Posts Tagged ‘Body Image’

The Danger of Talking about Lizzo’s and Adele’s Bodies

Lizzo and Adele

Love your body. Accept yourself. Feel good in your skin.

The body positivity community promotes self-love and self-acceptance. It encourages us to treat our bodies gently, with compassion and care, and to avoid criticizing, shaming, or punishing them for any perceived flaws. We define body positivity in many ways, but our definitions are often similar in the body they describe: our own. Our body image is the focus.

As we work to develop a positive body image, it is important that we practice extending the same respect, acceptance, and compassion to other bodies as well. This includes all bodies—the bodies of our friends and family members, of strangers, peers, and acquaintances, and of celebrities and public figures we’ll never see in everyday life. We need to see beyond these appearances and question the way we view and talk about them.

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Giving Thanks for What Our Bodies Allow Us to Do

A man extends his arms in gratitude.

Thanksgiving is more than turkey and trimmings. At The Emily Program, we’re celebrating the holiday by thanking our bodies for all the ways they protect, defend, and care for us.

We hope these quotes and poems help inspire gratitude for your body as well.

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How Do I Develop a Positive Body Image?

person using smartphone

Eating disorders are complex mental illnesses, caused by a combination of environmental, biological, and psychological factors. While our environment is only a part of the equation, it is important to look at the ways it does contribute, and what we can do to change it.

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Surfacing from an Eating Disorder’s Depths

surface of water

This is one person’s story; everyone will have unique experiences on their own path to recovery and beyond. Some stories may mention eating disorder thoughts, behaviors or symptom use. Please use your own discretion. And speak with your therapist when needed.

Lisa Whalen, a former Emily Program client, teaches writing and literature at North Hennepin Community College in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota. Her writing has appeared in a variety of literary journals and edited collections, including An Introvert in an Extrovert World, The Simpsons in the Classroom, Adanna, and Writing on the Edge. She is currently submitting her book, Taking the Reins: A Memoir of Hunger, Horses, and Hope, for publication. Learn more on her website, or follow her @LisaIrishWhalen on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.

My computer’s cursor hovered over an icon labeled “publish.” One tap of my finger on the mouse would broadcast a secret I’d kept for years. Would I follow through this time?

My finger had frozen a few times prior to that afternoon in July 2018, when fear prevented me from initiating the click that would make my website go live. During the preceding weeks I had enjoyed the challenge of learning new software and the creativity of designing a website to help launch my writing career. Maybe I had enjoyed it too much. Once the site’s content was set, I kept playing with layout and links, feeling free to experiment as long as the site remained offline.

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Can how we were Raised Contribute to Developing an Eating Disorder?

Parents holding toddler's hand

Eating disorders are complex and serious illnesses that can cause serious harm to the individual afflicted. Characterized by a disturbance in an individual’s self-perception and food behaviors, eating disorders are biologically-based brain illnesses that are affected by environmental, cultural, and psychological factors. A key aspect of eating disorders is their complexity and the questions surrounding them—what caused my eating disorder? Will I get better? Do other people experience this?

Environmental Factors

There are certain environmental factors that may contribute to the development of an eating disorder including diet culture, the media, and peer judgment. Diet culture is a series of beliefs that idolize thinness and equate it to health and wellbeing. Diet culture manifests in less obvious ways, too, and can be seen in the way that menus portray “healthy” options as superior or how the typical chair size is made for someone thin. These diet culture consequences can plant the idea, at a young age, that thinner is “normal” and something to strive for, which can lead to disordered eating later in life.

The media is largely problematic in its portrayal of the idea that thin is superior. From the majority of celebrities and actors being thin to weight-centric TV shows like “Biggest Loser,” it’s no surprise that society gets the message that skinny is better. This media messaging infiltrates daily lives. There’s billboards of new diets, commercials promoting gym memberships to get you in beach body shape, and reality TV featuring only the thinnest of stars. When faced with this negative messaging daily, individuals can feel intense pressure to “fit in,” leading to dieting, appearance dissatisfaction, and eating disorders.

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How Sobriety Influenced my Eating Disorder Recovery

Rachel Moe

*Please keep in mind this is one person’s story and that everyone’s path to recovery and beyond will be unique.

Rachel Moe is a Registered Nurse, Emily Program client, Aunt, coffee connoisseur, and writer who loves sharing her experience through recovery in hopes of connecting with and helping others. Rachel started and leads an Eating Disorders Anonymous meeting in Duluth, MN. She also recently started a blog and plans to dive more into recovery advocacy, as she is passionate about ending the stigma around mental illness. She loves to hike, spend time with her family and friends, write, and practice yoga.

I vividly remember the first time I was told by someone that I may be an alcoholic and I should consider a life of sobriety. It was a hot August day in the Twin Cities, I was 24 years old, and sitting in my therapist’s office in a residential treatment center for my eating disorder. I had already been struggling with Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimia Nervosa since the age of 13. My parents were on the couch across from me, tears in both of their eyes, and we were participating in family week at treatment. Now, this was not the first time someone had brought up my drinking and substance abuse to me, this was just the first time that I chose to truly listen to what was being said. I could no longer deny my life was falling apart as a result of alcohol, drugs, and my eating disorder.

The flood of emotions came immediately that day—sadness, shame, anger, grief. I mostly felt sad for my parents. I felt as though I had already inflicted enough pain through my eating disorder, how could I add another diagnosis to the list that has been growing for as long as I can remember? I felt angry that once again, I was different from my peers. In my group of friends, I was always the friend who was too anxious to go out for pizza or ice cream, so how could I also be the sober one as well?

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