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)