Saturday, April 16, 2011

20 Ways to Love Your Body

1. Think of your body as the vehicle to your dreams. Honor it. Respect it. Fuel it.
2. Create a list of all the things your body lets you do. Read it and add to it often.
3. Become aware of what your body can do each day. Remember it is the instrument of your life, not just an ornament.
4. Create a list of people you admire: people who have contributed to your life, your community, or the world. Consider whether their appearance was important to their success and accomplishments.
5. Walk with your head held high, supported by pride and confidence in yourself as a person.
6. Don’t let your weight or shape keep you from activities that you enjoy.
7. Wear comfortable clothes that you like, that express your personal style, and that feel good to your body.
8. Count your blessings, not your blemishes.
9. Think about all the things you could accomplish with the time and energy you currently spend worrying about your body and appearance. Try one!
10. Be your body’s friend and supporter, not its enemy.
11. Consider this: your skin replaces itself once a month, your stomach lining every five days, your liver every six weeks, and your skeleton every three months. Your body is extraordinary--begin to respect and appreciate it.
12. Every morning when you wake up, thank your body for resting and rejuvenating itself so you can enjoy the day.
13. Every evening when you go to bed, tell your body how much you appreciate what it has allowed you to do throughout the day.
14. Find a method of exercise that you enjoy and do it regularly. Don’t exercise to lose weight or to fight your body. Do it to make your body healthy and strong and because it makes you feel good. Exercise for the Three F’s: Fun, Fitness, and Friendship.
15. Think back to a time in your life when you felt good about your body. Tell yourself you can feel like that again, even in this body at this age.
16. Keep a list of 10 positive things about yourself--without mentioning your appearance. Add to it!
17. Put a sign on each of your mirrors saying, “I’m beautiful inside and out.”
18. Choose to find the beauty in the world and in yourself.
19. Start saying to yourself, “Life is too short to waste my time hating my body this way.”
20. Eat when you are hungry. Rest when you are tired. Surround yourself with people that remind you of your inner strength and beauty.

Don’t Weigh Your Self-Esteem. It’s What’s Inside That Counts!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Next BAM Meeting

Final BAM Meeting of the semester!
Friday, April 22nd, 2011 at 3:00 p.m.
Location: Plaza of the America's

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

If Barbie were real...

Some people have skeletons in their closet. I have an enormous Barbie in mine.
She stands about six feet tall with a 39" bust, 18" waist, and 33" hips. These are the supposed measurements of Barbie if she were a real person. I built her as a part of the first National Eating Disorder Awareness Week (NEDAW) at my high school, later introducing her to Hamilton College during its first NEDAW in 2011.

More "Get Real, Barbie" statistics:*
• There are two Barbie dolls sold every second in the world. 
• The target market for Barbie doll sales is young girls ages 3-12 years of age.
• A girl usually has her first Barbie by age 3, and collects a total of seven dolls during her childhood.
• Over a billion dollars worth of Barbie dolls and accessories were sold in 1993, making this doll big business and one of the top 10 toys sold.
• If Barbie were an actual women, she would be 5'9" tall, have a 39" bust, an 18" waist, 33" hips and a size 3 shoe.
• Barbie calls this a "full figure" and likes her weight at 110 lbs.
• At 5'9" tall and weighing 110 lbs, Barbie would have a BMI of 16.24 and fit the weight criteria for anorexia. She likely would not menstruate.
• If Barbie was a real woman, she'd have to walk on all fours due to her proportions.
• Slumber Party Barbie was introduced in 1965 and came with a bathroom scale permanently set at 110 lbs with a book entitled "How to Lose Weight" with directions inside stating simply "Don't eat."

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Learning to Embrace my Body

“The skinnier I got, the fatter I felt.”
These are the words that I shamefully uttered two years ago during one of my many therapy sessions to come. These are the words that I felt every day upon waking up and every night before going to sleep. These are the words that governed my life. These words tell of the war I waged against my body.

It all started in 8th grade when I friend of mine proudly stated that she had dropped 6 pounds in two weeks. As those around us praised her for her life-changing feat, I thought to myself, “WHAT?! How is that possible?” She went on to explain that she just didn’t eat. Huh…I never thought of that one before. You mean I have the option to not eat?

This small discovery of mine fueled a seemingly endless journey of self-hate. The next 6 years of my life were dictated by constant calorie counting, excessive exercise, and an obsession with losing weight. After countless days of weighing out every gram of anything that entered my mouth, running 7 miles before 3 hours of softball practice, stepping on the scale every few hours, and staring at my nonexistent tummy in the mirror for hours on end, I thought that I would finally be happy with my body and life. I mean, I was losing weight…and everyone told me I was so skinny...and thin people are supposed to be happy…right? Was I the only exception? How come I wasn’t happy?

Where did this idea that had been imprinted in my head for as long as I can remember even come from? Is it not a proven law that all skinny people are happy and weight gain is the source of all things horrible?

During my first year at the University of Florida I decided that food would no longer rule my world. I thought that if I ever wanted to stop dieting, I could. All I had to do was start eating normally again (while still maintaining a healthy, balanced diet of around 1500 calories per a day of course!). This was not normal eating. Years upon years of restrictive eating had left me clueless on how to not diet. The control and grasp food had over my life was stronger then ever and there was nothing I could do to break free, at least nothing I could do on my own.

I’m not really sure what spurred it, but before I new it I was thrown into the world of recovery. My schedule was now filled with appointments with doctors, therapists, and nutritionists, along with weekly group therapy sessions.

Gradually, over the next 3 years of working my butt off, I came to a grand realization: I don’t have to hate my body! I have the option to embrace it, nourish it, care for it, and love it. Now, I am 40 pounds heavier (and lovelier) than I was when I entered recovery for my eating disorder and I love my body more than ever!

My thighs are sound and sturdy, like the trunks of two powerful trees that support the beautiful goddess above and help her move to the rhythm of her heart. My belly is soft and curvy. It serves as the perfect pillow when my boyfriend lays his head on my stomach. My arms are strong and sensual. With them, I can carry my bike up a flight of stairs and cuddle with my dog moments later. My butt is voluptuous and full. It protects me when I fall down... so that I can get back up again. 

- Kelly Ulmer

The Right to Wear Bikinis: Who Owns It?

I read this article on Adios, Barbie this morning and had to share it. Let's all be Body Outlaws and make our own choices about our body and how we nurture it!

File this one under “clueless media moment”: today’s features Sara Rue, host of the wish-they-wouldn’t-go-there reality show Shedding for the Wedding, triumphantly showing off her weight loss in a bikini.
“Only a year and a half after she began the Jenny Craig program, Sara Rue has lost more than 50 lbs. – and 4 dress sizes! – and is wearing a bikini for the very first time in her life,” says the article [italics theirs].
Emphasis on “the very first time”–as if wearing a bikini is a rite of passage reserved only for women who shave those unwanted pounds off their asses in time for bikini season (and their weddings). Listen, we support Sara if she feels healthy and confident. But why does the media insist on tying happiness to thinness? They are not one and the same. And to Sara we say, great that you’re wearing a bikini (it’s a cute one)…but why is this the first time EVER?
When I was a size 14-16 one summer, I made an executive decision to override body shame and wear a bikini in public. I realized that I automatically assumed that I “couldn’t” wear one — that because I had some love handles and a round stomach that I didn’t have the RIGHT to feel the sun’s rays on my tum. I decided to defy that. I named myself a “body outlaw”, opting out of society’s standards and making my own choices, even if some people might see me and think “gross!” or “she should NOT be wearing that.” And while my brain fired off plenty of body-hating messages, I forced myself to hold my head high. It was revolutionary in its own way for me.
The other problem with this bikini brouhaha is that the dieter’s lifestyle is not sustainable. In fact, 98% of people who lose weight regain it all within 5 years, and 90% of them regain more than they lost. Bummer for all of us on the constant treadmill, huh? Even Sara Rue herself admits it to “It’s hard. It’s a struggle,” she says of keeping off the weight. “There are days where I’ll say, ‘I feel off the rails.’ But I don’t give myself excuses.”
Excuses? Is that what we call acknowledging our desires and appetites when our bodies don’t cooperate and hide the “shameful” evidence of weight?
Then, there’s the whole wedding thing, throwing another ideal into the mix. The dieting, bridal and advertising industry have enjoyed their menage-a-trois for ages. It’s profitable, after all. And here’s another “ugh” part from this piece:
Come May, when Rue exchanges vows with her fiancĂ©, college consultant Kevin Price, 35, she won’t be skipping her wedding cake. “We’re having three kinds, including red velvet and pumpkin caramel,” Rue reveals. “I’ll be having one of each! Very small slivers of every kind is the way to go.”
Excuse me? You’re only going to get married (hopefully) once in your life, and you’ll just eat a small SLIVER of your own wedding cake? Is the decision to skip cake based on true HEALTH (which includes emotional happiness and pleasure)? Or on a desire to stay thin and keep earning a Hollywood paycheck–in an industry that doesn’t have many roles for those who veer from its ideal?, we beg you, please be a tad less celebratory and unquestioning in your coverage of weight loss stories. We understand it sells magazines and gets clicks. But it also sends a damaging message to women, yet again.

Friday, April 8, 2011

The Chompys

Last night we won the New Student Organization Leadership Grant of $500 at Chompys! It was a huge honor to be recognized at the Student Involvement Awards along with many other amazing student organizations on the UF campus. We have big things planned for the coming year and winning this grant will help us make our dreams for BAM a reality.
Congratulations to all other winners and nominees!

Check out the award!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

My Body Is...

It reads:
“My body is a little too heavy?
A little too bony?
Having a fat day…
Having a good day…
A lot like my moms?
A mystery?
A lifelong friend?
Healthy, thank God.
Learning to respect your body is a journey.
Turn the page to begin yours.”