I Threw Out My Scale: How One Woman Found Freedom

I stood nervously in front of my father so he could get a better look at me. He said I should go put on some black jeans so my ass woudn‘t look so fat. I changed right away because a fourteen year old girl needs to make her daddy happy. She also needs to look thin enough to walk around in the world okay. I would do what I could. Through the years sometimes I was skinny, sometimes I was fat, always I was insecure and angry. This went on until I was in my late thirties.

Finally I got sick of putting my life on hold while I mostly failed at trying to keep my weight down. There were other things I wanted to do besides being fixated on fat. I wanted to be happy and my body obsession made me utterly unhappy. It just never delivered. I had to make a change and since my anger seemed to be right up front screaming at me, I gave it a chance to speak. It told me I needed to find a new way to treat myself and a new way to think about my body. It reminded me how I longed to be my full female self, someone who was so much more than breasts and curves and genitals and fat. I wanted to come on up through my body and be with no appologies.

I had to be brave and try new ways of being. For example, in the morning I forced myself to get ready in the buff. I looked at my naked body in the mirror and I mean I really got a good look. I jiggled and stretched and bent over and even looked at the side rolls. I watched my muscles move beneath my skin. I noted my favorite and least favorite body parts. I practiced the habit of petting my thighs and other body parts and thanking them out loud for serving me. The more I said it, the more I started to believe it. When I ate too much and felt a stomach ache I apologized to my stomach for making it sick. I even began to allow my body to be natural in bed with my husband. I let my breasts fall and flap and I didn’t try to keep myself in my best posture. I relaxed and let my naturally beautiful body be. My husband has always been wonderfully accepting of my body. Why couldn’t I be? It felt heavenly even if I did feel shy. My body was so happy and that made the initial embarassment totally worth it. The act of treating my body with respect and love was freeing the inside me too. What a wonderful little trick!

Still, a father can have a powerful effect, and even after all my changes I found myself practically paralyzed with panic as we pulled into my dad‘s driveway. He hadn’t seen me since I’d lost all the weight. Would he be happy with me? We walked in the door and he came up to me and gave me a great big hug and rubbed my back and said “Skinny Vicky!” To my surprise my father’s comment angered me. It didn’t feel good at all because why is it so damned important to you dad? I wasn’t going to let him oppress and suffocate me any longer. Inwardly I rejected his “compliment.” I don’t know what sank into me but from that moment on I never needed my fathers’ approval again. After I got home from that trip I threw out my scale. I didn’t want to live by “the number” anymore. I wanted to continue creating new ways of living. I wanted to ask new questions that were about my overall health and happiness. How did I feel in my body? Could I move comfortably? Could I do the things I wanted to do? Was I relaxed in myself? If I wasn’t, what could I do to change that? Change became an opportunity instead of a demand. Feeling good truly became more important than looking good.

Thanks to my father I now have the freedom to ask any question I please. I can also stop asking questions like, “What kind of sick person talks to themselves and swears compulsively and has addictions and takes Paxil?” I can throw that scale away too! Why can’t I? I can throw it away if I want to. I don’t’ have to put myself into an inferior category of humanity. Instead I can say, “Look world, this is me just as I am.” I am a woman. Watch me shine! Watch me not shine! I will walk on the Earth regardless of what anyone thinks of me. People can wish me to be whomever they like. I won’t hear them and I will walk around and do what I like. I will strut and skip. I will day dream. I will lay in my hammock and read for a while. I will eat pepperoni with cheese and crackers and spend hours writing. I will go dancing! I might even take a nap. Why not? I don’t have to ask daddy anymore… I can ask myself.
 Written By Victoria Lee

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Relaxation: Important For Both Body and Mind

There’s no escaping the occasional stressful situation but when stress is a regular companion, it takes its toll on our bodies and our minds. Studies show that stress is a major contributor to many health issues so it’s important that we learn to relax for our own good.

When we are stressed our system is on high alert. Our bodies respond with adrenaline. Our nerves send messages to every organ in the body. Our heart rate increases. Breathing becomes shallow and fast. Our blood pressure goes up. Eventually, damage is done.

There are many benefits to learning to relax…

The Following Can Be Improved With Regular Relaxation:
  • Blood pressure
  • Risk of stroke
  • Muscle blood flow
  • Heart rate
  • Breathing rate
  • Muscle tension
  • Immunity
  • Memory
  • Asthma, emphysema, COAD
  • Skin (acne, eczema, dermatitis, psoriasis, etc)
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Tension headaches and migraines
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Raynaud’s syndrome
  • Diabetes
  • Herpes simplex
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Chronic pain

Other Benefits Include:
  • Emotional
  • Levels emotions
  • Elevates mood
  • Improves outlook
  • Improves decision making
  • Improves sleep
  • Helps clear skin (acne, eczema, dermatitis, psoriasis, etc)
  • Helps relieve depression and anxiety
  • Energizes
  • Lowers cortisol levels

This is why relaxation is extremely important for the health of both body and mind.

There are many ways to relax and what works best will depend on each individual. Some will find more relief from a non-physical relaxation technique while others will benefit most from a more physical approach. The most important thing is that you do not allow what is stressing you to enter your mind when you take time to relax.

Here are some non-physical ways to help you relax:

Here are some physical ways to help you relax:
  • Yoga
  • Tai chi
  • Walk
  • Sex
  • Bike ride
  • Jog
  • Laugh and play

In addition to taking time to relax is learning to manage stress. The first step is identifying the cause. The second step is learning to deal with that cause in a productive way.

  • Ask for help when you need it.
  • Talk out your problems with a trusted friend or therapist.
  • Learn to say “no” so you don’t become overwhelmed
  • Prioritize
  • Let go of what cannot be changed
  • Be proactive. Address what you can before they become (more) stressful
  • Schedule time to deal with difficult issues and only deal with them on those days (such as finances).

Schedule time to relax. Learn to relax in times of stress.
With all that we deal with on a day to day basis it is so important that we take care of ourselves.

Would you like to share your favorite stress remedy? Please share them in the comment section below. 

photo source:http://www.flickr.com/photos/yasinhasan/4431896656/in/photostream

Eating Disorders News and Views: May 18, 2012

  Eating Disorders in Men: An Interview With Dr. Roberto Olivardia
Huff Post Healthy Living

Dr. Roberto Olivardia is a clinical instructor of psychology at Harvard Medical School and assistant psychologist at McLean Hospital in Belmont, Mass. He maintains a private psychotherapy practice in Arlington, Mass., where he specializes in the treatment of body dysmorphic disorder (BDD), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and compulsive skin-picking. He also specializes in the treatment of eating disorders in boys and men. Dr. Olivardia is a co-author of The Adonis Complex, a book which details the various manifestations of body image problems in men, including eating disorders, BDD, steroid use, and cosmetic surgery.

What inspired you to specialize in eating disorders in men?
Read EDs In Men in full.

Brain Reward Systems Of Obese Women Different From Those Of Women With Anorexia: Study
Huffington Post

The brain reward systems of women with anorexia may work differently from those of women who are obese, a new study suggests.

Researchers from the University of Colorado School of Medicine found that women who are anorexic have sensitized brain reward circuits, while women who are obese have desensitized brain reward circuits.
Read Brain Reward System in full.

Tyra Banks applauds Vogue decision to nix too-thin models; Mag to ban models under 16 who appear to have eating disorders
Daily News

The model turned talk-show host is praising Vogue magazine for its recent pledge to stop using too skinny models or girls who appear to suffering from an eating disorder.

The fashion tome will reportedly no longer feature models under the age of 16.

Banks called Vogue’s decision “the beginning of something huge."

In an open letter to The Daily Beast, Banks talked about her own struggles to keep her weight down to a size 4 and the unhealthy things women did to keep thin.
Read Tyra Banks in full.

Is your daughter or son trying to hide anorexia?
The Mirror

When a child or teenager feels they’re being controlled by the people around them, they use anorexia to seize control back.

I was deeply saddened recently to read that anorexia had claimed the life of Charlotte Seddon, a lovely girl of 17 and a star student who had everything to live for.

Yes, it’s a salutary story. She first stopped eating when she was 12.

Like many anorexics, she was bright and devious enough to fool her parents that she was eating (despite profound weight loss).

Anorexics cleverly cover their tracks spreading crumbs, leaving buttery knives on the table, false traces of toast uneaten and consigned to the bin when no one is looking.
Read Hiding in full.

Dukan Diet guru struck off medical register after saying children who lose weight should be given extra marks at school
Daily Mail

A diet guru whose fans include the Duchess of Cambridge's mother has been struck off the medical register in France after being accused of misadvising teenagers.

Pierre Dukan, 70, asked to be removed from the doctors’ list at his own request because he was facing disciplinary action.

The nutritionist had used a book to propose ideal weights for 17 and 18 year-old school pupils, giving them extra exam marks if they kept to them.
Read Diet Guru in full.

Bournemouth charity I*Eat bridges anorexia divide
BBC News Dorset

There are more than 200 new cases of anorexia and bulimia in Dorset every year. The youngest patient in the county is just 10 years old.

But this could be just the tip of the iceberg.

Health professionals estimate there could be as many as 1,500 people with eating disorders in the county, many of whom do not come forward for fear of becoming stigmatised.

I*Eat in Bournemouth is a charity that aims to bridge the gap and help vulnerable people get their lives back on track - people like Vicky Field.
Read I*Eat in full. 
Find I*Eat Org here. 

Birmingham TB victim Alina Sarag 'given bulimia warning'
BBC News Birmingham & Black Country

A 15-year-old girl died of tuberculosis (TB) after being told she may have bulimia during appointments with health professionals, an inquest has heard.

A GP allegedly advised Alina Sarag, who attended Birmingham's Golden Hillock School, that her physical deterioration was due to mental health problems.

Alina was treated for TB after being diagnosed with the disease in 2009, Birmingham Coroner's Court heard.

She appeared to recover from the condition, but died in January 2011.
Read TB Victim in full.

Healthbeat Report: Uncontrollable Overeating
ABC News

When healthcare professionals diagnose mental illness, they usually turn to the diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders or DSM. This so-called bible of psychiatry is undergoing a major and somewhat controversial overhaul. Already under the category of eating disorders are anorexia and bulimia. Now something called binge eating disorder may join the list as its own diagnosis.

So when is eating too much a true illness? Experts say there are telling signs.

The stories of binge eating patients are similar. Embarrassed, ashamed, they would eat at times till it hurt.
Read Uncontrollable Overeating in full.

Mirror, mirror: Palo Alto JCC event looks at media’s role in negative body image


Sydney Calander is so accustomed to hearing her women friends tear down their own appearances that she hardly notices it anymore.

“Honestly? It’s been like that ever since I can remember,” says Calander, 20, a junior at Pitzer College in Southern California. “Around the time I turned 12 or so, I became aware of all my friends getting really critical about their bodies, the way they looked — how they felt they had to look in order to be loved, or to attract a partner.”

As a student at San Francisco’s Jewish Community High School of the Bay, Calander made sure not to let her own similar thoughts spiral into negative behavior.
Read Negative Body Image in full. 

Could airbrushing ban curb desire to be thin?
Express and Star

We have a love-hate relationship with food – and both extremes of consumption come with a massive health warning.

A young woman who almost died in a four-year battle with anorexia that plunged her weight to four and a half stone has now launched a campaign to ban airbrushed images showing super-slim celebrities in glossy magazines.

Rachael Johnston, who is now aged 20 and a “healthy” size eight, wants children to be protected from the kind of images she says led to her eating disorder.

On the one hand, we want to stop the obesity epidemic that is making many of us – and our children – so unhealthy.

But on the other we don’t want to drive youngsters to extreme dieting.
Read Airbrushing in full. 

Diagnosing a public health problem: Photoshop

Why is it that the fatter America gets, the more unrealistically thin our ideal of what people should look like becomes? It's not just a perplexing paradox. It poses a threat to the public’s health: our nation’s obesity crisis may eventually be coupled with anorexia and bulimia crises as well.

As noted in my post last week, America is in the midst of an obesity era. Thirty-seven percent of adults and 17 percent of kids are obese, and no one is particularly happy about it. All the while, Americans are bombarded with digitally manipulated (a.k.a. “photoshopped”) images of models that are impossibly thin and blemish free.

As highlighted by recent stories by the New York Times and BBC, young women in the U.S. and abroad have began to protest the photoshopped female form and the notion that they should strive for a body that — by virtue of skeletal constraints — is literally unobtainable.
Read Photoshop in full.

Eating disorders increase risk of dying prematurely, large study shows

A disease of vanity? Think again. Although this stereotype of eating disorders continues among the public and even some mental health professionals, new research confirms that eating disorders are serious —and lethal. Jaana T. Suokas, MD., presented findings from a new, large scale study at the prestigious American Psychiatric Association Conference held in Philadelphia yesterday.
Read Increased Risk in full.

Research Study for Moms of Anorexic Boys

Laura's Soap Box

Are you the Mother of a Son who has received inpatient treatment for Anorexia Nervosa?

If so, please consider participating in this important study, which seeks to explore and document the psychological and social caregiving experiences of these mothers.
To date, there have not been any published research studies that have focused exclusively on parents of sons with anorexia.
Read Research Study in full.

all sources linked above

Recovery Quote Of The Week: May 14, 2012

There is something beautiful about all scars of whatever nature. A scar means the hurt is over; the wound is closed and healed, done with.

Harry Crews

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Happy Mother's Day!

Wishing you all a very Happy Mother's Day!


Be Yourself: Inspirational Recovery Quotes

To thine own self be true.

You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. What you'll discover will be wonderful. What you'll discover will be yourself.
Alan Alda

The hardest challenge is to be yourself in a world where everyone is trying to make you be somebody else.
E. E. Cummings

Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else.
Judy Garland

You must have control of the authorship of your own destiny. The pen that writes your life story must be held in your own hand.
Irene C. Kassorla

I will not let anyone walk through my mind with their dirty feet.
Mahatma Gandhi

The boughs of no two trees ever have the same arrangement. Nature always produces individuals; She never produces classes.
Lydia Maria Child

There is just one life for each of us: our own.

Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken.

If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away.
Henry David Thoreau

Is life not a hundred times too short for us to stifle ourselves.
Friedrich Nietzsche

Why are you trying so hard to fit in, when you’re born to stand out?
Oliver James

The hardest battle you're ever going to fight is the battle to be just you.
Leo Buscaglia

Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind.
Dr. Seuss

It is not in the stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves.
William Shakespeare

Like the sky opens after a rainy day we must open to ourselves.... Learn to love yourself for who you are and open so the world can see you shine.
James Poland

Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

When one is pretending the entire body revolts.
Anaïs Nin

A wise man never loses anything if he has himself.
Michel de Montaigne

The strongest force in the universe is a human being living consistently with his identity.
Tony Robbins

Ride the energy of your own unique spirit.
Gabrielle Roth

Your reputation is in the hands of others. That's what a reputation is. You can't control that. The only thing you can control is your character.
Dr. Wayne W. Dyer

Almost all absurdity of conduct arises from the imitation of those whom we cannot resemble.
Samuel Johnson

All the mistakes I make arise from forsaking my own station and trying to see the object from another person's point of view.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

At bottom every man knows well enough that he is a unique being, only once on this earth; and by no extraordinary chance will such a marvelously picturesque piece of diversity in unity as he is, ever be put together a second time.
Friedrich Nietzsche

Never be bullied into silence. Never allow yourself to be made a victim. Accept no one's definition of your life; define yourself.
Harvey Fierstein

How many cares one loses when one decides not to be something but to be someone.
Coco Chanel

Do you want to be a power in the world? Then be yourself.
Fortune Cookie

All the knowledge I possess everyone else can acquire, but my heart is all my own.
Johann von Goethe

About all you can do in life is be who you are. Some people will love you for you.
Most will love you for what you can do for them, and some won’t like you at all.
Rita Mae Brown

We are so accustomed to disguise ourselves to others that in the end we become disguised to ourselves.
François Duc de La Rochefoucauld

It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.
E. E. Cummings

I think of life itself now as a wonderful play that I've written for myself, and so my purpose is to have the utmost fun playing my part.
Shirley MacLaine

All my life I had been looking for something, and everywhere I turned someone tried to tell me what it was. I accepted their answers too, though they were often in contradiction and even self-contradictory. I was naïve. I was looking for myself and asking everyone except myself questions, which I, and only I, could answer. It took me a long time and much painful boomeranging of my expectations to achieve a realization everyone else appears to have been born with: that I am nobody but myself.
Ralph Ellison

Often people attempt to live their lives backwards; they try to have more things, or more money, in order to do more of what they want, so they will be happier. The way it actually works is the reverse. You must first be who you really are, then do what you need to do, in order to have what you want.
Margaret Young

Don’t you ever let a soul in the world tell you that you cant be exactly who you are.
Lady Gaga

Know thyself.

To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting.
E. E. Cummings

If I didn't define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people's fantasies for me and eaten alive.
Audre Lorde

Your time is limited so don't waste it living someone else's life.
Steve Jobs

Learn to... be what you are, and learn to resign with a good grace all that you are not.
Henri Frederic Amiel

Your work is to discover your world and then with all your heart give yourself to it.

God has given you one face, and you make yourself another.
William Shakespeare
It is not only fine feathers that make fine birds.

Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else's opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation.
Oscar Wilde

Every time you don't follow your inner guidance, you feel a loss of energy, loss of power, a sense of spiritual deadness.
Shakti Gawain

No creature is fully itself till it is, like the dandelion, opened in the bloom of pure relationship to the sun, the entire living cosmos.
D.H. Lawrence

The most exhausting thing in life is being insincere.
Anne Morrow Lindbergh

He who trims himself to suit everyone will soon whittle himself away.
Raymond Hull

Once conform, once do what others do because they do it, and a kind of lethargy steals over all the finer senses of the soul.
Michel Eyquem de Montaigne

Let the world know you as you are, not as you think you should be, because sooner or later, if you are posing, you will forget the pose, and then where are you?
Fanny Brice

Live your life as an exclamation, not an explanation.

Nothing great has ever been achieved except by those who dared believe something inside them was superior to circumstances.
Bruce Barton

We are betrayed by what is false within.
George Meredith

The great majority of us are required to live a life of constant duplicity. Your health is bound to be affected if, day after day, you say the opposite of what you feel, if you grovel before what you dislike, and rejoice at what brings you nothing but misfortune.
Boris Pasternak

One must know oneself. If this does not serve to discover truth, it at least serves as a rule of life and there is nothing better.
Blaise Pascal

Is it sufficient that you have learned to drive the car, or shall you look and see what is under the hood? Most people go through life without ever knowing.
June Singer

If God had wanted me otherwise, He would have created me otherwise.
Johann von Goethe

You were born an original. Don't die a copy.
John Mason

It is better to be hated for what you are than to be loved for something you are not. Andre Gide

Live the life you have imagined.
Henry David Thoreau


Recovery Quote Of The Week: May 2, 2012

Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add color to my sunset sky.
Rabindranath Tagore

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