I entered the women's body image discussion in part because of my decades-long experience trying to manage my weight through my fear of the bathroom scale. I knew there had to be a better way to live than looking out for the next magic diet and spending my precious time waiting for a perfect number to show up. We only get so much time alive.
I researched and learned how to take matters into my own hands. The answer was to stop trying to manage my weight and start taking care of the rest of me! I started to listen to my body's needs for rest, movement, pleasure and nourishment. And, I learned to eat intuitively using the seminal book on the subject Intuitive Eating by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch. I became re-connected with my body signals and realized as an adult, I can eat whatever I want. My concerns about what I should and shouldn't eat because of the latest eating fad became a thing of the past.
I also realized that my appearance isn't as big of a piece of who I am as our diet culture would lead me to believe. I look good enough, and I have many other things to do.
In the process of my research, I was amazed to learn how pervasive body image and eating issues are for women in our diet culture. We live in a society, in a day and age where there is massive pressure on women to be thin, tons of food available, and lots of focus on what to eat.
These body concerns have ramped up in the last twenty years, and young girls and boys of today are feeling body image pressure more than ever. Worrying about their bodies to this degree is a distracting sideshow to our children's lives. I realized I wanted to help to be part of the movement that re-focuses kids and society on those things that matter more, helping children focus on the other real pieces of who they are.
Since all eating problems start with a negative body image, I began to focus on body esteem issues. I found a fabulous group out of Berkeley, California, The Body Positive, that has a mission to spread body positivity worldwide. I trained there to be a Be Body Positive Facilitator to work with children and their parents on developing positive body esteem.
Taking The Body Positive message and coupling it with my research, I created MyBodyMySelf’s 4 Guiding Principles –- suggested mental framework -- for better mental health around body image and eating:
1. Self awareness: Become aware of messages we have recieved that have influenced our relationship with our bodies and food;
2. Focus on whole-body self care, not weight management: by narrowing on obsession with the scale, we forget to take care of many aspects of our physical and mental health;
3. Cultivate self-compassion: learn to speak to ourselves inside with compassion not self criticism, allowing us to hear how to best take care of ourselves; and
4. Value community: surround ourselves with like-minded people in person and in our social media choices.
MyBodyMySelf discusses how to actually do this in your life, based on 50 years of research studying people who have experienced problems with their body image and eating behavior. My hope is that my work can help you as it has helped me. We live in an unfortunate time for the body esteem of most women and men. But, we have the ability to change that for ourselves and our children!
7 Things Parents can do to Raise Kids with Healthy Body Esteem
March 14, 2018, 6:30-8:00pm, Central School - Young Auditorium, 620 Greenwood Ave, Glencoe, Illinois 60022
We live in an appearance-obsessed culture. Adolescents consistently list their body image as the # 1 concern in their lives. We know the distraction of time wasted worrying about our bodies being thin enough or buff enough. As parents, we’d rather they focus on what matters more.
The session explores tried-and-true methods of how you can help your daughters and sons with how they think and feel about their bodies. This talk dovetails the body image curriculum in Central School’s 7th and 8th grade health classes.
The 7 Things Parents can do to Raise Daughters with Healthy Body Esteem
In 2017 it is projected that 1 out of every 8 women will be diagnosed with an eating disorder in her lifetime. That statistic is staggering; practically no women had eating disorders back in our day. Eating disorders are serious mental illnesses around body image and eating that begin with negative body esteem.
We live in a time and place that is brutal on the body esteem of its women. Six of every 8 women live with negative body image caused by our diet culture's obsession with being thin at all costs. Having a negative body image is normal in today's world. But it's not okay.
What can we do to help our daughters navigate their way through this culture? This discussion offers concrete steps for parents and grandparents to help our daughters learn to appreciate their bodies and themselves. It is time to make our daughters' mental health around body image and eating a priority in our homes and in our society.
Diets Don’t Work: Learn to Eat Intuitively
Everyone knows that diets don’t work. So what does work for managing your weight? Intuitive eating is a way to manage your eating and weight without ever dieting again. Based on the book Intuitive Eating by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch, we explore how to rewire your brain to eat what you want, when you want, by listening to your body signals, not by focusing on someone else's idea of what you should eat (a prescribed diet). By unpacking the way you think about eating, we make 5 small-but-mitey mental shifts in your 'eating navigation system.'
How to Maintain a Positive Body Image in Today’s Crazy World
This crazy world we live in is obsessed with women’s bodies. This shows up in an individual woman or girl in the way she feels about her own body, her body image. What happened to our generation? How is it going for our daughters? Why are the stakes so high for our bodies and appearance and what can be done about it for all women of all ages in the culture? We discuss how to cultivate a positive body image by taking apart what a positive body image looks like. Then, we figure out how to apply our definition of a positive body image to you.
Workshops on Postitive Body Image and Intuitive Eating
This Workshop discusses how our culture’s idea of women’s bodies have affected your ideas about your own body. We use the MyBodyMySelf Worksheet: MyRecipeforChange to help create a more positive relationship with your own body.
This Workshop looks at how you eat today and discusses how you could modify your eating behavior to work better for your own goals using Intuitive Eating principles. We will work through the MyRecipeforChange and learn to use the MyBodyMySelf Post-its as tool to change your eating behaviors.