Thursday, December 29, 2011

Looking Back- 2011

It's hard to believe that 2011 is coming to a close. I saw this video (below) a few weeks ago that google made [brilliant advertising] and have watched it several times. I guess I'm kind of a sucker for a good montage, especially when its paired with a good tune. Anyways, this little video does a great job of re-capping 2011 in a nutshell- check it out below.

In honor of a new year, I thought I would do a quick re-cap of some of my favorite posts from 2011. I have posted a few links below to some of the ones that I have written over the that were the most significant to me, for one reason or another! If you haven't had a chance to read some of them, here is another chance! And if you have, enjoy the video above, ... one more time :).

Girls on the Run Re-Cap
Gratitude and Girls on the Run

Bullying in the Media
Dispelling Eating Disorder Myths

The Children's Malnutrition Center
Recovery+Support for Parents

DVF, Imperfection and Beauty
Raleigh NEDA Walk Re-Cap

On Health
Mixed Messages

Here's wishing you all a safe and happy 2012. I am hopeful that 2012 is going to be a great year!!!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas! : )

Over the next few days, I hope that you are able to enjoy the reason for the season- spending quality time with family and loved ones, and experiencing gratitude. 

When it comes to Christmas and food, treat it like any other day! Take time to eat meals like normal, making adjustments if/when necessary. Try to focus on conversation or other things that are going on around you- this is a special time of year, and being consumed with anxiety is not a fun thing. Breathe, pray, journal, chat with a friend. Most of all, I hope that you are blessed and enjoy this holiday season!

Merry Christmas!! : )

Monday, December 19, 2011


One of my favorite qualities in others is that of generosity. When we think about generosity, we tend to think about finances, but there are so many ways to be generous. You can be generous with your time, your resources/belongings, your talents. This year, as we inch closer and closer towards the holidays, I would encourage you to consider how you can be generous towards others. Especially as we are at a time of the year when giving and receiving is on the minds of many. 

I think that giving others gifts is a nice way to show people that you care- and it is fun to be creative with how you do that, especially if you have trouble coming up with gifts for people year after year! If you are having trouble finding someone just the right gift, if you are feeling the time crunch or you want to do something a little different this year, below are some alternative ways that you can be generous. 
Speaking of generosity, here is another idea for you in light of the holidays (or anytime of the year)- anonymously donating to strangers, like this sweet little story. Happy giving! :)

Thursday, December 15, 2011

"You are imperfect, permanently and inevitably flawed. And you are beautiful."- Amy Bloom

I love that. Amy Bloom wrote a great piece featured online (here) entitled "Dear Every Woman I Know, Including Me" that I would highly recommend if you are in need of a body image pick-me-up. Copy and pasted below, it is worth a read!

A few years ago, I was at a lunch for the launch of a TV show called How to Look Good Naked. (Do I need to say that the host was a slim gay man and the soon-to-be-almost-naked were all women? Can we even imagine a show in which men try to improve their appearance before the big reveal in the boudoir?) The middle-aged woman sitting next to me almost spat out her white wine. "How to look good naked?" she said. "Wear clothes!"

I wish that helped. But after 58 years of being female, I've come to the conclusion that a healthy, positive body image is hard to find, and neither caftans nor liposuction nor photoshopping is the answer.

This seems to be one of those puzzles you can tackle from any angle, a Rubik's cube of bad feelings, unhealthy attitudes, and unforeseen consequences. (It's great that we shifted away from the preceding centuries' proscription against women exercising and getting sweaty. But who knew we'd wind up in a world in which we're expected to weight train ourselves back into "bikini ready" shape six weeks after giving birth?)

This is not a tirade against the tabloids or the beauty industry. The tabloids produce crap, but people (mostly women) buy it: pictures of the overweight (they've let themselves go!), the enhanced and shapely (you, too, can look like this if you eat garlic and grapefruit!), and the shame-on-her-for-getting-too-skinny (as if no tabloid editor can imagine how a six-foot starlet came to think 130 pounds is obese). The beauty industry sees opportunity and shoots for it. The question is, how do we keep ourselves from being the opportunity, from seeing the mirror—and food, and other women—as the enemy? And how do we make all this stuff less terrible for our daughters, our nieces, the 19-year-old who feels her life will be ruined without breast implants?

I don't expect little girls and teenagers to fend for themselves in this matter; we have to save them and—just as if we're on a plunging airplane—we have to start by saving ourselves. We need to make friends with the mirror. Even if it's DIY aversive therapy, in which you look at yourself in the mirror for one minute one day, then two the next, then three, you have to be able to bear the sight of yourself. (Must you bend over a compact and closely examine the drooping underside of your chin? No.) You cannot be a healthy person, let alone hope for healthy children, if you sigh and moan every time you encounter your own image, eat a cookie, or see an airbrushed supermodel on a billboard. Even if it amounts to wholesale pretending—go pretend. Walk around pretending to be a woman who likes her body. Pretend you think your thighs are not disgusting appurtenances but normal, flesh-covered limbs that help you get from place to place. Likewise your not-so-taut arms and not-so-flat tummy. Because every step toward self-love you take, and every inch of confidence you give someone's daughter, makes the world a better place.

So stop. Stop talking to the girls in your life about "healthy eating" if what you actually mean is, "Your 11-year-old stomach isn't flat and it freaks me out." They will hear what you mean; they will not believe a dinner of four grilled shrimp and a spoonful of blueberries is really healthy. (Psychology research shows that even 5-year-old girls know a diet when they see it.) Stop criticizing other women's bodies for sport or to soothe yourself.

And start. Start admiring aloud the things you really do admire. Show what you love and value. If you think Marta of Brazil is fantastic, put up her poster and get a group together to watch women's soccer. If Ruth Bader Ginsburg or Hillary Clinton or Aung San Suu Kyi is your hero, say so.

I take these small steps myself—most days—not out of virtue, but out of vanity. My hobby is watching people, and what I see is that even the most Botoxed, lipo'd, lifted woman cannot conceal herself. If you hate yourself, it shows through every cream and cure there is. Until we stop trying to exorcise our own imperfect selves, driving out normal physical traits as if they were signs of pathology, there will always be some misery in the eyes that nothing can hide.

You are imperfect, permanently and inevitably flawed. And you are beautiful.

Amy Bloom is the author, most recently, of Where the God of Love Hangs Out (Random House).

Monday, December 12, 2011

Girls on the Run Re-Cap!!

One of the highlights of the last 12 weeks of my life was my involvement with Girls on the Run. Hands down. I have posted about my involvement with Girls on the Run a few times over the course of the last few months (here, here, here) and have done so for many reasons! First- to raise awareness about the program (which you can read more about here)! Second- I am all about promoting healthy, strong character in girls (a hallmark of GOTR). And third- I have had SO much fun with the girls I coached this season and am so proud of them for the girls that they are growing up to be...  keeping that to myself is no fun when I can share it with all of you!

I thought I would re-cap this season by sharing a few things that my experience with the girls reinforced. And because I love lists, here we go..

  • We are capable of doing so much more than we think! 
    • So many days, the girls would surprise themselves with the things that they were capable of doing. While this was true with their running and community service project, this is true of most things in life! I think we can doubt our abilities at times, and there is no need for that. We are much stronger than we think we are. 
  • It is possible to have fun doing just about anything.
    • There was a lot of laughter during our practices. Whether we were stretching, playing games, even learning about bullying, positive thinking, or gossiping- these girls had fun and enjoyed (most) everything simply by being themselves, being open to the other girls, and having a hunger to learn and grow. 
  • You can't judge a book by its cover.
    • Some of the girls had first impressions of each other that weren't altogether accurate. That goes for us coaches as well :-). After spending time with the girls, and the girls spending time with each other, it was pretty remarkable how well they all got along and appreciated each other! We had 14 girls and by the end of the 12 weeks, they were hugging each other and goofing around like old friends. 
  • Happiest girls are the prettiest girls.
    • This one is fairly self-explanatory. But contentment is such a beautiful quality. Being content makes you shine on the inside and outside.
  • Building strong friendships helps us make it through the ups and downs.
    • Every so often, one of the girls would have a tough day at school, would show up to GOTR and be in a little bit of a funk. Having the other girls listen, support and make them laugh and smile usually helped lift their spirits. Likewise, when one of the girls was excited about something, the excitement was contagious amongst the group. 
  • It's all about attitude. 
    • No matter what we were doing each practice, often the quality of our time together was contingent upon the girls' attitudes! When they had good, positive attitudes, we all had SO much fun. I think that if we can focus on what we can control (our attitudes!) then we have a much better chance at being effective, no matter the task.
I love our group of girls, and feel so blesseed after having had this experience. If you are interested in volunteering with Girls on the Run in any capacity, find out more here.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Help for the Holidays!

The holidays can be a tough time for those who are struggling with food and eating disorders. As we inch closer to the holidays, there are more holiday parties and special food occasions that can cause anxiety and trigger eating disorder thoughts and behaviors. Below are a few posts that I have written in the past about the holidays that might be helpful during this season-

Liana Rosenman and Kristiana Saffran of Project Heal are currently featured on NEDA's teen site 'Proud2BMe' in a video (below) with a few tips. This might be a helpful video for you, so check it out- it is called "Surviving the Holidays." :)

Thursday, December 8, 2011


So, apparently retailer H&M has been matching real models' heads with fake bodies in their advertising images. People seem to be pretty shocked about this! How could H&M do such a thing? Maybe I'm the odd one out, but I wasn't very surprised when I heard about this. Most of what we see in print has been severely doctored and altered. Is this really that shocking? My intention isn't to minimize the detriment of such actions, but when it comes to images in magazines and other print, so much of what we see on a regular basis is just as fake.

While I'm clearly not supportive of this kind of advertising, I'm also not going to say I won't ever shop at H&M again. If I boycotted H&M, then I would have to stop shopping altogether. What ad campaigns these days don't photoshop images and digitally alter them? I'm not saying they shouldn't stop this practice- because I definitely think that they should! But rather than making H&M the villains (so many photographers/retailers/etc are guilty), perhaps this gives us an opportunity to look at the trend of altering photos at all! What does this trend say about how we view the female body, and the unrealistic demands that are placed upon women as a result?? 

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Happy December!

Today marks the first day of the last month of the year. So crazy! And so exciting. I may or may not be doing a little bit of this around my office today.

Today also marks World Aids Day. I wrote a post last year (that was very special to me) about one of my best friends, who at the time was an OBGYN resident, and her experience with an HIV-positive needle stick- take a minute to check it out here.

The theme of this year's World Aid's Day is 'Getting to Zero' with a focus on "zero new HIV infections. zero discrimination. zero AIDS-related deaths."

What can you do?? Become educated about HIV and AIDS prevention. Support efforts to end human trafficking and commercial sex exploitation. Read up, donate funds, raise awareness.

Here are some links to check out for more info:
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention- HIV/AIDS Factsheets

The One Campaign 

World Health Organization (WHO)- HIV Global Report 2011

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

"Of all the liars in the world sometimes the worst are our own fears." - Rudyard Kipling

I can't take credit for finding this quote, BUT I thought I would pass it on. It really struck me. This Kipling quote reminded me of a little catchphrase I've heard before about fear: 

F.E.A.R. = False Evidence Appearing Real

I love this little acronym because I think it applies to recovery from an eating disorder, but it applies to so much more. Fear can really limit our ability to see things as they are- and it can prevent us from living a life of freedom. So many of us are walking around in fear each day- whether it is fear of gaining weight, fear of food, fear of what others think, fear of failure, fear of not living up to expectations from others or yourself... The list goes on. Something that gives me solace: "Perfect love casts out fear."  - I John 4: 18. 

I received a book from Thom Rutledge that he wrote a few years back called Embracing Fear- How to Turn What Scares Us Into Our Greatest Gift. In the foreword of the book, Gavin de Becker writes the following about fear-- two important points to consider when you are experiencing it:
  • True fear is a signal in the presence of danger. It is always based upon something we perceive, something in our environment or our circumstance.
  • Unwarranted fear is always based upon our memory or our imagination.
One example I often use with clients is that of a snake. The fear that arises when we see a snake serves to protect us from the threat of harm- ie- a snake bite (or worse!). When we experience an unwarranted fear, what is that fear protecting us from?? It might be beneficial to consider the acronym F.E.A.R. and ask yourself what false evidence might be appearing real to you. Easier said than done, but a helpful tool in slaying fear that can corrode your actions, your heart, your life.

To find out more about his book, follow this link.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

P.S. :)

I don't usually post twice in one day- but thought that these articles (links below) might be really helpful and encouraging for those of you who are struggling with an eating disorder- and need a little encouragement and support as you face the day. For more, check out the articles below, taken from the Huffington Post.

Thanksgiving With An Eating Disorder: How to Make it Easier by Sunny Gold

Five Tips For Thanksgiving When An Eating Disorder is At The Table by Laura Collins Lyster-Mensh

Giving Thanks!

Happy Thanksgiving!! I hope you are able to take some time out today to reflect on all that you are thankful for- no matter how great or small. I know at my Thanksgiving table we will be playing my favorite game- I will be asking everyone to go around and share the things that they are thankful for. Yes, I am that girl. 

Below are some posts that I have written in the past that you might be interested in checking out. Enjoy :)  

Past posts on Thanksgiving:
Past posts on Gratitude:

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

I saw something really mean this morning on the news about Christina Aguilera- poor girl can't stay out of the news lately! Apparently, she is being criticized all over the blogosphere and elsewhere for the outfit that she wore while performing at the American Music Awards on Sunday. People have been commenting on her weight, and suggesting that she might be pregnant. First of all, how is this news?? It's too bad that as a woman, she can't just do what she was born to do- perform- and not get flack about what she chooses to wear, her heels, dress, body etc. I'll be the first to say that as a female, I have fun picking out my clothes and think it's important to be professional, however- it would be nice if appearance didn't have the power to eclipse one's talent or job in our society.

The other thought I had about this story is related to bullying. One of the lessons we did this season in Girls on the Run was about bullying. This is a major problem amongst children and teens-- the accessibility of technology and the internet has really increased the span of this issue. It seems that we bully people publicly in the media- and it is pretty widely acceptable, so much so that we barely bat an eye. And then we tell our children that it's not nice to call other people names, or to make fun of what they wear, etc. It seems a little inconsistent. In no way do I want to minimize the severity of bullying- we have all heard some awful stories I'm sure (here, here, here). But we can only expect children to follow our example, so maybe we need to re-evaluate the example that we are setting. Maybe when we stop calling people 'fat' and 'ugly,' our children and teens will stop as well. 

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Things to Know About Eating Disorders...

This week, I spoke to education students at Meredith College about eating disorders. I love educating people about eating disorders, especially those who will be educating others, working with lots of young men and women, and influencing them in profound ways. I was asked to share what I perceive as the most important things to know about eating disorders. Since I think it's allll important, I had a tough time narrowing down my list, but I chose to address some common myths. There was time alotted for questions at the end, and there were many great questions that allowed me to share even more.

The title of this post may be a little misleading, as I thought I would mention (very briefly) with you just 4 of the key points I shared. 
  • Eating disorders are not a choice. You don't choose them, they choose you. But, you do have to choose to recover.
  • Eating disorders are not caused by one thing- parents, fashion industry, media. EDs are multifactorial, rooted deeply in genetics, and triggered by environmental, emotional, social, and psychological factors.
  • Anorexia Nervosa is the deadliest mental illness; it claims more lives than any other mental illness.
  • You cannot tell by looking at someone whether or not they have an eating disorder. Eating disorders do not discriminate- they affect males and females, people of all races and ethnicities, and those of all shapes and sizes. 
For some of you, this might be new information, and for some of you, this may not be. What myths are out there about eating disorders that you want to debunk?

Sunday, November 13, 2011

The Help- Part 2!

I just wrote about the movie The Help (here). I wanted to post a really sweet clip from the movie that touched me. Yes, it's still out in theatres. No, I didn't pirate this clip :) - it was already on YouTube, I promise. Anyways, Abilene, the maid of one of the families in this movie speaks affirmations to the little girl she takes care of. These affirmations? 

"You is kind, you is smart, you is important." 

What I love about this set of affirmations is that they are not appearance driven. These are traits that go beyond a little girl's looks, and help promote self-esteem that is not contingent upon outward beauty. This reminded me of an article written by Lisa Bloom, awhile back in the Huffington Post that I mentioned in a prior post (here). The article, entitled "How to Talk to Little Girls" is amazing- def worth the read. Check it out here!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

The Help

Have you had a chance to see the movie The Help yet? If not, get yourself to a movie theatre STAT. This is by far one of the best movies I have seen all year, and I would encourage you to see it. It's still in theaters-- I saw it for the second time this past weekend (the first time that I saw it was back in August).

The Help is a movie that while being fantastic and entertaining, evoked deep sadness in me. If you haven't read the book or seen the movie, I don't want to give too much away- but seeing such racial inequality and injustice depicted, which occurred in the US in the very recent past, is deeply upsetting. (I believe that racism and racial equality still need attention- but this blog is not about that.) I watched the movie and was dumbfounded (yes, I did take history classes and know a lot about the civil rights movement), yet film has the power to communicate in intense ways that sometimes written text does not. I had a thought that I have been having difficulty shaking off. People in the 50's and 60's were treating other human beings in ways that were appalling, unjust and downright ugly. Most people accepted this as the status quo, and didn't see it as ugly and unjust until years later. I immediately started thinking about the injustices that are going on right now in the US and in our world that we might be handling in similar ways.

The one area of injustice relevant to this blog that I've been thinking about (and let me be clear when I say that I am not drawing comparisons but simply highlighting oppression) is the oppression of people as result of the media's influence. While strides are certainly being made, and people are working to expose the mixed messages we see and hear on an hourly basis, I believe that these messages and cultural beliefs have been so deeply engrained in us that we aren't even aware of all the ways we are impacted (and oppressed). I volunteer with young girls and see and hear them do things that baffle me at times. Not because they are inappropriate or ugly to each other, but because they have already adopted fat talk, unrealistic ideals of beauty, etc, even at the age of 8. I recently asked my mom if she remembered whether or not I ever talked about being fat at that age, and she doesn't remember me ever saying anything bad about my body at that point. It seems that culturally speaking, the influence of the media has extended to reach children and those of a much younger age. I believe that technology has created a greater accessibility to media, and that has a great deal to do with it.

I hope that in a decade or two from now, we will have the hindsight to see more clearly the ways that the media has oppressed women. In the meantime, to consider how we might become more aware of these messages (and their deception) is crucial in order for change to occur. Media and technology can certainly be used for good-- the idea here isn't to trash or villainize the media. The idea is to create a healthier, more discerning relationship with it and take steps towards that end. Simply having a conversation about TV/radio ads you see or hear, or unhealthy comments you hear people making is a great place to start. 

Sunday, November 6, 2011

In The News...

Hope everyone had a great weekend and enjoyed an extra hour of sleep! Things in my world have been a little busy-- but I have been working on some posts that I am eager to share. Check back this week for more!!   

In the meantime, below are a few eating disorder headlines that have been in the news recently. You can follow the links below to read more...                                                                                               

1. In young children (ages 5-12), eating disorders are more common than diabetes (source)

2. Men struggle with binge eating, too.. (source)

3. Eating Disorders and Insurance- The Fight! (source)

4., a leading source for eating disorder professional referrals, is now available as an app and can be accessed on your smartphone. (source)

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

Today's scary Halloween tale comes to us care of Ricky's Costume Shop. This isn't new news, but I thought I would take the opportunity to share, considering the holiday. You can check out the gruesome story here about a disturbing Halloween costume--Anna Rexia. 

The moral of this ghostly tale? We know we still have more work to do on the education front when it comes to eating disorders. The good news? Ricky's responded quickly, pulled the costume off the market and apologized... 

Hope you all enjoy your day- be safe! :-)

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


"I'm not smart enough." "I can't do this." "She is so much better than I am." "I wish I were prettier." "I feel so fat." 

Have you ever had thoughts like these??

I'm pretty sure we can all relate to having had thoughts similar to these at one time or another. For some of us, these negative thoughts can be a bit more persistent. In light of the recent celebration that was Fat Talk Free Week, a lesson that came up a few weeks ago at Girls on the Run, and a great article I read yesterday on fat talk, another post on conquering negativity and self-defeating thoughts seemed appropriate.

Girls on the Run is one of the things that I look forward to each week. I love the chance to spend time with these determined, smart, silly girls in my group! One of my favorite Girls on the Run lessons we have done so far this season was one a few weeks ago that educated the girls about negative self-talk. We spent some time talking about negative thoughts, and then learned/practiced how to re-frame them. This is something that I often do with my clients! The really fun part was that the girls came up with a noise to use whenever they hear someone fat-talking, or using negative words about themselves (or others) while with the group. They couldn't decide if they liked making 'quacking' noises or 'buzzing' noises better- ducks or bees :). So we let them use both. Imagine 15 8-12 year olds, bzzzz-ing and quacking at the top of their lungs, practicing how to respond to negative self-talk while loving every minute of it. It was fun. 

What I love about this idea of responding to negativity with noise is the intentionality of it. So often, people ask how they are ever going to change their thinking patterns... the negative thoughts can feel so overwhelming. This is true- they can feel very overwhelming, especially considering that our thoughts impact how we feel about ourselves, and how we feel about ourselves impacts how we act and behave! Our thoughts create a ripple effect. Because thoughts are automatic, we tend to feel discouraged when these little negative thoughts pop up- especially when we are trying so hard to be positive! The first step though is to become aware of these thoughts as they pop up, so that you might be able to replace them with more positive, encouraging and most of all, truthful thoughts! This idea of responding with noise is a great idea because it is very purposeful, and it is something that is memorable. While you don't have to 'bzzz' at yourself (you can if you want to though!), maybe you can brainstorm and pick an intentional way of responding to your negative thoughts, so that you have a greater awareness of them and can act to re-frame and make them more positive! Some people like to write their negative thoughts down, and re-frame them via journaling. Then when those negative thoughts appear, they can use their 'go-to' re-framed positive thought(s), and replace! The important thing is that you find a method that works for you. Most of all- don't get discouraged. Working to change negative thoughts takes time. Change doesn't happen overnight. Be patient with the process, and if you are having trouble managing the negative thoughts, consider seeking counseling!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Love Your Body Day!

Guess what today is?? It's Love Your Body Day!! (hosted by the NOW Foundation- National Organization for Women). I read something this morning that really impacted me, and I felt like it was important to share, especially in light of today's Body Holiday:). End Fat Talk posted this on their facebook page today: 

We asked Muffy Davis, Athlete and Inspirational Speaker, Stanford, what advice she would offer to other women about liking themselves inside and out. Here's what she said:

"My mom told me when I was 16, right after I became paralyzed, some advice that has helped me throughout my life. She told me that I am not my legs, who I am and my value as a person is not determined by my physical body but by my spirit. And she told me that while my body may be broken, my spirit was perfect and whole! That was one of the most important bits of advice she has passed on to me and I would love to share that with every woman. WE are much more than our physical shells, our spirits are perfect and ready to shine!"

Muffy's attitude and spirit are exactly what we celebrate today. We are not defined by our physical bodies, and yet, when I read this, I can't help but be reminded how often I take my body for granted! Our bodies serve many very important functions, and I think the media images that we see betray our belief that our bodies are not just for appearances sake. In honor of this day, make a list- either on a piece of paper, or just a mental one- of the top 5 things you are thankful that your body can do. Rather than beating yourself up over what you would like to change about your body, focus on the positive, and focus on what you love! And don't forget-- this is something that you can do everyday, not just on Love Your Body Day :).

This post is part of the 2011 Love Your Body Day Blog Carnival, which you can check out by following this link.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Are You A Life-Giver??

As I mentioned in my last post, Fat Talk Free Week is upon us! It officially began yesterday. I have posted in the past about FTFW (here, here, here, here, here and here- haha) and believe this week provides a special opportunity to bring awareness to the importance of eliminating fat talk!! For those of you who are new to FTFW, here is a video which provides a little bit more info.

If you skip over the video (it's worth watching, I promise!!), what you need to know first is what fat talk is! Fat talk consists of comments that focus on our bodies, ourselves or others in a negative light. In fact, fat talk can even transcend body talk and can really be any old negative comment you make about yourself. Examples of fat talk: "I feel fat"... "I need to lose __ #of pounds" ... "She should not be wearing that" ... "You look good, have you lost weight?"... "My butt looks huge." ... Sound familiar?? 

When I was at church on Sunday, the pastor was talking about how we can choose to be people who give life to others. That really resonated with me, and I believe that when we interact with people, we have an opportunity to encourage and inspire-- which are things that give life! We can be life-givers with our words and our actions. In light of Fat Talk Free Week, I was thinking about how we have the power to be life-givers by choosing our words carefully and filling others with encouraging and positive thoughts (life!) instead of negative ones- whether those thoughts deal with our bodies or other things. I know that I want to be someone who gives life to others, that after someone has spent time with me, he or she feels encouraged, refreshed, uplifted. I don't want to be negative in a way that causes other people to question or doubt themselves because of the comments I might be making about me or my body. I think women often bond by bashing their bodies to each other-- this only fuels negative feelings and actions, and it doesn't produce a spirit of encouragement! 

The point? Try to eliminate fat talk from your dialogue- whether its an internal dialogue or in your daily conversations with others. Choose to be a life-giver, choose to be someone who makes others feel more alive and full after having spent time around you, simply because of your attitude and how you use your words. If you are interested in signing Fat Talk Free Week's pledge, follow this link.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

One of my favorite parts about blogging is connecting with my readers. I get some really great emails from some pretty great people. Just this week, one of my readers sent me an email about an article she had read- one that I missed. I'm so glad she brought it to my attention. It's pretty alarming.

The front page of USA Today's lifetime section boasted the following stats-

"USA Today Snapshot: Medical providers rank parent-child health discussions by importance:

Weight= 90%
Safe Sex= 73%
Cigarette Smoking= 73%
Drug Use= 72%
Alcohol= 68%"

Maybe there wouldn't be as many STD's and teen pregnancies if safe sex discussions were prioritized as highly as weight. These stats are really reflective of the culture at large- weight is important, and it really, really matters. It is important to be healthy yes, and it is important that we know how to care for ourselves and for our bodies. There is certainly a place for good health. However, it is a little shocking to see that medical providers value weight discussions over safe sex, drug use, alcohol and cigarette smoking! This is a good reality check, right in time for Fat Talk Free Week which is approaching right around the corner.

I read a really amazing blog post the other day that I tweeted- (I just recently jumped back on the twitter wagon again- if you're interested, you can follow me here for ED related articles, info, quotes, etc. I don't get too crazy with twitter, but it's been fun to connect). Anyways- here is the link to the blog I mentioned. Below is an excerpt:

I think that one of the most damaging and erroneous messages that we are given by society is that unless you’re thin, you will never be enough.  Sure you won a Grammy for your first CD and an Oscar for your first film, but are you thin?  I understand that you are the governor of a state and that people want you to run for President, but are you thin? You’re thin now so we expect you to maintain that obsessively so that you are never not thin.  You eat nourishing foods and move your body regularly, but are you thin? You’re a great mother but are you thin?  You’re a successful business person but are you thin? You’re 4 years old but are you thin? You’re 90 years old but are you thin? You cured cancer but are you thin?


You are already enough.  Your intrinsic value is already beyond measure.  And you will not be more valuable if there is less of you or less valuable if there is more of you.

Isn't that great? I love that. To read more follow this link. Hope everyone is having a great weekend! :)

Monday, October 10, 2011

World Mental Health Day!

I blog for World Mental Health Day
Today, Monday, October 10, marks World Mental Health Day. The World Health Organization (WHO) created this day as an opportunity to increase awareness about mental health, especially as the lack of attention that mental illness receives around the world interferes with people being properly treated. Psych Central, a great psychology resource online, has encouraged bloggers to get involved and promote understanding and awareness via a blogging party! I'm all for a blogging party, especially on a Monday:) Fun times.

Back in May, I wrote about National Mental Health Counseling Week and shared some stats with you. According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), 1 in 4 American adults ages 18 and up suffer from a diagnosable mental illness in any given year- 26.2% of the country's population, to be exact. What this means is that it is likely that either you or someone that you know and love dearly has been touched by mental illness. Beyond the US, statistics from the World Health Organization (here) indicate that the resources available to treat people all over the world are inadequate. That goes for the US as well as abroad.

In the field of eating disorders, many strides are being made daily as it relates to education and raising awareness. If you look back, even recently in the media, Yoplait Yogurt pulling ads that were triggering and insensitive to viewers was a huge step in acknowledging the complexity of eating disorders, and that dieting can and does trigger EDs in some people.  Communities all over the country have been participating in National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) Walks to raise awareness and funds to support continued research. You can read a re-cap of the Raleigh NEDA Walk here

The conversations that are happening today are so important, because change comes out of awareness, dialogue and then action. Just like recovery from an eating disorder, awareness is not enough to bring about change. One doesn't choose an eating disorder, but one must choose to recover from the eating disorder. Action is required for healing to take place, and often this is the toughest part! In thinking about World Mental Health Day, whether you or someone you know has struggled with an eating disorder, anxiety, depression, obsessive compulsive disorder, bipolar disorder, or another illness, what action might you take to raise awareness today? 

To check out the blogging party going on today over at Psych Central, follow this link!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Gratitude and Girls on the Run!!!

I often write about gratitude on my blog because it is something that I believe is a very important and crucial practice... so I was really excited when I found out that one of the lessons for this week's Girls on the Run practice was all about gratitude!! I have alluded in recent posts to my volunteer commitment, and I couldn't be more excited about it. Along with two other coaches, I am leading a group of 16 girls (3rd-5th graders) two times a week through a character building curriculum that is designed to promote self-esteem, self-respect and confidence.  Volunteering is something that I value for the way it promotes self-esteem, a sense of self and of course service to others:), and while I have had to make some adjustments in order to fit these weekly practices into my schedule, it has been beyond worth the sacrifice! These girls are fabulous in so many ways, and remind me how important it is for us to encourage and support girls from a young age in order to protect them from the messages that they pick up around them concerning what it means to be a girl, what it means to be beautiful, etc..

On Tuesday, we discussed how important it is to reflect on the things that we are grateful for in our lives, and why its so important to live with an attitude of gratitude. No matter how old you are or what you have lived through and experienced, this is one lesson that always seems to be relevant :)
Some things the girls were thankful for:
  • Family, Friends, Pets
  • Lunch and Recess at School :-)
  • Doctors and Dentists
  • Clothes
  • The list may have been more extensive (and funny), but for the sake of this post, I won't include all of it! 
Some things that I am 
grateful for:

Life!! Stephanie, my new friend and fellow coach, is pregnant & the girls wanted to see if they could feel her baby kick. We're all so blessed to be alive. I know that I take that for granted- and when I remember how fortunate I am to be alive, I start to appreciate things around me more, the people around me and the moments in my life that might otherwise pass me by.

How cute are these two? Olivia and Adeline are two of our Girls on the Run and got a little sassy with the camera. (Don't worry, parents signed photo releases at the beginning of the season!!) I'm so thankful for laughter and fun to lighten things up. While laughter may not always be the best medicine, I think it comes pretty close :-)

Challenges! Ok- so this one might sound a little odd. But I believe that the challenging times we go through shape us in important ways, teach us about our inner strength and beauty, and provide us opportunities to develop character. Challenges aren't easy, which is why they're called challenges:) But without the challenges, we might not appreciate the fun, carefree times as much without them! Whatever challenges you face today, remember that you are not alone, that you are strong, and are alive- practicing gratitude can help you to get through the tough moments.

I am so thankful for the opportunity that I've had over the last 4 weeks to work with such amazing girls, and look forward to the next 8 weeks!! If you are interested in learning more about Girls on the Run, or are interested in finding out more about volunteer opportunities if you live in or around Raleigh NC, follow this link. Girls on the Run was founded by Molly Barker in Charlotte, NC, but there are chapters all over the country. To find one in your neighborhood, follow this link

Below is a little video that I thought would be fun to leave you with- this isn't my Girls on the Run team, but this clip features different teams from a few years back. It's very sweet- you should check it out! :)