Body Image

EDAW Reflections: Thinking Beyond the Stereotypes

So often we discuss body image, weight preoccupation, and eating disorders as issues that affect girls and women. However, when you take a closer look, through research, clinical cases, or through discussion with boys and men, it’s very clear that these issues are not exclusive to one particular gender. Throughout my pregnancy, I often thought about how I would promote a positive body image and healthy eating attitudes in my son. I never thought of difficulties in these areas as “girl problems.” As a new mom, I continue to reflect on the topics of body image, self-esteem, and eating related issues, and I’m already trying to put some positive practices into place. Thus, as this EDAW has come to an end, I’d like to share a letter I wrote for my son, with the hope that others will be inspired to share similar messages with the boys and men in their lives.

The Importance of Taking Risks in Recovery

 

Even for individuals who have not been affected by eating disorders, there is an impulse to stay with what is comfortable and familiar. A comfort zone is a safe place to be; but no major growth ever happens there. In order to truly grow and strengthen your recovery, it is critical to continue to challenge yourself on a regular basis, whether it’s trying new restaurants, facing “fear or trigger foods”, being more flexible with exercise, taking rest-days, or resisting the urge to engage in food rituals.

I DID NOT Wake Up Like This: A Dose of Social Media Literacy

Long gone are the days where editing your photos simply means applying an Instagram filter to them (and until recently I thought of this as being pretty advanced). The use of Photoshop has always seemed like some kind of magic reserved for professional use on models, actresses, and singers. Anyone who has ever received any media literacy education knows of the dangers that can come from comparing ourselves to these fabricated images.

I'm A Fat Anti-Assimilationist (& No I'm Not Sorry)

For so long I saw myself as a failure. 

Even though there were so many signs that I was already rebelling against the diet culture, I denied them. Each time I ate cake or decided to watch Dynasty instead of exercise, my inner badass was saying "girl, this sucks." The badass inside my head won a lot, but I couldn't see those choices as being CHOICES. I saw them only as failures.

Love Letter

Dear friend,

I am writing to you today to address our relationship for the past 10 years, which I feel has been rather strained. I loved you when we were kids. You were always there for me no matter what. We grew together. We laughed, we cried, we played, and we danced. You helped me discover who I was in this world. 

Breaking Out of Mental Illness Confinement

For the longest time I felt like I was trapped in a box. I felt isolated and it felt like the life that I always wanted to live was so far out of reach.

I have always wanted to travel; I wanted to see what was beyond the comfort of my backyard and experience everything this world has to offer. However, between my eating disorder, anxiety and depression, the idea of travelling seemed unimaginable. Living with such illnesses, I would say, feels like you are carrying around a ton of extra weight.

Even If They're Fat

Occasionally, when it comes up in conversation, I’ve heard some dietitian colleagues agree that a non-diet or intuitive eating approach is the best way to help clients achieve better eating habits…unless they’re really “obese.” Then they should probably lose weight “for their health.” These dietitians are not yet wholly committed to Health at Every Size - HAES®.

Happiness: Awareness of the Body and Mind

The Objective of Life: In my opinion, it is to live a fulfilled life free of pain and suffering. Having said that, hardships are often inevitable. However, I do believe that we can sometimes manifest our own problems in our lives, specifically relating to our bodies. Through my own personal experiences, I have recognized my own body concerns as being tied to preoccupations of my mind. The culture of the mind can play a major role in the organization of one’s life, including the perception of the self. Negative thinking pathways in our minds, like negative self-talk, can lead you to feel like a prisoner in your own body, which I experienced before finding the pathway of recovery and happiness.

Sh*t People Say

“You look healthy.”

         I heard this often when I first recovered from anorexia nervosa, and it sent my head whirling with thoughts such as: “What do they mean? How bad did I look before?  Am I too healthy?” A simple, seemingly positive remark made me feel confused and irrational. I knew people were trying to make me feel good, tell me in their own ways that they were relieved I had changed my life for the better, but it was hard to accept my changing body; never mind what others thought.

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