Archive for February 27, 2014

Love Your Body: A Poem From Your Eyes Down

-A Poem From Your Eyes Down-

Submitted by volunteer Danielle Hanson

I love your eyes, but sometimes

 they see your reflection in the mirror differently than I do.

Sometimes they stare with such intensity,

looking for any little flaw,

but you only have as many flaws as you let yourself see.

I wish you could see through my eyes,


I love your mouth, but sometimes it droops

when you compare yourself to others,

or when you see something you wish weren’t there.

It’s prettiest when you smile,

I wish I could give my smile to you,

and take all of those thoughts that hurt you


I love your stomach,

the way that it connects everything from your legs to your arms,

to your shoulders and your neck,

up to your face.

Your face where that smile should be,

and where those eyes should see the reflection

of your smile,

staring back at you in the mirror.

Your legs are my favorite too,

the way that they carry you places

and hold you upright,

the way that they can walk you,

or run you.

I wish you could see how wonderful your legs are.

There are so many things about you,

about your perspective.

If only you could see how beautiful you are.

If only you could see yourself through a different lens.

You’re lovely, all of you. Your mind, your eyes,

your mouth, and stomach and legs.

And I hope,

I wish,

you could see it,

like I do.

Media Monday: Modeling Health Body Image

Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any identified mental illness. Close to 24 million people of all ages, sizes, colors, religions, and backgrounds in the US suffer from an eating disorder (bulimia, anorexia and binge eating disorder). And what I find to be most worrisome is that around 80% of 10-year-olds worry about being overweight.

National Eating Disorders Week started on February 23 and runs through March 1st, and Forbes posted an article titled, “How Parental Behavior May Impact A Child’s Body Image.”

Dr. Aaron Krasner, psychiatrist, and Director of the Adolescent Transitional Living Program at Silver Hill Hospital in Connecticut, says that “Eating disorders are complicated” (source) because there is both an environmental and genetic component. In regards to the environmental component, “Krasner feels that parents need to be mindful of how they eat, their relationship with their own bodies, and the potential impact on their kids” (source).

There are many factors that contribute to a child or teen developing an eating disorder, and modeling a positive body image can make a difference. “One analysis found that a mom’s concerns about weight are actually the third leading cause of body image problems in adolescents and girls” (source). (On a side note, just because this article focuses on mom’s, I want to point out that dad’s and men can contribute to body image issues as well. For example, my mother was uber conscious about talking about weight (she wouldn’t even let me have a barbie) while my dad talked about weight all the time — and I ended up struggling with two eating disorders.) I also don’t want to exclude boys. “A study from the Harvard School of Public Health in 2013 noted that close to 18% of teen boys in their study were “extremely concerned” about their bodies” (source).

Overall, eating disorders are complex illnesses without one cause.  Bottom line, we can’t always be perfect parents or role models for children and teens, but this week try to be more aware about how you talk about yourself and others.

Below are Dr. Krasner’s suggestions for parents (or adults) on how to help your children develop a positive body image.

  1. Avoid criticizing yourself or other people’s weight, shape or size.
  2. Avoid negative food talk, for example, “I won’t eat bread because it has too many carbs” or I can’t eat this brownie, I’m on a diet. Instead focus on the health benefits of foods and how we feed our bodies to nourish it (keep weight talk out of it).
  3. Praise your children for their achievements. Let them know they are loved no matter what grade they get or how well they did in a sport.
  4. Make sure your children know it’s totally normal for their body to change shape and size and that not everyone is or needs to be the same.
  5. Make sure your children know that only 5% of women in the US portrayed on TV are that shape and size. Make sure your children know they have their own unique and beautiful size and shape, and help them to love their bodies for all the things it does so well; run, swim, giving hugs, etc. (source)



Media Monday: A Father’s Letter to His Daughter (From the Makeup Isle).

A Father’s Letter to His Daughter (From the Makeup Isle).

Submitted by Volunteer Christine Hanwick


Target’s make-up aisle might be one of the most “oppressive places in the world,” says clinical psychologist, Dr. Kelly M. Flanagan in his Huffington Post blog.


Dads have such a huge impact on their daughters; “Girls learn self-worth and self-esteem from Dad” source. So it’s really important that fathers understand what messages their daughters are being exposed to daily–so they can counter balance it.


Understanding that “words have power,” in his walk through the make-up aisle, Flanagan noticed phrases and words like:


-Go nude

-Flawless finish



-Go naked

-Instant age rewind


Flanagan says in his blog that he knows that his daughter is just as strong and smart as any man, but he also realizes that the world won’t necessarily view her in the same way. He says, “They’ll see her as a pretty face and a body to enjoy. And they’ll tell her she has to look a certain way to have any worth or influence.”


His response? His blog is actually a letter to his daughter that uses the words he saw in the Target aisle to invoke self-esteem and self-worth. I’ve included a couple below. Check out the full letter here.



The world may want you to take your clothes off, but leave them on. Instead be naked by being vulnerable. Take risks, say what you feel and think. Be open.



May you know that infallibility is an illusion. Perfection does not exist–it is only created by those who are seeking money from your wallet.



You will age and your skin will wrinkle, “but your soul is ageless.” Do not defy the aging of your skin or your body, “resist the aging of your spirit.”


+Flawless finish

These words have nothing to do with the way your skin looks, but with how your life has been lived. “May you grow in wisdom and may your love become big enough to embrace all people.”


Flanagan finished by asking, “Where are you the most beautiful?” He answers, “On the inside.”




Your Body Is…

Submitted by Volunteer Samantha Pirwitz

At some point in your life, someone has told you that “your body is a temple.”  Maybe it was your mother; maybe it was a friend; maybe it was an infomercial you accidentally kept watching late one night.  Whatever the scenario, we’ve all heard it.

From what I can gather, it’s just a cliché way of telling us to treat our bodies right and to remember that we’re beautiful in our own way.  But the temple analogy has always made me feel boxed into needing to be the perfect girl with the perfect body and the perfect smile.  And that’s never been me.  So instead of a temple, I tend to think of my body as a theatre, as a found space where the show may change but the choreographer stays the same.

For a girl who grew up shy, I learned to express myself with my body long before I could with words.  I’ve always been a cuddler, a hugger, a high-fiver, and (on a few occasions) a chest bumper.  When I laugh hard, my head falls back, and when I cry, it rolls back just enough before falling forward.  I dance like no one’s watching even when plenty of people are watching and no music is playing.  (There’s a picture of me from my wedding belting along with “Don’t Stop Believing” with my hands in the air like I’m concerned someone might actually stop believing.)  When I’ve had a rough day and don’t quite know what to do about it, I frequently employ the fetal position.  When I doubt what you’re saying, my eyes get huge and my eye brows judge you.  When I don’t want to admit I’m wrong, my eyes shift to one side and my lips twist in the same direction.  When I’m passionate about something, I lean into it.

I’m not a temple kind of a girl, and more and more, I’m enjoying that as a sign of my signature style.  I’m a heart-on-her-sleeve, irreverent, air drumming little dynamo, and my body is how I express that.

Last Week to Submit Your Artwork!

The Emily Program Foundation

Call for Artwork!

If you have ever created artwork inspired by eating disorder recovery, we invite you to share your work and inspiration with others at The Emily Program Foundation’s first annual Gala, unmaskED.  The masquerade theme of the Gala symbolizes the removal – or ‘unmasking’ – of the secrecy, stigma, and shame associated with eating disorders (ED). Themes include, but are not limited to, eating disorders, body image, and recovery.

This one night only Gala, unmaskED is taking place on Saturday, March 1st, 2014 at the Muse Event Center 1073rd Ave N. Minneapolis, MN 55401


Don’t wait to take part in this show; space is limited. Submissions are accepted on a first-come-first-serve basis. Art pieces are preferred to be framed or mounted upon submission. Artwork will be displayed anonymously (unless otherwise requested).

Please submit your artwork and submission form to

Emily Monson no later than February 14th, 2014

Submit your work to Emily Monson, Community Educator

1295 Bandana Blvd. W., Ste. 210, St. Paul, MN 55108