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Volume 70, Issue 130, Friday, April 15, 2005

Life & Arts

Extreme Measures urges healthy body image

By Donica Beckett
The Daily Cougar

"I thought my breasts would be perky until 80," Kacey Long, one of the two student speakers of the Extreme Measures Tour said. 

The event featured discussions about the struggles of eating disorders and cosmetic surgery disasters. The Extreme Measures Tour is a body image campaign sponsored by the Eating Disorders Coalition and the National Council of Women's Organizations. 

"I am here because I know that by speaking to you one-on-one, you see it is real and because so many women in my shoes are way too sick to come and speak to you," Long said. 

At the age of 19 and without knowing the risks, Long got saline breast implants. After the procedure, her once healthy and athletic identity became obsolete. After two years of illness, Long had her implants removed and natural breasts reconstructed by a Dallas plastic surgeon. Even though she no longer has the implants, each day is still filled with painful reminders. 

Long's recommendations to women considering breast implants are to search for women who have had good and bad experiences, ask doctors about risks and symptoms, thoroughly read over surgery paperwork weeks in advance and read the Food and Drug Administration's handbook on the risks. If you are a young woman, she said that you should wait and let your body continue to develop. 

The second student speaker, Svenja Menschig, struggled with an eating disorder for seven years. 

"Sometimes after eating, I had to sit up straight for a while and not bend over because my esophagus was so torn; food would come back up by itself," Menschig said. 

After several unsuccessful trials, Menschig said she finally decided she wanted to get better. Her father stepped in and offered help at a clinic in Florida. 

"I decided then that as soon as I enter this building, I am not going to throw up, because I want to live," she said. 

Even though Mensching is recovering from her eating disorder, she said it is hard to explain to people that she "used" to have an eating disorder because there are certain foods she can't eat due to dramatic physical effects of her past disorder.

"Mentally, I have recovered, but physically, no. I can't eat what I want to anymore, even if I want it," she said. 

According to eating disorder therapist and tour panel member Jana Rosenbaum, an eating disorder is a complicated problem, and it's not easy to explain or recover from, but 70 percent of people get better with therapy. 

If you or someone you know is suffering from an eating disorder, contact UH Counseling and Psychological Services at (713) 743-5454. 

For more information on eating disorders, visit the UH Women's Resource Center at noon Tuesday, located in the UC Satellite in Room 7. 

Mary Meyerson will speak about eating disorders and how you can recover. 

For more information regarding the Extreme Measures Tour, visit

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