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body image

How survive the Freshman 15. One girl's honest battle with eating disorders and body image in college. An insiders look into the Gen Z, teenage girl experience.

Estimated reading time: 7 minutes

Let’s talk about something a lil icky, weight gain. I’m 19-years-old, about to finish my freshman year of university, and medicated. But before I get into all of that, let’s start with some basics. I am 5’10, not nearly as active as when I was ages 10-15, dancing 30 hours a week. I’m busy with work and school, so I usually don’t have time for all 3 meals. I thrive on caffeine and a dream 99% of the time, slaying my classes and trying to be a functional person in my family. But recently when visiting the student clinic for a sinus infection, they took vitals as usual, blood pressure, temperature… and my weight. If I’d never had any predisposition for eating disorders or body image issues, this was enough to set my mind on fire.

Let me tell you, when you are already sick and exhausted the last thing you want to do is be weighed, but we all have to go through it. I try not to look at the scale when being weighed just because I know that I have some struggles with food, weight, and exercise. Now, my lovely, amazing mama tried her damndest due to her own eating disorders to make sure my sister and I grew up body positive, especially in the dance world. That being said, it was just kind of inevitable. Nothing was ever said directly to me, but constantly hearing your standard petite, very thin, best friend constantly be called “fat” or “a whale who eats too much” makes something in your brain flip. It happens just as quickly, if not faster, than turning the light on in your room. You start to think if this is what they think of her, wtf do they think of me? 

This was the beginning of the slow an steady hits to my body image. 

Now, I never really had an “aha” moment but it definitely started around age 12. Seeing myself in tights and a leotard 6 days a week surrounded by mirrors, oof, it was rough, and I never really discussed it with anyone because my best friend wouldn’t understand, she was nowhere near as “fat” as I was, she could only understand the hurtful insults constantly being heard. Picking clothes to wear everyday now that I’m no longer confined by uniforms, is such a nightmare struggle because I hate everything I put on my body. 

I never really brought it up to my mama because she struggled with her own eating disorders and I didn’t want her to feel like she “failed” in a sense that I was feeling this way. When I was 12 that’s when I stopped eating breakfast, just woke up and had my coffee. Lunch consisted of whatever yummy stuff my mom packed for me, because I stopped eating the cafeteria food, and that was enough until 4 or 5 pm-ish when I was home from school/before dance and when I would eat dinner with my family. 

The gradual onset of eating disorders is almost unnoticeable in the beginning,.

Now, enough about the origin story and back to the now. I was still, up until this weighing, only consuming coffee for breakfast and then eating dinner with the family. If there was any snacking it would be either another coffee or a granola bar of some sort. Recently though, I’ve been making small changes like a protein shake for breakfast, along with my beloved coffee, a salad for lunch, and then whatever happens to be on the menu for dinner. I try to move, walking around campus when not working on assignments between classes, but here in the midwest I must suffer from mother nature’s wrath and allergy season (which is all year round for this allergy shot girl). That plays a huge role in my ability to walk outside. I try to do lil 15 minute core routines on youtube but your girl is tired when she gets home, ready to pass out on the couch with my fur baby, Stella. 

Earlier I mentioned being medicated, I suffer from severe anxiety, depression, insomnia, and terrible/excruciating periods. Periods so bad with radiating pain and numbness in my back and legs caused by cramps that are so severe, I sometimes feel bed bound. At the start of the new year I was lucky enough to be put on and start birth control to try and help manage those symptoms, so I’m no longer debilitated during that time of the month. I also would have very irregular periods due to stress and life, that now is being helped as well along with several other things. But even with a low dosage, adding that medication can play a role in weight gain/distribution. I’m also being treated with mental health medications such as gabapentin and prozac, both of those are known to cause little to no weight gain, but with my luck I’m definitely likely to experience that side effect. 

I have to remind myself that I am in control of my actions, reactions and choices.

I decided in March (my birthday month) that I want to make some changes. I want to get in shape and be healthy, because at the end of the day I need to be happy with what I see in the mirror even if it’s not accurate. I feel like there are so many people, women specifically, my age that are experiencing so many changes with moving away for college and balancing work, school, social life, relationships, etc. that many of us neglect simple things like eating healthier and getting our steps in. 

With the help of my wonderful therapist and supportive mama, I’m determined to work on these things and try to make myself happy by making a few lifestyle choice changes i.e. when picking out outfits for class, put some thought into it the night before instead of getting frustrated because I have “nothing” to wear ( which we all know is a lie because my bedroom floor discovered in new clothes), running late just to end up in leggings and a sweatshirt. It’s so exhausting and it makes me feel terrible.

Moms, talk to your daughters. Ask them how they feel about themselves when they stand in front of a mirror. I think there needs to be more discussions being held even though they are uncomfortable, but I know I’m not alone. Don’t stop asking, no matter how many times they roll their eyes or brush you off. My mom talks to us about everything, no matter how uncomfortable it might be. She’s taught me to get comfortable with being uncomfortable so that I can be happier and feel more in control of my own life. You can’t just ignore the hard parts, they don’t go away…they just grow and fester and get more uncomfortable. We just face it together and get through it, hopefully, less traumatized and triggered than if we tried to do it alone. We have to create an environment where our daughters, sisters, mothers and friends feel safe to be vulnerable. Because the truth is, body image struggles are all too common, affecting an estimated 50-80% of women.

To think about how I’ve felt this way about myself since I was 12 years old, makes me sad. Just like my mom when I have my own children I’m gonna do the same things as she did. Make sure my kids are comfortable with their bodies and being naked from birth. I wish more than anything that they never think of themselves how I think of myself. 

7 years, almost ½ of my life, I’ve hated my body and never said anything about it, because I didn’t want to upset my mom, or trigger my sister to think negatively about herself. The average onset age of eating disorders in women is between 12-25. 

Check on the women in your life that are between those ages, ask those older in recovery and ask how they are doing, eating disorders never really go away. It’s a daily battle to make the decision to eat rather than restrict or eliminate meals. This is something I will continue to struggle with for the majority of my life. 

One day, I hope I can genuinely be able to say I love myself, but until then I hope this helps others realize they aren’t alone. These feelings and thoughts, while unkind, are common to think. That’s the problem. Beauty standards are set for us since birth and we spend our whole lives unhappy trying to achieve them. Do the things that make you happy. I hope one day I can too, in the meantime though I’m working to make the changes. Even the Tinkerbell sized ones.

And to any other young woman out there who is battling her own demons when it comes to food, weight, and self-acceptance – you are not alone. I see you, I hear you, and I’m here for you. It’s a daily fight, but you’ve got this. Eat the bread, wear the crop top, and don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. Together, we can break the cycle of body shame and learn to love ourselves, one small step at a time.

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school uniforms, little girls, body image, private school, self-esteem,

Have you ever thought about how our daughters’ self-esteem and body image could be affected by the school uniforms or dress code policy? Sounds crazy, right? I mean isn’t that the entire purpose of school uniforms in the first place, to level the playing field; to equalize all children and neutralize all social hierarchy? Isn’t a dress code to keep kids comfortable and tidy.

I have daughters, who have to wear school uniforms. There is no option. I thought this was a great idea when we started school but now, I think it’s stifling and worse, I think it’s causing some damage to my tween’s self-esteem and worse, her body image. It’s bad enough that they are not allowed to even look like girls; no ruffles, no frills or even pale pink polish because it might be “distracting” to boys but now we are even making the clothes to fit like a boy. Someone once told me that I should cut my daughters’ hair because they “read somewhere” that long hair is conducive to rape. I said, no why don’t women teach their sons not to be rapists and to respect women and their bodies. Why should my daughter have to look like a boy so your son doesn’t get any ideas? Why do the girls have to be punished?

But how are school uniforms destroying little girls’ body image, you ask?

This year, it has become almost impossible to find anything that fits my child and believe me; I have tried all the stores and all the sizes. I’m frustrated; my poor daughter is beside herself. She had a growth spurt over the summer and suddenly all of her clothes are too short and tight. So, since I don’t want to send my child to school looking all “Hulk Smash” I decided to try to just buy her some bigger clothes. Makes sense, right? WRONG!

You see, I’ve noticed that for the last few years, the girls’ uniform pants that we bought at Children’s Place were made slightly different than boy uniform pants. It was the little details like a little spandex mixed with the cotton so that the pants could bend and mold to a little girl’s body. Also, little girls’ pants were slightly flared for aesthetics and had a cute little ribbon belt. The pants were perfect. My children have been wearing them for years.

But this year, with all the let’s eliminate labels like “boys” and “girls” campaigns being on trend, nothing fits. It’s not my imagination. They have actually stopped making the pants we previously bought and have gone to a more streamlined look, that happen to look exactly like the boys’ pants. Let’s put it this way, my waif like 8 –year-old who almost blows away with a strong gust of wind and typically wears a size 6X/7 had to buy a size 10, in order to fit.

My poor 10-year-old who typically wears a 12 or a 14 depending on the length of the pants, literally, could not find a pair of pants that fit her in the length and waist. Either they swallowed her whole or fit in the waist but were up to her knees or in one particular worst case scenario, we had to try on a size 14 that was tight on her waist and her butt and then we found out it was a mislabeled 10. With tears in her eyes in the dressing room, she looked at me and said, “Mommy, I just want to be normal. I just want pants that fit to wear to school!” I’ve only noticed this in uniforms, but of course, that’s all I’ve shopped for recently.

My heart broke into one million pieces because I saw every single woman that has come before her and every single little girl that will come after her if we don’t do something to change this NOW! There is plenty of time for her to feel like shit about herself because the fashion and style industry do not cater to normal sized women and they surely don’t cater to tall women, who are neither anorexic or plus sized. Our options are crying in the dressing room while trying to either starve ourselves into see thru micro mini everything, wearing muumuus or dressing like a man. Why do we have to dress according to them? And who the f*ck are they anyways?

Isn’t it enough that our daughters are bombarded by images on television and in the media of starving women as our standard of beauty, now my 10-year-old and 8-year-old are being told their bodies are wrong by fucking uniform pants. And by the way, if there was ever proof that the patriarchy is in charge, just look at a school uniform policy. It is made to inflict embarrassment and shatter self-image by making every little girl feel as ugly and plain as possible.

This is my plea, manufacturers and designers of little girls’ school uniforms

Please stop making school uniforms cut to give our elementary school aged girls doubt in themselves and their bodies.

My daughters are perfect and healthy and beautiful and in one shopping trip, fashion has planted a seed of doubt. I saw her face. I know that look…

 If only I could lose 5 pounds, I could fit into those pants!

I didn’t ever want to see that look in her eyes; that partial disgust and doubt of her own body.

It had nothing to do with wanting to be fashionable and every thing to do with just wanting to be normal and wear pants that fit. Why are we allowing the fashion industry to destroy the self-esteem and body image that we have worked so hard to instill in our girls? We pay for these clothes, shouldn’t they be made to fit our bodies not the other way around? The fashion industry works for us.

What are your thoughts on vanity sizing and unisex cuts in girls’ school uniforms?

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weight, fat, body image, raising girls, ballerinas

“I’m fat! Just look at my flabby arms!”

This is what I overheard amongst the ballerinas today. 11-year-olds should not be worrying about flabby arms, especially since not one of the 10 preteen girls included in this conversation are fat or had flabby arms. My heart sunk and my stomach turned as I realized if these lean, dancers think they’re fat, what if all little girls think they’re fat? I didn’t say a word because I was speechless.

Every Wednesday, I take my daughters to ballet. They were in class when I heard the girls talking. This has been my routine for nearly 8 years. At least 4 classes a week, I am surrounded by a plethora of beautiful, young, graceful, strong and lean girls (ages 3 and up). It’s always been a place of positivity and the focus is on the dance moves, not the size of the dancer’s ass. Why would it be?

My girls have danced with the city ballet practically since the moment they could tell me that was what they wanted to do but I went in with my eyes open. I’ve heard the horror stories of ballerinas who are malnourished and have eating disorders. I know these are brought on by the constant focus on body and weight that is necessary for any athlete.

Having battled severe eating disorders myself, I promised myself a few things 1) I would never negative talk in front of my girls 2) I would do everything in my power to instill high self-confidence and positive body image and 3) if they were ever involved in a situation where someone made weight the focus, I’d pull my daughters out because it’s not worth it. I won’t allow anyone to undo the self-esteem that I’ve spent years building.

Perfection is not achievable, mostly because it’s a moving target, and no girl should feel that her self-worth has anything to do with her weight. Only in ballet, like many sports, it is hard to be in top performance form if your body is not at its absolute best so even if there isn’t a blatant focus and criticism of body size and shape, it’s there, lurking like the boogie man just waiting to destroy your daughter’s self-confidence. I know it and, apparently, so do these girls. How could they not living in a world where thigh gaps and bikini bridges are aspirations.

I wanted to grab those girls and hug them and shout to them, “No! Your arms are not flabby. You are perfect. Your body is strong and beautiful and amazing. It is what moves you on the stage. It is what moves you in the world. Your body is what makes you….YOU!” I wanted to, like I wished someone would’ve done to me the first time I looked in the mirror and saw my 12-year-old body and saw imperfection in perfection. But I couldn’t because I wasn’t supposed to be there. I wasn’t supposed to hear that. They aren’t my daughters.

At that moment, I was too busy praying that my daughter, just inside the classroom, didn’t hear this slightly older ballerina who she looks up to calling herself “flabby” and “fat.” Because if you’ve ever been involved in the dance world, you know, there is nothing a tiny ballerina looks up to more than a bigger one, even if it’s only by a level. I held my breath and waited to see if she mentioned anything. She didn’t.

You see, little girls are like sponges; they absorb everything that they see and hear and once they know it, they can’t unknow it. They keep it and pick at it like a scab. I know this is true because my own daughters have even began to pick up on subtle cues, ones that I don’t even know I’m doing. They know how to decipher a hint and they can figure things out. They are not oblivious. I went home last night and began to think of all the ways I hint at my dissatisfaction with my own body; long sighs in the mirror, tugging at my shirt, tiny fits of rage when trying on clothes in the dressing room. I can’t do that anymore. They’re too smart. If they’re unhealthy or think they are fat, I feel like it’s my personal parenting fail.

I feel terrible that I didn’t grab those little girls and tell them how perfect and strong and amazing they are. I had to do something so I emailed the Director of the Ballet (a mom of two small girls, a ballerina and a friend) and I told her what had happened because I feel like going silent makes me a part of the problem. I want to be part of the solution.

What would you have done if you heard a group of young girls calling themselves fat?

 

 

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body love, love your body, body image, women, mary Lambert

Love your body is the message that we must teach our daughters.

Love your body like your mother loved your baby feet. I had something else planned to write about today but then I listened to one of my favorite songs by Mary Lambert, Body Love. It spoke to me and, if you are a woman, it will probably speak to you too. If you are a man, it can give you some insight into a woman’s mind, especially one who finds herself to be perpetually imperfect. Like so many of us do. I want to teach my girls to love themselves as much as I loved their baby feet and that they are worth more than the size of their ass or what lies between their legs or what they look like or a number on a scale. You.Are.Beautiful!

i know girls who are trying to fit into the social norm
like squeezing into last year’s prom dress
i know girls who are low rise, mac eyeshadow, and binge drinking
i know girls that wonder if they’re a disaster and sexy enough to fit in
i know girls who are fleeing bombs from the mosques of their skin,
playing russian roulette with death
it’s never easy to accept that our bodies are fallible and flawed

but when do we draw the line?
when the knife hits the skin?
isn’t it the same thing as purging
because we’re so obsessed with death?
some women just have more guts than others
the funny thing is women like us don’t shoot
we swallow pills, still wanting to be beautiful at the morgue
still proceeding to put on make-up
still hoping that the mortician finds us fuckable and attractive
we might as well be buried with our shoes and handbags and scarves,
girls

we flirt with death every time we etch a new tally mark into our skin
i know how to split my wrists like a battlefield too,
but the time has come for us to reclaim our bodies

our bodies deserve more than to be war-torn and collateral
offering this fuckdom as a pathetic means to say,
“i only know how to exist when i’m wanted!”
girls like us are hardly ever wanted, you know?
we’re used up and we’re sad
and drunk and perpetually waiting by the phone

for someone to pick up and tell us that we did good
well, you did good

i know i am because i said i am
i know i am because i said i am
i know i am because i said i am
my body is home
my body is home
i know i am because i said i am
i know i am because i said i am
i know i am because i said i am

so try this:
take your hands over your bumpy lovebody naked
and remember the first time you touched someone
with the sole purpose of learning all of them,
touched them because the light was pretty on them
and the dust in the sunlight danced the way your heart did

touch yourself with a purpose
your body is the most beautiful royal
fathers and uncles are not claiming your knife anymore
are not your razor, no,
put the sharpness back
lay your hands flat and feel the surface of scarred skin
i once touched a tree with charred limbs
the stump was still breathing but the tops were just ashy remains
i wonder what it’s like to come back from that
because sometimes i feel forest fires erupting from my wrists
and the smoke signals sent out are the most beautiful things i’ve ever seen

love your body the way your mother loved your baby feet
and brother arm-wrapping shoulders, and remember, this is important:
you are worth more than who you fuck
you are worth more than a waistline
you are worth more than beer bottles displayed like drunken artifacts
you are worth more than any naked body could proclaim in the shadows
more than a man’s whim

or your father’s mistake
you are no less valuable as a size 16 than a size 4
you are no less valuable as a 32a than a 36c
your sexiness is defined by concentric circles within your wood,
it is wisdom
you are a goddamn tree stump with leaves sprouting out,
reborn

I am not here yet. But I want to be.

Do you love your body?

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Robyn Lawley, plus size, bathing suits, fashion, Throat Punch Thursday

Throat Punch Thursday,Robyn Lawley, plus sizeRobyn Lawley launched a plus sized clothing line that starts at size 8.8!!!!! As if girls today don’t have enough of a challenging existence just trying to survive the teen years with their self-esteem and body image in tact, now we are labeling average sized women as plus sized.What message is that sending? And honestly, do we grown women need any more media outlets to tell us we could lose a few pounds? Haven’t we all given Spanx enough of our money? Spanx wins every time. What.the.FUCK?

Gorgeous Australian model Robyn Lawley debuted her plus-size swimwear collection online this week, in hopes that it will eventually become the “go-to brand for swimwear for all women.” The collection includes swimsuits from size eight to 18 and ranges in price from $140 to $200. This idea I love; cute bathing suits for every woman. It is much like the Jennifer Lopez line at Kohl’s (a personal favorite of mine due to the fact that it fits my curves and doesn’t make me look like I am banished to a life of burkas for having an ass), the Kardashian Line at Sears who takes into consideration all body types and Torrid a store that makes fashionable clothing for women sizes 14-24 ( that is more in the realm of plus-sized.) These places and lines are awesome because they give women with a little weight on them cute clothes to wear so they can look like everyone else because believe me just because we are overweight doesn’t mean we want to wear ugly clothes or Mrs. Roper moomoos. We’re thick not blind for God’s sake.

Robyn Lawley, plus size, bathing suits, body image, fashion

Robyn says she swims a lot and found that in order to find swimsuits that fit her, she fell into a category that wasn’t very fashionable. Wait a minute, what? I’ve seen her photos, she is only a size 12 but the woman is 6 foot 2 inches tall. If she were any smaller than a size 12, she’d blow away. I realize a size 12 is considered obese for certain parts of the United States, like Los Angeles and New York but she definitely looks like the average fit woman to me. She doesn’t look overweight and there is no way she is shopping in the plus sized stores. Big and Tall, maybe. There is plenty of fashionable clothing in her size, unless she only shops sample sales. Then yeah, nothing probably fits because all of those pieces are specifically designed for anorexic 12-year-old boys who eat tissue paper and chain smoke. The only thing they get close to nutrition is if they accidentally drink a diet coke with lime. (Gotta keep the scurvy at bay.)

Robyn Lawley, plus size, bathing suits

Lawley, who was the first plus-sized model to star in a Ralph Lauren campaign and appear in the pages of Vogue Australia, hopes her line will change the public’s attitude about plus-sized fashion. Despite the fact that the average American woman wears a size 14 or larger, Lawley said companies still cater to the smaller segment of the population. The whole idea that Lawley is even considered plus sized in the first place is preposterous. She is a beautiful, average body type woman. The fact that any asshole wanted to pat themselves on the back for letting a “plus sized model” fatty, fatty two-by-four that she is in his campaign in the first place needs to be bitch slapped prior to their throat punch.

So this week, my throat punch is to Robyn Lawley for creating this beautiful line of swimwear only to ruin it by caving to the man and labeling a size 8 as plus sized and to our society who thinks it’s acceptable to label clothing in a size 8 as plus sized and worse still to make women feel like their worth is defined by the size of their pants, how much they eat and what size everyone else deems is acceptable. We live in a society where people feel like they can freely comment on other people’s size, shape and how they look. When did it become okay to insult people just because you don’t like the way they look? This is bullshit. Stop letting the media and fashion houses fuck our daughters up! Give them the chance to love themselves before society teaches them to hate their body.

Robyn Lawley, plus size, bathing suits

Instead of all of us trying to starve ourselves to fit the fashion industry and Hollywood’s idea of beautiful, why not make them make clothes that fit all of us without shaming us? After all, they work for us. We buy the clothes that pay their bills and make them famous. It is not the other way around. If we refuse to accept their standards and bend to their will, if they want to stay in business they will need to meet our needs. Who the fuck made them the boss of our world?

Rage against this mind-set for your daughters and your granddaughters. If today’s fashion designers can’t be inclusive, then maybe it’s time for a change in designers not in us.

What do you think of a Robyn Lawley being considered plus size and worse having a line that labels size 8 plus sized?

Robyn Lawley, plus size, bathing suits, body image, fashion

Photo

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skinny, vanity, weight loss,

Throat Punch Thursday,fat chicks, mean peopleI saw the following on a message board. Am I surprised? No, because people are kind of assholes and people really act like assholes when they can hide behind a computer screen.

“WHY do SOME very obese women wear clothes 4 sizes too small?”

Apparently, we’ve never heard of the phrase, live and let live. Look, I am not so tragically obese that I roam the aisles of Wal-Mart with my belly hanging out below the bottom of my shirt as I scour the joint for Pork Rinds and Mountain Dew but I do take offense to this statement.

https://www.dreamstime.com/-image11545923

I have been every single size between a 4/5 ( in the 90’s, which I imagine with vanity sizing being what it is would be a size 0 today) and I have been as large as a size 20 and I have never walked into anywhere with my belly hanging below my shirt or my clothes being 4 sizes too small.

But before you condemn someone and chastise them for choosing to be a “fat chick” and not wearing clothes that fit, maybe you should consider a few things; maybe she just had a baby and does not yet fit back into her prematernity clothes, perhaps she is destitute and can not afford bigger clothes, maybe she has something wrong with her physically that prevents her from fitting into said clothes, maybe she has a mental deficit that prevents her from knowing any better, or perhaps she is just so fucking comfortable with her body she doesn’t give a shit ( which we should all be so lucky). It appears to me that these Fat chicks wearing clothes that are too small are not the problem but maybe your very narrow minded view of the world and obvious sizist attitude are the problem.

The comments were equally as bad calling heavy women everything from classless to tasteless. Maybe they are doing the best with what they’ve got. Live a day in their skin and then see how easy it is to just dress “appropriately” for your size. Let’s be honest, there are a lot of smaller women who wear clothes that are too small for them as well with body parts hanging out all over the place and you don’t see anyone complaining about that. I think they are both equally offensive.

fat chicks

What do you think about people hiding behind their keyboards to be mean to other people?

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lena dunham, weight, howard stern, body image

Throat Punch Thursday,Jersey Bridgeman, Zachary Holly, murder, rape

So, apparently, Howard Stern made a joke about Lena Dunham being fat and looking like Jonah Hill. Which is really, whatever, its Howard Stern, it’s not like an insult coming from Ryan Gosling or George Clooney. It’s an insult coming from a shock jock with bad hair, a big nose and an even worse attitude. I love Howard Stern but you have got to admit, he’s not the nicest guy. He’s kind of a raging asshole and that’s what we love about him but sometimes he takes shit a little too far and I think comparing a young woman in television to Jonah Hill is definitely not nice. Jonah Hill is funny but no woman wants to be compared to a man shaped like Humpty Dumpty.

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body image, eating disorders, my daughter thinks I'm ugly

Talk about your body image being crushed. My daughter thinks I’m ugly. She told me that I’m prettier on the “inside” than I am on the outside. She even qualified it by saying, “Mommy, I’ve lived on the inside, so I should know.” She told me this last week.

I won’t lie; I wasn’t looking particularly pretty on that day. If I remember correctly, I was wearing yoga pants, a tank top and my hair was pulled back in a disheveled ponytail. You know, the same thing I wore yesterday and the day before and probably today. Isn’t that the standard new Mommy uniform? It is in my house. Or maybe I’m just too tired to care lately. It’s been a hectic summer with lots of changes and little sleep.

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Healthy Heart

Healthy is as healthy does ~I am turning 40 in September. Go ahead, gasp in shock. I know you can’t believe that I am that old. I can hardly believe it myself. As many of you know, I have spent most of my life with severe body issues and eating disorders.

This year, I have decided that I need to face my fears and move passed them. I am embracing who I am and really trying to get healthy and learn to live in my skin. I am trying to learn to love my body and I want to live a long time to enjoy my life with my husband and children.

Body used to mean what I looked like physically. That was all it meant. I had a specific idea in mind that I needed to achieve and I would do so at all cost. I did so at great cost but I have daughters now.

Now, my body is what will carry me through their lifetime. My body needs to be healthy and strong so that I can be around to cry at their weddings, share in their accomplishments, be in awe of their miracles. I want to be there for all of it, more than anything else in this world.

Healthy Mind

I have decided to join the Map My Fitness Quaker Heart Health Challenge, to ensure that I am healthy and happy for many years to come; to enjoy my marriage and my children. I want to be around to enjoy the life we’ve built. The life we planned for. The life we deserve.

The challenge is to simply complete 15 workouts in 30 days. it doesn’t have to be extreme , you only need to commit to getting up and moving. I am eating healthier and committing to riding my recumbent bike for 45 minutes four times a week over the next 30 days.

What can you do to get healthier in the next 30 days? Won’t you join me?

Joining the Map My Fitness Quaker Heart Health Challenge is my first step towards becoming a healthier me. Now I’m curious to know, what motivates you to stay healthy?

For your chance to win $750 complete these two steps:

1.Share the Challenge with your friends
2.Tell us that you’ve invited your friends to join the Challenge AND share what motivates you to stay healthy below

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Quaker Oats Company. The opinions and text are all mine. Official Sweepstakes Rules. Don’t we all deserve to be healthy?

Healthy Soul

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body image,loving yourself, self-esteem, self-image, eating disorder, body dysmorphic disorder

Dear Debi (the 13-year-old with a skewed body image),

Hold your head high.You are beautiful even with a mouth full of silver.Don’t hide your smile in Freshman gym class. Smile big and hard with those big shiny braces, because one day that smile will light up the world for two of the most incredible little people that you will ever know.

Laugh your goofy Ricky Riccardo laugh because one day the man of your dreams will find it as endearing as you find it disgusting.

Write in your journal, put pen to paper and remember these moments because they are what will make you who you will become. Be fearless!

Try everything, go for your dreams, exhaust your potential.

Walk tall my love, 5’7″ may feel enormous at your age when you are towering over all the boys but in a couple of years, they will all be taller than you.

Little Girl with poor body image

Your value in life is not measured by the size of your jeans and comparing yourself to others is a pointless waste of time. Besides, you are never as big as you think you are and eating disorders and body issues are so not the way to go. With it, comes years of shame and guilt and it will take years to undo the damage that you will do to your body.In the end, it only makes things worse.

Be the best you that you can be, that’s enough. That’s better than enough, its exhausting potential and being comfortable in your own skin. It’s amazing.It is more important than I can even make you understand. It is the kind of knowledge that I’ve had to learn the hard way.

No matter what box you have been put into by people and society, you are free. Your horizons are boundless. Your potential is limitless.

Breathe little girl, there is plenty of time for growing up, embrace yourself. You are the perfect you and what seems momentous today and earth-shattering will pass and make you stronger.

Love yourself with the reckless abandon that you would give anyone else who has a special place in your heart.You deserve it!

Sing at the top of your lungs, dance like nobody is watching, love like you’ve never been hurt, and laugh like Ricky Ricardo!

Love,
Your Older, Wiser Self

Imagine a world

…where every girl grows up with the self-esteem she needs to reach her full potential.
…where every woman enjoys feeling confident in her own beauty.
…where we all help to build self-esteem in the people we love most. 
Dove,Thanks for this wonderful campaign.It makes my heart soar to  know that the world will be a better place for my girls because of it.


My body image is bigger than just my reflection in the mirror

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