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