Archives for February, 2012

Body Image

Body Image Warrior Week: Why I Write About Body Image

{via etsy}

Today, I'm honored to share a guest post by Kate Fridkis of the excellent blog Eat the Damn Cake. This is part of a series called Body Image Warrior Week, which was started by Sally at Already Pretty.

Here's just a snippet from Kate's "about" page, which I think so many of us can relate to: "Women should be able to eat the damn cake. We should be able to look in the mirror and like what we see. I love cake. But when I lift the fork, this monologue starts in my head. It’s about my arm fat and my waist fat and the fact that if you have this particular face, as I do, then you can’t really afford to gain weight. Sometimes I think we’re all wrestling with an image of the imaginary perfect woman. I’m sick of her."

Below, Kate explains beautifully why she writes about body image, and why it's important .
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Eating Disorder

NEDA Week: Eating Disorders In Midlife

{via etsy}
Misinformation about eating disorders abounds. One of the most common myths is that eating disorders largely affect young, white girls.

But EDs don't discriminate. They affect people of any age, race, religion size, shape and sex.

Today, I want to focus on an often neglected group: women in middle age. Even when it's recognized that middle-aged women struggle with eating disorders, the talk almost always turns to cultural pressure. While there is increasing pressure for women to stay young and be slim, eating disorders are more complex than the desire for a certain silhouette.

As I said yesterday, eating disorders are a complex interplay of genetics, biology and environment.

Below, Enola Gorham, LCSW, CEDS, clinical director of adult services at the Eating Recovery Center, shares her insight on eating disorders in middle age. She discusses why more middle-aged women are seeking professional help for eating disorders, why EDs affect them, the unique challenges of treatment and more.

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Eating Disorder

Eating Disorders Awareness Week: Helping Someone Who Is Struggling

Yesterday marked the beginning of National Eating Disorders Awareness Week. Since this year's theme is "Everybody Knows Somebody," I think it's important to discuss how you can help someone who might be struggling with an eating disorder.

Below, Bonnie Brennan, MA, LPC, NCC, clinical director of the adult partial hospitalization program at the Eating Recovery Center, reveals some of the signs of eating disorders, how you can talk to someone you think might have an ED and how you can offer support.

Q: What are the signs that someone may have an eating disorder?

A: While specific signs will vary from person to person, some general signs that someone may have an eating disorder include:

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Body Image

Dismantling Our Damaging Stories & Creating New Narratives

The stories we tell ourselves about our bodies, about our weight, about our worth play a major role in our lives.

If you tell yourself that your weight dictates your worth, and the number isn't what you want to see, there's no doubt that the decisions you make in your self-care, relationships and other areas will be negative.

If you tell yourself that you're weak for eating dessert, you'll continuing berating yourself every time you eat something sweet --- and you might start to see yourself as an utterly, hopelessly weak person.

If you tell yourself that you're not good enough, you might reject healthy relationships and choose toxic ones.

You might not let yourself relax or have fun or do things that genuinely make you happy --- because in your mind the tape that keeps playing over and over is that you don't deserve these things.

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Body Image

3 Meditations To Minimize Anxiety & Stress

How many times have you overeaten because of nerves? Or not eaten because of stress?

How many times have you started a diet thinking that it would make your anxiety or stressful life go away?

How many times have you bashed your body when anxiety about something else was the real gnawing issue?

Anxiety plays a significant role in body dissatisfaction and disordered eating --- and in many different ways.

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Body Image

Is Makeup Bad For Our Body Image? Q&A With Adrienne Ressler

Can you leave the house without wearing makeup? If you can, do you still feel good about yourself --- or not so much?

What role has makeup played in your life? Is it a  tool to enhance your features, a fun way to experiment or a security blanket?

According to a 2011 survey conducted by The Renfrew Center Foundation, almost half of their female sample reported having negative feelings when they don't wear makeup. They either feel unattractive, self-conscious or like something is missing.

Can you relate?

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Body Image

Body Image Booster: Navigating Negative Thoughts

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!

For some of us, negative thoughts are as natural and automatic as breathing or brushing our teeth. They're part of our daily routine. They're with us when we wake up, when we have lunch, when we go to bed.

My critical thoughts would roll off my tongue oh-so easily. I've mentioned before that my friends in grad school picked up on it right away, and it really bothered them. They didn't understand how I could be so critical.

I used to say that I was simply being realistic. That I was realistically assessing myself.

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Body Image

Following Your Heart: Part 2 With Sui Solitaire

{a self-portrait by sui solitaire}
Here's part two of my interview with Sui Solitaire, who writes the blog Cynosure. Yesterday, we talked about what inspired her to write the e-book The Thing about Thin and why pursuing thinness prevents us from following our dreams.

Today, she shares the importance of listening to your heart and reclaiming your own power --- even though our society seems to encourage anything but. Plus, she reveals two of her favorite books.

Q: In your book, The Thing About Thin, you write that "The purpose of life was to give, help, inspire --- to illuminate the world." How can individuals figure out their specific purpose for contributing to the world?

A: Juicy question! It definitely takes a level of self-awareness and self-trust that, honestly, many of the messages we are fed so often actively work to squash.

It takes self-love and self-trust. If you’re currently struggling with an eating disorder, I beg you to seek treatment first, of course. But if you’re already on the path of recovery, what else could I say, but listen to your heart?

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Body Image

Ditching The Desire For Thinness For Your Dreams: Q&A With Sui Solitaire

The pursuit of thinness narrows our lives; it forces us to focus on scarcity, on what we don't supposedly have, on how we're supposedly flawed and limited.
This reminds me of what Golda Poretsky of Body Love Wellness writes in her book Stop Dieting Now! 25 Reasons to Stop, 25 Ways to Heal.  She explains that dieting creates a notion of lack and the scarcity spreads to our entire lives, not just eating. She writes:
Diets work on a scarcity principle. Diets make dieters focus on lack, tell them they can only have “this much and no more” and that to want more is a bad thing. Because dieting is so all-encompassing, this scarcity principle often filters into other aspects of dieters’ lives. They begin to see lack and scarcity in their relationships, in their jobs and in the world.
Focusing on abundance, on possibilities, on there being enough for everyone, is a very powerful framework for feeling good about one’s life. I often find that when my clients start focusing on what is good about their lives, that sense of happiness – and indeed, those good things themselves – continue to grow. Alternatively, when they focus on what is wrong in their lives, and on what they can’t have, their worldview and happiness, continue to shrink.
And when our perspectives and thereby our lives shrink, we're less able to focus on what truly matters.
Blogger and author Sui Solitaire of Cynosure recently wrote the e-book The Thing About Thin, where she shares her own struggles with body image and disordered eating and encourages readers to go beyond the desire for thinness to focus on what truly matters: your dreams and contributions.
In part one of our interview, we talk about what inspired her to write The Thing about Thin and why pursuing thinness stands in the way of following our dreams. Stay tuned tomorrow for part two!
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Body Image

Helping A Friend With Body Image Or Eating Issues

{via etsy}
When a friend is struggling with body image or eating issues, it can be tough to know how to help. Or you might not even know the signs to watch out for.

That's why I'm pleased to present my interview with Jessica Setnick, MS, RD/LD, a pediatric dietitian who specializes in eating disorders. As Education and Training Director of Ranch 2300 Collegiate Eating Disorder Treatment Program, she also travels the country teaching professionals to better help the individuals with eating disorders in their care. She's the author of The ADA Eating Disorders Clinical Pocket Guide and The Eating Disorders Book of Hope and Healing.

Below, Setnick offers insight into how to approach a friend who might be struggling and how you can extend support. She also reveals common concerns she hears while talking to college students, several websites she recommends and more.

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