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Archive for April 30, 2015

Resilience and Recovery

Submitted by Kristine Strangis

I believe that this one word is what describes those who are able to recover. Recovery takes strength, dedication, patience, and hope and it is a journey that takes courage. Think about it, recovery asks you to step outside of the rigid comfort zone that you knew so well, to change who you thought you were and step into this new realm of existence. Recovery is about exploring the world and all that it has to offer, good and bad, in order to find yourself. This, overall, is the journey of life, and it is those who are able to survive or endure hardships that go on to be great in their own special way.

 

From my own recovery journey, I have learned that it is a process, one that takes a long time, and I had to accept this in order to move forward. My eating disorder began when I was thirteen, but I was hospitalized for anorexia nervosa at age sixteen and, ever since, I have been in and out of multiple levels of treatment. That is eight years of having an eating disorder and five years of being in recovery; it is a long battle, and one that I have yet to finish. But, is there really an end to recovery? Is being recovered really possible? Yes, I believe that it is possible to be recovered; what I do not believe in is that fairytale happy ending that society tends to emphasize, you know, that one where you are running through a field of beautiful flowers into a breathtaking sunset, or riding away into eternal bliss on a white horse with your prince charming? Well, although this may seem wonderful, it is not realistic, and certainly not living. When you are recovered, it will not be all rainbows and roses and that perfect happy ending, but rather, a life full of new beginnings, a chance to experience life and all of the feelings that come with it. To me, being recovered means being at a place where I feel balanced, where there is good and bad, happiness and sadness, light and dark, etc. Recovery is living your life to the fullest, whatever that may mean for you.

 

As I said before, I have been in and out of treatment for five years now, but, during my most recent relapse about a year ago, I do believe that what has kept me going this time was resilience. I knew that choosing the eating disorder was a death sentence because, even if I were able to survive with an eating disorder (which is not likely), I would not be living. Living with an eating disorder is worse than death, it is a life of constant anxiety, miserable depression, lonely isolation, and living with this demoralizing sense that you are nothing but a number. We may not have a choice in whether we develop an eating disorder, but we do have the choice to choose recovery. Well, I was not going to let the eating disorder control me and take my life away. Once I was dedicated, through all of the ups and downs of recovery, I was resilient, I kept getting up every time that I fell down, and I continued to celebrate the victories.

 

Overall, I think the moment that I realized that I was finally recovered was when I kept choosing recovery, no matter what. I knew that if I continued to search for this impossible goal of the perfect happy ending, I would never be happy because it just does not exist. Now, this is not to say that life does not get better after recovery because it does. My life is so much more fulfilling, peaceful, and balanced now that I have chosen recovery, and it only continues to get better. I want you all to know that I am still in treatment right now; it is only outpatient therapy appointments once a week, but I am still working on my recovery. So, yes, I do believe that I am recovered, but that does not mean that I do not need therapy anymore; I am at a point right now where I feel like going to therapy because I want to in order to stay on track with my recovery, especially since so many changes are happening in my life right now. This is dedication, this is doing what is right for me in order to stay on the path of being healthy and balanced. Once you stop believing that there is an end point to reach, and really focus on meeting yourself where you are at, you will find balance.

 

Recovery is life, it is a journey of self-discovery that is not easy, but definitely worth it. So, remember that recovery is a process, one that is full of ups and downs, so be resilient by continuously choosing recovery, and never give up the fight.

 

Stay strong.

 

This blog post was sponsored by:APi_Group

Rebel Wilson: More “Model” Than Any Angel

Submitted by Lauren Feller

Rebel Wilson, most well-known for her roles in films such as Bridesmaids and Pitch Perfect, has proven to be a surprisingly fantastic role model for women; she’s bold, hilarious, and she refuses to be shamed for not fitting Hollywood’s “typical” (and outrageous) body-size standards. Recently during the MTV Movie Awards, she strutted confidently across the stage in an outfit with a message; the angel wings, leather pants, and bedazzled bra are representative of Victoria’s Secret, bringing to mind outfits seen at their widely-viewed annual fashion show. Rebel isn’t trying to be an angel, though; the word “THINK” is printed on the backside of her pants (a clever play on the Victoria’s Secret teenage brand, Pink, which has been notoriously slapping their logo on rears for years.) What does all of this mean? Rebel encourages young women to love their bodies, exactly as they are. Backstage at the awards, Rebel commented on how the women of Pitch Perfect are a variety of sizes, each as beautiful as the next. She says,

 

Sometimes girls will look at Victoria’s Secret models and think they have to model themselves after that, but I really don’t think that’s the best. Even though they’re called models, they’re not the best people to model themselves after. I’d like to encourage other girls to think that way, which is why I put that on my butt.” -(Elle Magazine.)

 

And Rebel couldn’t have picked a better audience to send that message to; the MTV Movie Awards typically have a significantly younger viewership than other award shows, like the Oscars or the Golden Globes. Rebel Wilson has been consistently using her success constructively; she was recently on the cover of Elle magazine, which is no small feat for anyone in the entertainment industry. She also discussed having written her own musical in theatre school that allowed her to showcase her talent while conveying a message of body positivity; a true win-win, and a musical I would love to see.

 

This blog post was sponsored by: LOGO premier

Don’t Weigh Your Self-Esteem

Submitted by Adrianna Jereb

The radio announcers asked the trivia question: What does 1 in 4 women do every day? The call-in responses ranged from ridiculous (i.e. “shaves” – please.) to boring – the actual answer turned out to be “washes her hair”.

 

I bring up this otherwise forgettable question because one caller guessed “weighs herself”. A female caller, no less, believed that one in four women weighs herself daily.

 

Fortunately, the guess was wrong – but the idea wasn’t completely out of left field, which was upsetting. Weighing oneself is more unhealthy than a provider of useful information – weight is not a good predictor of health and fluctuations of up to four pounds from day to day are completely normal.

 

Even someone trying to gain or lose weight won’t be able to track significant change on a daily basis. Our bodies just don’t work like that. I was sad to hear that anyone would guess that 25% of women weigh themselves every day. No one is defined by a number on a scale. We are too often taught to be self-regulating of our bodies – what we eat and how much and how often, what kind of exercise we do and how hard and how often, and of course – our weight. Weight tells us so little about an individual’s physical health, and absolutely nothing about the person inside. Of all the things to do daily, I hope stepping on the scale is not something we take time out of our busy, full lives to focus on, not when we can fill our daily lives with so many positive things instead.

 

And don’t just take it from me; even Jillian Michaels says weighing yourself daily is more damaging than anything else. http://www.jillianmichaels.com/fit/lose-weight/myth-weighing-yourself

 

This blog post was sponsored by:Riverbridge RB-Logo wo tagline

Hollywood Support for More Positive Body Image

Submitted By Hannah Berezovsky

Jennifer Lawrence, an American actress who has stared in many films such as the Hunger Games series, has some very inspiring words regarding body image. According to a Huffington Post article titled Jennifer Lawrence: ‘It Should Be Illegal To Call Someone Fat’, Lawrence believes it should indeed be illegal to call someone fat in the media. She mentions how she feels all public figures have the ability to control the image that their audience is seeing. For example, posted on twitter and tumblr there are daily workouts made to help achieve the “Victoria Secret Angel Body”. This body type is extremely hard to achieve, and is very rare to stumble upon. These models influence young audiences to work for a body that they see as the “perfect” body type. Jennifer Lawrence feels that although the world has its stereotypical image of “perfect”, people have to see past it because it isn’t real. She stated, “You look how you look, and you have to be comfortable.” Lawrence’s inspiring message is slowly but surely influencing her young audience to be happy with their appearance, because it is uncontrollable. I think that the message that is being conveyed is to accept who you are and how you look, because your confidence and uniqueness makes you who you are.

 

This blog post was sponsored by: The Dirk and Jennifer Cramer-Miller Family

#ImNoAngel

Submitted by Lauren Feller

Last week, plus-size lingerie company Lane Bryant revealed a new body positive campaign under the hashtag #ImNoAngel. A not-so-subtle jab at Victoria’s Secret? Definitely. But a much needed body-love revolution in the undergarment industry. A quick scroll through the company’s Instagram page reveals posts by women of varying size, race, and age, all celebrated equally for their beautiful bodies, while proudly proclaiming they are not angels.

On their Instagram account, it’s not just the models making a statements. Well-known celebrities, such as Danielle Brooks (made famous by her role as Taystee on Orange is the New Black,) and Amber P. Riley, who played Mercedes Jones on Glee. Having these women, along with many others, be a source of inspiration and representation for both plus-size and curvy women, and women of color, is tremendously important. The lingerie bizz has been attempting to embrace body positivity for a while now; Aerie’s unretouched ads debuted last winter, a campaign that’s been incredibly influential, especially coming from a major lingerie company. Still, Aerie doesn’t market to plus-size women exclusively, and while the ads remain unretouched, they still feature fairly thin and mostly white models.

That’s what makes Lane Bryant’s campaign even more significant; their focus is entirely on body sizes that the mainstream media either overlooks or blatantly shames. What’s more, they seem to be dedicated to shifting the focus to women of color– another underrepresented demographic in the media. The combination of the two make this campaign more empowering and inclusive than many other campaigns that have aimed to send a similar message.

It’s easy to follow this campaign, or even join in– just look for the hashtag, share any posts or pictures that inspire you, or even contribute to the movement by tagging a picture of yourself with #ImNoAngel. Lane Bryant and supporters encourage all body types to “redefine sexy” by challenging the mainstream media’s standards of beauty– that’s a movement worth being a part of.

 

This blog post was sponsored by:

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