My Awesomely Random Life (and Everything in Between)

Posts tagged ‘eating disorder awareness’

Sometimes “1” is all it takes

 

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Numbers are simple things aren’t they? Yet when thought about in a different way, they can take on a whole different meaning. For example…

  • 5: Age when I had my first kiss. It was with my childhood best friend while watching Land of the Lost, and it was equal parts sloppy and magical.
  • 6: Times I’ve seen Styx in concert. Domo mori goto, Mr. Roboto.
  • 2: The (giant) cups of gloriously caffeinated coffee I had earlier today to help me make it through this Monday-est of Mondays.
  • 43: DAYS UNTIL OPENING DAY FOR THE MILWAUKEE BREWERS!!!
  • Too much: Amount in dollars I’ve spent on books within the last year alone.
  • Never enough: Number of books I currently own.

Here are a couple more numbers for you real fast….

  • *42% of 1st-3rd graders report wanting to be thinner and 81% of fifth graders have an extreme fear of becoming fat
  • *The average American woman is 5’4″ tall and weighs 140 pounds. The average American model on the other hand is 5’11” tall and weighs around 110 pounds.
  • *Americans spend of $40 Million dollars on dieting and diet-related products each year.
  • *24 million: The number of people, both male and female, in the United States who suffer from some kind of an eating disorder.
  •  *9 million: The number of those 24 million aforementioned sufferers who recover and go on to live a happy and healthy life.

I am also a number. I am ‘1’ of the 24 million people who have fought, battled and struggled with an eating disorder. I am also ‘1’ of those 9 million who have fought, battled and struggled with an eating disorder….and WON!

Let me throw you “1” more number.

1: If I could have ‘1’ wish, it would be to give hope and inspiration to everyone out there who may be going through not only an eating disorder, but are facing anything difficult or challenging in their lives. I want to let people know that it is possible, that there is hope. I am ‘1’ and sometimes, ‘1’ is just enough. Enough to foster a change, to bring awareness and to encourage others out there to take back their lives, completely and whole-heartedly ED free!

This week is incredibly important to me. You see, it’s National Eating Disorder Awareness Week (NEDAW) and I very much would love it if you could all help me out with something. Just like with my mom’s famous chocolate-chip cookies, having ‘1’ is great, but having more is even better.

There are sadly so many people who are impacted by eating disorders worldwide; many of which who suffer in silence. It may be your sister, your best friend, your college roommate or your daughter. It may be your teammate, girlfriend, brother or cousin. For this reason, it is my hope, my ‘1’ wish that you and I can all do SOMETHING to remind others that they are in fact, beautiful and special, unique and amazing, funny and kind, just because they exist. They are all these things because they are perfectly imperfect.

So who’s with me?! Let’s work together to shoot that 9 million recovery statistic to the stars!

Remember, you are ‘1’, but sometimes ‘1’ is just enough.

For more information on how you can help, check out The National Eating Disorder Association website here.

*Information obtained from the National Eating Disorder Association

Reasons to Love the Skin You’re In

February 22 through February 28 is National Eating Disorder Awareness Week, something that is very near and dear to my heart.

In today’s age of media and unbelievably unrealistic and preposterous (bringing it back to 1700 with my word of the day calendar on this one!) cultural expectations, the never-ending stream of TV shows and ads about losing more weight, getting smaller waists and achieving skinnier legs makes it seem as if you aren’t beautiful until you’ve tried the latest fad diet and managed to squeeze into a size negative two dress (the fact that there is a size negative anything makes me want to karate chop a mango and throw said mango at whoever created a size negative anything!) Let’s admit it: the constant pressure for self-improvement can get a bit exhausting! Okay. It’s all of the exhausting and completely and 110% unnecessary! Good Goobers (mmmm…Goobers)! What happened to appreciating your body just the way it is?

It’s so easy to forget about all the amazing things your body is doing every moment you talk, walk, think and breathe. Believe me, I have been there. In fact, I still am trying to remember these things. It’s often times an ‘every day I have to try and remind myself’ kind of thing. But that’s okay.

The fact is, our bodies work hard around the clock to keep you and I functioning so we’re able to get down with our bad selves on the dance floor, attend that concert or baseball game, give your bestie a big ‘ol bear hug and do so many of the other fun things we love and are passionate about doing. So instead of striving to make your body look impossibly perfect, let’s show ourselves some love by appreciating our body’s strength, functionality and beauty.

In honor of this week, I wanted to take some time and remind you, yes YOU, of just some of the many reasons why you are the amazing and beautiful person you.

More importantly, I want to remind you, yes YOU, why you should CELEBRATE how amazing and beautiful you are!

1. Your Eyes

Your eyes can process 36,000 bits of information every hour, distinguish about 10 million colors and also express your colorful personality—those are definitely some eye-catching qualities if I do say so myself!

2. Your Nose

Your nose lends character to your face and makes you recognizable. You wouldn’t look your beautiful self without the one that you have right now! Your nose can also remember 50,000 different scents (an excuse to go perfume shopping or wax-on, wax-off with some sinfully aromatic candles)! Let’s also not forget that your nose makes it possible for you to experience all of those amazingly delicious flavors whenever you dig into a meal, since flavors result from a combination from both taste and smell. Loving your nose makes perfect scents (pun intended)!

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3. Your Arms

Tickets to the gun show, please. 😉 Your strong arms allow you to do everything from hugging and playing tug of war with your pup, to carrying in all of your groceries in one trip and kicking your boyfriend’s bum at the batting cages.

4. Your Chest

Has any other body part ever been so celebrated in art, literature, pop culture or life in general? From paintings of Greek goddesses and pictures of pin-up girls to modern-day lingerie ads, there’s a lot of hype about that region of our bodies. No matter which bra size you wear, be proud of your girls–or in my case, lack there of ;).

5. Your Stomach/Waist

Women have a lot of guts—literally! The lower portion of the colon, called the sigmoid colon (try saying that five times fast), tends to be longer in women than in men. Also, about 80 percent of your immune system resides in your gut, so you can thank your stomach for keeping you strong and healthy.

6. Your Hips

As Shakira famously once said, the hips don’t lie. It’s basically historically proven that curves are beautiful. And if you don’t happen to have apple-bottom jeans [boots with the fur] hips, don’t you fret! As Shakira famously once did, don’t be afraid to shake what your momma gave you and own it! You’re beautiful, girl!

7. Your Butt, Booty, Bum, Tush, Fanny

Baby Got Back! Your glutes are a powerful muscle group that represents both power and longevity. The gluteus maximus is the biggest muscle in your entire body and allows you to walk and run upright. It also doesn’t hurt that your assets make your new pair of jeans look amazing! It’s no wonder that both Jennifer Lopez and Kylie Minogue have insured their backsides for millions (apparently this is a very real thing–a very real[ly] weird thing, but a thing nonetheless). Whether your derriere is big or small, round or flat, your seat is perfect just the way it is.

8. Your Thighs/Legs

Check this stat out! It takes 200 muscles to take just a single step, so your legs are a real powerhouse! Your thighbone is stronger than concrete and is the longest bone in your body, measuring about a quarter of your height. Bigger thighs have also been linked to a lower risk of cardiovascular disease later in life. Strong legs are so in! Just look at Queen Bey—she doesn’t have a thigh gap, but she’s considered one of the most beautiful women in the world. Her thighs even have their own Facebook fan page! WHAT?!

9. Your Skin

Your skin does so much more than make you look presentable—without it, you’d just evaporate! It also guards the body against extreme temperatures, sunlight, chemicals and infections. It’s magically recuperative and elastic; humans shed about 600,000 particles of skin per hour (kind of gross yes, but also SO FROGGIN COOL!!), so your entire outer layer of skin replaces itself once a month like a waterproof, self-cleaning fortress (talk about a new you!).

So the next time that little negative voice in your head starts to say mean things about your body, remember all the wonderful things your body does for you. Admire all your body parts equally, because each is an extension of who you are. Love and respect your body, and it will love and respect you back!

Go ahead and treat yourself to some pizza, indulge in some chocolate or take a nice, long bubble bath (or all three!) —your body deserves it.

Beauty comes in all sizes, shapes and forms; always remember that your body is already beautiful just the way it is.

For more information on eating disorders, or how to become a part of spreading awareness and raising support, please check out the National Eating Disorder Association (NEDA). Let’s stand together (on our beautiful and strong thighs, legs, hips and bums) and do our part to help millions of women and men, girls and boys kick ED to the curb, once and for all!

Healthy is the new skinny

Hey guys! I hope you all are having a great hump day so far!

Today I thought I would talk to you all about something near and dear to my heart: Self-love and healthy body image. It’s something that has been on my mind a lot the last couple of days. This past week, I was at my bae Target picking up a few groceries (I went in for milk, just milk mind you, and left with a pair of pants, a sweater, a package or Oreos and some Cinnamon Toast Crunch. But forgot the milk. Every. Time.) when I ran into a mother and daughter who were also doing some shopping. As I was perusing the clearance rack, I couldn’t help but overhear the conversation that this mother was having with her young daughter. On numerous occasions, the girl would pick out a super cute top or a pair of pants, asking for her mother’s opinion on how it would look or if she should get it, and numerous times the mother would reply with remarks that truly made my heart sink.

“Are you sure you want this shirt, honey? It’s really not all that flattering on you.”

“You might want to hold off on those skinny jeans until you lose those last few pounds.”

Um, excuse me. WHAT?!

First of all, this young girl was absolutely beautiful! She had a smile that could light up a room and a sparkle in her eye that was undeniable. Secondly, no one should ever, EVER talk to another person like this, especially a mother to her own daughter! EVER! As a parent, as a human being, we should strive to bring each other up, to build our confidence and teach self-love and respect. That we are more than the number on a scale, the size of a pair of pants or the shape of our bodies. I really wish I would have had the courage to say something to this lady, to tell her the damage that she could potentially be doing to her amazing daughter, but in that moment, I was too shocked to really formulate a complete thought.

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Body image issues have been prevalent in our culture for a very long time, but I think it has gotten a lot worse within the last few years, especially with young girls and women. Everywhere we look–whether it be in magazines, on television, in the movies or even opinions from mother’s who are uneducated, insensitive and naïve– there is this ideal, this crazy, unobtainable and unhealthy ideal that is continuously getting shoved in our faces. The terrible thing is this “ideal” is perpetuated as something we all should strive to obtain if we want to be successful, loved, happy.

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Young girls see these images and hear these messages. Some stand up for who they are, not giving in to this warped mindset of what beauty is, but sadly, a lot of girls and women (and even men) fail to recognize how truly amazing they really are. They start picking apart the color of their hair, the freckles on their face or the size of their waistbands.  They begin to work out hours everyday, restrict what they eat and begin this dangerous comparison trap, asking themselves if they are or will ever be good enough. As someone who has struggled with my self confidence and body, I know that finding a healthy balance and learning to really love, respect and accept myself for the amazing and kiss-ass young woman that I am was and still is not an easy process. It’s something that I have to continually work on, reminding myself of all the things I love about myself instead of focusing on the things I don’t.

I have been following Katie H. Wilcox now for a while and am continually amazed and inspired by her messages of self-acceptance, positive body image and health. She is the founder of Healthy is the New Skinny, a campaign  that is challenging not only how the media portrays beauty, but also our own motives and mindset. This campaign actively reaches out to high schools across the country through their PUP program (Perfectly Unperfected Project), challenging the way our culture views beauty and building self-esteem and self-confidence in these young and impressionable girls. I want to give miss Wilcox a giant bear hug for the work she has done, and continues to do, raising awareness about how skewed our cultural ideals are and sending messages of how important it is to be kind to yourself, be proud of who you are and to love every inch of who you have grown to be.

This is how we feel about this latest Victoria's Secret campaign.

This is how we feel about this latest Victoria’s Secret campaign.

Sure, there are some days when I look in the mirror and do not think, “I woke up like this.” There are days where my hair decides to have an attitude of its own, days where I feel fat and bloated, days where I just am not feeling good about myself. But you know what, it’s days like these that I have to think the exact opposite! We are all beautiful, strong and have so much to give this world, give to each other, and more importantly, to our selves.

It’s high time we, you and I and that dude sitting across the hall from you with the very nice green tie eating a chalupa, we have to start throwing some serious shade to all of these ridiculous ideals of perfection and beauty, and start making our own!

We should “wake up like this” every damn day.

And to that mother at Target, I would just like to say to you that your daughter is beautiful. She is strong, unique and perfectly imperfect. I hope she bought that pair of skinny jeans and super cute top because she would’ve rocked them out!

If you want to become involved with the Healthy is the New Skinny campaign, get more information here! And be sure to follow Katie on her Instagram and blog!

Images via, via, via

A Dose of Tough Love

Hello everybody!

I hope you are all having a lovely Wednesday so far.

So, for those of you who know me and have followed my ramblings over the past few years on This, That and the Other Thang, you know that I am usually not a very serious person. I like to air on the positive side of things, and as you are probably well aware by now, jump on any chance I get to infuse bodily humor or tragic puns in my posts (or life really. I mean, how can you NOT have a good day when inundated with a good fart joke, am I right?). Today however,  I have a more subdued topic to talk with you guys about. A topic that I am all too familiar with, a topic that hits pretty close to my heart. A topic that I am very passionate about.

Those of you who have followed me on my journey to recovery from my former roommate ED have seen what a terrible, debilitating and horrible disease anorexia really is. It takes your health, your mind, your relationships and your dream/goals away. It’s a mask that hides the beautiful person you are, inside and out, a mask that makes you believe you are somehow less of a person, a person not worthy of love, of acceptance, of recognition. It’s a disease that is not very well understood, a disease that does not have just one cause, one symptom, one magic cure. It’s a disease that I struggled with for nearly ten years of my life and, while I still have a bad day or two thrown into the mix, it’s a disease that I have kicked to the curb, once and for all. I won’t get into too much detail about my road to a roommate-life (you can check out my journey here, here, and here if you’d like), but I will say that I am very blessed to be at a place in my life where the scale no longer dictates my life. Where I am proud to walk around with a little junk in my trunk. Where I can look at myself in the mirror and not only see the reflection staring back, but accept her, love her, be her biggest cheerleader.

Yes.

I have made a lot of gains in the past few years.

I gained my health, my relationships, my dream/goals and my faith. I gained my strength, my humor, my happiness and my zest for life.

I gained it all.

So what if some of it was in my booty, hips and thighs? Those things were just a bonus 😉

I stumbled upon this incredible video and just had to share. To be honest, I went through a rollercoaster of feelings watching this video.

You see, not but a few years ago, I was this girl. I would go to the gym and spend hours on the treadmill, the elliptical, scary thin and scary unhealthy. I did feel that many eyes were on me, and I did have a few people express their concerns. The level of embarrassment and denial I felt was through the roof, but at that time, my ED had way too much control over me to allow me to do anything about it. Since then, I have developed a healthy relationship to food and exercise, and, much like the woman in this video, have come a very long way from that sick girl, largely in part to the people in my life, my friends and family who helped me see what I was becoming, what I was doing, and that if I didn’t do something to kick ED to the curb once and for all, what I’d be missing out on.

Watching this video, really made me take a step back and see things from a different perspective. Seeing things from a clear and healthy mind, I cannot even begin to imagine myself as this weak, sick and unhappy girl and makes me incredibly sad. When I was in the depths of my ED, I probably would have not accepted help from a stranger. Actually, that’s a lie. I KNOW I wouldn’t have; “I’m fine. I don’t need help. I’m not sick.” The reality of it was, I was too sick to see just how sick I really was. It just goes to show how powerful miss ED really is, how she bends your thoughts and your reality. Sometimes it takes a bit (or a lot) of outside influence from caring individuals to help show you the truth, a dose of tough love. Seeing these people reach out to this young girl with such heart and compassion, a girl whom they had never met, and who by their caring actions inevitably ended up saving her life, made me heart smile so much and brought a tear to my eye!

If any of you are struggling right now (even I still have my bad days), please don’t hesitate to reach out. To a friend, a family member, or a stranger at the Y with a heart bigger than Texas. The same goes if you see someone struggling. You never know how you can have the power to change someone life!

If you or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder, please visit the NEDA website for information on how you can help!

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