Posts Tagged “Body Image”
Episode 69: Mindful Self-Compassion with Erin Werner
Erin Werner is a mental health administrator, student, makeup artist, and ordained minister who enjoys being present with her family, cooking, and baking. In this episode of Peace Meal, she shares her eating disorder experience, including the factors that contributed to her illness, her process of seeking help, and the power of mindful self-compassion in her recovery.
Erin recounts her struggle with multiple eating disorders, illnesses that were characterized by bingeing, restricting, and purging throughout her adolescence and into her 20s. She then explains how, with the help of her parents, she started therapy and learned to identify the factors and co-occurring issues that were masking and influencing these conditions. Over time and with professional help, she learned the skill of mindful self-compassion, which was critical to her recovery. She shares how she has developed better coping mechanisms through the practice of self-compassion and overall feels more at peace with herself, her body, and food. In addition to finding a passion for cooking, she can now see food for what it is, fuel for the body.
Navigating Unwanted Food and Body Comments During The Holidays
Before attending a holiday event in eating disorder recovery, it is wise to prepare for comments you may receive about food or your body. Navigating these conversations can be tricky any day of the year, but they may be even more challenging as the pandemic continues to loom and flare. COVID-19 has caused numerous family get-togethers to be postponed or canceled in the past two years. For those getting together this holiday season, there may be increased anxiety after not seeing family after an extended period of time. For those with eating disorders—many who experienced a worsening of symptoms or new symptoms due to the pandemic—the anxiety is likely only compounded by the holiday hyperfocus on food.
In addition to the anxiety surrounding food-centric get-togethers, the holidays can bring uncomfortable or triggering conversations with family or friends. For those in eating disorder recovery, learning how to navigate these conversations is a useful skill. In this article, we will discuss how to set boundaries, change the subject, or excuse yourself from conversations that may be unhelpful to your recovery this holiday season.
The Impacts of Bullying on Body Image
October is World Bullying Prevention Month. In recognition of this, we want to address the impact of bullying on body image due to weight stigma/weight bias and how these factors relate to eating disorders.
It has been reported that school-age students are most commonly bullied about physical appearance, race or ethnicity, gender, disability, religion, or sexual orientation. One type of “physical appearance” bullying is weight-based bullying. When someone is bullied about their weight, it can have a major effect on their body image and overall self-esteem. In this blog, we will describe what bullying is, the different types of bullying, and how it can relate to eating disorders.
Episode 61: The Intersection of Faith and Mental Health with Kelsey
Kelsey is a pediatric registered nurse working on her master’s degree in psychiatric nursing. In this episode of Peace Meal, she shares her eating disorder and recovery story, including the impact of her faith and her college environment on her experiences of illness and recovery.
Though Kelsey had seen many medical providers growing up, she says her relationship with food long went unquestioned. She had concerns about her eating but struggled in silence for years. She didn’t yet have the language to name her disordered eating, often describing her anxiety and stress more generally instead. She faced barriers getting help in college—a stressful environment already—but only found lasting support after an interaction at church. A person of faith, Kelsey turned to her pastor, who told her that her illness required professional support. Prayers alone would not heal her. After being connected with new resources, she says she became honest with her secrets with her family and made a “no more lying” rule with her parents. Her sister and niece were also strong motivations to help her recover and to model and practice body positivity. Kelsey leaves us with insight and hope for college students, people of faith, or anyone struggling with an eating disorder.
How “Health” and “Wellness” Have Been Co-opted by the Diet Industry
A common symptom of many eating disorders is a preoccupation with food and body size, and this symptom can be exacerbated by the toxicity of diet culture. Diet and weight loss have grown to be an over $70 billion industry—yet according to studies, 95% of diets fail. As it has become increasingly common knowledge that diets don’t work, the diet industry has reworked its language to disguise diets as being about “health” and “wellness.” Trying to determine if something is pro-diet culture or not can be tricky. To truly promote health and create a culture that is more supportive of those with eating disorders, we need to learn to identify diet culture and actively resist it.
What is Diet Culture?
If you’re not familiar with the term “diet culture,” that is not uncommon. Diet culture is so entrenched in our everyday lives that it’s hard to even spot it. Diet culture is the belief that if we want to be more desirable, worthy, and good, then we should make our bodies smaller by dieting. Diet culture is dangerous and harms people of all sizes, including by perpetuating disordered eating and making eating disorder recovery all the more challenging. Even if you are not on a diet, you can still be caught up in the culture of dieting. Some people need to be on diets for medical reasons, such as diagnosed celiac disease or diabetes, but even those who have a reason for dieting other than weight loss can get caught up in a diet culture mindset. Many people don’t even realize that in pursuing “health” and “wellness,” they are living their life according to rules created by diet culture.
Understanding Body Positivity, Body Acceptance, and Body Neutrality
It can be hard to differentiate between body positivity, body acceptance, and body neutrality, especially if all three of those terms are new to you. One day, you can love your body, and the next day you may struggle with your appearance. Negative body image is a common symptom in most eating disorders, and with eating disorders affecting approximately 30 million Americans and disordered eating affecting 65 percent of American women between the ages of 25 and 45, you could argue that America has a desperate need for movements like body positivity, body acceptance, and body neutrality. Continue reading to learn more about these ideas and how they can help in eating disorder recovery.