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Archive for January 21, 2015

#FwordJar

photo (2)As you may know, February is Eating Disorder Awareness Month. This year, we are excited to launch a new campaign that offers a fun way to get your community involved and talking about the relationships we have with our bodies and with food. This February, we are asking you to institute a “Fat Talk Swear Jar” in your home, office, school, place of worship- wherever! Any time someone catches themselves partaking in fat talk, they pay into the jar. At the end of the month, the money you’ve gathered can be donated to support our work preventing eating disorders. Besides raising money, we hope this activity will help you shift the conversation.

 

What is “fat talk”?

“Fat” doesn’t need to be a bad word, even though it can be used that way. Fat can, and should, be a neutral term to refer to the normal make up of bodies and food. “Fat talk”, on the other hand, is a dangerous way we have of saying negative (or even sometimes positive-sounding) things about others’ and our own appearances, bodies, or relationships with food- statements like:

  • I can’t believe I ate that- I’m so bad!
  • Just look at their thighs.
  • I need to lose 10 pounds.
  • You look great! Have you lost weight?
  • I feel so fat.
  • You don’t look strong enough to play that sport.
  • What are they wearing? They do not have the body to pull that off.

Fat talk promotes an (thin/muscular) ideal of beauty that is unattainable for the majority of people. It assigns moral values to foods by referring to them in terms like “good”, “bad”, or “guilt-free”. It encourages behavior that can lead to unhealthy body image, unhealthy relationships with food, and even disordered eating. Research shows that fat talk, body dissatisfaction, and guilt all go hand-in-hand. Research also shows that we partake in fat talk for reassurance, to sympathize, and to fit in.

 

How does it work?

If you choose to participate in our “Fat Talk Swear Jar” campaign this February, getting started is easy! Here’s what you need to do:

  • Get an empty jar.
  • Go crazy decorating it or, if you prefer, print out this label and tape it on: #fwordjar label
  • Starting February 1st and lasting the whole month, put your jar out in your chosen location (your desk, kitchen table, work break room, etc).
  • Any time someone catches themselves (or is caught by someone) using “fat talk”, they pay into the jar. Suggested donation is $0.25, but this is your jar, and the fee scale is up to you!
  • Don’t forget to share on social media using the hashtag #FwordJar. If you’re using Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or Tumblr, don’t forget to tag us too! You can share a selfie, like the one above, or just link to this blog post and let your friends know you’re participating.
  • Tag your friends in your post to challenge them to make their own jar too, or, if they don’t make a jar, to make a donation to support our work.
  • At the end of the month gather the money you’ve collected and put it to good use! We suggest donating it to our programs providing education and advocacy to prevent eating disorders.

That’s it! If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to Julia at julia.birdsall@emilyprogramfoundation.org. Can’t wait to see your posts 🙂

 

 

Meditating with Your Body in This Cold Season

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Even though this year has been unseasonably warm, we all know how winter time in Minnesota usually goes. And for when the deep freeze inevitably comes- it IS inevitable, right??- here’s a meditation to help you face the cold with a little love.

Those of us who live in cold climates know how this works. It’s frosty outside. Snow is falling. It now takes twice as long to get ready to go outside, let alone, you now look like a giant marshmallow bundled up to stay warm. There is nothing glamorous about staying warm in the winter! Now you might be carrying around two pairs of shoes- your snow shoes/boots and your work shoes for the day. You also have a scarf and probably a hat and at least one pair of gloves…

So, now you’re outside in the cold and you’re shaking and shivering because you’re STILL cold, despite your best efforts. Your nose is running and red and your eyes are tearing up from the blistering cold. You get to your destination and when people see you they say, “Oh, it must be freezing out there. You look so cold!” Now you’re sweaty from being indoors.

Then it takes all day to stop feeling cold. In no time, you need to go back outside and do it all over again. This is why body meditation is so important. Instead of tensing up and bracing yourself for the cold air, meditate with the cold. Accept and relax your body, as much as you can, in the cold. Don’t forget that your body knows what it’s doing. When you get inside from the bitter cold and your nose is running- that’s okay. That’s normal. The time in the cold gives you an opportunity to be present in your body. When you get inside, you can hold warm drinks, curl up in a blanket, sit by a fire, and appreciate how the warmth feels on your skin and notice as it creeps its way to your core and you start to feel warm from the inside out.

Winter is a time of slowing down in the cold and being present in mind and body. Allow yourself to accept your body’s way of coping with the cold and stress of winter. Meditate with your body this winter- it will thank you!