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Technically speaking, I'm a dietitian, but I see myself as a listener, a motivator, coach and teacher of nutrition. I prefer to end a busy day with a glass of red wine while chopping vegetables. Lover of almost anything pickled and fresh baked scones just not at the same time. I'm happiest when I'm cooking for people I love. Why am I so into food? Because I KNOW how much eating well can change your life. What you eat every day is going to impact your body and your mind. It's a confusing world out there - full of diet and food advice that always leaves you feeling like it's that one next diet that's going to be the weight loss answer. Stop waiting for that magic diet, and begin to take one step at a time in the right direction. I'm here to help you on your life-long journey, there's no better time to start!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

"Living with an Eating Disorder is Hell, but..."

Portia De Rossi; now Portia Degeneres, was interviewed by Oprah on Monday and bravely talked through some chapters of her new book, The Unbearable Lightness.  She suffered terribly from anorexia and bulemia. Two things from that interview stuck with me the most: Portia said her eating disorder started with her first diet at age 12, but spun out of control when a friend told her she looked "like a normal, healthy woman" during a scene in Ally McBeal  in her underwear. The other statement she made that was really gripping was: "Living with an eating disorder is hell; but living every day on a diet, failing one after another, is also hell."

As I've mentioned in earlier posts, I truly believe that weight management in a healthy way begins with what you say to yourself when you look in the mirror.  There have been numerous recent studies citing how early and how significantly body image can become distorted. I was alarmed to read that one study found 81% of ten year old girls had already tried at least one diet. We know that humans start recognizing their face in a mirror around age 2 and body image awareness can begin just a few short years after. 

 Today, think about how the following questions relate to you: 

Don't you need to feel good about the person you're taking care of, especially and even when that person is yourself? What is the first thing you say to yourself when you look in the mirror?  When it comes to making decisions for a healthy body and mind (like eating right and moving more) do you feel that you are worth it?

Many people (including women, men, kids and teens) are overwhelmed with the unrealistic physical expectations set by the media, fashion industry and magazines. It has been reported that within 3 minutes of reading a fashion or beauty magazine the reader begins to have negative self-thoughts. 

This is not healthy! Let's STOP the diets and start living well, moving often and partnering with food for life.   ~ Sumner

Positive Body Image is Always In Season  - tips for a healthy body image from the Center for Eating Disorders at Sheppard Pratt, shared by Evelyn Tribole.

  1. Plan ahead. It’s always okay to schedule a positive body image session for a later date.  Page through your daily planner (or scroll into the future on your iPhone calendar) and jump ahead a few weeks or months.  Insert positive body image statements on random days or write down empowering statements on birthdays and special events that will help you remember and commit to appreciating your body and being “fat talk free”.
  2. Don’t forget to share. Have you seen this Tri Delta Fat Talk Free Video from the 2008 campaign?  This is powerful stuff!  Post it on your Facebook page or share it with co-workers any day of the year.  Spread the word so that you can begin building a support system of body positive people around you who also choose not to engage in “fat talk”.
  3. Speaking of Facebook…check out the Center for Eating Disorders FB page and become a fan to receive positive body image status updates, motivational quotes, and links to helpful resources and events.
  4. Reconsider monthly magazine subscriptions.  Research has shown that even just 3 minutes of looking at fashion/women’s magazines can have a significantly negative impact on our self-esteem and body image.  Similar effects can be attributed to men’s health/fitness magazines which have been shown to encourage body dissatisfaction and unhealthy weight control behaviors among males.  Consider switching subscriptions or signing up for a positive affirmation email so you get a reliable dose of confidence in your inbox instead of a monthly blow to your self esteem.
  5. Celebrate the seasons. As the season changes and autumn is here, feel the brisk air as you breathe, notice the colors of the leaves you can see, taking in all that nature can offer and remember that it is your body that allows you to have these experiences.   Start to focus on your body’s functionality more often.  In each season there are opportunities to reflect on what the body can do and its ability to maintain balance even as things change around us.
  6. Break it down. For individuals with eating disorders or severe body image distortion even just one day of “loving” your body may seem like an insurmountable or overwhelming task.  Setting goals is good but when we set goals too high too quickly we set ourselves up for failure.  If  loving your body doesn’t sound do-able at this time in your life, remember that body image is not an “all or nothing” concept.   Any changes, even small ones, that can be made to help you realize how special, unique and beautiful your body truly is can be seen as an important step forward in recovery that often leads to further acceptance of self and health.  Start with something small like giving yourself permission to accept a compliment instead of immediately trying to disprove it.  Or, you can work with a therapist to come up with a specific body image goal that’s right for you.
  7. RSVP. If you’re local to the Baltimore area, grab your friends and check out this upcoming event…”Intuitive Eating: Making Peace With Food” featuring author and national nutrition consultant, Evelyn Tribole.  This will be a fantastic (and free!) way to learn about honoring your body and ditching the diet mentality that is so often intertwined with negative body image.  Don’t forget to RSVP to reserve a seat…more info here.
What else have you tried to keep the positive body image momentum going?  Share your comments below or on our Facebook Page, and check out some of our most popular body image blogs from the past year:
Written by Kate Clemmer, CED Outreach Coordinator and  Amy Scott, CED Admissions Coordinator

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