Posts Tagged ‘Body Image’

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

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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Episode 54: Building Body Trust with Holly Toronto

Holly Toronto

Episode description:

Holly Toronto is a Certified Master Level Coach who specializes in body image. She has five years of experience helping people stop prioritizing other people’s expectations of beauty, belief, or behavior so that they can live their life from a place of wholeness, fully aligned with the truth of who they are. Holly joins us in this episode of Peace Meal to explore factors that impact our relationship with our bodies, as well as some strategies to improve it. 

Holly first unpacks how purity culture shaped the way she learned to relate to her own body. Messages about sexuality contributed to body distrust and triggered negative body image at a young age. Her body shame increased as she grew into early adulthood and experienced acne. She adopted a “pure food” diet meant to clear her skin, but lost weight and received validation for that instead.

Though it seemed normal and even “healthy,” in reality, the highly restrictive diet was taking a serious toll on Holly’s mental and physical wellbeing. And then came a turning point. Holly shares how finding intuitive eating impacted her life and career by challenging misguided ideas of health and set her on a path toward food freedom and body trust. She dispels common myths about intuitive eating and describes how she walks alongside her clients who adopt it. Emphasizing the importance of body trust and partnership, she offers tips for anyone seeking to heal their relationships with their bodies.

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Making the Invisible Visible: A Q&A with Artist Alex Rudin

Alex Rudin

**Content warning: This is one person’s story; everyone will have unique experiences in recovery and beyond. Some stories may mention eating disorder thoughts, behaviors, and symptoms. Please use your discretion when reading and speak with your support system as needed.

Alex Rudin is a multimedia artist based in New York City. Her artwork is narratively focused on the complexities of the human experience through stylized portraiture and anecdotal commentary. Her intent lies in uncovering and expressing the truths of what it is like to be a woman in modern America. Alex is currently creating work surrounding feminist issues, including eating disorders and sexual abuse. In addition, Alex regularly uses her work to speak about political and social justice issues. She has partnered with organizations such as Women for the Win, Article 3, and The Sam & Devorah Foundation, among other female-led orgs. Alex’s writing and artwork have been featured in USA Today Mag, Grit Daily, Yahoo.com, and The Female Lead. She has shown in both solo and group exhibitions in New York, Delaware, and Philadelphia.

In this Q&A, we ask Alex about her artwork and the impact of art on those creating it, those consuming it, and on society at large. She explains how art has benefited her recovery from an eating disorder and body dysmorphic disorder and shares samples from her portfolio.

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This Is Me Eating Hugs

Isabella Gómez Girón

**Content warning: This is one person’s story; everyone will have unique experiences in recovery and beyond. Some stories may mention eating disorder thoughts, behaviors, and symptoms. Please use your discretion when reading and speak with your support system as needed.

By Isabella Gómez Girón

“Okay, okay, just another more, my tongue needs it—my tongue? Not my tongue. Something needs it. I need to keep filling. But not my stomach, not my throat, those are clogged. It’s the heart, it’s the soul, not the body” (This is Me Eating Hugs). 

Have you ever felt like what you’re trying to fill while anxiously eating is more than your stomach? And you want more and more, even though you are not even hungry?

Well, I have been there too, and still am sometimes. My name is Isabella Gómez Girón, and I am a Colombian artist based in NYC. I hold a BFA in Acting and a Minor in Psychology from NYU. I participated in Et Alia Theatre’s online series called This Is Me Eating. . . , an experimental online series where each participant filled in the blank to describe what they were metaphorically eating as a way to explore the relationship between food, our body, and our image. I wrote This Is Me Eating Hugs toward the beginning of the pandemic when one of my fears was that I—being completely alone in NYC—would fall back into bad habits with food, as it would become my only comfort in that period of isolation. I was afraid my desire for overeating and my negative thoughts about my body image would start to control me. Writing this short experimental film helped me to channel those feelings out of my brain, allowing me to trust that I loved myself enough to not overeat all the time as a way to solve all my emotional turmoil.

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