National Eating Disorder Awareness Week 2015

February is usually the most hectic month for me – more hectic than even the holiday season! Between my husband’s birthday, my birthday, AND our wedding anniversary, there’s plenty of celebration to be planned (and enjoyed), but it’s also the time of the year when perhaps the gusto with which I attack each January starts to catch up with me. Like, tell me again why I planned to start training for a half marathon while juggling a half dozen private clients, a brand new nutrition group, five public yoga classes a week, two non-profit jobs, and the mounting of a cabaret? In the dead of winter?!

No complaining here though. I feel invigorated, if a little frazzled, and I’m taking it one day at a time, one breath at a time, one break from the computer at a time — and always keeping an eye out for my MBP Daily Three.

NEDAwareness_2015_Shareable_IllusionsFebruary 22nd through the 28th is National Eating Disorder Awareness Week, in which people across the country come together to “put the spotlight on the seriousness of eating disorders and to improve public understanding of their causes, triggers and treatments.”

One of my favorite offerings from NEDA so far this week is this Media Literacy Toolkit, which includes, among other awesome info, a quiz to help you determine your digital body image and examples of how to send your feedback to advertisers.

Also included in the toolkit is a pledge designed to “let people know where you stand on picture-perfect body images in the media.”

What do you think — would you take the pledge?

NEDA’s Body Positive Pledge:

  • I promise to move beyond society’s ideal body standards and embrace my own body.
  • I promise to tell myself one positive thing about my body every time I look in the mirror and appreciate that I am original and there’s only one me.
  • I pledge to respect my body and not try to fit media’s image of attractiveness.
  • I promise to keep a healthy and active lifestyle for myself and no one else.
  • I pledge not to judge people based on their body shape and size, especially if they do not fit the cultural body ideal.
  • I pledge to be proactive about negative body images and challenge unrealistic and demeaning body talk.
  • I pledge to advocate for positive body image messages—that includes not to buy from companies or support organizations that use unrealistic and unattainable body ideals to sell a product or promote a cause.
  • I pledge not to retouch my photos in order to enhance my appearance online.
  • I pledge to become more media literate and think critically about what I see, hear and read, especially on social media.
  • Finally, I pledge to love my body unconditionally.

If I’m totally honest with myself, holding to this pledge in its entirety would be a serious challenge. This is not easy stuff here, folks; we’re talking about reversing years of negative conditioning. But what a goal to work towards! Which of the above pledges will you work towards this Eating Disorder Awareness Week? Let me know in the comments below.

Two Steps to Your Perfect Bikini Body

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two step bikini body | Mucha | MindBodyPlate

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Pesticides in Produce

Let’s face it: it’s not always convenient (or economical) to buy all organic produce all the time. Luckily, the Environmental Working Group publishes an annual rating of non-organic foods with the most and the least amounts of pesticide residue. As a part of their Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce, each year the EWG publishes two lists that can help guide our purchasing choices: the Dirty Dozen and the Clean Fifteen.

*trumpets* Friends, I give you my versions of this year’s lists. *confetti*

Feel free to print them out and stick ’em on your refrigerator! They’ll serve as a good reminder to, say, always shell out for the organic strawberries, or to give yourself a break if your only option is a conventionally grown eggplant. I for one tend to steer clear of any produce in the Dirty Dozen that’s not organic. But when it comes to avocados, onions, cabbage, and other foods listed on the Clean Fifteen, I don’t sweat it as much.

EWG's Dirty Dozen

For the last three years, the EWG has included a ‘Plus’ category with their Dirty Dozen; this ranking highlights foods that didn’t quite make the cut yet were found to be consistently contaminated with trace amounts of pesticides hazardous to the human nervous system. According to the EWG, if you eat a lot of kale, collards, or hot peppers, you’d be wise to buy organic.

EWG's Clean Fifteen

You’ll notice that many foods in the Clean Fifteen have thick, protective skins or tightly packed leaves to help keep pesticide residues out. You may also have noticed that sweet potatoes are in the Clean Fifteen, whereas regular old spuds are up there in the Dirty Dozen – interesting! If you’re looking to avoid GMOs, be aware that most Hawaiian papaya is genetically engineered, as is some yellow squash, zucchini, and sweet corn.

As with most diet-related issues, the whole organic-versus-non-organic thing can be overwhelming and confusing. Remember to be kind to yourself and to approach with flexibility. After all, one thing that is far more dangerous than a non-organic strawberry is to worry incessantly about every single morsel you put in your mouth.

I Wear Purple

I wear purple because

February draws to a close this evening, and with it, Eating Disorder Awareness Month. If you’re looking for some inspiration, head on over to the facebook page for The Purple Project, a month-long event beautifully orchestrated by an organization called Where I Stand. All month, people from all over the world have been submitting pictures of themselves wearing purple, standing up for eating disorder awareness, recovery, and prevention. The whole project has been quite moving, and I’d like to congratulate Where I Stand for such a successful endeavor!

Why be skinny? Come on and enjoy life!

Wate-On

I saw this old ad a few days ago and kind of fell in love. I dug the cheeky copy, the sexy model (Shannen Doherty?), and the reminder of a bygone era that knew how to celebrate a curvy physique. I almost made it my Facebook cover photo. Almost.

I got so far as to upload it to my profile page. Then I changed my mind.

Because at the end of the day, this ad was making mid-century thin girls feel the same way that I feel when I flip through a high fashion magazine. Like I’m not good enough as I am. Like the only way I’ll ever “enjoy life” is by taking extraordinary measures to change the way my body naturally expresses healthy balance.

Is it important to encourage self-worth in full-figured women who feel abandoned, shunned, and underrepresented by mainstream media? Yes, absolutely.

But we’re missing the point if we think the answer is ousting the thin ideal to reinstate a curvy one.

While diversity in representation is imperative, the larger issue concerns advertisers who objectify the human body in order to manipulate a vulnerable populace into consuming products that promise to “fix” them.

Let’s move towards changing the dialogue completely, wherein the shape of a woman’s body – whatever it may be – is never used against her to make her feel less than whole.

People magazine thinks your eating disorder is glamorous

adiranaIn November of 2011, People magazine featured a ‘Scoop’ segment entitled “Adriana Lima: My Lingerie Workout!” The full text is reproduced below:

To get toned for New York City’s Victoria’s Secret fashion show on Nov. 9 (it airs Nov. 29), Adriana Lima, 30, told the Daily Telegraph that three weeks before hitting the catwalk, she has “intense” workouts twice a day. Nine days before, she stops eating solids and gets by on protein shakes, and 12 hours before, she stops drinking liquids entirely. No, really, all that deprivation in the name of sexy sleepwear is “a dream come true for me,” says Lima. And after the show, that burger is on us.

Look, I enjoy a trashy magazine from time to time, but the above “story” is just a straight up advertisement for eating disorders. Imagine! If I just stopped eating solids, perhaps I, too, could make sleepwear “sexy,” be world-famous, pull in at least six figures, and achieve my “dream come true.” Not okay, People; not okay. A juice cleanse may be beneficial to one’s health from time to time but that is NOT what’s going on here.

I wrote my very first letter to the editor in response to this Scoop, and I’ve reproduced it here below. Though I never got a response from People, it felt empowering as hell to send. I hope it inspires you to speak your mind when something’s bothering you. Take your cue from the New York City MTA: “If you see something, say something.”

♦ ♦ ♦

Dear People,

You don’t know me, but you have been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. I grew up reading your magazine (my mom was a subscriber) and have enjoyed it to this day. However, I was incredibly disturbed to read the “Scoop” piece entitled “Adriana Lima: My Lingerie Workout!” featured in your November 22, 2011 issue. The blurb, while small, makes it painfully clear that eating disorders are both rewarded by society and promoted by the media as glamorous, enviable, and financially rewarding.

According to the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders, in the U.S. “up to 24 million people of all ages and genders suffer from an eating disorder (anorexia, bulimia and binge eating disorder).” Among teenagers and college students alone, the prevalence of disordered eating is one in ten, with females accounting for 90 to 95 percent (Berg, 1999). Furthermore, research suggests that the prevalence of eating disorders is a growing threat. “The incidence of eating disorders has doubled since the 1960s and is increasing in younger age groups” (Daw, 2001, p. 1).

If People chooses to celebrate Adriana Lima’s dangerously restrictive diet, it most certainly has the right to do so. But at what point does your publication stop being a celebrity/human-interest publication and start becoming a beauty and fashion manual? Levine and Smolak (1996) found that among young women, the primary motivation for reading magazines was to gain knowledge of fashion, beauty and the like. When it comes to magazines, most young women are active consumers; they look to your publication for information on how to achieve societal standards of beauty (Tiggemann, 2003).

If People can be deemed a manual of sorts – a publication to which we look in part for current beauty, fashion, and attitude trends – then it has a responsibility to send healthy messages to its consumers. If a public reprimand of Lima’s pseudo-anorexic behavior seems too extreme, then I would have appreciated you not publish the piece at all. Your cheeky addition that “after the show, that burger is on us” simply makes light of an unhealthy and dangerous situation. I hope that Time Inc. will take advantage of the opportunity to rescind the lighthearted piece and make a public commitment to actively eradicating the prevalence of eating disorders worldwide.

Thank you for your time,

Kit

References:

Berg, F. M. (1999). An unhealthy obsession. In B. Leone (Ed.), Eating disorders: Contemporary issues companion (pp. 24-32). San Diego, CA: Greenhaven Press.

Daw, J. (2001). Eating disorders on the rise. Monitor on Psychology, 32(9). Retrieved October 6, 2004 from http://www.apa.org/monitor/oct01/eating.html

Levine, M. P. & Smolak, L. (1996). Media as a context for the developmental psychopathology of eating disorders: Implications for research, prevention, and treatment. Mahway, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders. Retrieved November 13, 2011, from http://www.anad.org/get-information/about-eating-disorders/eating-disorders-statistics/

Tiggemann, M. (2003). Media exposure, body dissatisfaction and disordered eating: Television and magazines are not the same! European Eating Disorders Review, 11, 418-430.