Poem by an anonymous Foundation volunteer
By Kiki Schmit
Glamour Magazine released its’ first “plus size” issue titled ‘Chic At Any Size,’ featuring ‘four women who inspire us.’ Glamour is referring to model Ashley Graham, singer Adele, and comedic actresses Melissa McCarthy and Amy Schumer. However courageous and encouraging the special edition issue is- including the cover story ‘super-chic ideas to help you hit it [fashion] out of the ballpark’…’courtesy of’…’stylish women sizes 12 to 22,’ is meant to be, it has offended people and called into question the idea of what ‘plus-size’ really means.
Glamour Magazine quotes that plus size in the fashion industry is considered anything above a size 12. Plus Model Magazine says the majority of plus-size models are between size 6 and size 14. However, it seems that both Glamour magazine and Plus Model Magazine are misguided because the average American woman wears between sizes 12-14.
Amy Schumer, featured in the special edition issue, was not aware of Glamour Magazine featuring her in the issue until it was published. When she learned that she was featured as one of the inspiring plus- sized women, she had mixed feelings. In an Instagram post, she addressed @glamourmag “I think there’s nothing wrong with being plus size. Beautiful healthy women. Plus size is considered size 16 in America. I go between a size 6 and an 8.” Amy stated that she worried that the magazine sent the wrong message to young girls saying “Young girls seeing my body type thinking that is plus size? What are your thoughts? Mine are not cool glamour not glamorous.”
Glamour’s attempt at inspiring body positivity featuring plus-size models may have gotten lost in the controversy of what plus size actually means. Some celebrities are speaking out and creating campaigns to fight back against the misperceptions of what real bodies look like. Stars from Jennifer Lawrence to Lorde, from Reality star Whitney Way Thore, to comedian Amy Pohler; women in the public eye are challenging the importance of the thin-ideal and showing that people are “chic” at any size.
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By Lorrie Bouley.
Recently in the media, buzzwords have been thrown around calling the new stomach-draining device, AspireAssist “medical bulimia,” and “automatic bulimia machine.” This demonstrates a huge misunderstanding of both the psychiatric illness Bulimia Nervosa and the challenges that come from losing weight when one lives with morbid obesity.
Bulimia has specific behaviors and traits: self-induced vomiting, a feeling of being out of control, guilt and shame. The illness has detrimental effects from compensatory behaviors. Frequent episodes of forceful vomiting can damage the digestive system due to electrolyte and chemical imbalances caused by dehydration and loss of potassium and sodium from the body. While the concept of this new obesity treatment seems like it is similar to compensating the calories one takes, it prevents several health consequences that can be extremely harmful to the body.
First, the FDA requires a screening to be done on patients to determine whether or not the patient has struggled with bulimia or eating disorders in the past because the device could enable their eating disorder or encourage disordered eating habits. ApsireAssist is not intended to be used for those who are moderately overweight. It is designed for those who live with morbid obesity, with a BMI of 35-55 and in patients who have not been successful losing weight from non-surgical therapies. The device is placed near the top of the stomach, meaning very little stomach acid will be removed during draining. Also, it is impossible to completely empty the stomach from the tube, it only allows the patient to drain up to 30% of the calories from a meal.
In addition to using the device, the patient receives lifestyle therapy at the same time, including nutrition and exercise counseling. There is value in not only learning what to eat, but how to eat. Clinical trials show that most participants demonstrated a decrease in their average portion sizes, perhaps because they must chew more carefully, as food could possibly become lodged in the tube.
There are risks to all actions we take. A person living with morbid obesity and who has attempted countless times to lose weight, is at risk to possibly be diagnosed with or worsen other issues such as diabetes, high blood pressure and other major health concerns. Allowing patients with morbid obesity the option to choose an approach that may come with side effects is their choice, and it shows to be effective and less invasive than gastric bypass surgery, the only other technical solution that has been effective.
Gastric bypass surgery is an inpatient procedure and can take up to 3 weeks in recovery, whereas AspireAssist is done through an outpatient visit in about 15-20 minutes and does not permanently alter your anatomy like bypass surgeries thus far. There are benefits to keeping the stomach intact – it aids absorption of vital nutrients, which the tube can provide. Though the device aims to be used long-term, patients may choose to remove the tube anytime, which is similar to the 15-20-minute placement procedure. Patients are typically told of these risks to determine if this is the right approach — there is no one way to treat obesity, just like there is no one way to treat an eating disorder.
Before jumping to conclusions and assuming the worst of new medical advances to treat obesity, we need to inform ourselves about the outcomes. There are still questions that need to be asked, and we need to focus on the patient’s overall health after completing the therapy. How often did they feel shame or guilt in using this device? Was there any? Did they receive the appropriate support they needed from health care providers? Nevertheless, both obesity and eating disorders have their challenges when recovering. It’s not as simple as eat more or eat less, and as a society we need to learn how to understand both illnesses and support both fights, in a healthy way.
By Angela Haugen
I spent a lot of time in my recovery feeling like I was wasting my time. I thought that every counseling session should produce enlightenment and each day should provide improvement. When that wasn’t happening, I was surely failing.
After four straight years of feeling as though I’d made no progress, I can remember numbing myself to the possibility of change. At the time, I happen to have found a church that I could sneak in and sneak out of with little interaction with others. It was a great place for me to just ‘be’ for a while and witness other people feeling things that I no longer thought viable. It was here that I was awakened to the possibility of releasing – of letting go of all guilt and all pain. All my mistakes, everything from the last minute to the last hour to the last four years, I could literally let them go.
The speaker had talked about the difference between guilt and conviction: one of them holds you frozen in place, keeping you stuck wherever you transgressed; the other moves you toward something new.
Though I was not in a spiritual place, I quickly saw the connection between the extra weight that I felt I was carrying – the weight I was trying to shed with all my restrictions and rules – all of that weight was burden and guilt. I needed to let it go.
The hardest part in all of this process was focusing on me. I was very used to helping others, and accommodating for others, and understanding for others, and forgiving others… but the truth was I just added stones into an invisible backpack of burden each time I did that. My strong empathetic nature had me carrying unnecessary weight. It was guilt of what would happen if I disagreed, didn’t accommodate, did things my own way. And, though I wasn’t in tune enough to FEEL that load emotionally, I mixed it all up in my head and had mistakenly felt it physically.
The first step for me was to look at myself, as I was that day, and drop the stone of that day. Each time I restricted or binged or purged – each and EVERY time – I forgave myself, acknowledged that I didn’t have to do that, but that I was still and person that needed love, even if it was just love from myself.
It didn’t stop right away, but I stayed in the practice of acknowledging exactly where I was and what I did or didn’t like about the situation. I acknowledged the feeling of being disappointed, of wanting something more. I refused the stone of guilt and set it down.
I stayed in that space, each day dropping the stone of that day but, eventually, I also tried to drop the stones I had collected along the way. Stones of friendships and relationships lost over my ED – acknowledging my part in the loss, but also acknowledging where others had let me down and had left the burden in my hands to carry. Stones of burdens unrealized from childhood and from school and from missed expectations: where people had failed me, where I had failed people. Where I didn’t match up to what I expected, where I didn’t match up to what everyone else expected, where everyone else’s expectations were unfair or just plain wrong – I released each stone that I could not change or control. I addressed the ones that I could confront. I set down the ones that I could not.
I released other people’s feelings and their reactions. I did not do everything right, but I trusted that others were either capable of addressing that with me, or else let them carry their own responsibility to address it. I worked hard to releasing the stone of assumption and presumption, and instead focused on laying those stones at the feet of other people. I asked more questions, clarified statements, and started to say when things bothered me or hurt me or just didn’t fit into my schedule. I set the stones down in conversations or prayers or calls for help.
It all felt selfish at first. Some people tried to throw the stones back at me and wanted me to carry them (because most people don’t want to hold on to them, I find that they often deflect them – but that doesn’t mean that I have to pick them up!). I hated having to let go of the comfortable role I’d established as being an ‘easy-going’ personality. I didn’t want to push back – I wanted to still be the flexible one. I didn’t want to be the one who riled the relationship or who seemed ‘difficult’ to work with. But I also didn’t want to carry the excess weight anymore.
Once I realized that I wasn’t going to lose anymore weight because I didn’t actually have any to lose, I was freed up to loose the weight that was tied around my heart – the weight of heavy emotions that were easier to carry than to just address. When I freed myself to no longer carry the ‘bad’ feelings, but instead set those stones aside, I freed myself up to be ok with letting people down, making mistakes, and trying to figure it all out – just like everyone else is doing.
I literally had to forgive myself and embrace the conviction of the self-damaging behavior Every. Single. Day.
Multiple times each day – for over a year an a half before I felt the miraculous release of my ED. The interesting thing was, the day that I let the last stone go – I remember feeling a physical weight lifted off my shoulder. For the first time in over 5 years, I was lighter. All because I embraced feeling bad about myself and others…
and then, let it go.