One of the best things about having a blog is getting to meet and interact with some wonderful people.
Ashley, who writes Nourishing the Soul, a blog about body image, media literacy and disordered eating, is one of them.
Ashley is a writer and therapist who specializes in treating body image issues, trauma, eating disorders and other types of mental illness.
I love her blog because in addition to asking thought-provoking questions, Ashley also features relevant research and her own insight as both a clinician and someone who’s been there.
She inspires us to dig deeper. Plus, Nourishing the Soul is filled with positive messages about body image, food issues, self-discovery and more.
So I’m really excited to publish my interview with her today.
Below, Ashley shares what Nourishing the Soul is all about and how she nourishes her soul and how we can nourish ours, too. Since she specializes in eating disorders, I also asked her about the many myths surrounding eating disorders.
On Monday, we talked about the body image memories that have shaped our self-image. When we first started realizing that we are our weight, when we started yearning to be thinner, when we learned the various “truths” about our bodies and ourselves.
I’ve already written about the importance of gratitude for cultivating a positive body image and really a positive outlook on life.
Because when we have a negative body image, it’s all-too easy to live in a world of wishes and have-nots (or “haves…” Like I said in that post, it might be “I have big thighs,” “I have huge hips” and so on). This spirals into a harsh cycle, a cycle of lack and negativity.
And you become unable to see the amazing stuff right in front of you.
That’s why I’m happy that Ashley from Nourishing the Soul, a blog about body image and media literacy has kickstarted a series called Self-Discovery, Word by Word. Every month, one blogger (including me, and I’m so honored!) will select a word, and anyone who’s interested – both bloggers and readers – can write about it.
Here’s part two of my interview with clinical social worker and coach Barb Steinberg, who works with both teen girls and parents to improve their body image and help them discover who they are.
If you missed the first part of our interview on how Barb helps teens improve their body image, definitely check it out.
Below, Barb talks more about body image and offers fantastic insight on how parents can help empower their daughters. Her wise words on finding happiness in everyday moments particularly struck me.
She also raises thought-provoking questions that parents can ask themselves about their own unrealistic expectations and definitions of beauty.
And if you’re a teen, I think you can glean lots of great information from Barb’s answers.
Building a positive body image and secure sense of self is a process that I think we undergo our entire lives. I feel like I’m just starting to explore and discover myself. To get to the meat and potatoes of my personality, my likes and dislikes, my passions and quirks.
It’s of course even tougher for teens, who are just forming their identities and figuring out the world. Who are in the midst of trying to make friends, worrying about being popular, getting used to a changing body, dealing with academic and other social pressures and attempting to make sense of an often contradictory and damaging media.
As a teen, you might feel very confused. As a parent, you might feel even more so.
Every Monday features a tip, exercise, inspiring quote or other tidbit to help boost your body image. For many of us, Mondays are tough. We may feel anxious and stressed out, anticipating an arduous week, especially if we didn’t get much rest and relaxation during the weekend. These kinds of feelings don’t create the best environment for improving one’s body image. In fact, you might be harder on yourself and easily frustrated. You might even feel like you’re walking on egg shells – with yourself! With these posts, I hope you’ll have a healthier and happier body image day, that’ll last throughout the week.
Got a tip for improving body image? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I’ll be happy to feature it. It can be anything you do that’s healthy and helps boost your body image. I’d love to hear from you!
To so many people, weight loss signifies a positive future. It isn’t just losing weight for “health purposes.”
It’s finally liking our bodies – and ourselves. It’s finally taking better care of ourselves, because we think we truly deserve it after we’ve reached our “goal weight.”
It’s finally being self-confident.
It’s finally being popular.
It’s finally nourishing our bodies or fixing the relationships in our lives – with ourselves, with food and with others. It’s finally accomplishing various life goals (like work, for instance).
Here’s an excerpt that’ll likely make you mad (it did me!) – and possibly bring back a few not-so fond memories:
Two summers ago, it got personal.
I was sitting at the hair salon, my infant daughter, Tallie, gurgling beside me in her stroller, when a middle-aged woman with wavy blond hair ambled over, peered into the stroller and, with wrinkles creasing around her eyes exclaimed, “Oh, look at her!”
I’ve always been used to people – strangers – making a fuss over Tallie. Even at five months old, she was quite engaging. But before I could smile or utter a proud “Thank you,” the woman continued effusively, “Look at those fat thighs! Me, oh my! Enjoy it now, honey. It’s the only time fat is cute.” Then she laughed, and a woman nearby nodded in agreement.
I was thinking, of course, that the woman was an idiot. Not malicious. Just clueless. As far as I was concerned, she may as well have said, “Fat is bad, bad little girl, and you’d better learn it now!”
This excerpt comes from Good Girls Don’t Get Fat: How Weight Obsession Is Messing Up Our Girls And How We Can Help Them Thrive Despite It* by Robyn J.A. Silverman, Ph.D. (BTW, expect an interview with Robyn in the future!)