Posts Tagged ‘Body Image’

The Impacts of Bullying on Body Image

Bullying-School

October is World Bullying Prevention Month. In recognition of this, we want to address the impact of bullying on body image due to weight stigma/weight bias and how these factors relate to eating disorders. 

It has been reported that school-age students are most commonly bullied about physical appearance, race or ethnicity, gender, disability, religion, or sexual orientation. One type of “physical appearance” bullying is weight-based bullying. When someone is bullied about their weight, it can have a major effect on their body image and overall self-esteem. In this blog, we will describe what bullying is, the different types of bullying, and how it can relate to eating disorders. 

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Episode 61: The Intersection of Faith and Mental Health with Kelsey

Kelsey

Episode description: 

Kelsey is a pediatric registered nurse working on her master’s degree in psychiatric nursing. In this episode of Peace Meal, she shares her eating disorder and recovery story, including the impact of her faith and her college environment on her experiences of illness and recovery. 

Though Kelsey had seen many medical providers growing up, she says her relationship with food long went unquestioned. She had concerns about her eating but struggled in silence for years. She didn’t yet have the language to name her disordered eating, often describing her anxiety and stress more generally instead. She faced barriers getting help in college—a stressful environment already—but only found lasting support after an interaction at church. A person of faith, Kelsey turned to her pastor, who told her that her illness required professional support. Prayers alone would not heal her. After being connected with new resources, she says she became honest with her secrets with her family and made a “no more lying” rule with her parents. Her sister and niece were also strong motivations to help her recover and to model and practice body positivity. Kelsey leaves us with insight and hope for college students, people of faith, or anyone struggling with an eating disorder. 

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How “Health” and “Wellness” Have Been Co-opted by the Diet Industry

A woman exercising outside on a yoga mat

A common symptom of many eating disorders is a preoccupation with food and body size, and this symptom can be exacerbated by the toxicity of diet culture. Diet and weight loss have grown to be an over $70 billion industry—yet according to studies, 95% of diets fail. As it has become increasingly common knowledge that diets don’t work, the diet industry has reworked its language to disguise diets as being about “health” and “wellness.” Trying to determine if something is pro-diet culture or not can be tricky. To truly promote health and create a culture that is more supportive of those with eating disorders, we need to learn to identify diet culture and actively resist it. 

What is Diet Culture?

If you’re not familiar with the term “diet culture,” that is not uncommon. Diet culture is so entrenched in our everyday lives that it’s hard to even spot it. Diet culture is the belief that if we want to be more desirable, worthy, and good, then we should make our bodies smaller by dieting. Diet culture is dangerous and harms people of all sizes, including by perpetuating disordered eating and making eating disorder recovery all the more challenging. Even if you are not on a diet, you can still be caught up in the culture of dieting. Some people need to be on diets for medical reasons, such as diagnosed celiac disease or diabetes, but even those who have a reason for dieting other than weight loss can get caught up in a diet culture mindset. Many people don’t even realize that in pursuing “health” and “wellness,” they are living their life according to rules created by diet culture. 

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Understanding Body Positivity, Body Acceptance, and Body Neutrality

A woman in a larger body with her arms out smiling with a pretty street behind her

It can be hard to differentiate between body positivity, body acceptance, and body neutrality, especially if all three of those terms are new to you. One day, you can love your body, and the next day you may struggle with your appearance. Negative body image is a common symptom in most eating disorders, and with eating disorders affecting approximately 30 million Americans and disordered eating affecting 65 percent of American women between the ages of 25 and 45, you could argue that America has a desperate need for movements like body positivity, body acceptance, and body neutrality. Continue reading to learn more about these ideas and how they can help in eating disorder recovery.

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Episode 59: Choosing Recovery with Kathryn

Episode description: 

​​Kathryn is a 31-year-old woman who enjoys cooking, hosting friends, teaching music, and getting lost in nature. Best known for her big heart and passion for life, she lives in a larger body and advocates for people to take up more space. Kathryn joins us in this episode of Peace Meal to share her eating disorder story, including how living in a larger body has impacted her recovery. 

For over 20 years, food was the center of Kathryn’s life. She kept trying to figure out what was happening on her own, blaming herself for her struggles. After talking with the people closest to her, she decided to seek help even though she didn’t have a lot of hope that anything would work. 

As soon as Kathryn reached out for help, however, she says it felt like a “warm hug.” In speaking with an eating disorder specialist, she discovered that she did, in fact, have an illness. It was not her fault. While she experienced many barriers throughout her recovery living in a larger body, she grew to learn that all food is good food and that you should take up as much space as you need. With the support of her treatment team, friends, and family, she learned how to take care of herself, live as the most authentic version of herself, and make sure all her needs are met.

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Navigating the Pressures of Swimsuit Season

A group of friends at the beach

Swimsuit season. Beach body. Bikini ready.

The terms are thrown around casually every summer. In regular conversation, on social media, and via media and advertising, we’re hit with messages that suggest we must prepare and perfect our bodies before changing into warm-weather clothing. “Get ready” for the summer, the messages say, by getting your body “ready.” “Follow this workout, stick to that diet plan, and you’ll look and feel your best!” The noise is hard to escape.

This summer, we’re confronted by messages not only about “beach bodies,” but about “post-pandemic bodies” as well. We hear and see chatter about getting our “pre-pandemic bodies” back. Diet and exercise routines are sold as a way to “fix” any COVID-related body changes or to make up for the pandemic time we “should’” have spent fixing our bodies. Amid this noise, we may also feel anxiety about others seeing us in person again, fearing body judgment or commentary. 

Combine the “summer body” pressure with the “post-pandemic body” pressure, and it’s no wonder that this summer is a challenging time for those experiencing body image concerns, disordered eating, and eating disorders. But while Summer 2021 is a unique time to reenter and reconnect with the world and our loved ones, we actually don’t need to change our bodies at all to do it.

In this article, Dr. Jillian Lampert, Chief Strategy Officer of The Emily Program and Veritas Collaborative, helps us explore how we can all practice self-compassion this “swimsuit season” and help our loved ones do the same.

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