Thursday, September 26, 2013

Weight Stigma Awareness Week: Changing Attitudes in a Weight Bias World

Changing Attitudes in a Weight Bias World

Amy Pizzente
Amy Pezzente works for the Jessie’s Legacy Eating Disorders Prevention Program and coordinates the Provincial Eating Disorders Awareness (PEDAW) campaign.
BEDA promotes cultural acceptance of, and respect for, the natural diversity of sizes, as well as promoting a goal of improved health, which may or may not include weight change.  The views expressed by our featured bloggers are their own.
I once equated thin with fitness, health and happiness. Was I ever wrong.
My journey through my own eating disorder showed how wrong this was, with such a distorted perception that being ‘thin’ was the only and ideal standard of living. It wasn’t until I had a ‘heavier’ fitness instructor who outran, outstretched, and outlifted me that I began to change my views. She showed me how wrong I was and I shifted my mindset.
But the majority of society isn’t at peace with their bodies, making ‘fat’ a problem and causing physically and mentally damaging side effects from repeated cycles of weight loss and regain, unhealthy weight loss behaviors, poor body image, eating disorders, stress, stigmatization, and discrimination. This bias exists even within our healthcare system. It doesn’t have to be this way.
Through my work as coordinator for the British Columbia Provincial Eating Disorders Awareness (PEDAW)* campaign, I have the opportunity to help shift the focus to health and well-being, and not weight. We give presentations to elementary and high schools about eating disorders, self-esteem, and body image and help students understand that the problem lies within cultural attitudes about weight, and not their bodies. It is important to get these messages about loving our bodies to children, youth and families so that they can question the messages that are out there without causing destruction to their own bodies. We would never want a child to feel unworthy because of the bias that is prevalent in our society.
I also work closely with BC Mental Health and Addiction Services who is developing an online and interactive resource to address weight stigma within the healthcare setting. The Weight Bias and Stigma resource will provide opportunities for healthcare professionals to reflect on their attitudes and beliefs about weight and shape, examine the evidence about weight, weight bias and health, and develop skills for working with patients who are living with weight issues.
I am confident we can reduce weight stigma; there is a lot of work happening and a lot of work to be done, but if we work together and spread the message that weight bias is not acceptable, things will start changing. It is my hope that society will start to believe that there is health at every size.


* The PEDAW campaign is a BC Province wide effort to raise awareness around prevention and early intervention of eating disorders as well as media literacy, resiliency, building healthy body image and self-esteem. PEDAW is launched the first full week in February with activities and events taking place throughout the year. The initiative is led by Jessie’s Legacy Eating Disorders Prevention Program at Family Services of the North Shore in collaboration with Kelty Mental Health Resource Centre, Looking Glass Foundation, St. Paul’s Specialized Adult Eating Disorder Program, BC Children’s Hospital Eating Disorders Program, and Healthy Minds, Healthy Campuses.

For more information, check out: www.facebook.com/loveourbodiesloveourselves 
                            Email: pedaw@yahoo.ca

The Weight Bias and Stigma resource is currently under development and will be pilot tested in Spring 2014. Please email kishmael@cw.bc.ca for more information.


Friday, September 20, 2013

Reblogged: How to Talk to Your Daughter About Her Body

How to talk to your daughter about her body, step one: don’t talk to your daughter about her body, except to teach her how it works.
Don’t say anything if she’s lost weight. Don’t say anything if she’s gained weight.
If you think your daughter’s body looks amazing, don’t say that. Here are some things you can say instead:
“You look so healthy!” is a great one.
Or how about, “you’re looking so strong.”
“I can see how happy you are – you’re glowing.”
Better yet, compliment her on something that has nothing to do with her body.
Don’t comment on other women’s bodies either. Nope. Not a single comment, not a nice one or a mean one.
Teach her about kindness towards others, but also kindness towards yourself.
Don’t you dare talk about how much you hate your body in front of your daughter, or talk about your new diet. In fact, don’t go on a diet in front of your daughter. Buy healthy food. Cook healthy meals. But don’t say “I’m not eating carbs right now.” Your daughter should never think that carbs are evil, because shame over what you eat only leads to shame about yourself.
Encourage your daughter to run because it makes her feel less stressed. Encourage your daughter to climb mountains because there is nowhere better to explore your spirituality than the peak of the universe. Encourage your daughter to surf, or rock climb, or mountain bike because it scares her and that’s a good thing sometimes.
Help your daughter love soccer or rowing or hockey because sports make her a better leader and a more confident woman. Explain that no matter how old you get, you’ll never stop needing good teamwork. Never make her play a sport she isn’t absolutely in love with.
Prove to your daughter that women don’t need men to move their furniture.
Teach your daughter how to cook kale.
Teach your daughter how to bake chocolate cake made with six sticks of butter.
Pass on your own mom’s recipe for Christmas morning coffee cake. Pass on your love of being outside.
Maybe you and your daughter both have thick thighs or wide ribcages. It’s easy to hate these non-size zero body parts. Don’t. Tell your daughter that with her legs she can run a marathon if she wants to, and her ribcage is nothing but a carrying case for strong lungs. She can scream and she can sing and she can lift up the world, if she wants.
Remind your daughter that the best thing she can do with her body is to use it to mobilize her beautiful soul.

Reblogged from hopeave.wordpress.com.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Back to School, by the amazing Sioned Dyer

Well there is no turning back now, school is ON!

Going back to school can be an exciting time but it can also be a stressful time too. It’s exciting because you can reconnect with friends you hadn’t seen much of over the summer and there is something comforting about getting back to a routine (or is that just me). It’s stressful because, well, high school is tough. It is tough on so many levels. I won’t remind you of the many reasons why this is so but I think most people agree that there are is a lot of pressure to fit in. You have to be friends with the right people, wear the right clothes, get the right grades, figure out how to deal with people, with yourself, with your parents/guardians…I realize I’m giving you the reasons I said I wasn’t going to. Moving on.

One of the biggest things I struggled with in school was feeling good in my body. And with that, I struggled to find someone who understood what that was like. It seemed like my all friends were skipping along with not a care in the world while I was trying to get through the day without feeling terrible about myself. I didn’t think there was anyone who would understand the freight-train of emotions I was dealing with at any given moment. I know now that this is not true and that EVERYONE has struggles, but they disguise it really well so we just don’t see it.

If I were to travel back in time to visit with 16-year-old Sioned before she started school, I would sit her down and tell her the following:

  • High School is hard and sometimes it just needs to be endured- feel good knowing that you are getting through someone which requires a lot of courage on a daily, hourly basis.
  • You are beautiful because you are you.
  • Find that one friend who you can share your stresses with. All you need is one person. 500 Facebook friends and their ‘likes’ will not provide you with the validation and love that one friend can give you.
  • Know that if you aren’t feeling great in your skin, it is OK. But rather than focusing on the fact that you may not look like the supermodel of the week (in part, because she is a Photoshopped robot), take time to appreciate what your body can do and what that feels like. What does it feel like to have strong legs, to have arms that give great hugs, to have warmth and grace that spills out from your heart onto your glowing face? It’s only when I shifted my perspective to think like this that I began to feel good in my skin.

So while you may not see yourself reflected back in magazines, in music videos or any other media platform, you have great worth that extends beyond this superficial world. I hope you enjoy your year and surround yourself with people that make you feel good, even if that ends up being one person. Trust me, that one person’s awesomeness will get you through the crazy obstacle course that is highschool!

        
                                                                                                               ~Sioned

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Photography Contest Photo Collage!


Thank-you to all the wonderful entries of our 'Perfect is BORING' Photography Contest!











Be sure to check back for future contests and events! #loveourbodies

Monday, September 9, 2013

WINNERS of our Photography Contest!


PEDAW PHOTOGRAPHY CONTEST WINNERS!

We truly appreciate everyone's enthusiasm to help us bring awareness of eating disorders and imperfection.  This is such an important topic and your active role and support helped start meaningful, preventative, and engaging discussions around eating disorders, so for that, thank-you.


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"The photo is called 'Never thin enough' It is a photo graphix representation on how my partner wants to see herself although she is extremely thin she considers herself as fat. We have been together for 12 years now and I have been with her through four stays at hospital eating disorder clinic in house treatment where the young women stay at the hospitals three month program and cannot leave until the program has finished. Sadly she is still in the grip of this unrelenting condition although she is better than she used to be. I am hopeful that eventually she will beat this problem." 


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 "This is a picture of myself wearing the Revolution shirt for your contest.  I am around the heaviest I have been in my life but feel the happiest and most content with who I am and where I am going."  
 

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