Who or What Is Pulling Your Strings?

Don't become a puppet to other people's desires, live and create your life as you intended it to be. 
Steven Redhead

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Recovery Image: The Power Of The Past

The only power that the past possesses is the power that I choose to relinquish to it. 

Accepting and Loving Your Body

Bodies. They come in all shapes and sizes. They are unique. Each one an original creation. Bodies are a true example of diversity. They do so much for us every day, yet we judge them by their appearance instead of accepting them and loving them as they are. We compare our bodies to the bodies of others. We scrutinize them, pick them apart, and find fault. We wish we had thinner thighs, bigger breasts, or flatter tummies. We wish we were taller, shorter, or less wide. We feel ashamed, embarrassed, and cheated by what we see in the mirror. We may hide ourselves, deprive ourselves, or berate ourselves because we feel our bodies are not good enough. We allow our bodies to define us.

It’s also helpful to realize that this very body that we have, that’s sitting right here right now…with its aches and its pleasures…is exactly what we need to be fully human, fully awake, fully alive.
Pema Chodron


Opinions vary and overlap about the whys of body dissatisfaction. One being that we are bombarded, everyday, by images of women (and men) that have been professionally lit, creatively photographed, and photoshopped resulting in a visual misrepresentation of reality. Despite the diversity of bodies in every day life, the media has created a narrowly defined and unattainable image of beauty.

A cultural fixation on female thinness is not an obsession about female beauty but an obsession about female obedience. 
Naomi Wolf 

Fortunately, these practices are no longer a carefully kept industry secret. Many have lifted the veil, exposed these methods, and informed the public. Search the internet and you'll find many examples of photoshopped fashion/beauty images that compare the true image to the final product. Actresses have come forward to speak out against their images being digitally manipulated. Some have bared their bodies as proof that what you see on a slickly designed magazine cover is not what you'd see in reality. There has also been a push to require photoshopped images to come with a warning/disclosure stating the image has been altered. 

We are raising a generation of children who see these images and believe them to be real. Children who are dieting in elementary school, or being diagnosed with an eating disorder at the age of 5. Grade school children who are focusing on their body's shortcomings and loving themselves less. 

So, what can we do about it?

We can stop buying into the hate. We can stop permitting an industry who relies on our dissatisfaction with ourselves (in order to make money) to dictate what beauty is. We can teach our children that what they see in the media has most likely been altered and is not a fair and true representation of the human body. We can lead by example by accepting ourselves and loving ourselves. We can start being grateful for all that our bodies do for us, and less concerned with how are bodies stack up against the hype. We can reteach ourselves to love our individuality. We can start by redefining beauty. We can begin by realizing that we are beautiful just as we are.

...say bye-bye to feeling bad about your looks.
Are you ready to stop colluding with a culture that makes so many of us feel physically inadequate? Say goodbye to your inner critic, and take this pledge to be kinder to yourself and others. .
Oprah Winfrey

Commit to accepting your body. Commit to loving and appreciating your body right now, just as you are. Take a step forward in the direction of body acceptance/love, and another step, and another step... every day.

There is nothing more rare, nor more beautiful, than a woman being unapologetically herself; comfortable in her perfect imperfection. To me, that is the true essence of beauty.
Steve Maraboli

How are others doing it?

For me, loving my body is something that is a long way in the distance. However, accepting my body how it is is something I've accomplished. Just getting to that point was a long journey. By accepting myself, I've gained confidence. By gaining confidence, I've been able to love little things about myself. I am a curvy girl, but ED does not discriminate. Some of the little things I love are my curves and the shape of my legs. Learning to love little things has given me the peace of mind I need to get down to a HEALTHY weight HEALTHY way. Regular exercise, but not too much and eating healthy things without bingeing and without restricting. My recovery is only beginning, but I can't wait to love myself completely, fully, and unconditionally!!
Jessica, 17 yrs

I suffered with an eating disorder for many years and I have found that one of the hardest parts of recovery is learning to accept/love your body. For me it is something I still have to work at daily. For me the process really started with accepting that what I was reaching for was really unrealistic and my therapist pointed out to me that unless I literally got bone removed I would never achieve my goal. So it started with that realization and then my dietician was able to prove to me that no matter what eating disorder “behaviors I used” I was not really getting where I wanted to be. SO…I eventually had to accept that my body may be a little smarter than me and know where it needs to be. Now, I am simply at a place where I may not really like my body and I still have a struggle accepting that this is what I will look like forever…but I can accept that in this moment this is where I am and so I can torture myself or accept it .  Some steps I have had to take in my recovery have been to distance myself from media image on the internet, magazines, etc. Also, I have had to continually have an internally dialogue disputing my negative body thoughts and have had to start speaking up against others body bashing. Overall, it is a daily process and simply taking one more leap of faith, and one more step forward but it is worth the journey. I no longer take 3 hours to get dressed in the morning and am able to go shopping with my friends again…Also, at my Masters graduation for the first time in a long time I was able to take a picture and not start crying after seeing it! IT was a great feeling.
Kelly, 27 yrs 

 I am still in the process of learning to accept my body; however, I can see how far I have come. Acceptance began when I was respected sexually. My boyfriend, now husband, did not pressure me to have sex when I didn't want to. That opened the door to me reclaiming ownership of my body. Once I saw it as mine, I began practicing appreciating what it did for me. I put it through hell! Yet my body is resilient and bounced back. Now I am starting to be open to the idea that other things beside my weight determine my worth. Accepting that I am worth more than that number is awful because then I see all the pain poured into hating something that was really okay. .. but more than that it is amazing because I can finally have moments in life where I am content. 
Courtney, 24 yrs 

Learning to love and accept my body has been the hardest part in my recovery, and even though I consider myself free from Ed, I still find myself having "bad body" days. Days where I feel "fat" and don't want to do anything. But I have learned how to push through these days by remembering that the feelings won't last forever. They are bound to disappear because feelings are not fact and they come and go continuously. Feeling "fat" or gross one day does not mean you are in fact "fat" or gross. I've learned that tomorrow I will probably wake up feeling amazing about myself so I hold on to that thought and keep going. Remember that you are beautiful no matter how you feel inside or what those Ed thoughts are telling you. Fight back. 

Tayla, 20 yrs

I fight my battle with words, positive words and daily gratitude, words that give me a why: why should I keep my scale beneath the sink? Why should I love the girl in the mirror? Why is there more to life than counting (weight, calories, seconds on the treadmill...)? My why is puppy dog kisses and long walks in the mountains. My why is laughing with my siblings, cultivating a fulfilling career, writing in coffee shops on the weekends. My why is dreaming of a better future--working toward a future--and knowing that any future I take part in requires more than skin and bones. I still do math--in my head, walking past the mirror or as I crack my eggs for breakfast or tie on my walking shoes. But the words--positive words and gratitude--fill my head and crowd out the numbers, and, for today, I have the peace that lets me work toward a recovered tomorrow. 

 Kaila, 26 yrs 

Start living life fully now, in your present body… 

Linda Bacon 

 If you would like to share your experience with learning to accept/love your body to be added to this post, please email me at mrsmenopausal@yahoo.com.


Spring Recovery Wreath

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Recovery: How Much Longer?

How much longer are you going to allow your value to be determined by your appearance? How much longer will you put off joy in wait of that one thing that will finally make you deserving? How much longer are you willing to deprive yourself of happiness because of a number, a history, a preconceived notion of beauty? How much longer?