“11 Facts About Women And Body Image”

Hey all! Happy Friday:) I stumbled upon an interesting, as well as informative, list compiled by the Huffington Post entitled, “Facts About Women And Body Image” that I’m dying to share. I encourage you all to take a minute to read them over and then take some time to reflect on the facts.

slide_308927_2707237_freeSource: Glamour.com

slide_308927_2707432_freeSource: The Renfrew Center Foundation for Eating Disorders, “Eating Disorders 101 Guide: A Summary of Issues, Statistics and Resources,” 2003.

slide_308927_2707513_free Source: Prevention of Eating Problems with Elementary Children, Michael Levine, USA Today, July 1998.

slide_308927_2707489_free Source: Marketdata Enterprises, 2007

slide_308927_2707521_free Source: Centers for Disease Control, 2004

slide_308927_2708148_freeSource: Zucker NL, Womble LG, Williamson DA, et al. Protective factors for eating disorders in female college athletes. Eat Disorders 1999; 7:207-218.

Source: Sungot-Borgen, J. Torstveit, M.K. (2004) Prevalence of ED in Elite Athletes is Higher than in the General Population. Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine, 14(1), 25-32.

slide_308927_2708109_freeSource: Dove Real Beauty Campaign, 2004

slide_308927_2708111_freeSource: The Renfrew Center Foundation for Eating Disorders, “Eating Disorders 101 Guide: A Summary of Issues, Statistics and Resources,” 2003.

slide_308927_2708096_freeSource: Shisslak, C.M., Crago, M., & Estes, L.S. (1995). The Spectrum of Eating Disturbances. International Journal of Eating Disorders, 18 (3): 209-219.

slide_308927_2708194_freeSource: Collins, 1991.

Source: Mellin et al., 1991.

slide_308927_2708200_freeSource: Rader Programs

It’s a harsh reality we live in, but we can initiate change by creating a dialogue and speaking up against what we believe is wrong.

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Cheers to you Mr. De La Renta

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Yesterday we lost a true fashion icon with the passing of Mr. Oscar De La Renta. His memory, however, will forever live on through all of his fabulous creations and he will never be forgotten. In honor of Mr. De La Renta I’ve compiled some of my favorite looks of his, as well as a few quotes, for you all to enjoy! Happy humpday and I hope that these images inspire you.

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Really Urban Outfitters?

As many of us know Urban Outfitters is no stranger to controversy. From their appropriation of Native American (specifically ‘Navajo’) arts and crafts to their insensitivity of mental health issues, the retail giant is constantly pushing the limit, but this time they have gone too far, for me. Urban Outfitters recently designed and marketed a graphic t-shirt that reads “Eat Less” as you can see in the image below.

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When I first saw this image I could not believe my eyes. How in the world can anyone think that selling a shirt with a pro-anorexia message on it is acceptable? As someone who has struggled with this disease, and who is currently in recovery, I know just how damaging this image and these words can be in ones journey to regaining health and happiness. Fortunately, though I am not alone in my disgust. Sophia Bush, an actress as well as a strong promoter of healthy body images for young girls, has waged war on Urban Outfitters. In her personal blog she calls out the company as she writes,

“You should issue a public apology, and make a hefty donation to a women’s organization that supports those stricken with eating disorders. I am sickened that anyone, on any board, in your gigantic company would have voted ‘yes’ on such a thing, let alone enough of you to manufacture an item with such a hurtful message. It’s like handing a suicidal person a loaded gun. You should know better.”

In an effort to combat the horrific message that this tee holds, and to help fight the normalization of unhealthy body images Sophia Bush is encouraging us all to take a stand against pro-anorexia mentalities. I truly believe that her boycott of Urban Outfitters, as well as her continued support for those who suffer from this disease is inspiring. We need to look to Sophia Bush and others who share her viewpoint as role models and not individuals, like Kate Moss, who coined the awful phrase, “nothing tastes as good as skinny feels.” FYI Ms. Moss nothing feels better than being healthy and happy, not hungry and emaciated…that I DO know.

So as I’ve said before, but often must remind myself since it is the nature of the disease, that 0 is in fact not a size, 0 is nothing and when you are striving for that size you are equating your self worth to absolutely nothing. o is unmeasurable so why the heck do so many of us want to get there? It really makes no sense.

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0 IS NOT A SIZE. Support the cause 🙂

One Thing I’m Loving This Thursday

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So, today for “Things I’m Loving Thursday” I’ve decided to only focus on one “Thing I’m Loving This Thursday.” Earlier this week I came across an article in the Huffington Post entitled, “What Recovery From An Eating Disorder Is Really Like” by Noreena Sondhi Lewis. I am hugely grateful for this piece and Ms. Lewis really hit the nail on the head in describing the hardships ED sufferers face once they’ve chosen recovery. Deciding to let go of this disease is not all roses and daisies, but an extremely daunting journey filled with highs and lows.

I hope all of you will take a minute to read this article, which will help you better understand how eating disorders are mental health issues and have nothing to do with vanity.

Also I encourage all you to remember that recovery is a long and challenging process that can’t be rushed. So, whether you are suffering, or you are supporting someone with this disease, just try to be patient and recognize that even though it’s taking WAY longer than you’d like, happiness and a healthy life are attainable.

 

 

Don’t Let A Size Define You

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Zero is nothing. Zero is worthless. Zero is defined as “no quantity or number” and it’s synonyms include,”nothing, nothing at all, nil and none.” Yet despite this many women desire to fit into a size 0 and idealize the size as an ultimate achievement. How does this make any sense? Why does our culture encourage women to strive to wear a size that literally has no worth attached to it? The whole concept of equating women to nothing is one I learned a lot about in my college courses yet it still shocks me to see it play out in society today. Many women, based on today’s societal values end up defining their own self worth based off of a warped and antiquated size chart that tells women that the smaller size they wear, the better they should feel about themselves.

I truly believe that women are crippled by the contemporary size guides and those with any sort of history of disordered eating are especially triggered by the charts. I know that personally I struggled greatly with sizes and constantly equated my own worth with whatever size I fit into. The smaller I got the better I felt about myself. So, now that I am in recovery and grappling directly with the effects this societal problem has on me, when I heard that J.Crew, one of my favorite retailers, is now offering a size 000 I couldn’t help, but be dismayed. What are they thinking? Isn’t there more demand for larger sizes than smaller ones? The average size of a woman has increased over the years, not shrunk. I really think they are making a mistake by attempting to appeal to a market that is exponentially smaller than that of the average women. As Mary Elizabeth Williams in her article “Are You Ready for Size 000 Jeans” argues, “Rolling out a triple zero size doesn’t tell consumers, hey, we’re just trying to please the Asian market. It instead immediately makes the triple zero aspirational for the slim-hipped fans of J. Crew’s Ivy League look, and opens the gates for other brands to do the same. It doesn’t just reduce women to a number, it reduces them to nothingness — and then assigns ever shrinking degrees of that nothingness.”

Although I don’t have an answer to this problem I can only encourage you all out there to really think strongly about how the size charts affect you. Once you’ve done that than you must remember that it does not define your beauty, you do. So, whether you are a size 000 or a size 24 it doesn’t matter as long as you can see just how amazing and gorgeous you are, inside and out because at the end of the day why should we care what anyone else thinks? All that truly matters is how you see yourself, I promise 🙂

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#BringBackOurGirls

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“Girls everywhere deserve access to education. But it’s a fundamental human right of every girl to be safe from harm.
Three weeks ago, almost 300 schoolgirls were abducted in Chibok, Nigeria and the world was slow to act. Because of your efforts, global leaders are now beginning to take a stand and assist in rescue efforts. But there is still so much more we can do. Let’s work together and demand greater action. Together we will strive to #BringBackOurGirls 

Show your support and spread the word. Let’s do everything in our might to bring these beautiful young girls home #girlrising

What Do You Think of Dove’s Latest Beauty Campaign?

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A few weeks ago Dove launched its latest campaign with a goal to highlight and promote the beauty within each and every one of us. I love the efforts that Dove is going to to empower women and emphasize that we are all truly more beautiful than we believe. If it was up to me there would be WAY more of this kind of work going on! In regard to this particular social experiment, created by Dove, they gave a group of women a “Beauty-Patch,” which they claimed would enhance their beauty if they kept it on for two weeks. Most of you probably guessed, but the patch was in fact a placebo. However, just by wearing it and thinking that it was working the women in this experiment reported that their confidence grew and they felt more beautiful. Case in point: when a women feels beautiful her self-esteem grows and she is more comfortable in her own skin. Unfortunately far too many of us struggle with seeing our true beauty and often feel anxious and consumed by our appearance. It is thus detrimental that experiments like this continue, no matter how simplistic they are, because they truly help women see that they are beautiful and it’s most important that they, and not anyone else, believe it.

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I found that this article “Dove Patches: Beauty Within” did an excellent job summing up the experiment and its results if anyone wants to read more about the campaign!

Besides the fact that I personally enjoyed this campaign and feel that it has a very powerful message I wanted to bring it to everyone’s attention because there has actually been a lot of backlash about the simplicity of the experiment. Many have criticized Dove for thinking that women are “dumb” if they believe that a patch can make them more beautiful. However, I think that if women can find any sort of measure, whether it be a patch, a hat, or whatever the hell they want that makes them feel more beautiful and therefore enables them to lead a more confident life than why not do it? People need to stop being so critical and recognize the big picture that this is about empowering women and reassuring them that they are beautiful and they just need to believe it for themselves. One way I plan on doing this, and I welcome all of you to try this out if you want, is whenever I notice that I am starting to go to a negative place I’m going to take a deep breath and tell myself:

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Both on the inside and outside 😉

 

Could Your Doctor Diagnose an Eating Disorder?

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I know that I had initially promised that this post would focus on how I dealt with my eating disorder thoughts while I was on vacation, but I came across an article in Glamour magazine, during my travels, which I felt was WAY more important to share. In the april issue of Glamour magazine, which features Lena Dunham on the cover, I read an amazing, but disturbing, article entitled, “Could You Spot Someone With an Eating Disorder”. The story highlights just how inept most general physicians are when it comes to diagnosing patients with eating disorders. The lack of knowledge surrounding this serious mental health disease within the medical community is devastating and it is simply unacceptable. Through Glamour’s undercover report they concluded that “shockingly, most doctor’s can’t (diagnose an eating disorder) – and their blind spots are keeping women from getting the lifesaving care they need.” It is crucial then for all of us who have faced a hurdle like this one, in our journey to recovery, to talk about this issue and help others to find doctors and resources who can truly help.

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Unfortunately I can relate all too closely to the experiences of the women who recounted their own doctors visits in the article. I have never liked doctors and do, to some extent, “blame” my prior treatment by physicians as setting me up, or making me more prone to developing an eating disorder. When I was younger I dreaded going to the doctors and wouldn’t eat that whole day because I knew I had to be weighed and I probably wouldn’t like what the scale had to say. This is a behavior that I still struggle with to this day. I have so much anxiety attached to getting weighed and it’s all because of how harshly my childhood doctor treated me. She never took into consideration others factors that could have attributed to my more “mature” weight (like the fact I went through puberty at a young age) and truly made me feel like an obese pariah. An even more traumatizing experience, which also involved a doctor occurred right when I began deliberately trying to lose weight my sophomore fall in college. I had strained my foot from overusing it and the physician I met with asked me flat out: “Why are you running so much? Is it because you want to lose weight? You know that if you want to really lose weight you need to start altering your diet too?” I was completely mortified because in my mind, clearly to this doctor, I must have looked like I needed to lose weight and from that day on I started restricting. I’m not saying that the physician in this case was wrong in his advice, but what I do believe is that his tone and how he went about addressing this issue was completely unprofessional and in my case traumatizing. Maybe if he had said this to someone else they would have reacted completely differently, but he didn’t, he said it to me and unfortunately for me it opened Pandora’s box and my eating disorder started to spiral out of control.

After I started, slowly, to believe I had an eating disorder I began to meet with MANY doctors and in all honesty most were not helpful and extremely ill informed on what I was dealing with in regard to my eating disorder. I usually left appointments feeling like I was “making up” that  something was wrong with me and that the strong disordered thoughts that were a constant in my head weren’t really an issue. My struggle was not being validated so I continued to tell myself that nothing was the matter when in all actuality I was really very sick. I had dropped a significant amount of weight, I was orthostatic, and my lab work was off, but I wasn’t underweight and so most doctors usually found other explanations for my symptoms. They plain and simple avoided diagnosing me with an eating disorder because they didn’t feel comfortable doing so since it is such a complex and multifaceted disease. Luckily for me though I had Dr. Sherrie Delinsky on my team pretty much from the start and she was able to be my rock and guide me through all the chaos that arose from my appointments with other doctors. She was ALWAYS on my side and wouldn’t give up on me. She knew I had a serious eating disorder and she was determined to get me the help I needed, and deserved, in order to recover. Dr. Delinsky steered me in the right direction and found a general practitioner in my area who had dealt with eating disorders and was knowledgable about this mental health issue. Dr. Elizabeth Maier, MD is great and I would highly recommend her to anyone else struggling with this disease. She knows how to speak to eating disorder patients and has the resources to help. I know, personally, that once I had a team of doctors set up, who are all constantly fighting for me my journey to recovery has become significantly more manageable and I am being held accountable, which is crucial to my experience.

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Glamour’s article also touched on some important statistics that  includes the fact that 30 million Americans will suffer from an eating disorder, but only 1 in 10 of them will receive proper treatment and approximately 60% of eating disorder sufferers recover fully with treatment. What this shows is that the caliber of treatment that most eating disordered individuals are receiving from their physicians is shockingly low and inadequate. It is crucial that we do what ever we can to help open the eyes of the medical community to see just how serious eating disorders are and that what they say can negatively or positively impact their patient’s recovery. I’m doing my part by sharing with all of you my experiences as well as the treatment team I have set up, all of whom are amazing doctors and who I would recommend highly, but this is just the start. We need to do a better job about educating everyone about this issue and just by taking a minute to become more educated about the mental health disease, with the highest mortality rate, is a step in the right direction. So check out MEDA -Multi-Service Eating Disorders Association to learn more and remember you are stronger than you believe and you don’t have to do this by yourself.

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Groundhog Fail 2014

Well folks Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow and we all know what that means…winter will thus extend 6 weeks longer than usual. So I guess it’s time for me to brainstorm some fun cold weather activities to keep myself preoccupied from the strong desire I have to soak up the sun and simply enjoy some warmth. Here’s what I came up with and if anyone has any of their own suggestions please feel free to send them my way 🙂

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Settle down with a good page-turner.

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Rally some of my friends and go skiing.

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Ice skate on my college quad. Hey Bowdoin thanks for being so awesome and making a rink for us!

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Venture to a cafe that I’ve never been to before and try a new warm drink… or stick to my favorite drink 😉

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Buy some fresh flowers. Just because most plants are dead this time of year doesn’t mean that I can’t treat yourself to some flowers!

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Finally, share a bottle of red wine with a friend!

A Truly Disgusting Example of Ignorance.

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Yesterday I was shocked, and deeply saddened, to come across a recent article that describes ‘the top reasons why guys should date girls with eating disorders.’ The author’s ignorance surrounding the fact that eating disorders are issues of mental health is evident in how he conveys his message throughout his piece. His glorification of women with eating disorders and his placement of them on a high pedestal among other “dateable” women is deplorable. Also, his reference to EDs as “a white girl problem” is grossly inaccurate. Eating disorders don’t discriminate. Women of all ages, races, and social classes are vulnerable to them. Clearly the author has no idea what it is like to be affected by this disease…I would never wish the pain I have gone through on anyone, but if this d-bag could survive one day in my head amongst all my ED thoughts I think he might reevaluate his opinion…

Initially, when I first saw this article, I had a very emotional reaction to its’ content because I realized just how little a certain segment of our population knows about, or are even willing to try to understand, eating disorders as issues of mental health, and not simply as vanity problems. I am talking specifically about men who attempt to embody traits of hegemonic masculinity. The insensitivity of the author throughout his article reinforces so many stigmas that are associated with eating disorders, but also highlights what is wrong with our society’s view of masculinity. Fun fact guys, by objectifying women based on their looks, and by passing judgment on our physical appearances so candidly and cruelly, you are not becoming more of a man…you are just a horrible person. So guys, throw away this hyper-masculinity b.s. and attempt to relate to, and understand, the experiences women suffer through, like eating disorders. Don’t poke fun or mock something you have no idea about…women respect you more if you can recognize on some level what they have gone through in their lives. Take a note from this guy:

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So I hope that all of you will join me in signing this PETITION to get the article removed from the internet. Because guys, no one should treat a women in such a disrespectful way, and ladies you deserve better than to have this loser filling the web with his baseless and inaccurate articles.

I mean ladies, as Nicholas Sparks so eloquently puts it we must tell ourselves we deserve the best and:

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And this, definitely, will not be the type of guy, who reads, writes, or supports such an offensive article. Every girl is waiting for that one guy to come sweep her off her feet and empower her…make her feel even more beautiful, intelligent, and thoughtful than before, and it should be someone who is also strong enough to stand up against such ignorance. It should be a love and a respect that is:

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And finally here’s one last Nicholas Sparks’ quote for you all…I couldn’t resist 🙂

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P.S. I didn’t include the link to the article because I found it so offensive and triggering. I also didn’t want to support the author by sending more traffic to his work.