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Archive for the ‘Body Image’ Category

It should be Fun Friday today but this morning I found Inside the Body Beautiful: How Fat Works on youtube! Good old youtube.

So if you want to watch it all then here it is, if not my part is from about 18 minutes in. Let me know what you guys think!

Hayley Emma

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I haven’t got an Eating Disorder because I’m not thin.

I just need to eat a sandwich.

I haven’t got an Eating Disorder, I’m just greedy.

I make myself throw up for vanity reasons, I just don’t want to get fat.

Upon finally reading through my emails which I’d avoided doing for weeks, I found an e-newsletter from B-eat about Eating Disorder Awareness week. I’d wanted to blog about it but having lost motivation for everything, including this blog, I totally forgot.

Eating Disorder Awareness week started Monday, so I started to read about it, I watched this video made for awareness by the University of East Anglia, and spotted the not-your-stereotypical Eating Disordered girl. I went to the B-eat website to see if she had a story because I wanted to know, was she Anorexic, Bulimic, a Binge Eater or did she have something else? So I went to recovery stories and was disappointed with what I read.

Three Anorexia recovery stories, all from the same age group, all from a female perspective. These stories will help inspire hope in individuals suffering from Anorexia, but for those with Bulimia, EDNOS, and Binge-Eating Disorder, I was left wondering, where are all of us?

I could really use some inspiration right now. A recovery story about binge-eating and weight struggles would be much appreciated, but all I can read about is Anorexia survivors. And what about males suffering with Eating Disorders, where is their representation? Are we all lurking in the shadows somewhere, hoping someone else will come forward and speak out about our struggles so we don’t have to?

I took part in a documentary to spread awareness of binge eating and poor body image, had I known when I was 10, 11, 15, 17 that there was such a thing as binge eating and even disordered eating, I would have been able to help myself much sooner instead of finally realising at 19 that I had a problem that is the most common yet the least talked about Eating Disorder.

I kind of figured I’d done my bit with the documentary. But I can’t stand the thought of people like me, men and women, teenagers and adults and even children who will read something like these recovery stories and think I haven’t got an Eating Disorder because I don’t have Anorexia. Or I haven’t got an Eating Disorder because I’m not thin. There will be people thinking I’m not Bulimic because I don’t throw up after every meal, and that’s not Bulimia, is it? Because these are misconceptions floating around about all Eating Disorders, and Eating Disorders awareness projects are the perfect chance to clear these misconceptions up, by illustrating real people’s journeys through all types of Eating Disorders.

I’m so pleased that some women may read the recovery stories and realise that they need help, realise that they’re not alone in their struggle with Anorexia, and that’s fantastic. I truly believe you have to know you have an Eating Disorder before you can fight it. We are moving forward, the myths surrounding mental health are slowly waning as more and more people speak out about their terrible experiences with people who have said “why don’t you just eat a sandwich?” or in my case “why don’t you eat 3 meals a day and snack on fruit?”

Every recovery story posted on the internet, in a newspaper or magazine or even told to a friend is one step towards a greater understanding of Eating Disorders, and one more person in the world gaining the support that they need. And since Eating Disorders are so similar in their misuse of food and their hatred of the body and self, then shouldn’t all Eating Disorders be taken into account when raising awareness?

What do you think, as an Anorexic, Bulimic, Binge Eater, EDNOS sufferer or any other Eating Disorder sufferer, are you well represented?

Hayley Emma

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Last night Inside the Body Beautiful aired on BBC3. Thanks to all of you that tuned in, and hopefully people in other countries can view it online in the near future.

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I watched it with from behind the sofa with my family. I mean, my family weren’t behind the sofa… I’d seen it last week as the Producer travelled down to Bristol to show me, yet all I could remember was the shock of seeing myself on screen and from different angles. As in, I don’t have to see myself from behind. I never see my back or what I look like sitting down. And that was difficult.

So far I’ve had positive responses (hooray!). As I said in my last post, I did it to raise awareness for binge eating disorder and EDNOS, and if I could help just one person then it was worth it. A friend texted me last night to say that I’d helped her understand binge eating more, so to me, that’s a win.

I also wanted to get across that Binge Eating Disorder is an Eating Disorder, and EDNOS, just like Anorexia and Bulimia. It doesn’t mean a person is lazy, greedy or ‘just likes food’. There’s an actual psychological problem behind it, as with other Eating Disorders. People comfort eat, restrict or purge for different reasons, it’s not always so straight forward as they want to eat more, they don’t want to eat or they want to eat and then… want to purge. Because … that doesn’t really make sense, does it?

But accepting that you may have a problem, be it an Eating Disorder, disordered eating or comfort eating, there are so many ways to combat it. I personally chose person-centred therapy and my binge eating has improved in the last year. Feeling bad about myself, thinking i was just greedy really didn’t get me anywhere, so if you’re going to comment and try to shame me or any readers about their eating and bodies, then your comment won’t be published.

If you would like some more resources to get more of an idea about Eating Disorders and stuff, please check out my Useful Info page as there’s some … useful info over there.

I’d be really interested to know what you guys thought of it, then next post I’ll stop talking about how I’m now a TV star and get back to discussing when I’m going to start collecting cats to fulfil my crazy cat lady destiny.

Hayley Emma

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In a week, I’ll be on national TV.

I am pooping my pants.

For you English readers, Inside the Body Beautiful – How Cosmetic Surgery Works, the first of a two-part series, is on tonight on BBC3. It explores ‘the science beyond the most popular beauty and cosmetic treatments’.

Inside the Body Beautiful – How Fat Works is next week and … I’ll be on it. Yeah. Not nervous at all.

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I’m seeing a clip of the program tomorrow so I know what will be shown so I won’t have to watch the television hiding behind a cushion ready to cringe at any moment. Although that will probably still happen.

I’m not sure whether I should put it on my Facebook. I have let my friends know, but it’s a toss-up between – do I let everyone know so no one will be surprised to see my face, or just let anyone who wants to see it …see it?

The whole point of me taking part in this documentary is to spread awareness of binge-eating disorder and EDNOS, as well as compulsive overeating and negative body image, particularly associated with obesity.

It’s not for popularity, and I don’t know what I’m expecting. I really hope that someone will see the program and understand why they overeat when they try so hard to lose weight, or that they’re not alone in wanting to hide from the world because they think they’re physically disgusting.

I know there will be others, who see it and scoff, claim I’m making excuses and really it’s as simple as eating less and exercising more. Unfortunately, I know from first-hand experience that it’s not so simple, psychological reasons often play a vital role in losing weight and keeping weight off.

I used to be ashamed of my body and my Eating Disorder. I still am, to a certain extent. I’m by no means recovered, but I’m on  my way to something I didn’t know existed.

I’m so much closer to a healthy weight now, thanks to person-centred counselling, than I ever was with LighterLife. I’m a long way off, but how I’m handling situations and processing emotions is different, and that is the key to being happy and healthy for me.

For the people in different countries… yeah I don’t know if someone will put this program on youtube. I will find out whether it’ll be available online and where, and I’ll record it, but I’ll have to have a think. I’d really like to pop it on this blog, because I know some of you want to see it, but then I copyright issues may crop up. So we shall see.

Hayley Emma

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In this song, ‘Pretty Girl Rock’ Hilson sings about her beauty and how girls can be jealous of her.

First of all, I think it’s great when someone has self-confidence and can believe that they are beautiful, whether they’re fat, thin, whatever. So although the British part of me is saying “how conceited!” the body image obsessed part of me is yelling “hooray!”

Secondly, I don’t take this song seriously.

But thirdly, it draws a parallel to Samantha Brick. Keri Hilson, however, got there first.

It’s the idea that if I woman says she’s pretty, and another woman either doesn’t like her, treats her differently or disagrees, then she is jealous. There’s no other explanation. Because, obviously, Keri is pretty, there is no denying that, so jealousy must be the reason that people disagree, right?

Even though I don’t hate anybody because they’re beautiful, I’m sure pretty girls don’t always get positive attention. I’m sure some women are jealous, but then with lyrics such as : ‘Pretty as a picture / Sweeter than a swisher / Mad ’cause I’m cuter than the girl that’s with you’ and ‘Girls think I’m conceited ’cause I know I’m attractive / Don’t worry about what I think, why don’t you ask him?’ I’m not surprised you’re getting negative attention, Keri, because you come off a little rude.

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Beauty is subjective. Keri Hilson is very beautiful in my opinion, but someone else might only find her mildly attractive, and another person will find her ugly. I think she’s got a nice figure, someone else may say it’s amazing and others may hate it. Nothing is going to change the definition of beauty, because it can’t be defined. It depends on your personal opinion. So why do we put so much of our self worth on whether we look beautiful to other people?

I don’t hate Keri Hilson because she’s beautiful. I think this song is about self-confidence and superficiality, and as I said, I’m not going to take it too seriously. What I completely agree with is that no one should be judged purely on their looks, and we shouldn’t judge ourselves on our looks either.

In my first CBT session I was asked to draw a pie chart of how important things in my life are. Needless to say, weight took up a good 90%, leaving little room for anything else. So all of my achievements, the Uni course I was on, my family and friends, my hobbies only got a share of 10%. Ever since I’ve been working on trying to lower my fixation on weight so I can spend more time appreciating my other attributes. Weight is still a huge part of the pie. But as long as I continue to place all of my self-worth on my weight, I won’t be happy. I will never be perfect, and I’m learning to embrace that.

It’s natural to make snap decisions about people based on their looks, we all do it to some extent. I’d love to be able to change it though, by encouraging people to question why they assumed the guy with dreadlocks is a hippie, or the girl covered in tattoos is aggressive. And to note just how many times their pre-conceived judgement was wrong. Just like if I was jealous of Keri Hilson, I’d ask myself is it my own insecurities that are making me jealous? Why does her beauty matter to me?

What do you think, are we ever going to stop judging people on their looks? Or are we, as a society, set in our ways?

Hayley Emma

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Alexa Chung is known for her fashion choices, praised by fashionistas for her innovative style. She started out in the modelling industry and turned to presenting, being on Channel 4’s Popworld. I’ve been pretty impartial about Alexa Chung throughout her career, not being hugely into her style, although she seems funny and likeable, but I’ve always wondered if she was naturally very skinny or unhealthily so.

These thoughts used to irritate me back in the day before therapy and working on my own body image, now however, I see her as a talented woman who’s definitely fashion forward, but who’s style I wouldn’t want to emulate.

However, she’s earned my respect with her outlook on body image. She hasn’t praised her own body or claimed to be completely happy with herself, but she’s been really down to earth about a situation that must have been difficult for her. I read this Jezebel article and then this Fashionista article about Alexa Chung and her troubles with Instagram.

In April, Alexa Chung made her Instagram private after posting this photograph (source) of her and her mum. She received comments claiming she was too thin and unhealthy-looking.

Making her Instagram private is a prime example of how Alexa Chung doesn’t like to think of herself as thinspiration. A quote from this article about a certain comment reads:

Chung responded to the comments – an example of which reads: ‘I’m going to be very honest. I look at this picture and think “This is a woman not eating.” Thus, I worry for women everywhere’ – by writing “Hi, I am here. I can read.”

In the interview with Fashionista, Chung said:

I just get frustrated because, just because I exist in this shape, doesn’t mean that I’m like advocating it and being like, ‘I look great.’ How do you know I’m not looking in the mirror and going ‘I wish I could gain ten pounds?’ Which is actually quite often the case.

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I’ve known quite a few people wanting to gain weight rather than lose it, and they weren’t disordered. I couldn’t fathom it before – if your body is the ideal, why would you want to change it? But Chung said it eloquently – just because someone is skinny or fat, it doesn’t mean they like the way they look, let alone think that is it the best way to look.

She also said:

I think it’s about time people stopped judging women on their appearance and more on their intellect. Like you can appreciate my style without having to appreciate my weight. It’s not actually mutually inclusive.

THANK YOU. I’m not a big fan of her style personally. Her body shape, height and weight all suit the style of clothes she wears, but if she liked pin up style clothes, does that mean she shouldn’t wear them, because of her lack of curves? Of course not, just as someone who is plus size loves the Indie look should dress that way if they like.

What do you think about this? I have thought that she looked very thin, maybe even too thin, but is what I’ve just written any more appropriate to when Karl Lagerfeld called Adele a ‘little too fat’?

Hayley Emma

 

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It’s been almost a year now since I read Hungry by Crystal Renn (and wrote a blog post about it here which has my favourite quote from the book) and identified with it despite not being a model, plus size or otherwise, or suffering with Anorexia.

I’ve been keeping an eye on Crystal Renn’s weight loss, more out of a concern than anything. I’m not so focused on plus size women anymore, although they are beautiful, don’t get me wrong – I can now see the beauty in any body size and shape. Plus size, skinny, curvy, muscular, sporty, toned, you name it, whatever your body size or shape, its gorgeous. So I want to celebrate diversity.

As well as loving Crystal Renn’s body, especially in this picture, I love her attitude. Going from Anorexic to a healthy BMI is an incredible achievement, but getting to be a bigger size and loving her body enough to show it to the world is incomprehensible to me. This woman is brave. And so whilst I look at her body and appreciate it and want it for myself, I also look at her struggles and I can relate. To the obsession about food and weight, to being plus sized.

Do you have an opinion about Crystal Renn? How do you think she looks in this picture?

Hayley Emma

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