) with anorexia and bulimia for the last 13 years. It's been hellish, and I thank you for writing about eating disorders. To the many, many people who are also struggling, I hope you will all keep fighting and never lose hope.
‑Lisken Sherman, Sycamore, IL

A good friend of mine came out and told me about her bulimic tendencies--which was a relief for her, but very confusing for me. I had no idea what to do. I tried to convince her that she didn't need to do this to herself. I gave her all the scary facts. This, apparently, wasn't enough. Her problem worsened, and so did my feeling of helplessness.
Finally, I realized it wasn't my problem to solve, and she realized she needed counseling. She went to a nutritionist and is much better now. Her story has a hopeful ending, but I know there are many others that don't end happily. Articles like yours can give people a foreshadowing of their future and encourage them to help themselves before it's too late. Help is there--but you have to want it for it to be effective.
‑Andrea Miller, Williamsville, NY