I won’t be taking my shirt off at the beach this summer
In fact, I have never taken my shirt off at the beach. I'm barely comfortable looking at myself naked in front of a mirror; how would you expect me to be comfortable in front of another human being. I've been overweight for most of my life. At the age of 25 I found myself having to buy size 44 pants because I could no longer fit into my 42’s. I was incredibly insecure, self-conscious, had low self-esteem and had a tremendous amount of anxiety and depression that stemmed from my obesity. Tipping the scale at 280 pounds at 5 foot 10 inches, I had reached my breaking point. I had enough and was ready to finally do something about my problem. It was the first time in my life that I was determined to take back control of my body. I started to eat less, eat healthier and joined a gym. In less than a year I lost over 100 pounds. It has been over three years since I started my weight loss journey. I've maintained my goal weight and today healthy nutrition and regular exercise are staples in my life. In fact, physical fitness has become somewhat of a passion of mine.
A while ago the American Journal of Public Health (AJPH) published some research about attitudes to obesity which led to headlines claiming that ‘One in Six Women Would Rather Be Blind than Fat’. The AJPH research asked its subjects to rate obesity alongside 12 other 'social stigmas' including depression, herpes, alcoholism and blindness(!) in order to find out their 'anti-obesity preference'. While many of the responses to this survey have come from 'health at any size' blogs such as Dances With Fat one finding in particular peaked my interest: 14.5% of the subjects involved chose blindness over obesity. The more I thought about this the more I wonder what it's actually saying.
There are two upcoming conferences on weight stigma that might be of interest to practitioners and the public.
1.Obesity Stigma: Psychological, Social, and Medical Causes and Consequences
This is an interdisciplinary research symposium to be held at UCLA on Friday, May 30, 2014. Drawing on the fields of psychology, medicine, and sociology to present a comprehensive view of obesity stigma, this event is free (including a free lunch) and open to the public, and is funded by the UCLA Office of Interdisciplinary & Cross Campus Affairs. For more information and to register: http://www.dishlab.org/obesitystigmasymposium.php.
Speakers include Brenda Major, PhD (UCSB Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences), Abigail Saguy, PhD (UCLA Department of Sociology and Gender Studies), A. Janet Tomiyama, PhD (UCLA Department of Psychology).
Bodies sell products. Open any magazine in America and you will see parts of bodies used to sell everything from shoes to Coca-Cola. An advertisement for Tom Ford perfume shows a bottle of perfume between a woman’s breasts; a fashion spread for the magazine Details shows a woman being used as a table, and topless buff men sell Abercrombie and Fitch clothing. The common term for this is objectification—the act of reducing a person down to just her or his parts, and has been discussed by a range of philosophers from Immanuel Kant to Martha Nussbaum’s more modern seven attributes of objectification.
Fill in the blank: If only I _______, I'd _______.
For years, I told myself that if only I were thin, I’d be popular. If only I had a better-paying job, I’d be less stressed out. If only I were funnier, I’d have more friends. This harmful cycle continued until I was left in a constant, dizzying haze of self-doubt and despair.
I have a secret I keep hidden under my clothes: my body. Sometimes I reveal it for the world to see, unafraid to show my feminine curves; and sometimes I hide it so that no one sees, terrified to give even a stranger fuel for judgment. It depends on my mood, over which I don’t always have complete control. Instead, the chemicals in my brain do; they dictate to me how I feel about myself and how I treat my body. They have the power to override logic and reason in two very different ways. You see, I have a darker secret I keep hidden under my clothes, within my body, itself: my Bi-polar disorder.
Right now in our great city ReelAbilities Film Festival is happening! According to the website, it's 'the largest festival in the country dedicated to promoting awareness and appreciation of the lives, stories and artistic expressions of people with different disabilities'.
Since its inception in 2007, ReelAbilities has showcased award-winning films made by and about people with various disabilities. In addition to film-screenings, theater and dance presentations, story telling sessions and post-screening panel discussions are taking place through March 11.All told, the festival will host over 40events at 32 venues in 8 NY counties.
It’s been a long road and one that I'm still traveling, but I'm proud and excited to announce the one chapter that is both over and starting at the same time.
A little over five years ago I started to attempt to put together a memoir about my life long struggle with a Binge Eating Disorder. This disorder has affected my life, my family, my friends and has taken me on some of the most painful, beautiful, heart wrenching and healing journeys. Much like my journey to recovery, my journey putting together and writing my story was a long winding roller coaster. I can’t believe it, but it's finally FINALLY finished. What it’s turned into, after all of these years of figuring out the right way to tell this story, is so much more than I ever could have imagined and I am deeply proud of it.
THE OTHER DAY THE WORLD HAD A LOT TO SAY ABOUT THE WINNER OF THE 'BIGGEST LOSER AND SO DID I
By Sara Romeo-White
This morning I came online to a bombardment of social media commentary about the winner of The Biggest Loser. I don’t have tv. I didn’t even know The Biggest Loser was on. But who needs television when there are gifs of Jillian Michaels “OMG” face, and hateful messages under photos of a girl just trying to figure things out in life. Before I move forward let me make the disclaimer that I have very little against this show and if I could afford tv I probably would have been watching it. I’m a sucker for television guaranteed to make me cry, so maybe I’m part of the problem, and I fully own that. Honestly in many ways I respect The Biggest Loser. Call me naive, but I truly believe that underneath it all there are good intentions. If it even gives one person a real chance to learn some tools to take care of themselves and start dealing with their food and body issues, then great, keep it up. I do also realize that there is another side to it though, a side that has the potential of creating more harm than good. And I’m not going to lie, when I saw Rachel Frederickson’s before and after I couldn’t help but be a little shocked. But given my history and given what this show actually is, I also wasn’t.