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Illuminate Your Life With Aurorae Yoga

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The following is an affiliate post and contains affiliate links:

My package arrived over the weekend.  😀

I’ve been saying that I need to reduce high-impact exercise and focus on doing anxiety-reducing, strengthening yoga.  

If you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time or if you know me personally you know that 1.) I am a perpetually anxious person and 2.) I am perpetually injured person from overtraining via high-impact cardio.  

I was inspired to try out the ,  luxurious microfiber towel, cute women’s slim flip flops, and slip-free rosin bag-which, by the way, is genius.

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A Body That’s Mine to Accept

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Gaining weight and maintaining an appropriate body size and shape for my height has been the most difficult step in the recovery process. Being comfortable in my own skin is an arduous process. It’s one that I have to battle on a daily basis. Some days it’s a much easier fight than others. I wrote this essay a long while ago, so it’s not new or anything. I don’t always feel this way about my body now–and not to such extremes, but I do still struggle a great deal. I know a lot of people struggle with body image too. It’s up on The Mighty today, so I decided to share it with you all, as this step was helpful for me in LESSENING THE INTENSITY of the feeling of body hatred. It helped me create a distance between myself and my hallowed anorectic frame. Read, don’t read, comment, don’t comment, but whatever you do, love yourself and your body.

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Read, Share, & Like on The Mighty 

I’m ‘Sitting Shiva’ for My Anorexic Body

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Kick Beauty Standards To The Curb: Join The Movement Now!

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Taryn Brumfitt’s new documentary “Embrace” is giving society’s body image an overhaul.

How many of you have ever done this or something similar?

…looked down at your humanly imperfect body, squeezed, lifted, and pulled at the trouble spots, frowned, thinking, “This won’t do at all.” so you…

  1. Decided to go on a strict diet and/or exercise regimen,
  2. Calculated how long it would take to get to your PERFECT! weight,
  3. Circled that date on the calendar

and told yourself–subconsciously or not–

THAT’S when my life will turn around! THAT’S when I’ll be happy! When I’ll feel confident! When I’ll ask that guy/girl out! When I’ll ask for that raise! When I’ll finally wear that bathing suit! When I’ll go to the beach and actually be wearing said bathing suit!

And life will be just dandy.

Except it’s not, is it?

91 percent of women hate their bodies.

In response to this alarming statistic, on a mission.

, former inhabitant of a (nearly) perfect body, is on a global crusade.  She’s calling it a Body Image Movement.

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10 Effective Post-Workout Foods That Aid in Recovery

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There is something that is just so incredibly satisfying about that delicious soreness we all get in our muscles in the day or two following a challenging workout. That little bit of “hurts-so-good” feeling in our triceps, glutes, and hamstrings tells us that we owned that workout! There was no “phoning it in” as Jillian would say.

We put in the effort and expect to see results, right?

Well, results come with consistency, and consistency is only going to happen if we can make it to our next workout. We don’t want to be so sore that we can’t get out of bed…or lower ourselves onto the toilet seat.  Yeah, you ever been there? I know I have! Squats, baby! You gotta love ‘em.

One way to prevent being quite that sore is to pay close attention to what you eat immediately following a workout. What goes into your body can significantly reduce inflammation, repair cells and tissue damage, build muscle and guide protein synthesis. It’s pretty amazing!

Here are top 10 post-workout food choices and what each will do for your awesome bod:

1. Berries, Cherries & Dark Colored Fruits

Antioxidant rich foods like berries, cherries, and darker colored fruits help reduce inflammation and decrease muscle soreness. You can drink tart cherry juice, or go for the whole fruit, like these freshly picked muscadine grapes, or black raspberries. When possible, organic is best.

Whole fruit provides fiber and keeps you feeling fuller longer, but juice is great if you’re on the go and trying to rehydrate quickly.

2. Fruits & Starches with a High-Glycemic Index

Right after your workout, your muscles are going to be dehydrated and depleted of energy (or glycogen). Eating starches or high-sugar fruit 10-15 minutes after your workout will help your muscles bounce back and also provide the following:

  • An increase in insulin which will reduce inflammation.

  • A rise in blood antioxidant status, which can help with pain and inflammation.

Bonus: The antioxidant factor in many of these foods can aid in tissue repair and cell recovery, getting you back in the game faster.

3. Eat Your Greens!

Dark, leafy greens and cruciferous veggies like broccoli and brussels sprouts help rid the body of an overabundance of estrogen, which can slow down the recovery process. These veggies are also full of water, so they’ll help improve your hydration right away. Foods like collard greens will eradicate free radicals that can slow down healing. Potassium can be easily found in protein-rich foods and leafy greens; consumption of these foods should be seen as a preventative measure for muscle cramps.

4. Salmon, Cod & Other Fish

Salmon is rich in fish oil, which is better known as omega-3 fatty acids. The omega-3s eicosapentaenonic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), are involved in several anti-inflammatory processes. In those processes, EPA and DHA give rise to anti-inflammatory eicosanoids. They play a significant role in reducing inflammation and decreasing production of inflammatory cytokines.

Note: It’s recommended to consume 1.25-1.5 grams of protein per pound of goal weight. Fish is an excellent source and can work overtime as an anti-inflammatory and protein food source.

Vegetarians/Vegans:

Ground Chia Seed is an excellent source of Omega-3s!

5. Almonds & Other Nuts

Image via Pixabay

As a natural source of protein, a nutrient that aids muscle recovery, almonds are ideal. A handful of almonds (30g) contains 15 essential nutrients including 65 percent of your daily requirement of the antioxidant vitamin E; recent research published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition has gone a step further and concluded that snacking on almonds can improve endurance.

6. Eggs

The incredible edible egg! Eggs contain all eight essential amino acids needed for muscle recovery. They also have about 6 grams of protein, and minerals like calcium, zinc and iron–all of which build muscle and promotes workout recovery. Hard-boiled eggs are a quick and portable to boost these nutrients after a challenging workout.

7. Fermented Foods to Aid Digestion

Improved digestion equals improved immunity. It increases your B vitamins, omega-3 fatty acids, digestive enzymes, and lactase and lactic acid that fight off harmful bacteria. It aids in the preservation and creation of important enzymes.

 

If you aren’t eating fermented foods (What!?), you’re missing out. They are DELICIOUS and all kinds of good for you! Check out kimchi, these fermented sweet wonder peppers (pictured above), refrigerated pickles (not shelf-stable), refrigerated raw sauerkraut (not shelf-stable) and kefir. You can also check out my Balanced Gut, Balanced Mind post for more suggestions and resources, like Apple Cider Vinegar!

8. Ginger & Turmeric

Both ginger and turmeric are other sources of food high in antioxidants.

9. Cinnamon

Cinnamon spice contains anti-inflammatory compounds which can be useful in reducing pain. The explanation behind it is that it reduces insulin sensitivity and therefore helps speed up tissue repair after a tough workout. It also helps with glycogen replenishment. Glycogen is the “stored energy” in your body that your muscles use up to propel you through your workout. Cinnamon is delicious on basically everything: sweet and savory foods; it’s amazingly versatile. Any easy way to add it to your diet is through teas, smoothies, yogurt or coffee.

10. Water

This seems like a no-brainer, but if your body isn’t being hydrated properly before, during, and after your workouts, you’ll begin to experience problems right away. Issues like cramps, dizziness, and extreme fatigue are going to hit, and that’s going to make it harder to get motivated to workout the next day or the day after. Plus, all of these issues can contribute to muscle soreness! It’s recommended to drink 7-10 ounces of water every 10-20 minutes; even more if you’re exercising outdoors or in very warm conditions (like in a hot yoga class).

With a cheat sheet like this, you’ll have no problem stocking up on your next grocery run. Make sure to stretch after your workout, stay hydrated and keep post-workout recovery nutrition on point: you’ll have fewer “forced” rest days and significantly reduced periods of injury.

Simply choosing specific foods will help your body bounce back faster and it will thank you!

This post originally appeared on BlogHer.com on May 24, 2016

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Hey! Like my writing?  Do you wish you had access to all of my password protected posts and other content that isn’t available online?  I have other work!  I’ve published !  It’s nothing crazy; they are about 50-55 pages each and cost approximately $5 each depending on what country you are purchasing from.  Each ebook consists of a , mental illness, family dynamics, social anxiety, and other awkward shit that happens in my life.  It’s relatable, honest and raw.  Oh, and there are pictures in titles like  & .  You’ll probably like it.  Or not.  What the hell? It’s $5! 

***If you have previously purchased Amazon downloadable content, please note that the ebook content has changed.  Some previously available titles have been updated and contain more essays, pages, pictures, etc.  If you have specific questions, please email me directly @

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POLICIES & DISCLAIMER 


How To Rehab Your Body Image (and “Prehab” Your Kids’ Body Image By Example)

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A version of this article originally ran on Parent.Co.  Find it Here.

I’m a runner.  

Running is of my favorite things to do.  I love it so much, in fact, that I often find myself logging too many miles, too many days of the week, which, invariably, results in injury.  I’ve had shin splints, stress fractures, recurring tendinitis and bursitis like you wouldn’t believe…and all of those injuries have sidelined me.  They’ve forced me to rehabilitate or “rehab” each injury until it got better and I could run again.

Rehabbing a sports injury can be tough.  The process can be uncomfortable,–  at times painful–lengthy, and involves  Reactive Therapeutic Efforts.  When I’ve been injured, it’s always made me wish that I’d taken Proactive Measures to avoid that injury in the first place.  I internally chide myself for not embracing “Prehab” or preventative steps like sports-specific exercises, stretching more often, foam rolling, or–most difficult–taking more rest days.  It seems I never learn.  

Mired in self-pity over my latest injury, I got to thinking about the concept of repairing or “rehabbing” body image.  It struck me that Body Image Rehab is analogous to rehabilitating a sports or fitness injury in that it takes both time and effort.   But most comparable, however, is that it takes Reactive Effort.     

In my estimation, Proactive Effort is preferable to Reactive Effort because if we rely on the latter,  we’re repairing damage already sustained.  Avoiding (or reducing) damage is desirable, and if you ask me, most of us are in need of some measure of body image repair. Continue reading »


Why Do Women Do That?

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[READ ON THEBODYISNOTANAPOLOGY.COM]

I was scheduled for a doctor’s appointment that was meant to address the ongoing pain and lack of mobility in my left hip. The persistent injury was at its worst in last January, preventing me from even walking normally, much less going out for a nice long run. At the time, I substituted my running workouts entirely with low-impact cardio and, when I was disciplined, some weight-training. As the pain began to subside, I hesitantly resumed running, limiting myself to once per week.

It seems foolish to want to resume an activity which, historically, has caused so many overuse injuries, but it is the only form of exercise which provides me peace and freedom from a mind that’s normally a raucous liability. My anxiety-riddled mind demands more miles than my body can provide. Both the inconsistency of my workouts, as well as years of overuse has set me up for my ongoing state of pain and misery. My hope for the appointment had been to determine the cause of the pain (fracture, tear, etc.) and provide some guidance for treatment.

I needed that appointment, and yet, I canceled it. Continue reading »


Second-Day Soreness & Cinnamon

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One strong indication that I haven’t been challenging myself in my fitness routine is the distinct absence of the occasional D.O.M.S. or Second-Day Soreness.  D.O.M.S. (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness) is the result of athletes engaging in workouts at a higher intensity than which they are conditioned.  

It happens when one goes out of their comfort zone…and when it comes to fitness, and life, in general, that’s usually a good thing.  The body needs to be continually challenged and surprised.  Muscles can actually become lazy and apathetic if they become too comfortable and accustomed to one specific workout, and it could be a precursor to injury. Continue reading »


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My Ecotone

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When I initially launched saltandpepperthearth, my post topics were fairly diverse.  I wrote about activities which I enjoy: running, biking, not swimming (yep, no tri’s for me), gardening, reading, and, of course, writing.

I discussed topics about which I was continuously learning: organic gardening methods, fitness, healthy eating, supplementation, and do-it-yourself projects.

Shortly after I moved into my house in early Spring 2014, I plowed up the lawn and utilized the lot to establish a miniature-scale organic farm featuring a variety of fruit trees, vegetable plants, edible flowers, herbs, and vines.  This has been the largest and most difficult do-it-yourself project I’ve ever undertaken.  It’s also been the most successful and personally rewarding.

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My garden is a living, ongoing project.  It’s changed with the seasons and with time.  I’ve killed a lot of plants and done really well by a lot of plants.  Like a lot of things in life, it’s about trial and error.

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My garden is a living, ongoing project.  It’s changed with the seasons and with time.  I’ve killed a lot of plants and done really well by a lot of plants.  Like a lot of things in life, it’s about trial and error.

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Because the project was so unusual and interesting, I began documenting my progress with this blog, taking pictures and sharing growing methods which work in a Florida climate.  I was excited about this large project, so the blog was conceived as a smaller, adjacent undertaking.

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At first, the content was a bit “surfacey”.  I wanted to be construed upbeat and likable.  I hoped that readers would be drawn to a (counterfeit) cheery personality.  I thought that, perhaps, they might think of me as a pretty girl with a bright outlook who was enigmatic and energetic.  I (incorrectly) assumed that growing readership translated to blogging solely about pleasant, trendy topics like organic gardening, fitness and nutrition.

So…that worked for the first ten posts or so–and maybe not even those.  I began to feel irritated and repressed.  Writing this blog was supposed to be pleasurable, something to look forward to doing, but it just wasn’t.  Almost immediately, it began to feel like a tedious task.

I wasn’t writing as my authentic self.

I’m still raising my crops, maintaining my plot of land and enjoying that work.  But that’s mostly just for me.  I do like writing about it and sharing the pictures occasionally,  but I can’t limit myself to the sole topic of gardening.

Yes, the pictures are beautiful, and the fact that anyone can grow their own food is amazing and wonderful.  The sustainability movement is huge and sharing information about it is vital.

But, it’s not my cause.

For me, writing exclusively about my gardening felt so one-dimensional.  And an attempt at “spicing up” the content with my repetitive workouts felt frivolous.  New recipes were fun to try and share every so often, but the posts lacked depth and meaning.

I’m not the pretty, bright and cheerful girl who I initially misrepresented myself to be.

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I don’t ever wear makeup except for very special occasions, like when I was honored to be a bridesmaid for the wedding of my very dear friend, Miranda.  I normally wash my hair with a 2-in-1 and use inexpensive liquid hand soap on my face and body.  There are no  fancy lotions, potions, or fragrances.  And I shave my legs when I begin looking like a Gorilla in the Mist.

The truth is, I’m raw, dirty, sinful, indulgent and flawed.  I’m selfish, dishonest, inconsistent and careless.  I’m forgetful and clumsy.  I have cellulite, grey hairs and sun spots.

In short, I’m human.  Real and passionate.  Damaged.

Damaged…but interesting.

When I realized it would be much more cathartic and therapeutic to start writing publicly the way I thought privately,  I started to write for real.  And I haven’t stopped.

The gardening pictures have all been lovely, but the written content reads like junk food for the mind.  Gratuitous and flowery.

Reading the older posts now, I think: Who is this annoying person?  How tedious is she?  How obnoxious and patronizing?  Ewww.

If you’ve read this blog for a while, you may have noticed that, a couple of months ago,  I changed the header tagline from “GIRL GOES GREEN” to “DAMAGED, BUT INTERESTING”.  I probably should have changed it back in October of 2014, when I got home from the crazy hospital.  The reason that I didn’t change it then was because, quite honestly, it hadn’t occurred to me.  The transition from superficial content to the gritty details happened organically (no pun intended).

Transition.  

Transitions are difficult for me.  I need for them to be very gradual, nearly to the point that I’m not aware they’re even happening.

So, gradually, I began sharing more and more of the shameful, strange and intimate workings of my bizarre brain.  And my unconventional, dysfunctional life is thus displayed for public consumption.

There is a term for the region of biological transition.  Where the overlapping takes place.  It’s called Ecotone.  Isn’t that beautiful?  I like to think that this blog is my own little region of transition.  My Ecotone.   

And it’s probably saved my life.


POLICIES & DISCLAIMER


Spin Cycle

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I’ve always been emotionally explosive.  Rather, I’m like a raw nerve.  I wasn’t diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder, (Type I, Severe, Rapid Cycling), until I was 32 years old, but when I finally got the diagnosis, hot damn, did my life-long wild and erratic behavior suddenly begin to make a lot more sense to me.

It was an enormous relief to have some sort of explanation for the rampant mood swings, the overwhelming irritability, the rages, the meltdowns, the all-or-nothing approach to ABSOLUTELY EVERY ASPECT of my life.

Finally, I felt less alien, less alone.  There were others out there, just like me, bouncing off the walls, invincible; out of their head with grandiose plans to achieve this, that and the other…and then, the next week, having to cancel everything because LIFE WAS OVER and there was NOTHING LEFT IN THE WORLD.  Therefore, I could not leave my bed, much less my house.  And this isn’t hyperbolic, to be frank, this is, truly, putting it rather mildly.

I live, primarily, inside of my head; the roar and silence of my mind consumes nearly all my mental and emotional energy.  I find it difficult to emerge very often.
Although depression and mania are expressed in opposing timbers, they are equally demanding, clamorous in my mind.  Because they insist on my undivided attention, the world surrounding me is dimmed.The voices, feelings, and needs of my family, friends, anyone, everyone, are drowned out.  In order to hear, engage, converse, react appropriately (in the societal sense) I must concentrate very hard and, even then, I fear I’m not getting it right.

My mental illness makes me feel Selfish.  Immature.  Self-possessed.  Self-obsessed.  Needy and Greedy as a child– a wretched woman-child; a blight, a leech, a mistake.

A very dominant portion of my genetic make-up is the predisposition for anxiety, engendering considerable fear, self-doubt and rumination.  It presents itself most potently during mood fluctuation- usually at the height of a mixed episode when agitation becomes extreme. Then the anxiety itself promotes a depressive swing, underscores it.The hopeless, frantic ruminations press in.  I am afraid to be alone but desperately averse to the company of others.

This is social anxiety, magnified.  Overtaking me.  Engulfing me.  Controlling me.
There is the tiny cross-section of time: intermittent bouts of Hypomania, in which I am hyperverbal, creative, expressive, gregarious, enthusiastic, euphoric.  They are fantastic.

A photo posted by Kristen Polito (@) on

 And fleeting.

At various points of occurrence, the illness presents a false demeanor.  I am caught up in the play acting, the pretending.  I am fun, spontaneous, likable.
It is a farce, though, this pleasant and engaging personality, this false congeniality.  The more I learn about Bipolar Disorder, the more unbelievable it is that it took well into my 30’s to be properly diagnosed. Furthermore, I think my mood swings might be slightly more complex than I originally thought. My depressive and manic periods can last 3 to 6 months, switching back and forth, tag-teaming me mercilessly.
 
Compounding that, I’ve already been told I am rapid-cycling, which means that within a Depressive or Manic period, I have shorter, more subtle mood shifts throughout the day.
 
Read: My mind is set to spin cycle, and neither delicate nor permanent press settings are options.
 
I think the patterns in mood-switching are becoming more predictable, but I’m still taken by surprise when I suddenly find myself mired in depression, or consumed by mania.  I suppose when one is crazy and going crazier, they are probably too damn crazy to realize it.
 
The mornings are always the worst.  Regardless of whether I am in a manic or depressive period, each morning weighs me down.  My eyes open with reluctance as the anxiety kicks up into full-force.  My armpits already slick with anxiety sweat, my breath is shallow.  My heart speeds up.  The dread is overwhelming.  The dread, the anxiety, the feelings of worthlessness are almost too much to bear.
I take my medication, the pills which are supposed to make me not so unhinged.
 
But I am. Still.  So. unhinged.
..unhinged enough to know that the suicidal ideation isn’t that far behind me.  In fact, I can see it rearing its ugly head again.
My last trick of the night, folks.  The grand finale of the Crazy Kristen Show.
After waking, I lay back down.  I pull the blanket around me, over my head to block out the light from the cheerfully obnoxious sun.  

What. a. bastard.

The sunshine remains unceasingly cruel; mocking me, almost taking pleasure in my suffering.  I keep the blanket tucked around my head, even though it is getting hot and uncomfortable.  It’s hard to breathe in there.  I don’t like that.  Sometimes, I think I want to die, but I’m afraid of the suffering.  I forget that I will MOST DEFINITELY NOT want to die later in the day, post-mood shift.  The afternoons are better, and the evenings are EXCELLENT.

Every morning, I forget that now, since I am taking the pills,  I am feeling better.  For part of the day.  At least the whole day isn’t  just one long, drawn-out morning.

Even with that it mind, it takes an hour or more for me to coax myself into an upright position, to put my feet on the ground.  To slowly stand.  To look in the mirror and quickly look away, hating what I see.
I try not to obsess about my fat, the uneasy knowledge that my Body Mass Index now sits squarely in the middle of the “healthy” range.  The word healthy sounds fat to me: well-fed, over-nourished, portly.  The fact that I am no longer thin sets off the panic.

That reassurance, which would normally calm my frayed nerves, center my thinking, reassure me; the focus around being thin, concentrating on this one goal, dials down the outside world.  When I am using this unhealthy coping mechanism, everything else is muted and the complex problems in my life no longer seem so bad, so terribly urgent or troubling.  But, this is not an option…sickness, I mean…certain death, I mean.  I am in the dreaded state of eating disorder purgatory, where my weight is restored, but the mind (and often behaviors) are still very diseased.
I don’t start feeling better until about halfway through my workout when the endorphins kick in.  And then the creativity returns, the ideas come, the planning, the small glimmers of hope.  These feelings are not steady throughout, but they make enough of a dent in my misery to propel me through the rest of my workout.

Post workout, I am feeling pretty even for a while, just so long as I do not linger in front of the mirror. Mirror, Mirror, on the Wall–Mirrors seem to have magical properties, you know–they are able to transform my mood almost instantaneously.  If I can remember to keep away from mirrors and other triggers, to take my medicine on time, and to employ healthy coping strategies, I can get through the day, relatively unscathed.

A photo posted by Kristen Polito (@) on

 If I can do that, then I can actually take advantage of the fact that I’m Bipolar, because, even though each day’s most basic demands leave me completely exhausted, my Bipolar brain is the very reason I’m able to write the way that I can.  If I wasn’t unhinged, I’d not likely have a comparable grasp of the English language, of syntax.  Words are a powerful display of feelings and sometimes people, even the ones we love, don’t understand or have access to suppressed feelings locked away for one reason or the other.

MIGHTY1I’d choose rhetoric savant over boring old mainstream shmo’ any day.


POLICIES & DISCLAIMER


Dear Sir

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The Mighty, BlogHer, and The BodyisNotanApology:

To the Father of the Little Girl, Whom He Teased

Publicly About Being ‘Fat’

Dear Sir,

I’m guessing you didn’t mean intentional harm when you laughed loudly and instructed your young daughter to get on the scale at the Publix supermarket so you could see how “fat” she was. I’m sure you didn’t mean anything by your thoughtless remark. In fact, you acted quite tickled with yourself, as though what you’d said had been rather clever. You even looked around to gauge the reaction of onlookers — a goofy, expectant grin pasted on your face. You waited for those within earshot to reward your “witticism” with a hearty chuckle.

When you made eye contact with my friend who’d been there, she did not laugh. She did not smile. You may, at that point, have realized your social faux pas. You might have thought perhaps what you’d said had been in poor taste.

Maybe you felt a little sheepish, a little badly, even.

Had I been there myself, I would have stopped you in your tracks. I would have made you listen. I would have told you my story. Because I was that little girl. I am that little girl.

Every day, I relive every instance of that hateful word “fat” being directed at me. I remember every single time in hideous, gut-wrenching detail. In fact, I still suffer frequent nightmares about one boy who was particularly cruel in middle school.  I am 33 years old and have dealt with anorexia and bulimia for more than half of my life.

I have no doubt you love your daughter unconditionally and, had you realized your “playful teasing” might be doing irreparable harm, you’d have stopped yourself at once.

Yes, there were times when my own parents were guilty of something similar, an offhand remark about another person’s figure or some gentle teasing when I was going through some awkward stage.

Truly, it boggles my mind, though, how parents, in the year 2016, can still claim ignorance to the pitfalls and dangers of body image issues for both girls and boys. I am not a parent, but damn if I don’t feel fiercely maternal when it comes to this topic.

When it comes to The Absolute Necessity of Positive Body Image, how can it be, with all the efforts to educate and campaigns of awareness launched, that our society remains grossly uneducated and unaware? With glazed, unseeing eyes, we view The Dove Campaign for Real Beauty ads on television, flip past the pictures of “real women” and spend more time gazing at the fantasy.

Although I readily admit to being guilty of doing this myself, I recognize it’s not the way it should be and certainly not the way I would want my own child to experience the world. There really wasn’t anything like the Dove campaigns when I was growing up. I was raised as a Barbie Girl in a Barbie World, saddled for a lifetime of body dissatisfaction. But no one knew any better! Positive Body Image wasn’t a “thing” yet.

It took the healthcare community a long time to recognize anorexia and bulimia as serious (and deadly) problems. Bulimia didn’t even make it into the DSM until 1980, and the term “bulimia nervosa” wasn’t coined until 1987. I was born in 1982, and eating disorder advocacy didn’t really begin to gain momentum until the 90’s, and even then, it wasn’t broadcast widely.

Before I became sick, the only eating disorder case of which my parents had even heard, was that of Karen Carpenter. How could they know any comments or observations, however well-intentioned or harmless,  might be 1) Misconstrued and 2) Solidly ingrained in my memory and thus have an impact on my body image well into my 30s? They didn’t know. They didn’t know I was genetically predisposed to developing an eating disorder. They didn’t know I was battling a constellation of cognitive issues including bipolar disorder. They didn’t know what they might say about my body, their own bodies or the bodies of others would be interpreted as a guide for self-evaluation.

I was (and am) hypersensitive to any and all comments and (perceived?) criticism, seeking external validation constantly. Awareness. just. wasn’t. I think it’s interesting to note the contrast in education and awareness between then and now. Although I stand by my assertion that continued societal ignorance borders on negligence, there are now more resources available resulting in an improved sensitivity within child-rearing.

Of course, eating disorders are incredibly complex, and the causes are myriad.

However, prevention can start at home if you Watch Your Mouth:

  • Foster Positive Self-Talk.
    • Be careful of disparaging your own body’s flaws in the presence of your children.
    • Be careful of disparaging other’s bodies in the presence of your children.
  • Resist the urge to comment or criticize your child’s appearance and/or how their eating habits have an impact on their appearance.
    • Healthy eating does not require motivation by shame or guilt. Instead, emphasize improved health instead of improved appearance.
  • Prioritize other qualities as having greater value than appearances such as intelligence and character attributes like kindness, generosity, honesty, i.e. fruits of the spirit.

Note: This Body Image “Prehab” applies to girls and boys.

Eating Disorders do not gender discriminate.

Protect your children and Watch Your Mouth.


POLICIES & DISCLAIMER