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Posts tagged "eating disorders"

Baby steps in the right direction!

I agree with The National Eating Disorders Association: the measures are a good start, but they don’t go far enough. But you have to start somewhere and at least this is an attempt to inform & educate. Personally, I believe those who notice symptoms of an eating disorder and exacerbate it and/or do nothing to help treat or prevent it - i.e managers, designers, dressers and agents - should be held legally responsible when their models get sick. Especially since many of these girls are very, VERY young, very impressionable and very vulnerable.

The vast majority of models break into the industry in their early teens & enter a world that praises thinness, and evokes criticism on every detail of their bodies. It’s a perfect storm for developing a disorder.

Via CNN Health

The guidelines attempt to address the “overwhelming concern about whether some models are unhealthily thin, and whether or not to impose restrictions in such cases.”

The new guidelines say models should be at least 16 years old to participate in a show. It also encourages greater awareness of the risks and signs of eating disorders. Backstage at the fashion shows should be tobacco-free and also address underage drinking by prohibiting alcohol, according to the guidelines.
Models who may have an eating disorder should seek professional help and should not continue modeling unless they have a professional’s approval, according to health initiative.

“Designers share a responsibility to protect women, and very young girls in particular, within the business, sending the message that beauty is health,” according to a statement signed by CFDA’s Diane von Furstenberg and Steven Kolb.

The health initiative also urges more education about the warning signs of eating disorders - workshops for the industry on how the disorders arise and treatment. It will not be policing different runway shows; the purpose is to bring “awareness, education, and safety,” according to the statement.

The council’s guidelines also say that nutrition and fitness education should be provided, and that healthy meals, snacks, and water should be available backstage and at shoots.

The National Eating Disorders Association commended the council for taking the models’ health into consideration, but it says the measures don’t go far enough.

“Although these guidelines are good ‘suggestions,’ no real health protections exist in this industry for those under 18. That is particularly worrisome in an industry that is not only known for extreme thinness – in fact, it’s practically required – putting its models at dramatically increased risk of developing an illness that has the highest mortality rate of any other mental illness,” said Lynn Grefe, president and CEO of the National Eating Disorders Association.

Read More.

What do you think of the new measures?

Excerpt from article on Huffington Post

The results can be breathtaking, as I learned from one young woman, just a year out of treatment, who recently wrote to me:

“Before starting recovery, I was afraid to go anywhere with people, especially anywhere there’d be food. Since beginning recovery, I’ve discovered that I’m a people person! Who knew? Also I found out I have a true passion for the outdoors. Rock climbing, rappelling, hiking, all of it. I thought I was supposed to be a dud. But that’s not true. I’m supposed to enjoy living.”

Note to everyone who’s ever had an eating disorder: We are ALL supposed to enjoy living. Fortunately, most eating disorder treatment programs today understand this. They move well beyond the initial and necessary focus on eating and weight to address temperament, identity, self direction and other key predisposing or contributing issues. Qualified professionals in your area can be found through the Academy for Eating Disorders website’s search tool. I wish this help had been available when my classmates and I began our struggle to recover. If it had, we wouldn’t have spent so many years caught in our eating disorders’ half-lives.

Read more.

Books by author Aimee Liu…

Gaining: The Truth About Life After Eating Disorders

Solitaire: The compelling story of a young woman growing up in America and her triumph over anorexia.

Restoring Our Bodies, Reclaiming Our Lives: Guidance and Reflections on Recovery from Eating Disorders

Other books on recovery…

Unbearable Lightness: A Story of Loss and Gain by Portia De Rossi

Thin by Grace Bowman

Goodbye Ed, Hello Me: Recover from Your Eating Disorder and Fall in Love with Life by Jenni Schaefer

I get this idea that we, as geeks, are expected to rise above the common herd that are influenced by advertising and self-hate. We’re so much cleverer than that, so much more accepting! We were the fat kids in high school!

But we’re not. After all, geek boys lusts after the thin ones, every geek girl is bombarded with pictures of thin Leia, thin Xena, thin Sailor Scouts. Comics portray thin people as good, fat people as bad. There’s a reason Desire is slim and Despair is fat. Women get the same role-models in geek culture as they do in the rest of the world, but that culture is determined not to address this, nor to address the problems it might cause us.

I’ve grown up through both geek and jock culture and they’re both the same. Dominated by men, a thin varnish over pervasive misogyny. The only difference is where the jocks know the girls have eating disorders, but don’t care; the geeks genuinely think that this part of the world cannot touch them.

Original post & question here.

First, lemme explain binge eating disorder to those who might not be familiar with the differences between an occasional binge and a disorder.

B.E.D. is a compulsive eating disorder, in which a person seemingly eats uncontrollably to deal with stress or anxiety. To classify as a disorder, it must happen regularly and feels uncontrollable when it does. There’s usually a shame involved: typically people hide their binges (it’s not a random night when you eat a little too much after dinner). Binge eating most commonly occurs when users are on a diet or are watching their intakes carefully OR are dealing with high levels of stress and anxiety (a sudden change in their routine can count as well). Binge eaters often eat when they’re not hungry and well beyond the point where they feel full or uncomfortable. Some may not even be aware of what they are eating - in a trance like state.

Typically, the worse a binge eater feels about themselves, the worse their binging gets. The worse their binging gets, the worse they feel about themselves. It can be a vicious cycle, where food becomes a temporary coping mechanism that eventually makes the problem worse.

Behavioral symptoms of binge eating and compulsive overeating

  • Inability to stop eating or control what you’re eating
  • Rapidly eating large amounts of food
  • Eating even when you’re full
  • Hiding or stockpiling food to eat later in secret
  • Eating normally around others, but gorging when you’re alone
  • Eating continuously throughout the day, with no planned mealtimes

Emotional symptoms of binge eating and compulsive overeating

  • Feeling stress or tension that is only relieved by eating
  • Embarrassment over how much you’re eating
  • Feeling numb while bingeing—like you’re not really there or you’re on auto-pilot.
  • Never feeling satisfied, no matter how much you eat
  • Feeling guilty, disgusted, or depressed after overeating

Stress can be apparent and not-so apparent, and we all deal with it differently. Bingeing is a coping mechanism, which means it’s being used to address other issues you’re having. So not only do you need to address the bingeing: you need to address the issues that are triggering binges. 

Questions To Ask Yourself

1. What triggers usually precipitate a binge? Stresses, events, feelings etc.

2. What other mechanisms can you employ to deal with that stress? Talking, venting, exercise, meditation, massage etc.

3. What can you do to minimize binge damage? Food in the house (do you typically binge on the same foods, or ANY foods), having someone around, leaving your home, etc.

To deal with binging disorders, most people would recommend treatment, therapy, group support, and a conscious effort to reduce stress in other areas of your life. You might need to talk to someone: if you have a school you can start there (most have resources available to students), or you can try the community or get a referral from your doctor. Talking tends to help, so even if you don’t seek treatment from a doctor, finding a supportive ear can do wonders for you. In the online world, there are tons of support groups, blogs and help lines if you want to take that route as well.

Often people are hesitant to seek treatment (there’s a lot of stigma), but there’s no need for it. Taking care of your mental health, stress & identifying when you need help is the sign of a really strong person (and a key to success - the most successful people know to ask for help when they need it). Think about it this way: if more people took advantage of the help available to them, the world would be a better place. When people want to make a healthy, fitness lifestyle change, they hire trainers, buy expensive equipment, and surround themselves with like minded individuals to help them reach their goals. The same attitude should be taken when it comes to our mental health/well-being. Most counselors are highly trained, many have dealt with their own issues with binge eating, and they CAN offer great support and help if you’re open to it. They give you the tools you need to handle it on your own when you’re ready.

If you think you might have a bingeing problem, this is a pretty solid list of tips that can get you going in the right direction.

10 Strategies for Overcoming Binge Eating

  • Manage stress. One of the most important aspects of controlling binge eating is to find alternate ways to handle stress and other overwhelming feelings without using food. These may include exercising, meditating, using sensory relaxation strategies, and practicing simple breathing exercises.
  • Eat 3 meals a day plus healthy snacks.  Eating breakfast jump starts your metabolism in the morning. Follow breakfast with a balanced lunch and dinner, and healthy snacks in between. Stick to scheduled mealtimes, as skipping meals often leads to binge eating later in the day.
  • Avoid temptation. You’re much more likely to overeat if you have junk food, desserts, and unhealthy snacks in the house. Remove the temptation by clearing your fridge and cupboards of your favorite binge foods.
  • Stop dieting. The deprivation and hunger of strict dieting can trigger food cravings and the urge to overeat. Instead of dieting, focus on eating in moderation. Find nutritious foods that you enjoy and eat only until you feel content, not uncomfortably stuffed. Avoid banning certain foods as this can make you crave them even more.
  • Exercise. Not only will exercise help you lose weight in a healthy way, but it also lifts depression, improves overall health, and reduces stress. The natural mood-boosting effects of exercise can help put a stop to emotional eating.
  • Fight boredom. Instead of snacking when you’re bored, distract yourself. Take a walk, call a friend, read, or take up a hobby such as painting or gardening.
  • Get enough sleep. If you’re tired, you may want to keep eating in order to boost your energy. Take a nap or go to bed earlier instead.
  • Listen to your body. Learn to distinguish between physical and emotional hunger. If you ate recently and don’t have a rumbling stomach, you’re probably not really hungry. Give the craving time to pass.
  • Keep a food diary. Write down what you eat, when, how much, and how you’re feeling when you eat. You may see patterns emerge that reveal the connection between your moods and binge eating.
  • Get support. You’re more likely to succumb to binge eating triggers if you lack a solid support network. Talking helps, even if it’s not with a professional. Lean on family and friends, join a support group, and if possible consult a therapist.

Take care and PLEASE talk to someone if you get a chance (even to discuss other treatment options/advice - it’s empowering). It’s important to seek professional advice: these tips are simply tools you can use to get you moving in the right direction. There’s no shame in getting informed: you can only benefit from it.

Source & Fab Resource:

The NUMBER ONE reason why people binge eat?

Restrictive dieting! (any diet that involves restricting calories, foods or choices throughout the day. 

If you’re cutting back too severely, eliminating foods, are pre-occupied with calories, are denying yourself treats, worried about weight gain… you’re 3 to 4 times more likely to binge than people who simply make room for treats by fitting them in to their plan and allow themselves to make adjustments when they have to.

So, if you skip breakfast, barely eat anything all day, deny yourself treats & snacks and LET yourself get hungry: come evening time your body will be SCREAMING for food AND you’ll be at a psychological disadvantage to deal with the cravings. By the end of the day, you’ve used up all your decision making/willpower (we all have a reserve - there’s only so much denial our brains can take). In one binge eating session you can eat 2-3 times the amount of calories you need, or would have eaten during the day had you simply eaten appropriately. You’ve also shot your metabolism to hell, meaning the calories you do take in won’t be processed the same way (this is especially true if you’ve been restricting over time).

When your body feels deprived, it will make up for it BIG time later.

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Really. Really???

This is ridiculous. And stupid.

I’m usually down with Halloween being the most inappropriate of holidays, but Sarah Palin masks and sexy Cookie Monsters aside, making fun of serious illnesses isn’t exactly the kind of thing I can get behind.

Please, don’t buy into this crap.

Anorexia is a mental disease, the deadliest. It’s about a person’s mental state and the consequences are physical. It can cause early osteoporosis, kidney failure, digestive system ailments, renal disease, and more. It’s not sexy. Not at all.

Many vendors have pulled the costume, but some are still carrying it. If you see it in a store, feel free to let the vendor know that it’s disgusting and vile.


I’ll fully admit, I’m a slave to my mirror. Oh did I say mirror? I meant MIRRORS

My house is full of them. My workouts always include them, they’re almost as important as my weights! I don’t want to come off as vain, but I truly, genuinely, love looking at myself. Not how hot I am or how awful my body is. Just how interesting it is. I like to make faces. I’m a dancer, so I like seeing how my body moves. I like posing and singing with my hairbrush. I like sticking my belly out when it’s full. I like seeing new muscles that I’ve never noticed before. Gosh, I love me some reflective surface.

But I do know that there are times when the mirror is my friend, and times when it’s not. When I’m not feeling good about myself, obsessing in the mirror can be a horrible time, especially when I’m trying to find clothes that look nice. The mirror also makes what would be a quick wardrobe change a series of ‘no’s’, ‘ew’s’ and ‘ughs’. And trying to have a conversation while staring at myself in the mirror isn’t the best way to tell my present company, ‘hey, you’re important’.

Studies show the average woman spends 5 full days a year in front of the mirror (sadly, I think I’m closer to 10). But still! 5 days? That’s crazy! Other crazy facts?

  • Women spend nearly a full year of our lives deciding what to wear.
  • For those of you who think you have ‘no time’, consider that we spend about 15-30 minutes each day looking at ourselves. 
  • 97% of women have at least one ‘I hate myself’ moment per day.
  • For those suffering from body dismorphic disorder (BDD), a condition where people have a distorted view of what their body actually looks and feels like, looking in the mirror every day is a very negative and self-depricating event. Those suffering with or recovering from eating disorders can also be triggered by frequent trips to the mirror. 

Kjerstin Gruys is a a UCLA graduate student who’s taken it upon herself to rid her life of mirrors. As she prepares for a wedding and recovers from an eating disorder, she’s conducting her own little body love research project which she chronicles in her blog Mirror, Mirror, OFF The Wall. 

In many ways, she’s brave. Most women would DIE not knowing what they looked like at least a few times a day. But Kjerstin’s found the experience freeing in a way I don’t even think she thought was possible and has learned a lot: how to apply makeup, style her hair, dress herself and put in contacts.. all without mirrors.

And… how to STOP caring what she looks like every moment of the day.

Very, very interesting. And balls-y.

Here are her rules…

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Loving her curves: Dancing with the Stars' Lacey Schwimmer came under criticism for wearing 'mom jeans' earlier this month


Dancing With The Stars professional Lacey Schwimmer has hit back at critics of her curvy figure.

The 23-year-old, who is partnered with competitor Chaz Bono this season, has revealed she has grown to embrace her figure after suffering an eating disorder as a teen.

Lacey came under criticism for wearing ‘mom jeans’ earlier this month

'I have boobs, I have a huge butt and I have a lot of muscle,' she tells America's In Touch magazine.

'I like having curves - I'm proud of them!' she adds.

Lacey, who faced criticism after stepping out in an unflattering pair of high-wasted jeans earlier this month, does her best to ignore insults.

'There's nothing I can do about except let it go and get over it!' says the performer, who is in a relationship with choreographer DJ Guthrie.

She also spoke about her battle to conquer her eating disorder, which began when she was 13 and saw her drop to a size zero.

'My hair was falling out and my skin was grey,' she says. 'It was a really bad time.'

She weighed just 98lbs and would often survive on six slices of turkey a day while dancing for hours.

She has two simple words for those who have negative comments about her body: ‘Zip it!’

Read more from Daily Mail: 

See MY FAVORITE Lacey performance from Season 3 of So You Think You Can Dance…

Interesting article…

I prefer personal responsibility for the majority of these blame games (studies show that even when magazines use un-airbrushed models like we ask for, we don’t buy them. It’s a two way street friends). However, in the fashion industry specifically, there seems to be an inherent danger to the girls who work the runways, are brought into the culture and are consumed by the latest fashion trends.

I mean, imagine being weighed before work every day? We all recognize the pressure we feel, but I can’t imagine the pressure they’re under.

The words skinny & runway are almost synonymous…

Interesting article, let me know what you think.

Myth # 4: Eating disorders aren’t really that dangerous.

Eating disorders, which INCLUDE extreme dieting on and off, can lead to irreversible and even life-threatening health problems, such as heart disease, bone loss, stunted growth, infertility, and kidney damage.

Even short term diets, on and off, can mess up your hormones, cause calcium & bone loss, and can heighten certain cancer risks. For life.

Most symptoms diminish with treatment. There is hope & possible reversal for most issues related to ED. The key is early treatment & continual support.

If you’re suffering, there is help. If you know someone suffering, get help TO help.

Eating disorders are not glamorous. But they are treatable. I promise.

Common sense prevails. Finally.

Kate Moss’s ill-advised quote was SOMEHOW printed on a T-shirt for tweens. TWEENS. The quote has made the rounds over the years and is heavily quoted on eating disorder websites (p.s. it’s not true. Anyone with an eating disorder will tell you that it eats them alive, is destructive, and is literally killing them. Nothing tastes as good as NOT having an eating disorder feels).

(Why anyone would take this quote as anything other than the confession of someone with a serious illness, I don’t know. I tend to take quotes from coke heads with eating disorders/emotional issues less seriously than others I guess). Nothing against her… I don’t like girl on girl bashing for ANY reason, but I feel that using the quote in a context other than highlighting some body image issues is as dumb as drunk driving. Otherwise, people who use it are glorifying a very dangerous, life threatening, serious illness and promoting a message that’s taken the lives of millions of girls.

Eating disorders are not glamorous. They are deadly. They are brain & body cancers. Those suffering would do anything to not have the relationship they have with food & body. It takes over their lives.

Kinda shocked that anyone would have approved this for younger consumers anyways. Then again, even JC Penney seems to be lacking even the basic judgment when it comes to appropriate messages being sent to young girls. See I’m Too Pretty To Do Homework.

Either way, social media and enraged parents have been able to pull these T-shirts off the shelves, off the websites & out of the hands of tweens/teens. Both the JC Penney & Zazzle brands have nixed their controversial shirts.

Excerpt from the Daily Mail

Those who complained to the ASA argued it was irresponsible and could cause harm to children, because it implied being underweight was desirable.

They said there was a danger that it ‘might encourage children to develop an unhealthy body image and an unhealthy relationship with food’. The watchdog agreed, saying: ‘Because we considered the ad could condone or encourage an unsafe practice or result in physical, mental or moral harm to children, we concluded that it was irresponsible.’

It added: ‘We told Zazzle to ensure future ads were not irresponsible and, particularly where they were addressed to or depicted children, did not contain anything that was likely to condone or encourage an unsafe practice or to result in their physical, mental or moral harm.’

Zazzle responded to the initial complaints by removing the slogan from children’s T-shirts.

In the original screen advertisement for the T-shirts, young girls were seen modelling the shirts with the slogan. BEAT said: ‘Using children to model this kind of pro-anorexia product is clearly and plainly wrong.’

The group welcomed the ban, saying: ‘We are very glad that the ASA is showing some social responsibility and taking steps against messages such as this. It is very encouraging.’

Read more:

TRIGGER WARNING: This post may trigger those of you suffering from E.D., but I think it might help you understand why people around you say the things they say. Unless you’ve lived it, no one knows what someone with E.D. goes through. They say things that THEY think are helping, or that relieve THEIR stress. By knowing that they are uninformed about the disease, you can help yourself better deal with the words that might trigger you during recovery. You are human. So are they.

Since getting into this industry, I’ve had more exposure to eating disorders than I’ve ever had in my life. Weight-loss and fitness are healthy options for most people, but for some they are unhealthy quests for control and endanger their lives. I’ve had my own issues with food, but never to the extent where I felt controlled by it. I have, however, been exposed via an outpatient clinic where I volunteer and the patients mimic many of the sentiments I see here, on my dashboard, every day.

So, due to my recent exposure, I’ve become more sensitive in my language. I’m careful about how I talk to these girls, careful not to comment on their bodies, careful to support body-love & body love resources and stay as positive as I can. But there are others who don’t have the luxury of my education, or my exposure, who demonize the thin & are hurting those who may be suffering without fully knowing what they are doing. This could be you. It could be your mom. It WAS me a few years ago. And, I had NO resources to help me at all.

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Listen up. Very important article, not only for those with serious issues & conditions relating to food, but even for those casual dieters out there.

Interesting and scary.

Celebrities are under a lot of pressure to look their best, and celebrity mom’s are no exception. You know those amazing ‘after baby’ pics of celeb mamas, who seem to widdle back down to pre-baby size in a matter of weeks? Well, the pics seem to be taking its toll on regular moms too. Never before has there been such pressure to get your pre-baby body back in record time. Everyone from Victoria Beckham, to your aunt Susan seems to be feeling the pressure to pretend like that baby bump never happened at all.

The average woman gains 20-40lbs during pregnancy. Some gain more, much more. But weight’s not it. Pregnancy permanently changes your body; your hips, boobies, tummy & bum may never look the same (that’s not to say they won’t look AMAZING. Just not the same). It’s not realistic, and even dangerous, to assume that you’ll be back in your pre-baby genes within a few weeks of birth. Hormones & age also play a role in how quickly you can get that body back.

Genes & prior fitness levels may help you bounce back quicker than some. If you were active before & during your pregnancy, it’s a good indicator that you’re likely to get back down to pre-baby weight faster & more easily. But your hormones? Those could change the plan. Your energy levels? A crying baby? Time management? Yup, the list of obstacles goes on and on.

Enjoy being a mama. Enjoy your new body. It might be different, but it’s still awesome. Take your time. There’s no rush, really there’s not. Eat healthy, move as much as you can, and take pride in what your body just did. I mean seriously. That body deserves a high freaking five, right? It doesn’t deserve your disappointment, disdain or disgust.

You’re beautiful mama. Just gorgeous.

Read more about the latest in Mommyrexia here.

This is sad. Oh, my heart breaks listening to her.

It’s true that the messages we receive in magazines, television shows & through movies tend to reflect the ideals that ‘thin is in’. It’s also true that this is a problem that seems to pervasive, and affects everyone; men & women alike.

But 6 year olds? Yup. And it’s more of a problem than you probably think.

Unfortunately we can’t control all the messages that kids are exposed to on a daily basis. That’s why it’s important for parents, teachers & other adults to help their children filter through these messages and make sense of them in a healthy way. Kids need to know about photo-shopping. They need to know that eating healthy is good for you, not something you should do only to lose weight. They need to know that people come in ALL shapes & sizes. They need to know that they’re beautiful the way they are.

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