Eating Disorders And Body Image Advocates And Why They Blog


As part of National Eating Disorders Awareness Week, I'd like to introduce you to some Eating Disorder and Body Image Advocates who blog. Some you may already know. Some may be new to you. Whether you are personally struggling with an eating disorder or body image issue, or love someone who is, these blogs are wonderful resources of information and support.

This is the first post in what I plan to be an ongoing feature.
They are listed in no particular order. Click the titles to visit their blogs.


Weightless with Margarita Tartakovsky MS

I blog at Weightless for many reasons. I blog because I strive to be an empowering voice of reason in our warped, weight-focused culture. So many of us struggle with poor body image, the diet mentality and disordered eating. I hope to help others improve their body images, befriend their bodies and learn to take better care of themselves. It might sound cliché or cheesy (or both :)), but I hope to spread the message that every body, shape, size and silhouette is beautiful and worthy of respect, love and care. That’s a fact!

I blog because I’d like to spread awareness and accurate information about eating disorders, helping to share other women’s stories, to show people that you are not alone and you don’t have to be ashamed. With the right tools and treatment, recovery is possible. If these individuals can do it, after suffering from anorexia, bulimia, binge eating, drinking, deep insecurities and other issues, so can you. We are all strong.


I blog because I hope to empower others to challenge the media and the thin ideal, and to help them focus on health, not weight. I also genuinely enjoy connecting with readers, bloggers, authors and health professionals, who generously and courageously share their stories, become advocates, conduct research and do great work to help others. Together we contribute our voices to an essential dialogue. Plus, I love the creativity, release and inspiration that blogging brings. I’m constantly learning, which keeps me on my toes and is really fun.


Ultimately, with Weightless, I hope to provide readers with some insight, inspiration and food for thought.


I am a woman with a story, a voice, and a commitment. I struggled with anorexia for years and now consider myself recovered. I am dedicated to helping others in the best way I know how: my writing. Writing helped me on my way to recovery and I have a sincere passion to be, at the very least, an understanding voice amid the pain of eating disorders and all that they bring.

I've never been happier, so I know that health--mental, physical, and emotional--is possible. I'm an ANAD Eating Disorder Support Group Leader in the Lehigh Valley (PA) area. I have a goal, and that goal is to share, care, and write the words that make sense. On my blog I seek to turn tears to words in an effort to heal, share, and help in the simplest of ways.

There is life beyond an Eating Disorder; I have found it. But I still know and feel the pain and suffering eating disorders carry with them. I can't forget, but I can write. Every day It is there--that terrifying It that tries to get a hold of so many others. Sometimes It succeeds, sometimes It does not. But words are tools. Turning tears to words is where it starts.


Finding Melissa

Writing an ED related blog was not something I ever anticipated, particularly as I have always been totally adverse to “telling my story”; however, after handing over more than half my life to anorexia bulimia, it was impossible to walk away without attempting to convert my experiences into something more positive.

Finding Melissa was born during a night when I thought I’d die, and realized that I needed to find a way of capturing – and then separating myself from – my eating disorder. It grew from the realization that myexperiences weren’t just mine, and that I might be able to help others through my words.

Finding Melissa is the story of losing an eating disorder and gaining an identity; and, whilst it’s contextualized in my story, it’s very much about making sense of the eating disorder experience and working through the process of re-building a life.

Eating disorders don’t just affect people on a physical level or in relation to food: the effects are often far wider. My site, therefore, explores the many different factors in play, from social to cultural, the media to growing up, body image to just being human, with the hope that by opening up a debate around these areas, people will begin to explore their own experiences and assumptions, and be able to piece together their story – and their recovery.

The interesting thing about this discussion is that many of the issues aren’t specific to eating disorders: the manifestation of eating disorders may differ, but often the feelings and contexts can be related to. This is key to helping people indirectly affected my eating disorders to understand what their loved ones may be going through; so, I’m hoping that Finding Melissa will help to improve perceptions of eating disorders, as well as helping people struggling with many of the issues that it explores.

ED Bites: Carrie Arnold

I started ED Bites over three years ago. I started the blog as a chronicle of my recovery from anorexia, and because I realized that much of what people knew about eating disorders was incomplete. Eating disorders aren't just a "control" issue, they're not about wanting to look like skinny models--they're a profound mental illness. And as I came to grasp both the "mental illness" aspect of anorexia, and its biological basis, I began to understand why it was so hard for me and others like me to break free from the stranglehold of an eating disorder.

Without this understanding, I was mired in self-blame as I tried to understand why I had gotten sick and why I couldn't seem to get better. But the more I read and researched, the more I learned to forgive myself and move forward. At ED Bites, I try to combine the latest scientific research on eating disorders with my personal experiences recovering from a long-term eating disorder.


Medusa


Horrified at the rampant rise in eating disorders and the pro-ana movement, a few years ago I began blogging about the deadly consequences of EDs, primarily through pictures which showed the stark reality of anorexia and bulimia.

Recently, I began to feature stories submitted by readers who are struggling with or recovered from EDs. I also post about celebrities, the fashion industry and magazines (especially their love of photo-shopping), and the diet industry…and how the blame for the current warped idea of the body ideal often lies squarely at their feet.

Blogging about EDs is a passion of mine, and if only one person is affected by a picture or a post on my blog which makes them think twice about purging or restricting, it will all be worthwhile.


Feed Me: Harriet Brown

I'm a journalist who's always had an interest in women's issues. And as we know, eating disorders are largely (though not entirely) women's issues. I've also always had an interest in writing about food and body image. My older daughter became ill with anorexia when she was 14, and I wound up doing a lot of research about it and writing articles about it for the New York Times and other publications. I just finished a book about anorexia, called BRAVE GIRL EATING, which will be published this fall.

I guess you could say I blog about these things because I think most people (including doctors and medical people) misunderstand the fundamental nature of eating disorders. They see them as diseases of "choice" rather than diseases of genetics and other inborn factors, and that affects the way EDs are treated. I would like to help change the way EDs are treated. Current rates of recovery are unacceptably low, and there's way too much ineffective and even harmful treatment out there. So I'm also a supporter of evidence-based treatments, of which there are very few.



Another Piece Of Cake: for women who refuse to live by numbers

I am five years in recovery from an eating disorder (ED-NOS) and my experience has opened my eyes to a new way of living. Participating in recovery from my eating disorder allowed me to pursue getting my master's degree in expressive therapies and to pursue the passions I love, like theater and writing. I currently work as a mental health clinician, and work with a range of populations including eating disorders, substance abuse and trauma.

Why do I blog? For a number of reasons. First, I believe there is a large amount of shame attached to this disease, and by sharing my story, I wish to lessen that amount and allow others to have a "me too!" moment. Second, I believe that the media bombards us with so much unhealthy information we tend to forget we do not have to think of our bodies and our esteem in a negative way. Third, I'm simply hoping to raise awareness about a disorder the general public seems to know little about. And I look forward to the journey ahead!


Happy Bodies

This project began in early 2009 when we began to talk about bodies. We wanted to talk about our own: what they look like, what they do, what we think about them. And we wanted to talk about all our bodies: health and positivity, discrimination, sexual violence, and power. We wanted a space to talk about bodies. So, here we are.


Are You Eating With Your Anorexic: Laura Collins

I blog to allow myself to respond to the world’s news and my own observations in an immediate way. I love the way I can be part of an ongoing conversation among my allies and with those with whom I do not agree. I like the way blogs link to one another and to the news and to changing thinking and ideas. I think of the blog as a place parents might find, and feel heard and less alone.


So why did I start Voice In Recovery? I started it because there were a lot of memoirs out there, there are a lot of pro-ed sites, but the voices I felt I needed and wanted to hear were those in recovery. Recovery is such a dynamic process, very different for each individual. But I didn’t seem to find those voices when I was in desperate need of help. I felt the support being given and given by myself were those struggling in their disorders and that was hard. I wanted to create a place where voices could be heard, stories could be shared, and journeys could be shown to the world. I didn't know what recovery looked like, felt like. I find many people coming to me asking about recovery – feelings the struggles are hard, that recovery includes a lot of the thought processes we had in the disorder. Am I doing enough, am I far enough on this journey, am I doing it right? I have started this journey because I believe recovery is not black and white. I believe it is hard, but hope is possible. I believe there is no right or wrong way. I believe the journey is more important than the end result. I try not to get wrapped up in the thinking that because I struggle or have a bad day – that I am not making large strides in my life. I also feel I am living an authentic life, I no longer feel torn in what I do. I have days where I question my voice – but never its honesty. I wanted to start Voice in Recovery to provide a safe place for people to share their recovery stories. To find hope, and find solace in the journey. I want to provide to others what I did not find when I went looking. If I can help just one person either find their voice, or understand that recovery is possible, and that although there are struggles – there is hope in the process.

I have made it out of a very long tunnel where I should have died more than once. I made it out struggling a lot on my own, alone, and while this is my own path – I hope to create a safer, more open environment for people to not feel alone, and find friends, support, treatments that will work for them. I use my page to focus on integration – of research, treatments, news stories, recovery stories, etc. I think there are a lot of diverse voices out there – and I hope to find a way to dispel myths, break stigmas, and show that eating disorders are diverse by nature, and recovery is as well.

In the end that is what recovery is to me. Its about living. Finding a way to live authentically, live with passion, and helping others. That is my goal in life. This is my journey. continued


I started blogging the beginning September 2009 for a graduation project. Which is basically a project you have to do your 12th grade year of high school to graduate. So immediately I knew I wanted to do something to raise awareness to eating disorders.

Every little girl wants to be beautiful and looked at like a princess, and I had just that as a child. My dad treated me like the most beautiful little girl alive and I think growing up and looking at magazines my mind slowly started thinking "I'm not the most beautiful anything. I need to work on it." Which is how I started having developing a lot of eating disorder tendencies. I would count calories, work out excursively, not eat enough food and eventually it turned into my obsession. To the point were I became a vegan just so i could restrict myself from all the very fattening foods, and I lost a lot of weight in just two months, I also lost a lot of my hair because of how how little proteins I would get in my day. Even though I was thin I was miserable, I was never happy with what I looked like if anything I had grown so much more unhappy. I was ruining my life all by myself.

I ended up losing a great friend of mine and that was my wake up call. I think it is impossible for someone who has gone through an eating disorder, depression, or
low self esteem not to advocate about it in some day and to feel this urgency to help others. Thankfully my web site is doing really well and it has become such a huge part of me.


picture source:

I am Divine: National Eating Disorders Awareness Week



I Am Divine

Spirit teaches me that love is unconditional
to all, for all even if not always by all
I live this
I breathe this
I do all that I can to embody this


but I hate my body
I put conditions on my body
i put conditions on myself


I love God and feel Spirit move through me
Spirit is in me
Spirit is me
so if I hate myself
I hate Spirit
which is the antithesis of all that i believe
all that i am all that i teach all that is fluid in me


My core belief crumbles when facing the mirror
for today can i love myself the way that God loves me?
for today i can love myself the way that God loves me
for today i can find value in all that i am
not who i am because i already value my who
but "that" i am
it's the physical parts that get compartmentalized
in this fluid organic Spirit that I embody, that I love, that I preach, that I live... I lock away the part of me that needs this Spirit the most


i love the person who cuts me off in traffic
i love the person who turns her nose up at my tattoos
i love the child who is being belligerent
i love the spouse who searches for answers in the alphabet store
i love the parent who knows best
i love the co-worker who never gets it right
i love the bill collector who harasses me
i love the neighbor who judges me
i love the person in the seat next to me who smells bad and talks too loud
i love the person who hates me
i love the me who hates me


i'm working on that last one
i'm calling all Spirit to guide me
raise my consciousness and help me see the beauty in this body
this body that is called to do so much
this body that is the vessel of my Divine Spark
this body that serves an ultimate purpose right here, right now, every day and every day on
this body that is screaming to be loved
this body that is making itself more and more apparent that i might glimpse its being and value its worth
this body
my body
the body of God
the precious one
the child
the chosen
the created
the creator
the author and actor
the writer and director


an authentic self is the most personal form of worship
an authentic self is true
my self revolves around my belief
my core belief crumbles when faced with a mirror

Written by: Babetta of Lived, Composed, and Illustrated by Babetta



Picture source:

The Abyss: Eating Disorder Poetry



It's the Abyss
And that which fills It.
Some days I'm looking in to
It.
Some days I'm looking up from deep inside of It.
Sometimes I can feel refreshing rain
Falling
From somewhere above me
But I can't see the sky.
It's the Voices
And that which quiets Them.
Every second of every day
I fight to be heard
To listen to what I want to hear.
Control Me
Control It
Control Me
Control It
Like the petals on a daisy telling me if I am loved
I don't know what the outcome will be
I want to climb out of the abyss.
I want to quiet the voices.
But the abyss wants to swallow me up.
And the voices want to quiet me.

Written by: M.T.



Weighing The Facts Turns 2 Today


Today, Weighing The Facts Celebrates Turning Two!

The time has gone by so quickly. It has been, and continues to be, such a rewarding experience.
I'm so grateful to have met so many amazing people through this blog, and the eating disorder, body image, and mental health communities. I just wanted to take a moment to say...
Thank you!

MrsM



Picture source:

It Has Nothing To Do With My Weight: Kelly's Story


I was only 3 years old when I wish that I could cut the fat off my little rounded, protruding tummy. That’s the age my body image issues started. As for the eating disorder itself I do not even know. Maybe around 15 or 16 for occasional binging and if not binging, then overeating. I was maybe 20 when I started restricting.

My story is hard to tell for me. Not because of the details but because there are so many twists and turns in it. This is what I remember in great detail during my childhood; having surgery on my bladder at the age of 3 and thinking that I had done something wrong and that was my punishment, my mother’s stomach, my mother standing at the refrigerator in the middle of the night binging on cottage cheese, my thighs, again my stomach, my mother counting calories and feeling very old for my age in kindergarten. I had already gone through so much more than my classmates had. I felt alone and very scared.

When I got a little bit older I can remember; my first diet at the age of 14, how much I weighed, how my body was different than my friends, gaining weight by eating the candy bars I was suppose to sell for cheer-leading, trying to purge and breaking blood vessels in my eyes, being jealous of a previous friend who was clearly anorexic, counting my calories and feeling inadequate in all areas of my life. I was compared to my twin sister that excelled in school. School for me was a social thing and I didn’t apply myself at all. I always wonder how things would have been different if they had given me my diagnosis of ADD/ADHD in high school instead of when I was 30.

Around 19 or 20 I had broken up with a boyfriend and binged through the end of the relationship which resulted in a large weight gain. I decided to join weight watchers and was very happy that I had consistently lost weight and got down to my goal weight. Which I stayed at for about a day. I couldn’t stop right from the start. Just as an alcoholic, which I am; couldn’t put down a drink; which I couldn’t do, I also couldn’t stop losing weight. Until I got scared. Then I’d try to gain a few lbs; which I did but couldn’t stop THAT until I hit the previous high weight. I did this over and over in record speed between my 20’s and 30’s. I went from disgusted at myself for a high weight to being scared for myself because I was anorexic. I did the cycle probably about 4 times a year or so, maybe more. I couldn’t get off the roller-coaster ride.

My problem went undiagnosed, even from a doctor who asked me if it bothered me that I wasn’t getting my period. My favorite excuse to anyone, especially myself was…I’m only 5 fool 1 ½ inches tall. I could be at a very low weight and still fall in the guidelines for normal weight or slightly underweight. It didn’t matter if I wasn’t getting my period or bones were sticking out…I fell into the “healthy” weight on “the” charts. My body was never meant to be at the low end of those weight charts. I could never get low enough in weight to satisfy me.

Things started clicking for me that I had a eating disorder when my best friend’s little sister asked me bluntly, “Are you on drugs or just an anorexic?” I was shocked but her words made an impression on me. It didn’t stop me from using any behaviors…I was merely becoming aware that I had a eating disorder. I continued my up and down weight while I met my first husband. He loved it when I was in my anorexic stages and withheld love when I wasn’t looking what he considered was my best. I went through a bitter, horrible divorce when he walked out on me and literally skipped the state. It doesn’t just happen in the movies…it was happening in my own life. At the exact same time many horrible events started to unfold. Between May 1998 and May 1999, these events happened; my husband at the time walked out on me and fled the state of Minnesota leaving me unknown to his whereabouts; I lost my job; my Dad died; My truck that was repossessed; I was forced to file bankruptcy; my husband filed for divorce, my husband tried to sue me for filing bankruptcy which has never been done in the state of Minnesota, BUT that’s a whole different story in itself, and the little apartment that my mother embarrassingly had to co-sign for went up in flames, literally and I lost every piece of everything I had, which I had no renters insurance for. But considering they told me I was minutes away from possibly dying from smoke inhalation put losing all my possessions into perspective for me. Basically I had lost everything I ever had. I was so low that I didn’t know if I was going to ever get up again. I was so scared that God was putting me through all of this drama to get me ready for “something” bigger and I couldn’t handle bigger.

That was a lot to go through in a one year time span. It took me at least 2 years before I could even function in society. I was certainly a mess and I certainly used restricting and drinking alcohol as a coping mechanism, not to mention smoking 2 packs a day during this time. I liked how drinking dehydrated me and always after a night of heavy drinking with no food my pants was always loose on me and I craved that feeling. I was certainly quite the mess during this time. I was in so much pain emotionally that I don’t know how I survived. But I kept putting one foot in front of the other and with panic attacks and all, I managed to get to a place in my life where every living minute wasn’t filled with pain. It took me many years to get there.

I remember my first smile I had after a few years with no real laughter. I was driving home from work listening to Neil Diamond’s Sweet Caroline and when they get to the part that goes, “good times never been so good”…I smiled a REAL smile. It was a break through moment for me. Many good things happened to me during those “sad” years but I just couldn’t feel any joy. I did make some wise decisions though. I had met my NOW 2nd husband at the job I was working and KNEW there was no way that he was going to fall for me like I already had for him under these self sabotaged conditions that I had put myself into.

By the Grace of God, I quit drinking. I was also going a outpatient program which I had started going to in 1997. I started dating XXX (my husband) and I was starting my life over. I had come far in the few years and was complimented by close friends how I was a true survivor. I had grown closer on my journey with my relationship with God during “those” years and with quitting my 2 pack a day habit, now I was starting to build a foundation for myself. Sounds good but I was also purely using my eating disorder as not only a coping mechanism but it was my fun, it was what I knew and could do well, the low weight made me feel important and I got attention. Most of it was unwanted attention because I always hated how people came out of the woodwork when I was thinner. I hated hearing “wow, you look good” when I knew I was actually battling an addiction that I couldn’t control.

Rumors started at work about me which made me self conscious. I guess they weren’t rumors….when it was the truth. I WAS the girl in the license bureau who was anorexic. I wanted to be thin for me…not for anyone else and my weight would usually result in a small gain when the attention got too much. I also was scaring myself getting my weight to where I wanted it. I was, or thought I was in total control.

Between the ages of 29-34 I did my “pattern” of gaining weigh only once or twice each year and I mainly stayed at a low weight. At the age of 34 I happily got pregnant and did a shotgun wedding when I was 4 months along. I was sooo happy. I was having the baby I always wanted with the man that I so desperately wanted and needed in my life. Life was good. What a turn around from the previous 5 years. Life was what I wanted although I was anxious as hell.

While I was pregnant I was so anxious and mostly binged and overate to self medicate. I watched the scales rise once I let the nurses start weighing me for fear that something may be wrong with my daughter. I gained a very, very large amount of weight. I stopped weighing near the end so I don’t know what the actual total was but it was a lot. Then it took me approximately the 10 weeks I was off of work on maternity leave to lose it all in record time by restricting and starving myself. I had to get rid of the weight because I could not handle feeling the way I was feeling.

Once I got the weight off I relaxed a lot and for the first time ever I ate with not using eating disorder symptoms. I intuitively ate and it felt good and was very freeing. For about a whole year I was able to do this. Around xxx’s first birthday I had gained a little bit of weight and fear set in. I could NOT do another round of the up and down game. I think I may have been going through some post partum depression and quite sure that my body was giving in from going through a rough pregnancy and delivery and the starvation that followed. I started to sink again with fear of being a mother and fear of gaining weight. One thing lead to another and next thing you knew I was in Arizona going through a 30 program at XXX.

It was tough and when I came back I sincerely tried to eat. But I was angry for gaining weight, which was barely anything, and my team for refusing to tell me my weight in treatment. I had to take matter into my own hands again. I lost what I had gained plus some and then just continued to be in group and tried hard to recover. I really did want recovery by this time. I was tired of playing my never ending game. One really good thing came out of going to XXX. I started attending Eating Disorders Anonymous meetings. It was such a homey comfy feeling like I got when I went to AA meeting that I knew I had to start a meeting in Minnesota since we had NOTHING for support groups 3 or 4 years ago. My friend XXX and I started meetings at her house every Sunday night and then eventually moved the meeting to a nearby church. I got and continue to get a certain type of support from attending the meetings that I don’t get from going to professionals.

Starting EDA was one of the best things I have ever done. Now I serve as xxx of the General Service Board of EDA and continue to use service work as a means of recovery. I learned in my early days of quitting drinking that you really have to give away what you’ve got in order to keep it. At least for me it works. In fact most of the AA slogans work well for me….ones like “take what you can and leave the rest” and “it works when you work it…it really does” gives me a sense of responsibility that I have for my recovery as well as staying in my disease whether it’s a eating disorder or drinking.

Then I don’t know what happened but when my daughter was almost 3 years old I had a lot of flashbacks to when I was in the hospital when I was 3 having bladder surgery and I think I just lost it completely thinking of my own precious little daughter going through what I went through. I don’t remember much over the course of a few days but apparently, I called my therapist like 15 times in a row one night and for some odd reason he put a 72 hour hold on me. It was a total nightmare and I’m still trying to deal with all the details of it because I don’t remember and don’t really want to. But I was locked up for 10 days at xxx Hospital on the psych-ward. To boot, I was in the “side for dangerous people”. Not proud moments for me. I won’t even go into detail about it because I am still shocked at myself that I was acting that way. Of course many traumatic things happened in there but the worst in my opinion was when one of the doctors said to me about my eating disorder – “you’re not THAT thin”. Maybe the fact a doctor was talking to me so unprofessional snapped me out of “it” because I was only there a few more days after his comment.

It was horrible in every way but a very good thing came out of it. They put me on a antipsychotic medication that has changed my life drastically for the better. I doubt they would have ever put me on a antipsychotic if I wasn’t acting psychotic so it all turned out okay. I was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder. Anyways, I eventually forgave my therapist, forgave my husband, and forgave myself. I still have a hard time talking about those events those 2 weeks. I still don’t understand what happened. And I’m scared shitless that it could happen again. Part of my aftercare was to be in IOP and groups and continue to go to EDA meetings.

Shortly after I got out of the Hospital , I started to restrict during the day and then binge at in the middle of the night. Usually I don’t remember much of it, but in the morning I have the sinking feeling of “what did I do last night?” Funny, just like I did with drinking. My binging at night on top of eating a normal food plan resulted in a big weight gain for me. That was little over 2 years ago. I binged at night and restricted during the day. My eating disorder had totally morphed into something else now. I was diagnosed with Bulimia, non purging type. Now typically I have never purged in all my eating disorder years because it felt like too violent of an act on my body but I was so freaked out about weight that I did the unthinkable. I purged. I think it was the next day I went into my therapist’s office and said, “I need help”.

I was sent to an in-treatment facility for 30 days. It was extremely hard to leave my daughter and husband to get treatment but I couldn’t go on anymore. I had a very good experience while I stayed at the house. I was able to break through some barriers and close some doors as well as quitting the horrendous cycle of restricting then binging in the middle of the night. I told my mom and sisters for the first time ever about my eating disorder. Of course they still say everything wrong but I am happy I told them for my own sake. I am done hiding.

I am starting to be proud of myself and proud to be me. I have a husband who truly loves me regardless of what my weight is and fully supports me in every way imaginable. I opened up to my stepson about the eating disorder too. I’m tired of secrets and have spent the same amount of energy protecting my recovery as I did protecting my eating disorder and alcoholism. In all honesty, I still protect my alcoholism. I am not sure where I want to go with that. I don’t have a problem talking about it to others in recovery at all but outside of that I feel that is private. My Dad died of Cirrhosis of the Liver due to his alcoholism and I’d like to think that I silently ended a destructive pattern that ran in our family. That’s not based on shame but rather not wanting to bring energy to it.

Back to the in-treatment facility…that was last May through June and the recovery that I have made since then has become the final stretch. All though I am still working on things and honestly trying to lose the weight that I haven’t been able to lose the last 2 years I am the happiest I think I have ever been which is ironic that I am the heaviest that I’ve ever been. I started a blog of writing letters to my body and ED and vice versa. That is perhaps one of the best tools that I have encountered in my career of therapy/groups and treatments. Some other recovery tools that have significantly helped me have been putting my baby picture up on my bathroom mirror and every time I see my picture I say something nice to that little innocent beautiful baby. I’ve been doing that for 3 years now and it’s really made a dent into healing early childhood traumas and hurts. The last one, is trying to end the fat talk. I still go in spurts of doing this but I have been very aware of how I talk to myself and the relationship that I am trying to grow with myself. I don’t want to be mean to myself anymore. I want to love who I am which has nothing to do with weight.

Yep, 13 years of coming to the outpatient program and almost every form of therapy to be able to say that one sentence out loud. In case you didn’t hear me, it has nothing to do with my weight! I can honestly say that all though I may not LOVE myself quite yet, I don’t hate myself either. And that’s made all the difference in the world.

written by: Kelly M of Dear Body



Eating Disorder Recovery Quotes: The Hope And The Fight


In order to get from what was to what will be, you must go through what is.
~Anonymous

Why shed tears on failures long forgotten when hope looms on the horizon?
~Charles Casha

When the heart is enlivened again, it feels like the sun coming out after a week of rainy days. There is hope in the heart that chases the clouds away. Hope is a higher heart frequency and as you begin to reconnect with your heart, hope is waiting to show you new possibilities and arrest the downward spiral of grief and loneliness. It becomes a matter of how soon you want the sun to shine. Listening to the still, small voice in your heart will make hope into a reality.
~Sara Paddison

One of the most difficult things everyone has to learn is that for your entire life you must keep fighting and adjusting if you hope to survive. No matter who you are or what your position is you must keep fighting for whatever it is you desire to achieve.
~George Allen

Lost causes are the only ones worth fighting for.
~Clarence Darrow

 But there is suffering in life, and there are defeats. No one can avoid them. But it's better to lose some of the battles in the struggles for your dreams than to be defeated without ever knowing what you're fighting for.
~ Paulo Coelho

When you do nothing, you feel overwhelmed and powerless. But when you get involved, you feel the sense of hope and accomplishment that comes from knowing you are working to make things better.
~Pauline R. Kezer

We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.
~Oscar Wilde

You've gotta have hope. Without hope life is meaningless. Without hope life is meaning less and less.
~ Unknown

To be nobody but yourself in a world that's doing its best to make you somebody else, is to fight the hardest battle you are ever going to fight. Never stop fighting.
~ E. E. Cummings

Patience and perseverance surmount every difficulty.
~Unknown

What oxygen is to the lungs, such is hope to the meaning of life.
~Emil Brunne

Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a harder battle. ~ Plato

 Your hopes, dreams and aspirations are legitimate. They are trying to take you airborne, above the clouds, above the storms, if you only let them.
~William James

When the world says, "Give up," Hope whispers, "Try it one more time."
~Unknown

Kind words, kind looks, kind acts and warm handshakes, these are means of grace when men in trouble are fighting their unseen battles.
~ John Hall

We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope. ~Martin Luther King, Jr

 Disappointment to a noble soul is what cold water is to burning metal; it strengthens, tempers, intensifies, but never destroys it.
~ Eliza Tabor

Victory is always possible for the person who refuses to stop fighting.
~Napoleon Hill

Nothing worth having in life was ever gained easily.
~Unknown

Better to fight for something than live for nothing.
~George S. Patton Jr.

That is the whole secret of successful fighting. Get your enemy at a disadvantage; and never, on any account, fight him on equal terms.
~George Bernard Shaw

You cannot love a thing without wanting to fight for it.
~Gilbert Keith Chesterton

When you're in the battlefield, survival is all there is.
~Sam Fuller

There is a land of the living and a land of the dead and the bridge is love, the only survival, the only meaning.
~ Thornton Wilder

Don't let life discourage you; everyone who got where he is had to begin where he was.
~Richard L. Evans

Man can live about forty days without food, about three days without water, about eight minutes without air, but only for one second without hope.
~Unknown

Once you choose hope, anything's possible.
~Christopher Reeve

A lost battle is a battle one thinks one has lost.
~Jean-Paul Sartre

The Grand essentials of happiness are: something to do, something to love, and something to hope for.
~Allan K. Chalmers

Don’t be afraid to take a big step if one is indicated. You can’t cross a chasm in two small jumps. ~ David Lloyd George

What we do not see, what most of us never suspect of existing, is the silent but irresistible power which comes to the rescue of those who fight on in the face of discouragement.
~Napoleon Hill

The natural flights of the human mind are not from pleasure to pleasure but from hope to hope.
~Samuel Johnson

When you are down on your back, if you can look up, you can get up.
~Les Brown

You cannot solve a problem until you acknowledge that you have one and accept responsibility for solving it.
~Zig Ziglar

The very least you can do in your life is to figure out what you hope for. And the most you can do is live inside that hope.
~Barbara Kingsolve

In the confrontation between the stream and the rock, the stream always wins- not through strength but by perseverance.
~H. Jackson Brown

The only real failure in life is the failure to try.
~Unknown

There is no medicine like hope, no incentive so great, and no tonic so powerful as expectation of something better tomorrow.
~Orison Swett Marden

The only real failure in life is one not learned from.
~Anthony J. D'Angelo

Those who wish to sing always find a song.
~Proverb

There is no failure except in no longer trying.
~Elbert Hubbard

Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no help at all.
~Dale Carnegie


I count him braver who overcomes his desires than him who conquers his enemies; for the hardest victory is over self.
~Aristotle

Try.
Fail.
Try Again.
Fail Better.
~Samuel Beckett

We acquire the strength we have overcome.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Consider the postage stamp; its usefulness consists in the ability to stick to one thing until it gets there.
~Josh Billings

On the mountains of truth you can never climb in vain: either you will reach a point higher up today, or you will be training your powers so that you will be able to climb higher tomorrow.
  ~Friedrich Nietzsche

Defeat is simply a signal to press onward.
~Helen Keller

How long should you try? Until.
~Jim Rohn


picture source:



There Is Honor In The Fight: One Woman's Story



For years I was sick, but didn't understand with what, or what to do about it. I couldn't eat, everything I was able to eat made me sick. I got a little better, then a lot worse. Finally what had apparently been clear to my friends became clear to me, I had an Eating Disorder.

My first intake appointment at the Emily Program (where I am currently getting treatment) was hell. The therapist was as sweet and as supportive as anyone could hope for, but I was terrified. It all got much easier after that, after admitting that I was sick and asking for help. I decided very soon after that first appointment that I was not going to hide the fact that I have an illness, and that I am fighting it.

When anyone asks what I have been up to, or what I do, I tell them, with my head held high that I am in treatment for an eating disorder. Its interesting to see the different reactions I get from people. Some of them get uncomfortable and look for any other topic to turn to, some of them get curious and ask me all manner of questions.

I'm not sure why I am so open about having and fighting this illness. I think it has something to do with knowing I will win. Also, I wonder, if people had been this open about their eating disorders when I was sick and confused, if I would have sought treatment sooner. Also, I recognize the courage and strength it takes to fight this. I know that what I am doing is more than most people do for themselves at any point in their lives. I know that I am taking the time I need to lay the groundwork for the rest of my life. I know that I am facing demons so terrifying and sneaky that many people prefer to just live with them, rather than try to eradicate them once and for all. I know that this disease is not my fault, there is no shame in it, in fact, there is honor in the fight. I hope other people see that too.

written by: anonymous





picture source:

Body Image Statistics


Video by:H2Oh518

Statistics from video:

  • 8 million people in the US suffer from an ED
  • 90% are women/girls
  • 8 out 10 women are not happy with their reflection
  • 80% of children are afraid of being fat
  • more than 50% of 10 year old girls wish they were thinner
  • Americans spend more than 40 billion a year on diet and beauty products
  • The average American woman is 5'4" and 140 pounds
  • The average American model is 5' 11" and 117 pounds
  • In your lifetime 50,000 people will die as a direct result of their Eating Disorder
  • The current media ideal of thinness is achieved by less than 5% of the female population

It's Time To Talk About It: I Used To Know A Girl



I used to know a girl

A girl who was happy and free

That girl was me

But then ED hit

And she willingly welcomed it

Thinner and thinner she became

Anorexia was the blame

Faster and faster she would run

Killing herself before she was done

The girl soon became too ill

No longer did she have the will

To the life she had been handed

Anorexia had landed

I used to know a girl

Who could not feed herself a bite

Who knew she thought that wasn’t right?

The girl became so weak

Her life was truly bleak

But she did not see the failure

Just only the ED’s allure

Down her throat her hand slid

Nothing. So she cut her wrist and bled

The girl I knew did not flaunt

Because her life had no want

The girl you see

Is shamefully me

No longer is she a stick

Recovery left her stomach thick

Still, the girl has no want

And her ED is back to haunt

Really, she’s trying

But she can’t help the crying

Recovery hurts

But the

ED burns

Written by: Kourt
age 14


Body Image and Self-Esteem Links: National Eating Disorders Awareness Week


Body Image and Self-Esteem Links:

Letters To My Body

The Body Image Project

We Bite Back's Post-Its Project

Body Image Tests

Self-Esteem Tests

Self Worth


Video:

Body Image and Self-Esteem


Organizations:

Children's Body Image Foundation

Reflections The Body Image Program

Body Image Health Org

The Now Foundation


Related Quotes:
Self-Love
Self-Worth
Believing In Yourself
Our Bodies

*If you know of any Body Image/Self-Esteem Organizations/Foundations, please let me know and I'll add them to the list.

Picture source:

I Choose Sanity: A Journey To Recovery



I Choose Sanity

i walk slowly to the light
knowing the journey will not be easy
but i refuse to sit and do nothing
because i am worth every step i take

i may fall backwards
and want to give up
to give in
but these fleeting thoughts i will let go

i will let go of the desire to be perfect
to accept who i am in this journey
to know there is a light at the end of the tunnel
that i am worth the journey

it may be hard
i may cry
i may feel pain
but these moments to shall pass

a little walk is better than sitting frozen
i may take two steps back and one step forward
but this is ok
it is ok to be who i am

for these are just moments
and they too shall pass
i refuse to give up
and be defined by it

for i am more than i can see

i choose to see me in my loved ones eyes
to see what they see
to believe in that
and to one day get back to that place in my own mind

written by: Kendra Sebelius via A Voice In Recovery.



*See sidebar menu for more ED poetry and writings

*Click here to have your Eating Disorders/Body Image poetry/writings featured on Weighing The Facts

piture source:

Dear Body, I'm Sorry: ED Recovery Video


Video by: lilmover

Helpful Links For National Eating Disorders Awareness Week


The mission of NEDAwareness Week:
"Our aim of NEDAwareness Week is to ultimately prevent eating disorders and body image issues while reducing the stigma surrounding eating disorders and improving access to treatment. Eating disorders are serious, life-threatening illnesses — not choices — and it’s important to recognize the pressures, attitudes and behaviors that shape the disorder."

Questions PSA from NEDA on Vimeo.


Find Events In Your Area
NEDA Tool Kits
Activity Of The Day Schedule
Parents, Family & Friends Network
Coordinate a Walk In Your Area
Hosting an event? Post it here.
View pictures of 2009 NEDA week
Key Message

National Eating Disorders Association from NEDA on Vimeo.


National Youth Advocacy Coalition
Webinar

EDC (Eating Disorders Coalition) College Students Looking For an Easy Way To Raise Awareness? Host a letter-signing campaign for the EDC to support the FREED Act!!

BEAT (Beating Eating Disorders) turns 21 and opens it's helplines for 21 hours starting Feb 22nd:
"To launch Eating Disorders Awareness Week and our 21st birthday celebrations, we will be opening our helplines for 21 hours on Monday 22nd February. We will open at 00:21 and continue through to 21:21. You can find out more about our helplines and the contact details here."

ED Hotlines, Organizations, Websites
Do I have an Eating Disorder (test)
ED Self-Assessment Tests
What Parents Can Do
More for Parents
Seeking Diagnosis
Tools For Health Calculators

*Please see sidebar for additional tools/links

picture source:

Virtual Candlelight Vigil: National Eating Disorders Awareness Week


The Alabama Network For Eating Disorders Awareness (ALNEDA) has brought back their Virtual Candlelight Vigil again this year. They invite you to light a candle to honor individuals whose lives have been touched by an eating disorder.

The colors of the candles have the following meanings:
  • White candles: Remembrance, for individuals who have lost their lives to an eating disorder.
  • Silver candles: Support for individuals who are struggling with an eating disorder.
  • Gold: Celebration for individuals who are in recovery or who have recovered from an eating disorder.
Candles will be on display today through the 27th.

Why not start National Eating Disorders Awareness Week by lighting a candle for a loved one and/or yourself...

Light A Candle

View Lit Candles

ALNEDA's homepage

Picture source:

National Eating Disorders Awareness Week 2010


Tomorrow starts National Eating Disorders Awareness Week. The theme this year is, "It's Time To Talk About It," so that's what we'll be doing here.

Among the things Weighing The Facts will be featuring this week are:
  • Personal stories from readers
  • Eating Disorders and Body Image Bloggers
  • Links to resources for information, help, and recovery
  • Recovery Quotes
There's still time if you'd like to share your story or poem here for National Eating Disorders Awareness Week.

Recovery Quote Of The Week: February 19th, 2010



"Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak. Courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen." ~Winston Churchill

*Click on picture to make it bigger

picture source:

Hungry For Love: A Valentine To Yourself



Ah, Valentine's Day. The celebration of love. The demonstrations of affection. The heady, sweet confirmation that we are loved, special, unique, and deserving ... a confirmation we sometimes take too seriously, and place too much emphasis on. The truth of the matter is that no matter what the outside world does, or doesn't hand us today, we are already all of these things.

So for this Valentine's Day, make yourself the first recipient of your love and affection. Celebrate yourself, love yourself, and renew your relationship with yourself. Take a few moments to give yourself a valentine.

Affirmations:
  • Loving myself heals me; body, mind, and soul.
  • I deserve love and respect as I am.
  • I love my body, care for it, and appreciate it.
  • I choose happiness, no matter what my circumstances.
  • I believe in myself and so do others.
  • I am beautiful in mind, spirit, and body.
  • I am unique, special, and deserving.
  • I accept my body as it is.
  • I honor, respect, and appreciate myself.
  • I listen to and trust my inner wisdom.
  • I treat myself with kindness.
  • I create my thoughts and my reality.
  • My beautiful body is home to my beautiful spirit.
  • I lovingly create my own reality.
  • I love and accept myself.
  • Everyday gets better and better.
  • My possibilities are endless.
  • I am worthy.
  • I release the past and live in the present.

Write:

Put it into words. Make a list of all the things you appreciate about yourself. No matter how small or unimportant it may seem to you at the time, write it down. Do you find this difficult to do? Pretend that someone you really care about has asked you to write down their positive attributes. Now, pretend that you are that someone. Take a step back and see yourself without any of the negative internal dialogue influencing your vision ... and write.

Write a letter to the negativity, that part of yourself that whispers or screams. Acknowledge it's existence. If you know why it exists, tell it so. If you don't, let it know that, too. Make it aware that no matter the reason for it "being," it is a separate entity from yourself and you don't need it around anymore ... then mentally pack it's bags for it and kick it out the door.

Write positive affirmations on pieces of paper and tape them to places you will see them often, throughout your day; the mirror, the dashboard, your pillow, the backdoor, over the kitchen sink. Read them aloud, with conviction. Stay in the moment and let the truth of those words sink in. Feel them.

Reaffirm what recovery means to you. Write down what you have gained (or will gain) from your recovery. Tuck the list in your wallet to take out and read when you need reminding.

Choose a small, positive change you'd like to achieve and make it your goal for the month. Write it down in a pocket calendar. Set aside time each day to give to that change. Even the smallest of changes can make a big difference in your life.

Write a letter to your body and let it know that you're grateful for all it has done for you.

Keep a gratitude journal. Each night, before bed, write down something (big or small,) from your day that you're grateful for.

Write down the things that you keep to yourself, the scary things, the nagging secrets of truth or imagination that we are all familiar with. Those things that haunt you, tug at you, and surface to suck the life and joy out of life. Bring them out from their hidden places. Write them each on their own piece of paper. Whether they be real or imagined, read each one and acknowledge that they are what they are but they do not define you. Then tear them into tiny pieces, flush them down the toilet... whatever will have the most significant impact for you.


Speak up. Speak out. Say it aloud. Say it with kindness:

Speak kindly of yourself when talking to others. Be positive. Be confident. Speak kindly to yourself, too. If you wouldn't say it to someone you love and respect then don't say it to/about yourself. If you have a hard time doing this, fake it. Yes, fake it! How do things become a part of our everyday lives, become second nature? Practice. Repetitiveness. As the recovery quote goes... fake it until you make it.


Quotes:

It is not selfish or narcissistic to love yourself. It is your first and foremost responsibility.
~Alan Cohen

The first thing is to convince yourself that life's more fun if you love yourself. Don't worry about trying to find other people to love you. Love yourself first.
~Dr. Lynn Cutts

Loving yourself allows you to see the beauty in others. It opens your senses to the brilliance of divine light, to the sweetness of your own life experience and to the power of your focused incarnation. Loving yourself allows your consciousness to assume the shape of love, which makes you at once loving and lovable. But most of us are very stingy with the love we offer ourselves. ~Rebbie Straubing

Respect yourself and others will respect you.
~Confucius

Love yourself—accept yourself—forgive yourself—and be good to yourself, because without you the rest of us are without a source of many wonderful things.
~Leo F. Buscaglia

Love yourself unconditionally, just as you love those closest to you despite their faults.
~Les Brown

Remember to be yourself, can't think of anyone better qualified.
~Pharnell Raines

When you are content to be simply yourself and don't compare or compete, everybody will respect you.
~Lao-Tzu

Always be yourself, express yourself, have faith in yourself, do not you go out and look for a successful personality an duplicate it.
~Bruce Lee

Trust yourself. Think for yourself. Act for yourself. Speak for yourself. Be yourself. Imitation is suicide.
~Marva Collins

An individual's self-concept is the core of his personality. It affects every aspect of human behavior: the ability to learn, the capacity to grow and change. A strong, positive self-image is the best possible preparation for success in life.
~Dr. Joyce Brothers

Nobody will think you're somebody if you don't think so yourself.
~African-American proverb

Self-love is not opposed to the love of others.
~Dr. Karl Menninger

Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it.
~Maya Angelou

Happy Valentine's Day!

Check these out:
Starting To Love Yourself
Making Me Magazine. Written by Melissa of Finding Melissa.


Valentine's Day Doesn't Have To Suck Again
To Write Love On Her Arms

Self-Worth: The Unconditional Love Of Self
Using Affirmations
Believing in Yourself
Self-Love Quotes
Self-Worth Quotes
Our Bodies



picture source: