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Feel Good Friday

3rd September 2010

Feel Good Friday

by Rachel

Spousal/partner weight gain is a frequent letter seen among the sundry list of gripes and complaints seen by advice columnists and few columnists get it right with their responses.  The Washington Post’s Carolyn Hax has always been a moderate voice of compassion when it comes to such weighty issues.  She’s on vacation this week and readers are giving the advice.  Here’s a gem from today’s column in regards to a previous letter from a man who blamed his infidelity on his wife’s recent weight gain .

I’ve always believed that every woman is beautiful. Every woman. If I don’t see the beauty in one, that’s MY problem, not hers. It’s up to me to work harder to see the beauty, not up to her to make herself live up to whatever my standards might be.

Word.

posted in Body Image, Body-Affirming, Fat Acceptance, Rachel | 11 Comments

6th August 2010

Feel Good Friday: Putting an end to “fat talk”

by Rachel

I’m still feeling all warm and fuzzy from the overthrow of Prop 8 in California, but there’s other good news to report for this week’s Feel Good Friday.  We’ve mentioned before the blog Operation Beautiful and I’m glad to see it now making more national headlines.  The mission of Operation Beautiful is simple: all you need is a pen and a piece of paper…  So says site editor Caitlin Boyle, who’s on a mission to leave positive, body-affirming notes in public spaces and invites you to do the same.  Since starting the blog last year, Caitlin has received an overwhelming outpouring of support from people (mostly women) also sick of the constant bombardment of “fat talk” and has now chronicled some of the messages she’s received in a new book, Operation Beautiful: Transforming the Way You See Yourself One Post-it Note at a Time. MSNBC has posted an excerpt from that book here, which released in stores this week.    You’ll have to go to the MSNBC link to read the entire exerpt, but I wanted to repost some of Caitlin’s basic tips for ending fat talk here.  Caitlin also appeared yesterday on The Today Show — catch that clip here.

Stop your Fat Talk in its tracks! In addition to consciously correcting yourself, try wearing a rubber band around your wrist and give it a firm “snap!” whenever you feel a negative thought creeping in. Think of it like coating your nails in spicy polish when you’re trying to stop biting them! The rubber band technique is a gentle physical reminder of the internal damage you are doing to yourself when you Fat Talk.

Identify the real issue behind your Fat Talk. Is it really about your body or is it about something else entirely — like an emotion you’re having trouble expressing? Many women use Fat Talk as a way to express sadness or frustration. Find a more positive outlet for your emotions, such as talking to a friend, writing in your diary or exercising.

Make a list of your positive qualities — both inside and out — and tape them to your bathroom mirror so you can read it whenever you need a boost. Do not be ashamed to celebrate your amazing qualities!

What are some other ways that have helped you put an end to the fat talk loop in your head?  How do you react to fat talk by others?

posted in Body Image, Body-Affirming, Rachel | 15 Comments

9th July 2010

Win it: Body positive goodie basket and gifts

by Rachel

I’ve been a very lax blogger as of late and for that I am incredibly sorry.   I went off my thyroid medication for more than a month (long story, but ADD played a huge role) and as a result I was extremely hypothyroid and have been battling mental and physical exhaustion and lethargy since.  I’ve been back on my meds now for a couple of weeks, but am nowhere near my usual near-manic energy level.  I’ve also been extremely busy with the nonprofit animal rescue I volunteer with (anyone want to adopt a kitty or bunny?), and frankly, I’ve just needed a break from the topics I usually blog about .  So, as a sign of my sincerest apologies, I’m giving away a few goodies.  One lucky winner will get a body positive goodie basket and three others will receive a smaller body positive gift.

The rules are simple:  To enter, you must be a resident of the U.S. (sorry, international folks; I’m the one forking out shipping costs).  Only one entry per person.   The contest ends at 11:59 p.m. (EST) Thursday, July 15.  Winners will be announced on the blog on Friday, July 16 and contacted by email for shipping details.  You must enter via the form below.

And for your Friday dose of cuteness… I rescued two bunnies last month from absolutely horrendous living conditions.  The mom gave birth a few days later to these adorable eight baby bunnies (available for adoption in mid-September!).  Mom is a Californian and dad is a Satin cross; parents and babies are all now doing well.

posted in Body-Affirming, Contests, Rachel | 23 Comments

9th June 2010

The Wednesday Weigh-In

by Rachel

Margarita Tartakovsky of the blog Weightless interviews Cheryl Kerrigan, author of the new book Telling ED NO! and Other Practical Tools to Conquer Your Eating Disorder and Find Freedom.

Fat Lot of Good blogger Bri weighs in on a recent study that found that children whose mothers were chronically abused by their partners were more likely to be fat by age 5.  Because being fat is so much more pressing of an issue than being victimized by domestic violence.

Urban Outfitters removes what many are calling a pro-ana t-shirt from its website, but the “Eat Less” shirt remains available in stores.   Outraged?  Join the Girlcott Urban Outfitters group on Facebook.

Should appearance-based discrimination be treated with the same weight as we give to other -isms like racism and sexism?  That’s the question Deborah Rhodes tackles in her new book, The Beauty Bias: The Injustice of Appearance in Life and Law. Read Dahlia Lithwick’s review of the book on Slate.

Just when you thought the insanity would never end…  It’s not enough that some parents lose custody of their obese children because of their weight.  Now a British animal welfare council has seized custody of an obese dog.  The pudgy pup Gucci is said to now be on a strict diet and exercise regime at a special canine fat club.

FEAST has launched its Around the Dinner Table Plate Drive through June.  The fundraising initiative supports the group’s mission, which is to empower families and support parents and caregivers in helping loved ones recover from eating disorders.

The British Mail’s Lucy Taylor ruminates on on how she gave up running and learned to simply enjoy the journey.

Oprah.com contributor Karen Salmansohn looks at the Fox and ABC refusal to air the sexy new Lane Bryant lingerie commercials in a different light: “The fact that a TV network would find this Lane Bryant spot far more sexually enticing than Victoria’s Secret spots — which air all the time — simply shows they’re acknowledging the extreme sexiness of voluptuous women!”

Comments?  Any links to share?  Add your two cents in the comments below.

posted in Anorexia, Body Image, Body Politic, Body-Affirming, Eating Disorders, Fat Bias, Feminist Topics, Legal Issues, Mental Health, Non-profits, Politics, Pop Culture, Rachel | 12 Comments

8th January 2010

Worth your weight

by Rachel

Ready to throw out your scale?  Why not replace it with the body-positive Yay! Scale, as included in Target’s top picks of the month.  Weigh in and the Yay! Scale will register a compliment like “perfect,” sexy” or “ravishing. ”

Yay! Scales — the brainchild of activist Marilyn Wann — are available for $39.99 from Target or check out the range of slightly more expensive, but even more creative Yay! Scales available at VolupuArt.

posted in Body Image, Body-Affirming, Rachel | 10 Comments

5th January 2010

Scholastic brings back The Babysitter’s Club!

by Rachel

If you’re, say, mid-twenties or older and female, chances are you’ve read at least one Ann M. Martin book.  Martin, of course, is the author of the The Baby-Sitter’s Club, the series about a gang of entrepreneurial 13-year-olds that taught girls everywhere the basics of capitalism.  Now, in what may be filed thus far in “Best News of the Decade,” Scholastic is re-issuing the first two books in the out-of-print, 213-title series (213? whoa!) as well as a prequel.

Outdated uncool references to perms and cassette players aside, I think the series, which was published in the mid-80s, is still relevant to today’s adolescent girl.  The characters, all diverse and unique, struggle through emotional, family and friendship issues that transcend generations.  I mean, who didn’t cry when Mimi died?  And who among us hasn’t faced at least a snob or two in the daisy chain of angst that is middle school?  The series is also pretty body-positive — the one time I recall dieting mentioned is when Stacey’s ex-best friend Laine visits and they all think it kind of dumb.  The series is being revamped to appeal to younger generations — will Claudia get in trouble for Facebooking on the job?  Will Mary Anne get caught texting to Logan in class? Let’s just hope that in bringing the series into the 21st century doesn’t go by way of the recently re-released Sweet Valley High series, which saw the “perfect size 6″ twins Elizabeth and Jessica downsized to a “perfect size 4″ and the insertion of such colloquialisms as “omigod.”

The BSC re-release is set for April.  Until then, check out this LiveJournal page called “Stoneybrook High School” with character bios on everyone the babysitters go to school with, complete with their celebrity alter egos.  Yep.  Or refresh your adolescent memories with Raina Telgemeier’s BSC comic book adaptations.  And finally, find out which babysitter you are with this handy dandy pop quiz.  I always considered myself a kind of Mary Anne/Claudia hybrid: shy and bookish, but also artsy and creative.  Who’s your favorite babysitter?

posted in Body-Affirming, Book Reviews, Pop Culture, Rachel | 14 Comments

4th November 2009

New biz markets fashionable clothes for fat girls

by Rachel

While still sadly lagging in both range and affordability, plus-size clothing has come a long way from the shapeless elastic pants and sack-like tops usually reserved for fat teens and women (find great plus-size fashion tips and reviews at Pretty Pear or Young, Fat and Fabulous).  Yet there still seems to be a relative dearth of similar fashionable options for the 6 million overweight kids in the U.S. who are too large to fit into mainstream youth offerings.  According to one report, the girl’s plus-size apparel market is a $3.2 billion market that is only 16 percent served!  Capitalism, it would appear, is no match for fat-stigma.

Now a new company hopes to fill that gaping void in the children’s clothing market with fun, age-appropriate designs and sizing to fit both average and plus-size girls ages 5-12.  The mission of RealKidz Clothing is to “enhance girl’s self-esteem by providing them with age-appropriate clothing they look good in and are excited to wear.“  RealKidz founder Merrill Guerra was inspired to start the business after experiencing frustration in finding clothing for her own plus-size daughter.   Just check out some of these adorable designs:

RealKidz PLus-Size clothing for girls

I normally dislike the labeling of “real” in describing women because it all too often dismisses naturally slim women, but in the case of RealKidz, it’s entirely appropriate.  The RealKidz K-I-D-Z Sizing Model is designed to fit Slim (K), Average (I), Above Average (D) and Plus (Z) girls ages 5-12.  This system ignores industry standards and takes a much more granular approach to sizing, which, according to Guerra, “moves as close as you can find in the industry toward tailor made.”  And because the clothes are primarily sold in home-based parties (and online), girls are able to see and try on clothing in the comfort of their own or a friend’s home.  The pieces are pricey for children’s clothing, ranging from $24 for a pair of capris and $34 for a flare top, but not unexpected for a new and independent clothing line.  RealKidz is also developing an online social network group that would allow parents to “share their challenges, suggestions and joys” and also provide information from experts in fields that affect childrens’ health.

I’m sure this start-up will have the lunatic MeMe Roths of the world picketing at its virtual doors for somehow “promoting” obesity by allowing fat girls to wear something other than a potato sack, but I’m betting that it’s met with more positive reception than negative.  Even if childhood obesity is the raging public health and national security crisis it’s purported to be — despite statistics that show it hit its plateau years ago — fat kids need clothes too and othering them with a lack of options and styles only serves to further erode what are often already fragile self-esteems, which can not-so-ironically lead to even greater weight gain and health problems.   Bravo, RealKidz, bravo.

posted in Body-Affirming, Fashion, Fat Acceptance, Rachel | 13 Comments

20th October 2009

‘Too Big for My Skin’

by Rachel

Need a quick self-esteem pick-me-up?  Check out this video campaign by Desdemona. Writes the artist: “Too Big for My Skin is not just a poem. It’s a mind state. It’s an international campaign that invites you to leave your response to the video in the comment section or to submit your very own video response. It’s about positive body image, acceptance and strength. It’s about finding your voice and speaking. Join us in the campaign. More is to come!”

Read the full lyrics here.

posted in Body-Affirming, Fat Acceptance, Feminist Topics, Rachel | 9 Comments

19th October 2009

Because friends don’t let friends ‘fat talk’

by Rachel

My butt is too big.  I look so fat.  I hate my body.  She’s too fat to be wearing that dress.  You look great — have you lost weight?

Sound familiar?  If you’re a woman, chances are good that you’ve either regularly heard and/or even engaged in such toxic self-loathing otherwise known as fat talk.  Studies have confirmed that women bond over fat talk and the more we partake in it, the more “normal” it becomes — but it doesn’t have to be.  Today’s the first day of Fat Talk Free Week, a public awareness campaign organized by Tri Delta.  Want to start trimming the fat from fat talk?  Here’s some ways how:

Choose one friend or family member and discuss one thing you each like about yourself.

Keep a journal of all the good things your body allows you to do (e.g., sleep well and wake up rested, play tennis, etc.).

Pick one friend to make a pact with to avoid Fat Talk. When you catch your friend talking negatively about their body, remind them of the pact.

Make a pledge to end complaints about your body, such as “I’m so flat-chested” or “I hate my legs.” When you catch yourself doing this, make a correction by saying something positive about that body part, such as, “I’m so glad my legs got me through soccer practice today.”  Sign the “Today I promise to eliminate fat talk” pledge (and Harriet Brown’s I Love My Body pledge).

The next time someone gives you a compliment, rather than objecting (“No, I’m so fat”), practice taking a deep breath and saying “thank you.”

It can be difficult not participating in fat talk — even I catch myself sometimes doing it with a coworker.  Fat talk can feel instinctual, impulsive and sometimes even obligatory, so in the spirit of Joy Nash’s fabulous Staircase Wit, I thought it’d be nice to have a list of snappy comebacks and shut-downs handy.  What are some effective ways to answer responses like these:

My arms are so fat.  I hate my batwings.

Ugh, I need to lose XX pounds.

I can’t eat that — I’m on a diet.

My thighs are ginormous!

Everything I eat goes straight to my hips.

I could never pull that off — I’m too fat.

You look great — have you lost weight?

Please feel free to contribute other forms of fat talk you’ve heard and your suggested responses to them.

posted in Body Image, Body Snarking, Body-Affirming, Fat Bias, Rachel | 27 Comments

8th October 2009

New blogs we like

by Rachel

Here’s five new-to-us blogs we love.  If you aren’t reading them already, go have a look.

  • Operation Beautiful:   Operation Beautiful is simple: all you need is a pen and a piece of paper…  So says site editor Caitlin, who’s on a mission to leave positive, body-affirming notes in public spaces and invites you to do the same.
  • The Manfattan Project: “A collection of photographs of stylish everyday people in New York City. These people are beautiful, they are well-dressed, they are confident. They are also, without apologies or contradictions, FAT.”
  • Men Get Eating Disorders Too: Okay, so it’s technically not a blog, but the site does feature personal stories and inspirational articles all penned by men with eating disorders in an effort to dismantle the gender stereotype keeping so many men from seeking help for their disorders.
  • More of Me To Love: The site’s mission is to “promote and spread the healthiness and happiness that you deserve through our welcoming community, certified experts and empowering programs. But More of Me to Love is more than the sum of its parts: it’s a lifestyle of living better and loving yourself.”
  • The Plus Runner:  Blogger Sallie has completed 12 half-marathons and another dozen triathlons and she’s done it all in sizes ranging from 16 to 22.  Her goal is to “encourage more future runners, walkers, hikers, to hit the road, and redefine your life as an active person.”

Know of any other awesome blogs or websites?  Post ‘em in the comment below.

posted in Anorexia, Binge Eating Disorder, Body-Affirming, Bulimia, ED-NOS, Eating Disorders, Fat Acceptance, Fitness/Exercise, Gender and Sexuality, Health, Nutrition & Fitness, Purging Disorder, Rachel, Recovery | 6 Comments

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