According to NEDA, 3 minutes could save a life. “But how?” you make ask. Something as simple as taking their online screening can lead someone in a positive direction. Early detection of an eating disorder is challenging, it is of the utmost importance. The American Family Physician says, “Early diagnosis with intervention and earlier age at diagnosis are correlated with improved outcomes in patients who have eating disorders.” If you are a loved one is struggling with their relationship with food, NEDA’s quiz and the UMKC Counseling Center are good places to start on your journey of self-discovery and recovery.
By Mirella Flores
February can be a challenging month for people experiencing difficulties with eating disorders, body image, and size acceptance. By February, the food-related activities of the holidays are behind us and a lot of New Year’s resolutions to work-out and lose weight have begun to dissolve. And [drum roll]…there is also Valentine’s Day, a day that intertwines being loved with receiving chocolate. I find it ironic that we use chocolates to show our love and affection,
while ourselves or loved ones might feel unlovable because of our body image and/or disordered eating.
Eating chocolate might also be associated with shame of eating “forbidden” and “bad” foods. If you have experienced an eating disorder, you might have heard your eating disorder telling you that, “You’re fat. You’re disgusting. You don’t deserve to eat.” So, chocolates may have become a big no-no. But it does not stop there. Society often tells femme people that chocolates are bad if we want to fit this body ideal we ought to be aiming for. This can led us to place judgment on some foods and then avoid them, which disconnects us from food. If you have ever binged on a whole bag of chocolates, you probably did not experience the chocolates either. Just because we eat a certain food it does not mean we are experiencing it or that we are having a healthy relationship with our food and body.
Regardless of whether you are experiencing difficulty with eating disorders, disordered eating, body image, and size acceptance, mindfulness eating can help you build a positive relationship with food and your body. Mindfulness eating does not involve restricting food or giving up anything at all. You can mindfully eat a hamburger; it is about the practice, not what you are eating. Mindful eating is allowing ourselves to become non-judgmentally aware our own actions, thoughts, feelings and motivations as our body interacts with food. I find it a powerful tool in creating a healthy relationship with food and my body.
Are you interested in practicing mindfulness eating? Then stop by our Every Body Is Beautiful- Information Table, on Monday, February, 22 between 11am-1pm at the Miller Nichols Library lobby (800 E. 51st, KCMO). In honor of National Eating Disorders Awareness Week (February 21 – 27), we will be facilitating a mindfulness eating of chocolate exercise, as well as other activities to promote an appreciation of our bodies. Don’t miss out!
I’ll let you in on a little secret: Eating disorders are never really about food. It’s usually linked to a bigger issue or trauma. But that’s not what we see when we think about eating disorders. Our minds flash to some lifetime movie about a girl obsessed with her weight an appearance. But this isn’t Lifetime, folks.
Melissa A. Fabello insists, “Eating disorders are bio-psychosocial in nature, which means that there are biological, psychological, and sociological factors at play that make a person susceptible to, and triggered into, eating disordered thoughts and behaviors. Eating disorders are seriously complex. But at its root, your eating disorder is a mental health issue.” Although looks can be a part of the disorder, it’s a very miniscule part of the puzzle. Eating disorders are extremely complex in nature. At the heart of it, many people use withholding, purging and binging of food as a means of control through a different time. It is important to remember that an eating disorder is a mental health issue. It is just the surface of a deeper issue.
by Danielle Lyons
When the topic of eating disorders come up, one thinks of the notorious two; Anorexia and Bulimia Nervosa. But alas there is another we tend to forget: Binge Eating Disorder. According to The National Eating Disorders Association It is the most common disorder in the US. So why isn’t it talked about? Many women experience other’s denial that Binge Eating Disorder exists. It’s just written off as gluttonous behavior. This disorder is much more than a mere character flaw. It deserves to be recognized in an equal light.
“Binge Eating Disorder is an eating disorder characterized by recurrent episodes of eating large quantities of food (often very quickly and to the point of discomfort); a feeling of a loss of control during the binge; experiencing shame, distress or guilt afterwards; and not regularly using unhealthy compensatory measures (e.g., purging) to counter the binge eating. Binge eating disorder is a severe, life-threatening and treatable eating disorder.”
It is important to remember that weight or weight gain is different in each case. It isn’t strictly a disorder affected by the obese. That is where we make our mistake; we make that assumption. Eating disorders do not discriminate. If that were the case, one could argue that every person who is overweight struggles with the disorder. The fact of the matter is most overweight individuals do not have Binge Eating Disorder.
It is important to remember for eating disorders that root of the problem isn’t the food. Binge Eating Disorder is no exception. According to Melissa A. Fabello of Everyday Feminism, “Eating disorders are bio-psychosocial in nature, which means that there are biological, psychological, and sociological factors at play that make a person susceptible to, and triggered into, eating disordered thoughts and behaviors. Eating disorders are seriously complex. But at its root, your eating disorder is a mental health issue.” Although each eating disorder is unique with their own complexity, they have one commonality. Recovery is a tough process differs from person to person.
If you suspect you or someone you care about might be suffering from binge eating disorder, there are resources available. Some resources include but are not limited to The UMKC Counseling Center, Binge Eating Disorder Association, And National Eating Disorders Association.
by Matiara Huff
If you don’t know basic gym rules, click here. These are the rules for a feminist at the gym.
1. Don’t let anyone stand over you.
I have mostly only seen women face this problem, but it happens to men as well. If someone decides that is okay to stand over you or stare at you while you use any equipment, tell them to FUCK OFF! It is rude and creepy. Don’t let anyone ruin your workout, because if you stop your workout early because some jerk made you uncomfortable you are only hurting yourself. If you don’t feel comfortable yelling at them, its okay to go get a staff member to handle it or to just purposely take longer.
2. Wear whatever the fuck you want.People always want to try to control what women wear at the gym, claim that it’s “too distracting”. The truth is, you can we
ar whatever you feel comfortable working out in. Remember that you are at the gym to better yourself not anyone else.
3. Only interfere if it gets dangerous.
At this time of year, there are always people that are new to the equipment. They will probably struggle a little and for the most part its best to ignore them, because no one wants to look up and see someone watching them struggle. It’s embarrassing. The only exception to that is if you see someone doing something dangerously wrong.
I know that this one may seem kind of harsh, but the thing is, EVERYONE at the gym is insecure. Many people are there to focus on fix there insecurities, so don’t let yours affect your workout.
5. Put your headphones in if you don’t want to be bothered.
Headphones will forever mean “don’t mess with me!” use that to your advantage if you need to!
6. You deserve your space.
This kind of goes back the first rule. Basically, all I am trying to say is don’t let yourself think that you are any less entitled to the equipment than anyone else. You are allowed to use that equipment for as long as you need, and you are allowed to take up as much space as you need. We all get in our own heads sometime, so this is just your reminder that you don’t have to modify your workout to accommodate others.
7. It’s okay to work out alone.
Working out alone can sometimes be overwhelming, especially if you are just starting to work out, or you don’t know the gym very well. Just remember that everyone there is doing the same thing you are.
by Danielle Lyons
Unless you have Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome or PCOS, it’s a safe bet that you don’t know much about it. According to the good ole’ Mayo Clinic, “is a common endocrine system disorder among women of reproductive age. Women with PCOS may have enlarged ovaries that contain small collections of fluid. Infrequent or prolonged menstrual periods, excess hair growth, acne, and obesity can all occur in women with polycystic ovary syndrome.”
It’s easy to hop on WebMD and freak yourself out with all of that information. After reading, I started to feel an impending sense of doom. The symptoms didn’t freak me out as much as not knowing what to do about it. But alas, there was a silver lining in the vast space of the World Wide Web. I discovered online communities of women who bonded over the same thing: Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. These tribes of women willingly doled out advice, tips and often times, comfort. These amazing women gave me a better idea of what I was dealing with. They also gave me something that the doctors didn’t: Hope.
- Don’t be afraid to find some people you have this common ground with, whether it be through the internet or in person. It’s nice hearing advice or information about PCOS from a personal perspective. Although the support from our friends and family does help, finding someone that can empathize with is always a comforting feeling. Don’t be afraid to ask these women how they deal with certain symptoms. Or even what medications might be working for them. Some of these online communities include, PCOSupport, PCOS Awareness Association, Soul Cysters, Overcome PCOS and of course many pages on Tumblr
My initial visits, the doctor spent a large amount of time lecturing me about my weight and nothing about treatment that can be done. Anna Styers-Barnett of “The Feminist Breeder” had a familiar experience pre-diagnoses, when she was discussing menstrual concerns with a doctor. She goes on to say, “When I asked if I would have trouble getting pregnant, she said, ‘We’ll have to wait and see. It would help if you lost some weight.’ Words women with PCOS hear too often, without receiving a thorough evaluation or referral to the appropriate specialist.” Doctor’s appointments can be difficult and trying.
- I learned to be very direct with my doctors. I also learned not to let them tell me how I was feeling. They’ve seen so many patients, I can imagine that every so often they forget that not every patient comes with the same problems. If someone mentions a medication that’s working for them, don’t be afraid to ask about it if you’re interested. Or any question for that matter! Even if a medications just not meshing well with you, speak up. You have a say in how you’re treated. And if at the end of the day you’re not getting the treatment you need, feel free to try new doctors.
Self-esteem can be an uphill battle for PCOS sufferers. Excessive hair growth or loss, acne and obesity are common themes amongst those with PCOS. Many women describe as feeling, ‘Betrayed by their body.’ The excessive hair growth and loss have always been my biggest insecurities. I felt like my feminine identity was being taken from me. Meagan Morse, from the National Women’s Health Network newsletter recalls, “As my body changed due to PCOS, I struggled to reconcile the changes happening with my body hair and my sense of self.”
- It’s important to know that there are medications to help with these side effects. Definitely tell your doctor what side effects bother you. In many cases, these side effects can be managed. But in the meantime, do something that makes you feel good about you! With your body going through so much, self-care can be very essential. And lastly, don’t be afraid to talk about it to someone you trust. It can be a scary thought, but anyone that cares about you won’t cast any judgement.
A diagnosis of Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome doesn’t mean your life will be lesser. PCOS is hard, but it definitely isn’t hopeless. You have options, treatment and support groups available. I implore you to reach out, ask questions, and do what makes you feel good.
By Thea Voutiristsas
Emmy nominated comedian, Amy Schumer, recently slayed her opening monologue on SNL. She called out the Kardashians and explained how she wanted to be a better role model for girls than the Kardashian sisters, even poking fun at Khloe Kardashians recent weight loss, saying the celeb lost “a whole Kendall” off of her body. Schumer went on, “We have to be role models for these little girls, because who do they have? All they have literally is the Kardashians… Is that a great message for little girls? A whole family of women who take the faces they were born with as, like, a light suggestion.”
I, for one, am glad Schumer finally acknowledged the giant elephant in the room. Through her comedy, she pointed out on of the greatest problems with the entertainment industry. Girls have no one to look up to. Sure, Schumer’s humor is often times crass, perverse, or even offensive, but it’s REAL. She’s one of the realest role models girls have today, and her comedy centers around a very real sense of what the world is like through the eyes of a young woman today. She tackles uncomfortable topics like unrealistic expectations of sex, beauty and relationships. Her skits often underline the way women compare themselves to each other, and her jokes are more about what needs to be said rather than what we want to hear.
By Mirella Flores
On Thursday, October 15th, 2015, come celebrate Love Your Body Day by joining the “I Am Enough!” photo campaign. This campaign asks you to reject the pursuit of body “perfection” and declare yourself “Enough!” We will have two locations on the Volker campus. From 10am-12pm, you can find us on the 1st floor of the Atterbury Student Success Center, and from 3-5pm we will be on the 2nd floor lobby of the Swinney Recreation Center. Also, be on the lookout for the photo displays at various locations across campus!
We hope to see you there!
By Kemora Williams
Beyoncé stated it best in her song “No Angel”, when she said, “You’re no angel, either.”
Lane Bryant, a plus size clothing brand, launched an advertising campaign on Monday, April 6, 2015. The advertisement is call #ImNoAngel, signifying that plus size women are no Victoria Secret models-but they can still embody and symbolize sexiness. These featured models include: Ashley Graham, Marquita Pring, Candice Huffine, and many more women. The plus size models are all wearing Bryant’s new bra collection, Cacique.
Women around the world have been posting pictures of themselves on their social media accounts hash tagging “I’m No Angel”. Join the campaign by liking us on Facebook and tagging the UMKCWomensCenter in your photo #ImNoAngel. Stay on the lookout for picutures of the Women’s Center Staff hash tagged “Im No Angel”. While there has been some criticism regarding lack of diversity in the ads, it is still a big step forward for the plus size community.
By Rocky Richards
What do you love about music? I love the fact that our emotions are affected by music. Anytime I find myself down or happy, music is always my turning point. As I was sitting listening to the radio a little while back, a song came out that really touched me. I knew I had to share it with other women around me!
If you have not heard John Legends amazing song entitled “Nobody in the World” please take the time to go listen to it now.
In this song, John Legend takes the time to examine the many things that women go through on a daily basis and how these things may pull our confidence levels down. We see a woman with cancer, a transgender woman, a bride, a mother, a young girl judging her appearance, and many more. He takes the time to highlight that beauty is not what is reflected on the outside but what’s internal no matter your age, ethnicity, or culture. Everyone is different in their own way, shape, form, or fashion. You may not always see the beauty in yourself because you’re so busy judging your reflection you see in the mirror when what really counts is how you feel inside and loving yourself as you are.
I stopped and let a friend listen to this song a few days ago and the reaction she had moved me so much that I knew others would benefit by watching the video. Sometimes we all need a little bit more encouragement and this video motivates me so many days to love myself for who I am. Remember there’s no one in the world like you! If no one’s told you today, “you’re Beautiful!”