Many of you have joined our Body Love movement, turning the negative self-talk into positive views of our bodies. Now, we challenge you to help your daughters feel good about how they look. Studio 5 Contributor, Therapist Julie Hanks, LCSW shares 10 ways to teach young girls the concept of body love.
Free Printable – 10 Ways to Teach Your Daughter Body Love!
What do you see when you look in the mirror? If the first thing that comes to mind is something critical, you’re not alone. This month on KSL’s Studio 5 with Brooke Walker, we challenge you to think positive about your body. Join the #BODYLOVE movement!
A couple of years ago, I lost about 40 pounds due mostly to a supplement I was taking. I quit taking the supplement about a year ago, because info I read led me to believe it might not be safe. I have gained back most of the weight and I’m mad at myself and feel that the people who had admired me for my previous weight loss are now disappointed in me. Ironically–since I made up my mind that I was going to try again to lose the weight–I am actually thinking about food more, craving high calorie food more, and recently have started binging. I almost gag when I try on clothes or look at my body in the mirror. I’ve already been through counseling for other issues, and feel like a failure going back again. I can’t afford exercise classes o gym or weight-loss group memberships. My boss has paid for me to go to a conference this summer, but am considering backing out of going because i don’t want to deal with adorable petite colleagues, feeling self-conscious and guilty about what I’m eating, and seeing the disappointment of people that thought I was doing so well with my weight, and clothes that don’t fit right. What am I supposed to do–I’m about to give up and accept that I’m an undisciplined fatso in a world made for petite Barbie dolls.
A: Thank you so much for writing in. So many people struggle to manage a healthy weight. I understand the social pressure to look and appear a certain way, but you seem to be equating your weight loss and gaining it back with your worth. Just because your weight loss wasn’t successful doesn’t mean that you are a failure. Watch the video for the rest of the answer.
Q: Hello. About four months ago I diagnosed myself with possible anorexia. I skip about 2 meals a day but I eat try to eat a full meal for dinner. I exercise for at least an hour daily. I am 16, my height is 5 foot 9 and my weight is 123 pounds. I want to ask for help from my parents but I am too scared they will be disappointed in me. I also do not think that my disorder is that serious. Should I ask for help?
Many people young and old, male and female, struggle with recognizing their self-worth and their true potential in life. Often we are our worst critics. Most of us would gasp in horror if we heard another person speak out loud the thoughts we tell ourselves because it would be considered abusive!
Recently, as I was speaking to a group of young people and their parents on the topic of self-esteem, we broke down the definition of what self-esteem truly means. This is an interesting concept and I think helpful to break down into segments.
To esteem something is to hold it in high regard, to treasure it, to value it.
The self is you, the individual
How amazing it would be to think of your self in this manner. Is it possible to hold yourself in high regard, to value yourself, and to treasure it – i.e. to treasure you, the real you?
I hate myself and I don’t know why. How do I learn to love myself? Even though I believe I’m a daughter of God, I feel like believing and knowing is different than feeling. I don’t FEEL like that. I have urges to cut myself and sometimes give in, and I make myself throw up off and on. I hate being like this. I was sexually abused by a family friend for about six years. Even though he stopped when I got older, I never said anything to anyone. I feel like this might contribute to my feelings of hatred toward myself. Sometimes, I even think that my life has no purpose and that the world would be better off without me. I hate myself for doing things like spending money on a nice haircut. Every time I treat myself nice, even if it’s something like a bubble bath or chewing a stick of gum, I feel guilty. I treat other people well. I give people more energy than I have and it’s not fair to them or me. I know that if I treat myself better, I’ll have more energy to not only give to myself, but to others too. However, every time I try to do this, I end up cutting or throwing up because the urge to do so is overwhelming. How do I learn to treat myself well? What is your advice? Is there something I can do without therapy? I don’t have a lot of money and am out of a job.
A: Thank you for writing in and trusting me with your story. I want to suggest to you that you look into the mental health resources at your college and so you can start on a path to healing. Many schools offer free or reduced fee counseling for students. I want you to know that you are not alone. You are not crazy. You have suffered years of sexual abuse. I’ve worked with many young adults who’ve been sexually abused and who’ve expressed similar feelings of self-loathing, cutting, eating issues, and emptiness. Watch the video for more suggestions on how to start healing from your trauma.
So five months ago, I moved from Chicago to a new school. I thought it would be great to move to a new school, but I was wrong. It isn’t and I’m still not making any close friends. Everyone already has all their groups and best friends, so it’s really hard for me. I still haven’t found anyone to fit in with. And now, I’m starting to have self esteem issues. I was already having suicidal thoughts a little before I came to this school, but then they kind of died off. But about a month after being in my new school, the thoughts came back and stayed with me for another good 3 months. Even though these thoughts are gone, my self-esteem isn’t as great as it used to be. I cry a lot more often just thinking about my life, and I’m a lot more sensitive than I used to be. I also used to have an eating disorder, where I made myself throw up a few days a week. I barely read anymore, which is something I used to do all the time. From this, do you think I’m depressed?
A: The short answer is yes, your symptoms do sound like depression. I suggest that you seek help immediately. The social isolation and low self-esteem, frequent crying, and your history of suicidal thoughts are serious symptoms that need to be addressed. While I can’t diagnose you in this forum, I suggest that you get a thorough mental health evaluation to find out exactly what’s going on, and what treatment you need so you can start enjoying your life. Watch the video below for my complete response. Thanks for writing in.
Do you suspect that one of your friends or family members is struggling with an eating disorder, but don’t know how to reach out to them? If so, my heart goes out to them and to you, because I understand that it is a heart wrenching experience. It is very difficult to watch someone you care about go through something so difficult, and it is even more frightening when you don’t know how to help them. Here are 5 suggestions that might help you approach the situation:
Recognize the Problem
It is helpful to recognize the signs of an eating disorder. The following are some of the things you may notice if your loved one is truly struggling with this issue:
• Dramatic weight loss
• Wearing baggy, bulky clothes to hide weight loss
• Preoccupation with food, dieting, counting calories, etc.
• Refusing to eat, especially certain foods, such as carbs or fats
• Avoiding mealtimes or eating in front of others
• Preparing elaborate meals for others, but refusing to eat them
• Exercising excessively
• Poor self-image/Making comments about being “fat”
• Stopping menstruating
• Complaining about constipation or stomach pain
• Denying that extreme thinness is a problem
• Evidence of binge eating, including disappearance of large amounts of food in a short time, or finding lots of empty food wrappers or containers
• Evidence of purging, including trips to the bathroom after meals, sounds or smells of vomiting, or packages of laxatives or diuretics
• Skipping meals or avoiding eating in front of others, or eating very small portions
• Exercising excessively
• Wearing baggy clothes
• Complaining about being “fat”
• Using gum, mouthwash, or mints excessively
• Constantly dieting
• Scarred knuckles from repeatedly inducing vomiting
How do I open up to my therapist? I am constantly worried that he might think I’m trying to get attention. I have an eating disorder and I’m slightly overweight according to my BMI. I’ve overexercised, took laxatives, and most recently diet pills. I ended up giving my therapist one session because I was taking so many that it made me fell terrible. I’m just not able to be truly open and honest. He really is a great therapist, and I have a deeper connection with him than most others in my life. I have these feelings outside of therapy, but when I go in, I put on a face that everything is ok. How do I work on this to communicate better?
A: Great question! The emotional pattern of guarding your feelings is likely part of the reason you’re in therapy in the first place. Watch the video below for complete answer.