>>>Today marks the beginning of National Eating Disorders Awareness Week. From now until February 25, make a conscious effort to do your part to spread awareness about eating disorders. It’s estimated that 8 million Americans have an eating disorders—-7 million women and 1 million men. Nearly half of Americans know someone who suffers from an eating disorder. 95% of those who have eating disorders are between the ages of 12 and 25. 50% of girls between the ages of 11 and 13 see themselves as overweight. 80% of 13-year-olds have attempted to lose weight (all stats from here). When will these numbers go down? One thing you can DO TODAY is spread the word about how prevalent and harmful eating disorders actually are. If you know someone suffering from an eating disorder, speak the truth to them in love. Encourage them to get help. Support them. Pray for them. Be there for them.
>>>I shared in a previous post titled “There’s Nothing About You That’s Plain” a few tips sharing how to respect and love your body:
- Think of your body as a vehicle to your dreams. Honor it. Respect it. Fuel it.
- Create a list of people you admire: people who have contributed to your life, your community, or the world. Consider whether their appearance was important to their success and accomplishments.
- Walk with your head held high, supported by pride and confidence in yourself as a person.
- Count your blessings, not your blemishes.
- Keep a list of 10 positive things about yourself-without mentioning your appearance
- Choose to find the beauty in the world and in yourself.
- Start saying to yourself “Life is too short to waste my time hating my body like this.”
- Consider this: your skin replaces itself once a month, your stomach lining every five days, your liver every six weeks and your skeleton every three months. Your body is extraordinary-begin to respect and appreciate it.
>>>The National Association of Anorexia Nervosa & Associated Disorders (ANAD) shares statistics about how eating disorders affect people, not just physically, but emotionally, mentally, spiritually and psychologically.
>>>I have seen the harmful effects eating disorders have on people and those around them. I’ve know people who honestly believed that if their bones stuck out of their hips or collarbone, they would be beautiful. I know people who only can view themselves based on a stupid number on a stupid scale. I know people who have destroyed friendships and lives all for the sake of being thin. I know people who starve themselves, I know people who throw up every single thing they eat, I know people who work out for hours a day; all in an attempt to lose weight. I know people who have lost hope.
>>>I am not above it all. I’ve definitely been influenced and affected by the media and our culture’s “ideals of beauty.” Rather than give in to the voices telling me I don’t measure up to society’s standard of beauty, I choose to view my body as a temple; as a gift. I‘ve been blessed to have powerful influences in my life that remind me regardless of weight, height, hair color, talents, skills, abilities, WHATEVER—that I’m of value and can live feeling secure and confident. I am beyond thankful for the people who love me regardless of what I look like. Learning to love myself and my body right where it’s at has been a journey and process in and of itself that I am still on.
>>>In the same post mentioned above, I explained what “positive body image” is defined as by the National Eating Disorders Association. “You celebrate and appreciate your natural body shape and you understand that a person’s physical appearance says very little about their character and value as a person.” My blog post earlier today “May Today Be a Party for Every Part of You!” explains:
“May today be the day that you finally stop pinning your self-worth on how someone else feels about you. May today be the day that you step into your power and start a decadent love affair with yourself! May today be the day that you become aware of your own divinity.”
>>>If you are suffering from an eating disorder, know that you are loved. You are of value. You are significant. You are more than any number on a scale, any pants size. Don’t limit your fabulousness and value to a number. If you know someone who has an eating disorder, do something about it. Express your concern for your friend. Seek help. Confronting a friend who had an eating disorder and encouraging her to get help was one of the hardest things I’ve had to do, but also one of the best things I’ve done. We are all originals and our bodies were created differently, intricately and beautifully. Rather than compare yourself to others, treat yourself like the queen you are. Love and honor your body the way it is. Xoxo, I’m always here to chat!