Archive for March, 2012

Experts On Body Image, Binge Eating & Building A Healthy Relationship With Food

Friday, March 30th, 2012

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One of the best parts about writing Weightless is getting to talk to so many different people that are doing amazing work. I love sharing interviews with you, because I love sharing valuable insight and recovery tools.

There’s plenty of inaccurate and damaging information out there, particularly about body image and disordered eating. So I especially like to include interviews that shatter common myths and genuinely offer helpful tips.

Today, I want to highlight some of my older interviews on everything from body image to binge eating to building a healthy relationship with food. I hope you find these helpful!

How One Author Learned to Love Her Body: Q&A with Kim Brittingham (Part 1 and Part 2).

Kim Brittingham wrote a beautiful and heartbreaking memoir called Read My Hips: How I Learned to Love My Body, Ditch Dieting and Live Large. Here, we talk about her book, finding self-acceptance, her favorite body image tips and much more.

Teen Week: What I’d Tell My Younger Self About Body Image & Life

Thursday, March 29th, 2012

I’m honored to be participating in Mara’s Teen Week: Words That Heal, an annual blog series where bloggers reveal their experiences with body image, sexuality, and self-esteem during their teen years.

I’ve talked before about my sad body image as a teen. My negative body image was intertwined with my low self-esteem and shaky sense of self. (Clearly, a winning combination.)

Thankfully, many years later, I’ve learned a thing or two. And I’m in a much healthier place.

Here are the secrets I wish I could’ve shared with my teen self.

50 Things To Do Besides Read Women’s Magazines & Worry About Your Weight

Wednesday, March 28th, 2012

A few days ago, I was writing a piece on body appreciation for Psych Central. I shared activities from a helpful book called Five Good Minutes in Your Body: 100 Mindful Practices to Help You Accept Yourself & Feel At Home in Your Body by Jeffrey Brantley, M.D., and Wendy Millstine, N.C.

One of their tips is to take a media break. That made me think about how easy it is to spend many minutes or even hours reading women’s magazines and doing other things that damage our body image — including, but not limited to: weighing ourselves, reading diet books, watching shows like The Biggest Loser, and even browsing Facebook. Which can turn into an “everyone is better than me” and “I wish I were thinner, prettier, and …” moment (minute or hour).

It’s amazing to consider all the different things we could be doing instead of worrying about our weight, instead of tearing ourselves down. Even if it’s cleaning the house, it’s better than doing something that chips away at our self-image.

We might not realize it, but we’re deeply influenced by the words we read and the images we see. All these negative influences can leech onto our brains and drive the negative thoughts about our bodies and ourselves.

So, today, let’s talk about the many things we can do instead of spending time on body image stealers (whatever that might be for you). These activities can take a few minutes to a few hours, depending on how much time you have.

Body Image Booster: Write Your Heart Out

Monday, March 26th, 2012

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!

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An emotional buildup can be bad for our body image. I’ve written before about how our moods can make or break our body image, how we can turn to dieting as a panacea for the rough spots in our lives, how we can look for comfort in all the wrong places.

Friday Flashback: 5 Lessons On Body Image, Beauty & Willpower

Friday, March 23rd, 2012

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We used to do a post on Psych Central called “Friday Flashback.” (Here’s an example.) Founder and editor-in-chief John Grohol would link to old pieces from as far back as 11 years!

While Weightless is still a newbie — at about 2.5 years old — I love the idea of taking a look back, especially if you’ve just started reading, and these posts may be new to you.

So let’s see what I was writing about in March of 2010 and 2011.

1. A Lesson in Body Image: 50 Amazing Things My Body Helps Me Do.

I spent so many years blaming and bashing my body. Maybe you can relate to thinking a slew of negative thoughts and regularly hurling insults at your appearance. But while we’re criticizing our bodies, we forget all the amazing things they do for us. Don’t get me wrong: Coming up with 50 things was not an easy task. And it took me a while. But it felt ridiculously good to realize just how much I can do and how much I have to be thankful for.

Fighting Weight Stigma & Finding Self-Acceptance: Part 2 With Deah Schwartz

Thursday, March 22nd, 2012
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Yesterday, I introduced you to Deah Schwartz, an author and ardent supporter of  Health At Every Size. She challenges our society’s narrow standards of beauty and health and helps people develop healthier relationships with food, their bodies and themselves.

Below, Schwartz talks all about weight stigma and what we can do to fight it. She also offers fantastic advice on navigating the negative media we’re exposed to day in and day out.

Q: Why do you think weight stigma is so deeply entrenched in our society? Where does it come from?

A: I often ask myself that question.  Why the hate? Why the deep disdain? I mean as far as I’m concerned it is ok for people to have personal preferences about what an individual finds “attractive” or not.  For example, some people are completely dazzled by redheads, others, not so much.

But you rarely hear people voice a deep hatred or disdain for us “gingers.”

Making Peace With Our Bodies: Q&A With Deah Schwartz

Wednesday, March 21st, 2012

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Today, I’m thrilled to present part one of my interview with Deah Schwartz. Schwartz is the author of the syndicated blog, Dr. Deah’s Tasty Morsels, which focuses on self acceptance, Health At Every Size, developing healthier relationships with food and physical activity and challenging cultural definitions of beauty.

She’s also the co-author of the “Leftovers Workbook/DVD set,” a unique expressive arts therapy curriculum for therapists, and educators training therapists, in the fields of eating disorders and body dissatisfaction.

Below, Schwartz shares her own history with dieting and weight loss and provides insight on making peace with your body.

Q: You received your BA in theater — love that! I’m a huge fan of musicals — so I was wondering what led you to work in the fields of body image and disordered eating?

A: The best way to describe this is to imagine two separate paths that over time grew closer and closer until they finally merged into one.  Theater was a passion of mine both as a spectator and a performer.

Of course as an actor, I was limited in the roles I was considered for by my size and early on began to feel excluded by the typecasting employed by most casting directors.  I was almost always too fat to play a serious romantic role and too thin to play the rare role of Fat Girl Makes Good ala Hairspray.

Body Image Booster: Releasing Unrealistic Expectations

Monday, March 19th, 2012

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!

In our society, we walk around with a lot of expectations on our shoulders. I picture many of these expectations as a dumbbell stacked on top of the other, resulting in a heavy pileup of weights — and lots of exhaustion.

There’s the dumbbell that represents appearance. There’s the one that represents perfection, which is intertwined with appearance, weight and shape. And many others that probably fall under the theme of “Be everything to everyone, do it all and make it look easy, while wearing six-inch heels.”

5 Things Not To Say To Someone With An Eating Disorder

Friday, March 16th, 2012

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A while ago,  Therese Borchard, who writes one of my favorite blogs, Beyond Blue, penned a piece about  things you shouldn’t say to someone who’s struggling with depression.  This inspired me to think about what you shouldn’t say to someone with an eating disorder. While people may not be as direct as the statements below, we know that some still say various versions of them.

1. Why can’t you just eat?

This is the same as asking someone with depression to just snap out of it. If they could, they would. In her book,  Brave Girl Eating: A Family’s Struggle With Anorexia, Harriet Brown poignantly describes what it was like for her daughter to eat.

Do You Apologize For Your Appearance?

Thursday, March 15th, 2012

updated pic of heart blooms, may 2013, in CT

For years — and to an extent today — I’ve struggled with an apology addiction. I’d say I was sorry if someone bumped into me, if I had a question, if I had a difference of opinion, if I spoke out of turn.

But more often than not I’d also apologize for my appearance. I wouldn’t explicitly say “I’m sorry for my weight” or “I’m sorry for my looks.” But my behavior would ooze with apology.

Maybe yours did or does, too. Maybe you also don’t specifically utter “I’m sorry,” but your actions scream it.



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