Have hope, chase joy, embrace life – recovery is possible.

Posts tagged ‘media literacy’

Day 6: A Continuing Exploration Of Health At Every Size

First of all, an apology to those of you who have been hanging out for this final post in lifeinfullcolour’s 6-Day Exploration of Health At Every Size (HAES) – i have been away for the past few days, & unfortunately didn’t have time to write up this post before i left.

Thankyou for being so patient! 🙂

If you are just joining us now, you might also like to go back & try the challenges from my previous posts in this series:

These posts were intended to give you a small taste of what life might be like if you ditched the deprivation & guilt that comes from a dieting approach to health & beauty. It was my hope to give you a taste of the alternative – a non-dieting, health at every size approach, which honours your body’s internal wisdom, & nourishes not only your body, but also your heart & soul. I wanted to remind you that you are worth looking after – you are deserving of your own kindness, love, & respect.

There is so much more out there to discover & learn about ‘Health At Every Size‘, & today’s post is about encouraging you & sharing a few simple ways that you might like to continue exploring the idea of HAES 🙂

A really great place to start learning more about a Health At Every Size approach & exploring what that could look like for you, is following blogs that encourage a non-dieting, self-nourishing approach to health. Sites that help you to dissect the messages you receive in the media & elsewhere about what it means to be healthy or beautiful, & give you an alternative perspective or course of action. Sites that remind you that you CAN be happy, & you CAN be healthy, no matter what your jeans size, & give you the encouragement & support you need to believe it.

Two of my favourite blogs, & two that you simply must explore, are Beautiful You, & Dances With Fat. Each of these blogs have really helped me to dissect the messages i had been recieving about my beauty & worth & helped me to unhinge these from my size & shape, realising that they are in fact two separate things & that my beauty & worth is not dependant of my size or shape.

Beautiful You taught me that i am worthy of love, respect, & self-care, right now. Exactly as i am. No exceptions – & certainly not an exception based on my body size! Dances With Fat taught me that it IS possible to be fat AND healthy, but more importantly, that being fat is not a reason to give up your life to dieting – you can live a beautiful & rich lifeinfullcolour WHATEVER size you are! 🙂

There are SO many other wonderful blogs out there though, & i encourage you to seek them out. A great starting point is to check out Medicinal Marzipan‘s list of Body Image Warriors, & Nourishing The Soul‘s list of Nourishing Blogs. Also, keep an eye out on lifeinfullcolour’s Facebook page for shout-outs & links to other great pages 🙂

If you are interested in learning more about intuitive eating, & perhaps starting your own journey towards normal eating, it’s really important to have support, & there is no better place to find that it than from a qualified dietitian. If you are in Australia, try the Dietitians Association Of Australia, or if you are in America, The American Dietetics Association.

Experiment with different foods. Rediscover old favourites. Make time to cook. Share a meal with friends. Go out for dinner at your favourite restaurant. Try a new restaurant. Notice the different textures of foods. Notice the different flavours. Eat by candlelight. Eat in the sunshine. Eat what makes you happy. Listen to your body. Eat what makes IT happy. Stop being so angry with pizza. Stop being so angry with yourself. Forgive. Enjoy 🙂

If you want to find joy in movement, forget what you’ve been told about “exercise”, & think outside the box. Think back to when you were a kid – play. Explore different ways of moving your body. Try rock climbing, soccer, hula-hooping – run off & join the circus! Dance, swim, bounce on a trampoline. Try yoga. Do somersaults. Cartwheel. Walk, skip, jump, & twirl. Swing, slide, or climb trees. Move because it is fun. Move because it makes you feel strong. Give up the torturcise. Explore & discover what makes YOU happy! 🙂

Remember –

And most importantly?
Remember that you CAN be happy, AND healthy, at any size! 🙂

Thankyou all for joining me this past week – it really has been wonderful to have you here 🙂 I hope you have found some enjoyment & value in my challenges this week, & i hope you they have been helpful in giving you a small taste of what it would be like to ditch the deprivation & guilt, & begin to nourish your body & mind. If you would like to share your thoughts with me on any of these challenges (or on anything else!) feel feel to drop by & leave a comment on lifeinfullcolour’s Facebook page, or shoot me an email 🙂

Have a beautiful, glorious day 🙂


Another Splash Of Colour

Why hello there lovely people 🙂

Just wanted to let you know, that lifeinfullcolour now has a Facebook page!

I wanted to create a space where i could share even more with you – those exciting developments in the field of eating disorders, those interesting articles & blog posts on self-love, media literacy, & body acceptance…..all those little things that are not quite big enough to post about here, but simply too good not to share.

I’ll also be posting my some incredible quotes & encouraging images, to help bring a little more colour to your day 🙂

I really hope you will join me over at lifeinfullcolour’s Facebook page.

Until next time – have a super shiny happy day 🙂

“The Body Issue”

I no longer buy mainstream magazines, & it is now a very rare occasion that i would even pay a glance to their covers as i wait in line at the supermarket checkout. But, yesterday, this cover (on display in a newsagent’s window) caught my eye – ‘The Body Issue’. And i was suddenly filled with an all too familiar frustration.

While i have not read the feature, i feel it safe to make a few assumptions about it’s contents. Perhaps it will contain tips on dressing to suit your shape. Perhaps it will contain exercise “tips” (or according to the cover itself, tips to “exercise without trying”.) No doubt it will contain “tips” on how to diet. In fact, it was the words “7 successful women share their diet secrets”, right there under the words “The Body Issue”, that caught my attention in the first place. Right there, first up on the cover of the magazine, they are already linking their body issue to weight loss.

It seems that every “Body Issue” i have ever come across is some varying combination of fat-shaming, celebrated thinness, congratulatory weight loss, myth perpetuation (especially those linking health & attractiveness to weight), interspersed with “diet secrets”, exercise “tips”, etc… Where are the “Body Issues” with tips on eating for health AND enjoyment, rather than weightloss? Where are the tips on how to find a enjoyable way to move your body, while helping it to feel strong & healthy? Where are the tips on self-acceptance, self-love, & how to truly honour & nourish our bodies? Where are the links to support, for those struggling with negative body image? Why do these “Body Issues”, reflect less of the solution & more of the problem? Why do the words “Body Issues” seems so appropriate to describe these features? Perhaps it’s just more clever marketing.

Earlier this year, Who also published a”Body Issue”:

Here are some comments i made after Beautiful You alerted me to this issue of Who earlier in the year.

I found the quotes beneath each of these images (I viewed the gallery online), to be a bigger problem than the selection of images themselves (I don’t have a problem with the images themselves – these people have “real” bodies & they should be accepted – but I do have a problem with their seeming lack of diversity).

“The ideal shape for men is someone who has bigger arms than me,” says Lisa Curry (with Tom Williams).
Could this quote lead men to believe that they need to “bulk up” to attract a woman?

ON LOSING 18KG AND COUNTING: “When I look back at pictures of when I was fat, I feel ashamed.”
So Dicko only made it into the body issue after losing weight? Would they have featured him at his previous size? By publishing his comment linking being overweight with shame, is WHO suggesting that this is an appropriate link for us to make?

ON GROWING INTO HIMSELF: “At school and growing up as a young lad I didn’t look like the other boys. They had muscle. I was just lanky and lean. I’m lucky now. I’m about to turn 40 and I still don’t carry much fat.”
Was there something wrong with not looking like the other boys? Is there something wrong with being “lanky & lean”? This quote does seem to suggest that, as well as suggesting that the reason Tom is “lucky now” is because her “still (doesn’t) carry much fat.”

ON GETTING BETTER WITH AGE: “When I was running [swimwear label] Tigerlily, it was so intense, I didn’t have the time to exercise. Now it’s a priority for me. I probably exercise for about three hours a day during the week.”
So becoming obsessed with exercise (which it seems Jodhi is if she is turning down lunch with friends in order to exercise), equates with “getting better with age”?

I don’t mind the quote they chose from Jodi Gordon, or the first quote from Lisa Curry…..

ON BUILDING A BUFF BODY: “It’s not for everybody, but I think strong women look fantastic. It’s a great feeling to continue training, eating well and looking after yourself.”
While I don’t think they needed to label it as “building a buff body”, I like Lisa’s description of her approach to health.

These quotes are simply that – quotes. WHO didn’t write them.
But they did choose which quotes to publish, & I think if they could not choose to publish any other quotes, they could in the very least have offered some alternative views about the links these people were making to their weight & their feelings of shame.
They could have acknowledged (in some way) that while some people might link their feelings of self worth to their weight, weight is not a true indicator of health or attractiveness, & they could have offered some supportive guidance on how to create a feeling of acceptance towards our bodies, & how to nourish them through healthy food & fun movement of our bodies.

I’m not sure if WHO included these tips in their article (as I haven’t bought the magazine & I don’t intend to), but I think it is something they may have neglected to do.
After all, it seems they might have lost their perspective on what good health really means, & I fear they have taken on board the links that were made in these quotes – if you are thin, you will not feel ashamed, you will be “better”, & you will be more attractive.

What do you think about “Body Issues”? What would YOU like to see in Woman’s Day or Who’s next “Body Issue”?

A “Better Life”, Or A Lighter Wallet – What Are They Really Selling You?

I’d never paid much attention to diet or weight-loss programs. Most of them sounded too ridiculous to ever be considered as effective. Others, were clearly only effective due to their starvation principles – lemon “detox” anyone? Certainly none of these seemed to be effective long-term (after all – who wants to live off diet shakes for the rest of their lives?).

And while most people i know would agree with my observations, i would still see those same people buying pills, drinking teas, mixing up shakes from sachets filled with powdered dreams…..Why?

After seeing an ad for BodyTrim in a friend’s magazine, i suddenly realised just how clever these diet & weight-loss companies are in their advertising.
What struck me about this ad, was the way BodyTrim had managed to link every unhappiness in this woman’s life to her weight, before promising her a “better life” through their program.

Fat Is Bad. Really Bad. In Fact, It Is Ruining Your Life.

Feel happy with your body? Do you accept it exactly as it is?
Well guess what – you shouldn’t.
Don’t you know that your weight is the source of all life’s unpleasantness & problems?

Life feeling out of control?
“I couldn’t fit into my favourite jeans [&] I realised I’d somehow lost control of my life.”

Unfulfilled marriage?
“Bodytrim has changed my marriage (It is now better than ever).”

Worried about being a “good” parent?
“I’m now something my daughter Ruby can be proud of.”
“Bodytrim is the secret that has made me a good mum.”
“Sadly, sitting in my office I see it all walking past me, little kids that are overweight with overweight parents, what chance do they have?”

Not as happy & carefree as you used to be?
“My sense of humour has also returned. I haven’t laughed so much in years.”

These companies want you to know that fat is bad, & that it is indeed, the source of all of life’s unpleasantness & problems.
But more importantly, they want you to know that they have the solution – for a price.

Emotional Relief

These companies realise, that as emotional creatures, we will all at some point in our lives, feel uncomfortable emotions like fear, shame, sadness, & anger. What they do with this knowledge, is try to tie those emotions to something more tangeable, & therefore “fixable” – our appearance, & in the case of companies like BodyTrim, our weight in particular.
Then, once they have established our weight, as the cause of these unpleasant emotions, they jump right in with a solution – ‘buy our product, follow our program, & you will never have to feel this way again!’ The idea is, that if you can get rid of that “excess weight”, you can “get rid of” those unpleasant emotions right along with it.

In fact, this exact idea is just one that BodyTrim managed to sell Maria:
“I am learning to be disciplined, self controlled and I refuse to be ruled by my emotions any longer.”
Learn to “control” your weight, & you can control your entire life, including those pesky human emotions.

Happily Ever “After”?

Have you ever noticed how miserable everyone looks in their “before” photos? And how happy they seem in their “after” ones?

While you may, on some rare occasion, come across a smiling “before” photo, you will never see an unhappy “after” one. Why? Because these diet & weight-loss companies don’t want you to question the outcome of their program – they don’t want you doubt it’s ability to make your whole life better. They don’t want you to think, ‘this might not work – perhaps my dreams of a fabulous new life, a happier marriage, a better job, & a killer new wardrobe, won’t burst forth into existence once i lose weight. Maybe i won’t feel any happier of more fulfilled.’
They want you to believe that everyone who buys their product & completes their program, leaves it with a sparkly new life – & that if you are just as miserable at the end, as you were in the beginning, then it was certainly you who had done something wrong. After all, there are no unhappy “afters” – their program (through weight-loss) makes everyone’s dreams come true!

The Path To Happiness

“I didn’t have any serious health reasons to lose weight, this decision was psychological. I wanted and needed to feel good about myself again.” ~ Caroline

While i never believed in the long-term effectiveness of diets, i did take on the broader idea, that being thin will make you happy, & your life wonderful – the world will open up to you if you are thin. Truth is, that while i did end up with wardrobe full of new clothes, my weight-loss did nothing to bring my partner & i closer together, it didn’t result in the perfect job landing square in my lap, & it certainly didn’t make me feel any deep or lasting sense of happiness, or an increased sense of fulfillment in my life.

These days, things are much different. I have a deep & loving relationship with myself, & with my friends. I have a job that is perfect for me – a job that i absolutely adore. Never have i felt such joy, or fulfillment in my life. AND – i don’t diet.
This beautiful new life, did not come to me through some crazy diet plan, or weight-loss scheme – as clichéd as it might sound, my path to happiness has been paved with self-love & acceptance. It has come through chasing true joy rather than weight-loss, & learning to embrace happiness. And for those things, i didn’t have to pay those weight-loss companies a cent.

Do weight-loss companies really sell us long term health solutions? Do they really sell happiness? Or are they simply selling us low self-esteem in order to sell their product?

The decisions about your body & how it is treated are yours to make, so why not make those decisions informed ones? Next time you find yourself considering a new diet or weight-loss program, take a moment to step back, look at the messages you are being sold, & ask yourself – what are they really selling me?