Archives for November, 2011
Making art "is a remarkable tool for recovering our right to be heard, letting go of perfectionism, and restoring self-acceptance," according to art therapists Mindy Jacobson-Levy and Maureen Foy-Tornay in their book Finding Your Voice through Creativity: The Art and Journaling Workbook for Disordered Eating. "And it can foster self-discovery by opening new, symbolic doors into our hearts and minds. Creativity connects us to our 'inner voice'; healing occurs when we listen!" Their book features a variety of interesting and valuable activities. Today, I'm sharing four artful activities to help you heal your relationship with food and with yourself. After each activity, a journal entry follows so you can dig deeper. Because it's better to do the activity before reading the journal entries, I've included those at the bottom. So if you're interested in doing any of the activities, avoid peeking at the entries!
Every Monday features a tip, activity, inspiring quote or some other tidbit that helps boost your body image, whether directly or indirectly — and hopefully kick-starts the week on a positive note! Got a tip for improving body image? Email me at mtartakovsky at gmail dot com, and I’ll be happy to feature it. I’d love to hear from you! When we have a negative body image, we might engage in certain behaviors that we think will make us feel better. But they really don't. Or they might. Temporarily. For instance, we might miss social events because we don't like how we look. This soothes us, but only momentarily. And it perpetuates the false idea that we're only worthy of company if we look a certain way. So over time, these behaviors actually bring us more distress and anxiety and continue the cycle of negative body image. Over time, we miss out on the meaningful things that will truly fulfill us.
Research has shown that gratitude is really good for us. It's associated with greater optimism, enthusiasm, energy and other positive reactions. And I think it also helps in quieting our inner body-basher. In honor of Thanksgiving, here's what I'm seriously thankful for:
The media perpetuates a kind of dread of the holidays, especially Thanksgiving. For instance, today, in just a span of 10 minutes, I received two emails from WebMD about holiday foods that will wreck my diet. Yes, really, those were the terms they used. (I can't tell you the satisfaction I get from simply deleting these emails and others like them.) It's hard to look forward to our favorite foods when we're taught to feel fearful, guilty and ashamed for eating --- and actually enjoying it.
How many times have you buried your pain with different foods? Or pretended that the bad stuff simply didn't exist? Thinking that your denial would undoubtedly force the pain to vanish. If you didn't react, then it's not real, or true or right in front of you. If you didn't react, then it's a nightmare, and once you open your eyes, life will be beautiful again. Not surprisingly, letting our pain percolate inside can lead to anxiety, a storm of pent-up feelings and a whole lot of food cravings that we don't even crave in the first place.
Every Monday features a tip, activity, inspiring quote or some other tidbit that helps boost your body image, whether directly or indirectly — and hopefully kick-starts the week on a positive note! Got a tip for improving body image? Email me at mtartakovsky at gmail dot com, and I’ll be happy to feature it. I’d love to hear from you! When we nit-pick at our bodies, we lose out on the beautiful moments that happen all the time, all around us -- especially during the holidays when we tend to get together with family and friends we haven't seen in a while. When we focus on our supposed flaws, we leave little time and concentration for anything else.
Now is the time when women's magazines crank out a slew of articles about the horror of overeating during the holidays, the tragedy of high-cal "sinful" foods and the shameful weight gain that will inevitably result. Reputable health websites also add their two cents, churning out slideshows that offer lists like "Frighteningly Fattening Fall Foods." Some of this is hit-you-over-the-head bad advice. But other suggestions may be more subtle. What about articles that share supposedly healthier substitutions that you can make during the holiday season?
Here's part two of my interview with Laurie Glass, a Christian counselor who recovered from anorexia. Below, Laurie continues telling her story of recovery and the pivotal part her religious faith has played. She also reveals what recovery means to her and the myths associated with eating disorders. Like I mentioned yesterday, Laurie's story teaches us about the importance of identifying and cultivating meaningful values in our lives. Whether you're religious or not, figuring out what matters to you most - your deepest values - along with nurturing a greater sense of spirituality can be deeply healing. This gives people a sense of direction, a compass to guide you, and reminds you that there's so much more to life than your ED. You can learn more about Laurie here. If you haven't read it yet, check out part one of our interview.
Today, I'm pleased to present an interview with Laurie Glass, who recovered from anorexia and now works as a Christian counselor. Below, she talks about how her faith helped her heal. Laurie's story speaks to the significance of having greater values and faith, whether that's through religion or spirituality. We've already discussed on Weightless the importance of identifying your values and cultivating spirituality. Laurie's story also speaks to the difficulty of finding treatment for eating disorders. Her rural town didn't have any ED professionals and the people she did see weren't helpful. While she was able to recover, please remember that getting into treatment (whether that's seeing a therapist who specializes in ED or entering an ED facility) is our first line of defense. Everyone's story and recovery is different, but if you live in a place where treatment isn't available, don't give up! Try contacting the nearest university, which may do research into EDs, be able to give you a reputable referral or have a counseling center with a therapist who specializes in ED. You also can find ED therapists by calling NEDA's Information & Referral Helpline. You might have to travel further for treatment, but it's worth it. I'm grateful to Laurie for sharing her story with us. You can learn more about Laurie at her website. Stay tuned tomorrow for part two! By the way, if you’d like to share your story of recovering from an eating disorder, ditching dieting or overcoming body image issues, don’t hesitate to email me! You can reach me at mtartakovsky at gmail dot com.
Every Monday features a tip, activity, inspiring quote or some other tidbit that helps boost your body image, whether directly or indirectly — and hopefully kick-starts the week on a positive note! Got a tip for improving body image? Email me at mtartakovsky at gmail dot com, and I’ll be happy to feature it. I’d love to hear from you! Building a more positive body image can be tough work sometimes. You're working on adjusting your thinking, overcoming unhealthy habits, breathing in life's big and little moments and taking good care of yourself. While these are all positive and important steps to take, it can get exhausting. And overwhelming. (If you're feeling all over the place, just do one thing.)