Starving Secrets Disappointment

Overcoming an eating disorder is a hard thing to do.

I am beyond blessed to have been given the right opportunity to recover and to have so much support on my side. I want to see the day where everyone suffering is given the same amount of support…the same opportunity to be whole again.

As I have been crafting away on my living room floor I have had the television on as noise in the background. Every now and then I’d look up and see what was making all the noise, and then I’d continue to my work. Last week I had noticed a preview for a new television show called Starving Secrets on Lifetime, a sort of documentary featuring Tracey Gold helping people who suffer from eating disorders get treatment. Of course I was more than interested in seeing what this show was all about, so I set my DVR to tape the first episode. I watched it in full last night and was pretty much…

…disappointed.

Before I express my disappointment, I do want to clarify that I totally respect Tracey Gold’s mission on the show and the participants efforts and willingness to share their stories. Tracey, having previously suffered herself from an eating disorder, comes across as truly caring and wanting help for these girls…which is essentially how I would like to come across here on my blog and once I am a nurse. And the girls…it was more than sad to see how much they were suffering and had suffered, but inspiring to see that they wanted a change and were willing to put in the work. I commend anyone who is also willing to put themselves out there, tell their story even though it can feel embarrassing for shameful (although it shouldn’t be), and hopefully help someone else in the process. They are true stories that the other side of an eating disorder…being well again…is completely worth it.

I started watching the show a few days ago, and after only a fourth of the way in I turned it off feeling disappointed. At that time I wasn’t quite sure why I felt this way, but I didn’t have the desire to finish. After some time I realized that I wasn’t a fan of how the show came across. Instead of truly sharing these girls’ stories and educating the viewer on eating disorders, the show was set up to be shocking. There were several images flashed on the screen of emaciated girls, ribs protruding in someone’s back, a girl hunched over a toilet seat, ect. These images were only there for a shock effect. The viewer does not need to see these images to understand that an eating disorder is dangerous.

The images were unsettling.

I decided to finish the episode last night before I went to bed, only to further my disappointment. One of the very few scenes of one of the girls actually in treatment showed her stepping on the scale, and then with very daunting music her weight was displayed on the television screen.

Again, I respect the girls involved in the show for willingness to share their stories. I really, really do. I’m not disappointed that she was weighed in treatment. That is obviously something the the doctors and people involved in her care needed to know. But, when it can be said that one in four girls suffer from some kind of disordered eating, and millions of people watched this television show, and a number is one of the most triggering parts of an eating disorder, I think there is a great problem.

They showed a number.

I do think that there should be educational television shows that people would want to watch regarding eating disorders. It is too often looked at as embarrassing or shameful when it is a true disease, just like any other disease. It should be taught, it should be talked about, and treatment should be supported…in a healthy and un-triggering way for everyone.

ang

“It’s How You Take That Middle Ground and Run With It”

I look forward to every Thursday night, after my husband falls asleep of course, to hear Heidi Klum’s sweet voice tell another designer, “Auf Wiedersehen,” which in turn ends that designer’s dreams of making it to fashion week. I’m definitely no fashion designer myself, but I like to think that I have a good eye for aesthetics, and I love watching a television show where the contestants get to be ridiculously creative.

After watching last night’s episode, Anthony Ryan really got me thinking.

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Anthony Ryan is a cute little designer from Baton Rouge, Louisianna, who was unfortunately eliminated from the show last night. During his exit interview he said something that really struck a chord with me…

My entire life I have strived to be the very best. Not just my very best…The.Very.Best. To me that meant that I needed to be the prettiest, the smartest, the skinniest, the fastest…and anything else I could add “-est” to the end of. Then, of course, this always ended up in disappointment because in all my life I was never any of those things. I tried very hard and got pretty darn close, but I was never the “best.”

Duh. That’s because I was missing the point.

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I don’t need to be the best ever at anything. I just need to do my best at everything.

I’m not the smartest person in the world, but I’m going to continue to learn and hopefully be a great nurse someday soon. I’m never going to be the thinnest person, and quite honestly, I don’t want to be anymore. I’m perfectly happy with my body. And I’m never going to be the fastest runner. It’s easy to get caught up comparing yourself to someone else…even here in the blog world where we all like to share our workouts, distances, and times.  I’m definitely not going to set new records for any distances, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to stop trying to set new PRs for myself!

…it’s how you take the middle ground and run with it.”

While I may never reach the status of the best at anything I do, I can keep on trying my best, and the limits of my own capabilities will continue to expand. I will take Anthony Ryan’s advice and take my own delightful middle ground and run with it!

ang

Kelly and Me. Me and Kelly.

Good afternoon pretties! It is funny how almost each week I can relate my book club posts from The Girls From Ames to something that is going on in my life. This week’s post is all about the chapter Through Kelly’s Eyes. However, you do not have to be reading the book for the content of this post to have meaning for you. Also, if you are not caught up on the reading, that is okay…here is what you may have missed so far:

Kelly and me. Me and Kelly. I’ve said from the beginning of reading this book that I don’t think I have very much in common with Kelly. I thought Kelly seemed a lot like my sister…more of a free spirit, not afraid to say what is on her mind. I don’t think those two descriptions necessarily describe me. I mean, if you say something that upsets me, I’m probably just going to keep it to myself. I have this nifty talent (sarcasm) for pushing down and burying my not-so-happy-go-lucky feelings.

Well, that was the case…until I started writing this little blog.

Anytime I’ve ever had a pressing issue on my mind, I have found it worlds easier to write about rather than talk about it. I remember in fifth grade when I got my first “boyfriend.” I was so excited and embarrassed at the same time, but I wanted my mom to know. So what did I do? I wrote her a note. Whenever I knew I needed real help with my eating disorder, what did I do? I wrote my mother a note. I’m pretty sure that my husband has a secret stash of all my old notes to him throughout the past nine years.

So, this blog is just a compilation of a bunch of little notes that I want to share with the world. It is a place where I actually can speak what is on my mind without feeling scared or embarrassed or judged.  It is a place where I can actually see myself relating to Kelly Zwagerman on so many levels.

Like Kelly, I have also given much thought to the question of who I am now and who I want to be as I continue through this life, and I find myself coming up with the exact same answers…

“I want to be a strong female role model.” I’ve always, always, always believed in leading by example. I feel like now it is my duty to live a life fulfilling a positive body image and healthy lifestyle.  

“I want to be an inspirational and motivational teacher,” or rather nurse in my case. I so desperately want to work as a nurse in an eating disorder unit so that I can give hope to patients and hopefully motivate them to take the right steps toward recovery.

“I want to be a parent (someday) who builds a network of love and support for my children.” Goodness I want to be a mom someday…..so, so much. I can’t even look at my husband without getting giddy imagining him and me being parents someday.

And of course, I too, “want to be a kind and caring friend.” 

I truly, from the bottom of my heart, support Kelly on her “health as opposed to glamour” focus. I’m not necessarily opposed to glamour…I’m definitely a girly-girl who likes to paint my nails on a daily basis and wear make-up to workout in. I enjoy getting all dolled up for things and feeling pretty. So, maybe I’d say something more along the lines of “healthy is glamorous.”

We definitely do need to “combat” this culture that has been created through the media that thin equals beautiful. We’ve been given countless images, literally unreal images, to compare ourselves to…to make ourselves feel unworthy. Less beautiful.

But, if we all can look deep within ourselves, we know that our beauty does not come from a size. It does not come from a weight. It does not come from a lack of cellulite. Or wrinkles. Or stretch marks. Beauty does not come from these things that we have been told over and over again in magazines.

Beauty truly comes from inside. From your heart.

And the fact is, we’ve been taught that too, from early on in life. We’ve all heard our mothers tell us that it doesn’t matter what’s on the outside, but it’s what’s on the inside that counts. However, I had a coach once tell me that for every negative thing you say to someone, it takes eleven positives to counter the one negative. So how can we fill ourselves with the thousands of positives we desperately need to counter everything that magazines and television are throwing at us?

Well, here are my eleven:

  1. You have a beautiful heart. You are so caring.
  2. Your smile lights up a room.
  3. You are so talented. Think of all the good you can do with your talent.
  4. You are so loving.
  5. You are so worthy of being loved. Someone is sure lucky to know you.
  6. You are a nice person. Your kindness is overwhelming.
  7. Your personality is so welcoming.
  8. You are thoughtful.
  9. You are radiant.
  10. Your kindness is contagious.
  11. You are gorgeous just the way God created you.
Thank you Kelly, for making me realize that my words can serve a purpose. Hopefully these eleven on this little blog took one negative away from someone reading it!
I guess we have more in common than I thought. 🙂
ang


Come On! Feel Amazing About Yourself!

Step One: If you are tortured by sizes…forgetta’ bout em!

Let’s face it. Sizes mean practically nothing. A size four in one store is equal to a size ten in another store. Simply cut that trouble out of your life. {Snip snip!}

Step Two: Ignore the media…seriously…almost all media. It really breaks my heart that almost every commercial I see now is about losing weight. The media presents us with the message that taking a supplement will equal losing weight which equals looking good in a bathing suit which equals being happy. Even “good” products that are healthy for you are being promoted for their weight-loss capabilities. I know the reason why, though…it’s because we are buying into it. We believe that weight loss will create happiness. What happened to eating Cheerios because it’s good for your heart and cholesterol? Well, not many people are concerned with how their heart is functioning…we’d rather just make sure we were losing weight. We have to change this!

Not only are we being bombarded with weight loss supplements and products sold solely for the purpose of losing weight, but we are also hearing about all the celebrities who have been slimming up. Mind you, these are celebrities who were already thin to begin with.

Step Three: Get moving sista! Find something active that you totally love to do…and do it! This doesn’t have to be running or spinning or something really vigorous (although it can be!) This can be anything as little as taking your dog for a walk (which I need to do more of!) or gardening. Whatever it is that gets your heart pumpin’ and puts a smile on your face…do it!

Step Four: Wear clothes that you feel completely comfortable in. Why wear something that makes you feel bad about yourself? Clean out your closet and donate your invalidating clothing. Just think, this gives you an excuse to buy new, confidence-inducing clothes! I have my own special pair of go-to pants…not only do I always feel comfortable in the way they fit (they are a cute wide-leg denim trouser), but I also feel empowered and sexy.

Step Five: Give YOURSELF affirmations. Compliment yourself for something about you on the inside, and compliment yourself for something about you on the outside. You are smart, intelligent, and determined. You are also gorgeous and you deserve to know it!

ang