25 February 2015

You Are So Much More

I stumbled across this article through this blog and was struck by all that this woman had to say about how "negative associations with food are so common in casual female conversations" and the effects it can have on woman who actually suffer from an eating disorder.  Body image and feeling confident in your own skin have always been topics I'm passionate about.  It started in college when I started the elementary education program and got into a volunteering program with adolescent girls in a youth detention facility in town.  One of the girls there suffered from a couple of eating disorders and at one of our group meetings, she shared her story with the group.  After hearing how she viewed herself and how her disorder plagued her throughout middle and high school, I was left really...sad.  I wanted to shake her, look her in the eyes, and say something along the lines of if only you understood how amazing and wonderful you are!  But over the years, after learning more and meeting more women with eating disorders, I quickly realized that it takes time, love, healing, and patience to overcome an eating disorder.  It definitely doesn't happen overnight.  Those years made me realize how powerful words are.  How important compassion is.  How much it matters that we are not judgmental or critical of those around us when we don't even know the half of their story.  I'm definitely not perfect at this and wish I was better, but I'd like to think "baby steps".  Each day trying a little harder to be more compassionate.

Quote from this article I loved...

"I encourage women to resist the urge to identify so heavily with their food and exercise habits. Stop the apologies and stream of self-inflicted insults from rolling off your tongue and onto the clean plate before you. Honor yourself for the souls you’ve touched rather than the office candy you didn’t. Love yourself through every bit of flesh that glows in your mirror’s reflection. Strive to be healthy, not skinny. The struggle of self-acceptance may never entirely cease, but it can become easier when you spend more time calling your unwavering strengths to attention instead of all the trite aspects of yourself that you consider to be flaws."

Quote from this talk I loved...

"So how do you best respond when mental or emotional challenges confront you or those you love?  Above all, never lose faith in your Father in Heaven, who loves you more than you can comprehend.  As Thomas S. Monson said, 'That love never changes...It is there for you when you are sad or happy, discouraged or hopeful.  God's love is there for you whether or not you feel you deserve [it].  It is simply always there.'  Never, ever doubt that, and never harden your heart.  Faithfully pursue the time-tested devotional practices that bring the Spirit of the Lord into your life...hold fast to the perfecting promises of the Atonement of Jesus Christ.  Believe in miracles.  I have seen so many of them come when every other indication would say that hope was lost.  Hope is never lost.  If those miracles do not come soon or fully or seemingly at all, remember the Savior's own anguished example:  if the bitter cup does not pass, drink it and be strong, trusting in happier days ahead."

February is National Eating Disorders Awareness Month, and February 22 through 28 is Eating Disorder Awareness Week. The National Eating Disorder Association aims to educate the public on the seriousness of this disease and to crush the many stigmas and myths surrounding it. If you are suffering, you are not alone and there are many people and resources that can help. Check out nationaleatingdisorders.organad.org, and nedawareness.org for more information.

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