Archive for February 29, 2016

Twin Cities NEDA Walk

At the Mall of America people gathered to raise awareness about eating disorders during the National Eating Disorders Awareness Week at the Twin Cities NEDA Walk. Leaders in the field, providers, people personally effected, and family and friends joined in the fight against eating disorders.

One of the Foundation’s volunteers summed up the event:

How cool is this that we are in the largest mall in the country spreading eating disorder awareness. Usually shopping can bring up tense feelings for those who struggle with the disorder, but here we are, bridging the gap between society’s expectations of body sizes with clothing and eating disorder awareness!

ed leaders

Jillian Lampert, Chief Strategy Officer and Dirk Miller, Executive Chairman and Founder of The Emily Program were recognized as leaders in the field of eating disorders.

debbie and princesses


Even the Disney Princesses joined the NEDA Walk! These princesses prove that beautiful comes in all shapes and sizes.

81% of ten year olds are afraid of being fat, so it is fantastic that we can educate children’s idols of the harmful effects of eating disorders.







kristine and volunteers


Kristine Strangis, a Foundation Volunteer raised over $1,000 for the walk!


Dealing with Bad Body Days

What do you do when you have a day where you’re not feeling good about your body?

Most people can relate to these kinds of days. Sometimes feeling bad about your body can seem like it comes out of nowhere, and that can be frustrating. One of the Foundation’s amazing guest-bloggers Ragen Chastain, posted in her own blog strategies to deal with your bad body image days. She provides 4 steps:

  1. Find the Source
  2. Acceptance/Gratitude
  3. Over, Around, or Through
  4. See the Light at the End of the Tunnel

Read more about Ragen’s “Dealing with Bad Body Image Days” post.

Ragen Chastain



Ragen Chastain, creator of the blog “Dances with Fat,” has acquired some beautiful insight when it comes to body acceptance. She helps inspire and motivate people from all walks of life to love their bodies and be grateful for what they can do.

Media Mondays

*Originally posted 1/25/16

Mondays on The Emily Program Foundation blog are designated “Media Monday.” That means every week we post about something we find in the media that relates to eating disorders, disordered eating, or body image.  Why do we do this and why is it so important to post on a weekly basis?

The definition of media from Oxford Dictionary is: The main means of mass communication, regarded collectively. We communicate messages through the media, through the majority thought. 

We live in a culture that is bombarded by the media at all points during the day. TV, radio, magazines, billboards, on screen, audio, print, pictures, and more.  We see on average up to 5,000 images a day. In a year we are exposed to up to 1,825,000 images, and by the time we are twenty-years old, we have seen up to 36.5 million images.

What do most of the media images we see look like? The thin, and now “fit” ideal. Flawless skin, perfect hair, and a thin, toned body. If communication of the masses runs through the media images we see, then it seems like the message being communicated is that the thin/fit ideal is the way the majority of people look.

Looking at a fashion magazine for just thirteen minutes decreases body image significantly. Turner and Hamilton’s study in 1997 showed there is a strong correlation between exposure to fashion magazines and women’s greater preoccupation with being thin, dissatisfaction with their bodies, frustration about weight, and fear about deviating from the thin standard. Media images impact the way we see ourselves.

It is important to be aware of the media exposure and the messages we get from it. One of the main characteristics of having an eating disorder is having negative body image. Living in a culture that exacerbates the idea “you are not good enough unless your body meets the thin/fit ideal,” can impact the development of eating disorders and prevent recovery from an eating disorder.

If we are aware that the media does influence our body image, we can step back from it and objectively see that some of it is not real. This is the purpose of “Media Monday.”

Turner, S. L., Hamilton, H., Jacobs, M., Angood, L. M., & Dwyer, 
D. H. (1997). The influence of fashion magazines on the body 
image satisfaction of college women: An exploratory analysis. 
Adolescence, 32(127), 603.

Yankelovich Company Study, 2004

“Comparison is the thief of joy.” – Theodore Roosevelt

In Case You Missed It *Originally Published August, 2013 by Mel Ness

I am a words person. Always have been, always will be.
I am a literal, black and white, I-mean-what-I-say type of gal.

Words, to me, are not simply a form of communication, but a gift that I desperately need.

Words shape people’s impression of you.
Words can tear down or build up – it doesn’t take many to have a lasting impact.
Words can suck the life out of someone or breathe life right down into the soul, where one needs it most.
Words can build trust or deceive.
They are powerful.

The one thing that I love most about words is that they have the ability to stop us in our tracks and cause us to think and roll around in our brains an idea that we maybe wouldn’t have thought about had the words not been presented to us.  Every so often, a few words can break through the muddle and simultaneously pierce us with conviction and encouragement that we didn’t even know we needed.

“Comparison is the thief of joy.” – Theodore Roosevelt

6 words. That’s it.
Read them again.
Can you relate?

We walk around and hear all of these messages. Words that catapult us into thinking that we’re not skinny enough, pretty enough, perfect enough, together enough, planned out enough, focused enough, good enough at X, ,Y, and Z, not quite wealthy enough…etc.

Not only do we receive these messages from the outside, we also give them to each other. We talk about how we need to lose x amount of weight, how badly we feel because _________ makes more money than we do, we talk about our flaws and how we’d feel so much better if we only could fix this part of our body, how we’re not as perfect as _______, or how we wish we were as good of a mother, sister, daughter, or friend as __________.

We end up tearing down others around us, even as we speak words only intended to be about ourselves.
What would happen if we began to be more intentional about the way in which we talk about ourselves?
How would this change the way the people around us think about who they are?
Maybe if we focused on building up the good instead of bringing out the flawed, other people might believe us when we tell them, “You are beautiful just the way you are.”

Comparison is sneaky.
It sneaks in and steals our joy because we are setting our inward struggles, secrets, and flaws up against the squeaky clean, perfect, and beautiful external images of another – all the while not seeing that they are human, too.

Comparison will always win – but only if we let it.

What does Beyoncé really stand for?

By Tori Sundholm

I dropped my Tostitos chip covered in queso when Beyoncé graced the T.V. – the time had finally come. All other time stopped while Beyoncé served 104 million viewers with her glittering vocals and gravity-defying choreography. At minute four Chris Martin popped up to sing backup vocals as if to remind everyone he was still there. Bruno Mars & co. did a couple two-step shuffles in an attempt to keep the party going, but Beyoncé ran the show.

At the end of every Beyoncé performance I’m left in awe, barely able to comprehend what I just witnessed, let alone understand what she said. At 17, I saw Beyoncé at the Target Center, packed in the fourth row of a mosh pit like a London tube rider. In between the drag queens and angsty tweens, my best friend and I held our own amid the mob, climbing over a girl who passed out to get a closer view of Queen B. A security guard jumped the metal barrier and carried her to safety. I almost trampled a girl in the name of Bey! Her performance had turned me into a ravaging member of her Beyhive.


This same type of trance took over me while watching the Super Bowl 50 halftime show. What is it about Beyoncé that makes me lose myself and my morals? Usually after my Bey-trance breaks, her booty shaking and provocative dances make me question the message she’s sending to her fans. Is beauty really about wearing skin tight clothes and shaking what your momma gave you?

I’m all about girl power, but is the ability to throw explicits out like candy at a parade really what women should strive for? I’m not convinced that’s girl power. Teaching women to flaunt their bodies and say what they want regardless of the consequences doesn’t work in the real world. It would be nice if the Bey-trance never broke and we all could live in her world, but that’s not the reality most women face.

There are millions of Beyoncé critics who argue she used the Super Bowl platform as an anti-police attack. Others viewed her performance as a homage to black power and black life. But what I think also needs to be talked about is what her performance says about beauty and how we as women perceive her sexual performances along with her explicit lyrics.

What do you think Beyoncé really stands for?

Can everyday women be empowered by her or are we all fooling ourselves that Beyoncé only runs her world, not ours?

Let’s talk.