Category Archives: self-esteem

maggie goes on a diet?!?!

‘Maggie Goes On A Diet’ is a new children’s book, authored and self-published by Paul M. Kramer, due out this October and geared towards readership as young as four-years-old. It tells the story of a 14-year-old adolescent girl who becomes a school soccer star after losing weight by going on a diet and limiting snacks, etc. Aren’t there more effective ways of being a soccer star than going on a diet?

But, perhaps this is really a book about an adolescent girl who gives in to the peer and societal pressures to look a certain way in order to feel good about herself? One of the first things I noticed was the distorted image in the mirror (body image distortion being a hallmark symptom of eating disorders). The second thing I noticed was that Maggie is not holding up an all-star soccer uniform, she is holding up an ultra-thin dress that she is hoping to fit into, one even smaller than her trimmed down mirror image.

As you might imagine, the story has become the target of tremendous controversy and criticism. Many reviews point to the irresponsibility of negatively targeting the self-esteem of young girls, Maggie’s acceptance of the bullying she experiences directed toward her weight, and the sheer danger of exposing children to these messages.

Many are up in arms and speaking out about what they think:
“for any parent to buy [this book] would be unforgivable.”
“4-8 year-olds should not be taught that dieting is a healthy choice.”
“The idea of this book makes me want to either cry or scream – actually both.”
“This is a dangerous book.”

Hundreds of reviews have addressed how this book, and the like, will contribute to early-onset eating disorders. Many have gone so far as to ask that Mr. Kramer remove the book from the market.

Mr. Kramer maintains that his book is not aimed at preschoolers and stated to Fox News that “I’m not advocating, never did, that any child should go on a diet. First of all, this is a change of lifestyle. This is not meant to be to go on a diet.” Here is his side of the story.

So… is this truly a case of judging a book by its cover (the book has not yet been released) or is there enough here to warrant the verbal barbs it has suffered thus far? What do you think?


glam slam

The Huffington Post featured an article today by Colleen Perry focusing upon the impact of early exposure to sexual themes on children. For decades, evidence has been mounting of earlier onset body dissatisfaction, the high level of importance of body image on self-esteem and the increase of disordered eating at strikingly young ages. Additionally, these issues do not discriminate between sex, race, age, socioeconomic status, etc. Statistics are growing rapidly in every subgroup. Earlier exposure to sexual themes is becoming more and more the norm and is one of the factors that buoys these statistics.

Beauty pageants began in 1921 and Little Miss America began in the 1960’s.  It wasn’t until JonBenét Ramsey’s 1996 murder that the spotlight seemed to shift onto the world of child glam. In 2009, TLC premiered a reality series entitled Toddlers & Tiaras that featured the world of child beauty pageants. The series shows toddlers being pushed, pulled and coiffed into looking like mini sexy adults and then pitted against one another and judged on the basis of beauty, talent and garb. Since then, the show has received much criticism and controversy.

In May of this year, news broke that a mother was injecting her 8-year-old daughter with Botox once she entered the world of beauty pageants. The 8-year-old was quoted to say, “I just, like, don’t, like, think wrinkles are nice on little girls.” Within days of the report, she was removed from the custody of her mother.

While this may spark a larger issue of what it means for these parents to introduce their children to pageantry and that perhaps, parents are displacing their own internal pressures onto their children, what will happen if we continue to entrench our kids in the world of princesses and glam? What if we continue to teach that makeup and lavish dresses are requirements for beauty?

Even if children are not actually a part of the world of pageants, the pressure is escalating. You as a parent, a sibling, a friend, a relative, a role model, have the power to send a different and deliberate message stating otherwise. A message that encourages a true, authentic sense of self to emerge that does not need to be dressed up to be accepted. Be conscious and be clear in your delivery of this message and it will be heard louder and with more of an impact because it comes from you, a trusted source.


mommyrexia

In September 2004, New York Magazine published a piece on the “perfect pregnancy.” They cited a Johns Hopkins study revealing that 21% of the women in the study engaged in “weight-restrictive behavior” during their pregnancy and fasted before doctors visits in order to weigh less at the time of their exam.

Just a note about those women suffering from eating disorders: conversely, these women tend to control their eating disordered symptoms during pregnancy, as their focus becomes more on the baby and away from themselves. In fact, oftentimes, women who suffer from eating disorders are more able to resist their eating disordered behaviors for the sake of the baby.

Recently there seems to be more and more discussion about “mommyrexia” being a new trend in pregnancy. I’ve heard about it from lots of people, on the internet, in magazines and on the news. It seems what Johns Hopkins revealed in their study has dramatically increased. While I have not heard statistics to back it up, what I have seen are magazine covers and articles splashed with photos of very thin celebrities who maintain most of their shape throughout their pregnancy (other than the baby bump) and then, seemingly overnight, make dramatic changes washing away any evidence that they even went through a pregnancy. I’ve heard about pregnancy exercise boot camps, and I’ve heard great fear from many women about gaining pregnancy weight and a lot of pre-planning on how to lose it quickly after giving birth.

There’s something very wrong when we begin to view the beauty and magnificence of pregnancy as something to be controlled and manipulated. In addition to the physical detriment this imposes on both the mother and the baby, this type of societal expectation and personal pressure cuts self-esteem at the knees. It riddles an otherwise beautiful experience with anxieties and fears about not doing pregnancy “right.” Why are we celebrating women who barely look pregnant? What do you think about all of this?


operation beautiful

http://mrg.bz/pjxaTc

I found this website, Operation Beautiful, last year and I LOVE it. Why? Because it’s all about treating yourself kindly, generously, compassionately and CONSCIOUSLY. In their words, it’s about “transforming the way you see yourself one post-it note at a time.” Their goal: to end negative self-talk, or fat-talk. I spend much of my time each week talking about and exploring exactly this. Let’s all get active and get involved in eliminating negative self-talk and becoming healthy role models for everyone whose lives we touch! What’s your note?


YO! (plait)

Bravo to Yoplait, who pulled a television advertisement illustrative of what many may recognize as an inner conflict in the mind of someone struggling with an eating disorder. However, what this ad also highlights is the ubiquity of this inner dialogue outside of the world of eating disorders. Many women AND men consistently have a negative inner commentary running in the background and are so accustomed to these thoughts and feelings that it becomes the status quo. Take a look at the ad and then tune in to your own inner commentary. What do you say to yourself? Would you speak to others the way you speak to yourself? Which is louder, the positive or negative self-evaluation? How would you like to speak to yourself? You have the power to change this… with consciousness and with intention.


perfecting vs. accepting

The New York Times published this article on getting bikini-ready in their May 25, 2011 Style section http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/26/fashion/the-bikini-as-a-badge-of-fitness.html.

Which do you believe in and why… financially investing in the ever-changing notion of “perfecting” your body or emotionally investing in loving your ever-changing body?


honor your body – part 1

All too often, and for a variety of reasons, we internalize negative thoughts, expectations, images and ideas and use them destructively against ourselves. These internalizations turn into damaging whispers that are full of judgment and contempt.
Last year I asked the people in my life to consider the negative messages that they have heard, and perhaps internalized, about their bodies and their selves. Here is the list…
pain is temporary, pride is forever
you can never be too rich or too thin
nothing tastes as good as skinny feels
if it tastes good, spit it out
bigger snacks mean bigger slacks
think thin
dieting is not a piece of cake
a moment on the lips, a lifetime on the hips
little pickers wear bigger knickers
you’ve got to move it to lose it
in through the lips and down to your hips
don’t dig your grave with your own knife and fork
no pain, no gain
eat, shrink and be merry
supermodels always go to bed hungry
it only tastes good for a minute
if you indulge, you bulge
thin has a taste all of its own
thinner is the winner
every time you say no to food, you say yes to thin
don’t do anything today that you’ll regret tomorrow
hunger hurts but starving works
i may as well just apply it to my hips
fat makes you fat
What is on your list?

Don’t go anywhere yet… continue here!


be…

be with conscious purpose.
be with determination and presence.
be with honor and self-respect.
be soulful.
be profound.
be your truth.
be every day with integrity.
be gracious.
be determined.
be with balance.
be courageous.
be bold.
be grateful.
be peaceful.
be precise.
be strong.
be dignified.
be empowered and intentional.
be committed to your spirit.
… don’t wait for it to happen, make it happen!