STOP Weighing Kids in School – 4 Prevention Strategies To Focus On Instead

Lee Wolfe Blum - Helping Women Develop a Hunger for Life
Lee Wolfe Blum - Helping Women Develop a Hunger for Life

Remember the DARE project? Signs, bumper stickers and snail mail postcards encouraging us teenagers to stay off drugs.

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If you are in my age pool, how could you forget this commercial?

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Yes. That one. The one the government spent billions of dollars on.

D.A.R.E. The program was the country’s largest single school-based prevention program in terms of federal expenditures, with an average of three quarters of a billion dollars spent on its provision annually.”

The results?

Our study supports previous findings indicating that D.A.R.E. is ineffective.”  - Full article here.

And here we go again. Another school-based prevention program that not only will be ineffective, but will cause more harm than good.

Weighing kids in school.

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Did you know, 40 percent of the nation’s schools use the body shaming and harmful inappropriate measurement of weight kids in school. 20 states actually require it. Usually in the junior high and high school years. Right in the middle of puberty.

Puberty and adolescence are the life periods most often associated with the onset of Eating disorders. Social norms promoting thinness and their expression in the media and youth culture were also frequently associated with higher incidence of EDs or disordered eating.”Full article here. 

There is no evidence that BMI testing has a positive impact on reducing obesity and contends it can do harm.” Eating Disoder Coalition 

Of course I work in the field where the harm is lived out in the lives of children as young as nine and women as old as seventy. Weighing a child in school will not cause an eating disorder. But weighing a child in school is shaming and a measuring tool that will ultimately do nothing to change our obesity crisis. People are not motivated by fear.

Check out the story of this brave girl who was sent to the Principal’s office for refusing to be weighed!

Three alternatives to weighing children in school:

1. Focusing instead on sleep.

Kids who get less than eight hours sleep have about a 300% higher rate of obesity than those who get a full ten hours of sleep.” 

Why? “Sleep loss increases the hormone ghrelin, which signals hunger, and decreases its metabolic opposite, leptin, which suppresses appetite. Sleep loss also elevates the stress hormone cortisol. Cortisol is lipogenic, meaning it stimulates your body to make fat. Human growth hormone is also disrupted. Normally secreted as a single big pulse at the beginning of sleep, growth hormone is essential for the breakdown of fat.”Full article here.

This is crucial in children!

Children spend 40% of their asleep time in this slow-wave stage, while older adults are in this stage only about 4% of the night.” 

2. Promoting emotional intelligence.

Emotional intelligence is the ability to verbalize and express ones emotions as well as self-regulation and affect-regulation. In other words, teaching kids to say, “I am angry. I am sad. My feelings are hurt.” To recognize their own emotions as normal, learning to self-soothe in healthy ways without needing to turn to alternative coping skills (dieting, cutting, drugs) to manage emotions.

3. Encouraging moderation.

Yes. Not dieting. Most eating disorders begin with a diet.

By age 6, girls especially start to express concerns about their own weight or shape. 40-60% of elementary school girls (ages 6-12) are concerned about their weight or about becoming too fat. This concern endures through life.

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Clearly, not everyone who diets develops an eating disorder, but research does show that 35% of occasional dieters become pathological dieters, and as many as 25% of those diets will progress into full-blown eating disorders.  - The Thin Line between diet and eating disorders. 

Many low income families cannot afford to the food that most of our society calls “good”.  Sadly is an entirely different issue that also needs attention. So instead, encourage moderation. Eating three meals and three snacks a day with a variety of foods. Which allows the body to fuel properly. Eating this way also helps one NOT to overeat. The appropriate way to eat is shown here on myplate.gov. (Read here on my encouragement for parents.)

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4. Diets don’t work. 

Almost everybody who tries to diet seems to fail in the long run—a review in 2007 by the American Psychological Association of 31 diet studies found that as many as two thirds of dieters end up two years later weighing more than they did before their diet.” - American Psychological Association

Yes. We are in an obesity crisis. We are also walking a very fine line when we start to weigh kids in school. The shaming and the ridicule that can occur from this is much more harmful than helpful.

Fear doesn’t work. Look at the D.A.R.E. project!

I wish our schools could learn from this, read the research, and instead adopt the four strategies I mentioned above. I am tired of seeing young kids come in to treatment who were bullied about their weight, went on a diet at a time when life was extremely overwhelming, and develop life threatening eating disorders. Stop the madness. 

Let’s take care of our children in a kinder gentler way. 

Looking for more information?

1. Ellyn Satter is an expert in her field.

2. The Book, “Love Me, Feed Me.”

3. The Feeding Doctor.

xo

Lee

Let’s Live In A World Of “Me Too!”

Lee Wolfe Blum - Helping Women Develop a Hunger for Life
Lee Wolfe Blum - Helping Women Develop a Hunger for Life

Don’t tell. Don’t share. Put on your big girl panties and deal. 

Because it is rude and unladylike to bawl like a baby and have snot running from your nose. It is tacky to get all angry and befuddled. Ladies are meant to have clean houses, ironed clothes, and polite spirits. And the crying is for private, as is the sharing of secrets and the admission of failings.

Unless you write a memoir and spill your guts on the page. 

You can no longer walk around with a mask because your secret is out. The game is up.

And there has been as surprising gift in the throwing in of the towel of being the woman the world expects.

The gift…a world of ME TOO’S. Women and men who email me or stop me in Target and say, “ME TOO!”

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Not just, “Me too, I had an eating disorder.” But, “Me too- I have never felt good enough”, or “Me too I want to take off the mask.” 

Or… “Me too! I am a hot mess and that is ok.”

I love this new world of “ME TOO!”

It makes us connect and love. It makes us link arms and walk boldly into this world unafraid.

As you go into the weekend, won’t you find a friend who you can say “me too” with?

Let us drop the masks and create a culture of women who shout across the aisle to the mom with the screaming kid who feels like she can’t make it another day, or who just wants a shower, “ME TOO!” Or the overworked woman who just wants time to wash her hair. Yell to her, “Me too!”

Yes. Let us create a culture of “ME TOO!”

xo

Lee

p.s. If you read the book Table in The Darkness and you liked it, would you be willing to vote for it? Click here. 

Are You Longing For What Others Have?

Lee Wolfe Blum - Helping Women Develop a Hunger for Life
Lee Wolfe Blum - Helping Women Develop a Hunger for Life

“I want to be where you are.” She says.

“I want to be recovered and in the place you are.”

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Her body leans forward, and her eyes wanting. Wanting me to give her something she thinks she doesn’t already have. That I might be able to give her what she thinks she is missing.

She has no idea that she already has what she needs.

I want to tell her, “No. Be where you are.” I don’t.

Because I know just a few minutes earlier I had the exact same thought. I looked into a picture of another author who was having dinner in her own kitchen with Brene Brown. I wanted to be there. In that place in that kitchen. I want to have dinner with Brene Brown. I want to be like Glennon Melton and have a New York Times Bestseller. I want to speak at Storyline. I want to be there. Where they are.

And in my wanting and in her wanting we miss right here.

We miss the moments of pain ,yes, but we also miss the moments of beauty that God has for each of us.

I miss my now when I am wanting another’s now.

I miss my growth and I miss seeing God in the moment of the life I am living right now, if I am wanting striving longing for someone else’s now.

And, it is a complete mirage to think that what is in someone else’s fence is better. That then it will all be ok. I had that same longing for years about being an author. Wanting and wishing and praying. Now I am an author and I don’t want to be the me author, I want to be the Glennon Melton author.

And I miss the gifts that are in my own story when I am constantly longing to be in someone else’s story.

“You will too!” I should have said to her.

Maybe you do  that with your body? If I just had what she had. If I just had ____.

Do not free a camel of his hump: You may be freeing him from being a camel.”-  G.K. Chesterton

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When I am trying to be someone else or be where someone else is, I might not be allowing God to work with the things he has gifted me with, because I am too busy pining after someone else’s gifts.

Instead. Stay in your own fence. Stay and look around. Practice the presence of God in your NOW. Sometimes that means you have to feel your feelings and ride the wave of your emotions. That is ok. That is living. You might be surprised by the flowers that are growing there. You might be surprised that when you stay in your own story there might be an adventure waiting for you!

Or a person.

Or a gift.

Of course, it is wonderful to have dreams and desires, but when we spend so much time dreaming and desiring and wishing for “later”, we missed the beauty in the present. Even when the present seems hard and unbearable.

Today, I will cherish the now. The moment of breath that God has given me today. Because today is all I have.

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Won’t you?

Xo

Lee

Please VOTE for Table In The Darkness!

Lee Wolfe Blum - Helping Women Develop a Hunger for Life
Lee Wolfe Blum - Helping Women Develop a Hunger for Life

Dear Readers,

I wrote this book for you. The reader. To offer hope. Because when I was deep in my eating disorder, I was searching for a book or a person that would offer me hope. It is my deepest desire that the book has offered that to you. Table in the Darkness #4308To know and believe that YOU ARE GOOD ENOUGH!

If you liked the book, would you be willing to vote for InterVarsity Press’ Reader’s Choice Awards. I would so appreciate it!

Voting closes on Sunday, November 23rd.

CLICK HERE TO VOTE! 

Grateful!

Lee

Meghan Trainor and Her Unfortunate Media Quotes – Why I am Not “All About the Bass”

Lee Wolfe Blum - Helping Women Develop a Hunger for Life
Lee Wolfe Blum - Helping Women Develop a Hunger for Life

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She’s all about that Bass. She wrote a wonderful song with words like “Every inch of you is perfect from the bottom to the top.” I love hearing my boys sing those words.

What I don’t like is the unfortunate things she has said this week.  Flippant comments about “Ariana Grande has a good thigh gap” and “I wasn’t strong enough to have an eating disorder.”

Click here to read her comments about eating disorders.

A person doesn’t “TRY” to have an eating disorder. A person might try to have a thigh gap (which I have written about here) and develop an eating disorder. An eating disorder is a life threatening illness.

Would you say to someone, “Well I tried to have cancer!” or, “I tried to have leukemia”. No.

An eating disorder is a dark and tormenting abuser that twists one’s mind, ruins lives, ruins health, and even kills. I am one of the lucky ones who was able to break free from an eating disorder as I wrote about in my memoir, Table in the Darkness.

I have been that pit. I have also sat at the funeral of those who have died from the disease.

It isn’t a joke. It isn’t something to take lightly.

I am so disappointed that a young woman who has a voice that can be used to encourage young girls to love and celebrate their bodies just the way they are, who has an opportunity to use her voice for good, is leading young girls down a confusing and scary road.

“Having an eating disorder doesn’t show ‘strength’…Eating disorders do not discriminate …Neither does any other mental illness. These are deadly diseases that are taking lives daily. So please, let’s be cautious of the words we use when discussing ED’s and other mental illnesses.”Demi Lovato

I agree Demi. It makes me sad. Maybe Meghan didn’t mean what she said, but being a super star that young girls look up to, means you also need to be more careful.

Xo

Lee

A Letter To Loved Ones Supporting Someone With An Eating Disorder

Lee Wolfe Blum - Helping Women Develop a Hunger for Life
Lee Wolfe Blum - Helping Women Develop a Hunger for Life

I am grateful that while working with patients we use Brene Brown’s Connections Curriculum - A 12 Session Psycho-educational Shame Resilience Curriculum.

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In her materials she offers a letter written by a woman dealing with infertility to share with her loved ones. I liked how the letter explained what she was going through. So I tweaked it, to make it what someone who is struggling with an eating disorder is going through. I tried to think about what it was like for me when I was struggling and what it is like for the ones I work with. This is a great way to understand what it is like in the mind of someone in the pit of an eating disorder, print this letter off and give it to a support person. Hope it helps!

xo

Lee

***

Dear Loved one,

I want to share my feelings about my eating disorder with you because I want you to understand my struggle. I know that understanding an eating disorder is difficult; there are times when even I don’t understand. This struggle has provoked intense and unfamiliar feelings in me and I fear that my reactions to these feelings might be misunderstood. I hope my ability to cope and your ability to understand will improve as I share my feelings with you. I want you to understand.

You may describe me as this way: obsessed, moody, helpless, depressed, isolated, irritable, sneaky, and antagonistic. These aren’t very admirable traits; no wonder your understanding of my eating disorder is difficult. I prefer to describe me this way: confused, scared, afraid, alone, guilty, ashamed, angry, sad, hopeless and unsettled.

My eating disorder makes me confused. I always assumed I had things under control. I have spent years avoiding the truth and now it seems ironic that I can’t seem to let it go, even when I want to.

My eating disorder makes me feel embarrassed and ashamed. My life plan is completely messed up and it is so hard to be with friends or go out to eat.

My eating disorder makes me feel afraid. Recovery if full of unknowns, and I am frightened by the out of controlness of life as well as wondering if I will ever be normal again.

My eating disorder makes me feel isolated and alone. Reminders of food everywhere and wondering if I am the only one enduring this invisible curse. I stay away from others because it seems like it is so easy for people to eat and love their bodies…what is wrong with ME that I can’t?

My eating disorder makes me feel guilty and ashamed. Frequently I forget that an eating disorder is a medical problem and a mental health problem and should be treated as one. My eating disorder destroys my self-esteem and I feel like a failure.

My eating disorder makes me angry. Everything makes me angry, and I know much of my anger is misdirected. I am angry at my body, angry at our society, angry at my mind. Angry how much my eating disorder has stolen from me.

My eating disorder makes me scared. My financial resources may also determine how much help I can get. My insurance company isn’t cooperative, and I must make so many sacrifices to pay the medical bills. I can’t miss any more work or I’ll lose my job. I can’t go to a treatment center, because insurance won’t pay for it. Everyone wants me to just eat. Everyone has easy solutions. Everyone seems to know too little and say too much.

My eating disorder makes me feel sad and hopeless. It feels like I have lost my future, and no one knows of my sadness. I feel hopeless; it robs me of my energy. I have never cried so much nor so easily. I am sad that my eating disorder places my marriage under so much strain.

My eating disorder makes me feel unsettled. My life is on hold. Making decisions about my immediate and my long-term future seems impossible. I can’t decide about education, career, purchasing a home, pursuing a hobby, and even vacations. How can I do any of this if I can’t even feed myself right?

Occasionally I feel my panic subside. I am learning some helpful ways to cope; I’m now convinced I am not crazy and believe I will survive. I am dealing with my trauma and past that I have buried so deep behind my mask. I am learning to listen to my body and listen to my hunger cues. I am learning to eat normally even though it scares me. I am learning to have a voice. I am trying to be more than a person with an eating disorder, and working towards gaining enthusiasm, joyfulness, and a zest for life. I want to be me. Not me with an eating disorder.

You can help me. I know you care about me and I know my eating disorder affects our relationship. My sadness causes you sadness; what hurts me hurts you too. You do help me when you say that you love me and hate my eating disorder. It helps me when you fight for me and help me fight the eating disorder.

I need you to be a listener. Talking about my struggle helps me to make decisions and not hold it inside. Let me know you are available for me. It is difficult for me to expose my private thoughts if you are rushed or have a deadline for the end of our conversation. Or when you try to fix me.

I need you to be supportive. Support me going to my appointments and staying in treatment. Support me not isolating and shutting down. Support my small successes as this is a long journey, not a quick fix.

I need you to be comfortable with me, and then I also will feel more comfortable. Talking about an eating disorder sometimes feels awkward. Are you worried you might say the wrong thing? Share those feelings with me. Ask me if I want to talk, Sometimes I will want to, and sometimes I won’t, but it will remind me you care.

I need you to be sensitive. Please don’t say things like, “but you look so healthy?” or “I wish I could have an eating disorder.” These statements don’t help.

I need you to be honest with me. Let me know that you may need time to adjust to me speaking up or me sharing so openly. I also need adjustment time. If there are things you don’t understand…say so.

I need you to be informed. Your advice and suggestions are only frustrating to me if they aren’t based on fact. Be well informed so you can educate others when they make remarks based on myths. Don’t let anyone tell you my eating disorder will be cured if I just ate. Or if I just stopped worrying so much. Don’t tell me to pray more, or trust God more. That doesn’t help me.

I need you to be patient. Remember that recovery from an eating disorder is a process. It takes time. There is no “quick fix”. This will take time.

Encourage me to maintain my sense of humor; guide me to find joys. Celebrate with me my successes, even ones as small as making it through a meal or a day. Remind me that I am more than a person with an eating disorder. Help me by sharing your strength.

Eventually I will be beyond this. I know my eating disorder will change me and change my life, but it will be for the better. I won’t be able to return to the person I was before the eating disorder because that person needed it to cope. The recovered me will have a voice and a strength that I didn’t have before. I will no longer be controlled by this struggles. I will leave the struggle behind me, and from that I will have improved my ability to cope with life in a healthy way. I will have improved my skills for empathy, patience, resilience, forgiveness, decision-making, and self-assessment. I feel so grateful that you are trying to ease my journey through this struggle by giving me your understanding.

When You Stop Dreaming…

Lee Wolfe Blum - Helping Women Develop a Hunger for Life
Lee Wolfe Blum - Helping Women Develop a Hunger for Life

Rapunzel: I’ve been looking out of a window for eighteen years, dreaming about what I might feel like when those lights rise in the sky. What if it is not everything I dreamed it would be?

Flynn Rider: It will be.

Rapunzel: And what if it is? What do I do then?

Flynn Rider: Well, that’s the good part I guess. You get to go find a new dream.

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It is so much easier to stay locked up in the tower.

To stay in the spot that is most comfortable, easy, and what we know. Then we can look out the window and imagine what it might be like. Because just like Rapunzel, we wonder if it isn’t what we dreamed it would be.

Or what if it is and we have nothing left to hold on to?

Maybe it is more fun to dream than to actually experience and step out and do something.

When you are a dreamer like me with a vivid imagination, you can really mess it up. Growing up I found that things never turned out the way I imagined them and I would often be disappointed. “Don’t count your chickens before they hatch.” My mom would remind me when once again I found myself discouraged.

By the time any of my chickens hatched I had their entire lives planned out in my mind.

So I stopped dreaming.

I stayed in the tower where depression and controlling my eating disorder didn’t leave me disappointed.

Until it did, and almost killed me.

It is easier to stay in the tower. Easier to dream of what might be without ever having to step foot into the real big bad scary world.

What if I had stayed in my tower of isolation and predictability? I would have spent the rest of my life watching the lights rise in the sky.

 Now? 

I still get all tangled up in my dreams and ideas of how things will go, how they will play out in my mind and how they will be. They never are. They rarely are. And sometimes they are even better than I ever imagined!

 You?

Are you holding on to that one dream so tightly that you can’t even see that there is a new dream just around the corner? Have you imagined and counted your chickens so it is easier to stay in the castle where it is safe?

I felt this way with my writing. Rejection fit with how I viewed myself. It was as if the rejection letters only reinforced what I already knew; stay safe, don’t risk, you will just be disappointed if you do.

It was so much easier to say I wanted to be a published author than to become one.

It is much easier to say you want recovery than to actually do recovery.

Because if I became an author, what then?

What would I do with my striving?

This kept me very stuck for a long time. I would write and write and write and then get rejected over and over. But I would never finish the writing. I was scared of finishing. What would I do when the book was written and the story told? It was easier to stay in the middle of it, to not actually open the door of that tower and step out. It was easier to wish and dream for it to be published.

Until I met a woman who knew exactly what I needed.

I was at a writer’s conference doing my usual pitch about finding an agent, finding a publisher, and whining about how it would never happen… blah blah blah.

She read the first two pages of my manuscript, set it down in her lap and looked me in the eye.

“Finish it.” She said.  “Stop going around the dream and just finish it.” And at that moment, I felt like Rapunzel.

What do I do then? When it is done and finished and published? 

Don’t we all do that? It is easier to look out the window and think what might be instead of actually moving forward towards the actual dream.

Is it really fear of failure that we are afraid of, or is it fear of succeeding?

Are we afraid to actually achieve what we set out to do? Actually feel the awesome and awestruck wonder of being offered a chance to live in that dream. No, it is easier to stay in the job we hate, or the relationships that don’t work, or the eating patterns that are killing us. It is easier to dream than to actually open that door and walk out into that cavernous scary world and face that dream head on.

Don’t do what is easy.

Don’t stay in the dungeon for eighteen years. Your dream might not be everything you imagined it would be. It might be really really hard. It might disappoint you. It might make you want to throw things and quit over and over again. Both recovery and this publishing dream have done that for me. But, both have also taught me, pulled me and stretched me in ways I might never ever had been stretched had I not finished the manuscript. Had I not gone to therapy. Had I not done the work towards recovery. Had I not let go of the fear and started living. Had I not let the dream live.

And now, I have new dreams. And you will too.

Won’t you open that door, stop staying stuck in your same ol place and take one risk today to move towards that desire of your heart?

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What if there is another dream waiting on the other side of this one? You might never know unless you try.

xo

Lee

How #Alexfromtarget Makes Me Long For My Atari

Lee Wolfe Blum - Helping Women Develop a Hunger for Life
Lee Wolfe Blum - Helping Women Develop a Hunger for Life

I was at a funeral a few weeks ago walking down the isle of a Catholic cathedral to take communion, when I turned to my left to see a young woman holding her phone up in front of her.

She was taking a selfie. At a funeral.

I was aghast.

Today, I went on twitter when I got home from work, (I know…crazy…I missed a whole day on Twitter) while a young cashier at Target became a marketers dream. Just search the hashtag #Alexfromtarget and you will see.

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In one day he has 324,000 followers. 

I don’t get it.

I feel lost in this world of selfies-hashtags-vine-and-snapchats.

Marketers pay millions of dollars for something like this. I used to work in marketing at Target Corporation when there was dial-up. Alex might not even know what dial-up is. I am baffled by this new world. I feel old.

Where is my yellow Walkman radio and my Atari Pong video game!

Can anyone give me an AMEN? I can’t keep up. Can’t keep up with the emails, voicemails, texts, tweets, and instagrams.

I know this is a strange post, but this is where I am today.

Lost in the digital age trying to come up for air.

Trying to find my children among their devices.

Trying to have conversations while competing with instant videos.

Trying to have dinner conversations with phones on the table.

Trying to teach patients how to use dialectical behavior therapy in a text conversation.

Why? Because those are most of the conversations people are having…connecting over a computer or a phone screen. Quick and fast.

And this world where people take selfies at funerals, marketing is a “who knows anymore” game, and my children whine and complain and whine and complain some more when we do no screen Sunday, it all makes me a little bit crazy. (My son cried on and off for most of the day yesterday because he couldn’t get on his phone.)

I just want to write and be with people. To look them in the eyes. That is all.

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Good night.

xo

Lee

*Image from Bringmethenews an awesome news site here in Minnesota.

The Difficulty of Being Gentle With Ourselves

Lee Wolfe Blum - Helping Women Develop a Hunger for Life
Lee Wolfe Blum - Helping Women Develop a Hunger for Life

Last Saturday I stood among an eager group of bloggers at the Minnesota Blogging Conference, hoping to inspire and motivate them. I energetically told them, “Sit in the chair, and make time to write, if you have time for Facebook you have time to write.”

While speaking I was also nursing a painful headache. Not only the headache has stopped me, but I find myself getting all tangled up in what I am supposed to do as a blogger. Words like…SEO, Google Analytics, Videoblog…it all begins to paralyze me. That is just my excuse.

I haven’t written a word since last Friday.

Something else I told the group, “Write the truth”.

So today, I write the truth.

The truth is, I hate October. I have tried to embrace it, to make it different, to pretend it isn’t October. But it doesn’t work. I want to love it and I try to celebrate it, with the beauty in the trees and the glorious sky. The trees so stunning and the colors so red, orange and vibrant you have to stop and take a picture.

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But before you know it, the leaves are gone.

And you wake up and it is cold.

And dark.

I meant to take a picture of this stunning view outside my window the other day with the gorgeous full red tree and my favorite spot on my front porch. But I didn’t. And the leaves are gone. Just like that.

 

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And for some reason everything seems to fall apart in my mind in October. I know the cold is coming and the hats and gloves need to come out of storage. I know the long winter is ahead and I need to cherish these cool days and the warm sunshine, because it slips so quickly out of my view.

I feel that about my life right now too.

The pressure to embrace my kids who are growing up too fast. The pressure to spend more quality time with them, the ache of wondering did I miss quality time with them because now they barely mutter anything but ‘huh?” and “ya”?

I know this every October, that it is my hardest month.

And yet, this year I tried really hard to pretend. Pretend that it wasn’t coming.

But my body reminded me. It remembered.

Oh our bodies, they are so smart.

It is interesting as I used to be able to push and demand of my body, when I wasn’t attached. When my head was bossing my body around. But now that we are friends, my body will scream at me when I don’t take care of it, when I push it too hard, and when I demand too much of it. This past month I have been struggling with painful headaches. I push and push and try to pretend they aren’t there, but it doesn’t work. My body tells me it doesn’t like my pace, doesn’t like the thoughts that are pounding and pressuring and demanding of it. And I admit it, I am not so great at slowing down. Not so great at listening…but I am trying. Trying to do it different.

And I realize how grateful I am I can listen. Before when I was deep in my eating disorder, I had no idea what I felt. Had no ability to sense my own emotions. The goal was to not have emotions. To stay numb.

So here we are in October. Back again. Every year. And my body reminds me of the sadness of this month. The sounds, the smells, the reminder of a time of another October where I was in such emotional pain that I tried to end it all.

October hurts. It just does. I am trying to muddle through and be gentle with myself.

Are you having a hard time with October too?

Be gentle friends, gentle with your body and mind if October steals your joy like it does mine. The month of gratitude and family and friends is just around the corner! 

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Lots of love and rest for you and me.

Xo

Lee

Today Show – A Woman Who Gains 50lbs to Prove Something Perpetuates “Fat Shaming”

Lee Wolfe Blum - Helping Women Develop a Hunger for Life
Lee Wolfe Blum - Helping Women Develop a Hunger for Life

Dear Today Show,

Did you know that 81% of ten year olds are afraid of being fat?

Did you know that 54% of women would rather be hit by a truck than be fat?

A woman name Katie Hopkins tried her own experiment. (Photo from Google Images.)

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The Today Show shared that she wants to tell us how there is no excuse for being overweight.

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

And here I am again, throwing my hands in the air. Really people? Really? I cover this topic often as it still hasn’t changed.

Some other culprits: The Biggest Loser , Lululemon, Urban Outfitters, Actresses.

We know there is an epidemic with the obesity crisis. This is made apparent in the news everyday. We also know some people (not all people) can gain weight from eating too much food. There are many other considerations in this puzzle of weight gain. What many don’t realize is this:

America is suffering from two serious health crises that initially seem contradictory. Levels of obesity have risen to epidemic proportions in recent decades, while the high frequency of eating disorders has become cause for serious concern.” - Harvard Political Review

Obesity awareness can also have the opposite effect. Did you know that, for obese kids weight loss can sometimes lead to eating disorders? Read more here.  I am not saying we don’t need to find a balance here, I long for that.

But, these stories only dig us further in the spin cycle of the obsesity and eating disorder paradox.

These stories instill shame and fear. Shame and fear do not motivate people. Shame paralyzes, and this woman who was trying to prove a point only reinforces the overwhelming amount of fat shaming in our culture. Tell me, Katie …have you ever thought that some people have medical issues that make them gain weight? That some people don’t have the money, time, or ability to even eat healthy foods or exercise.

What Katie is doing is perpetuating our cutlure of “weight stigma”.

Weight stigma, also known as weightism, weight bias, and weight-based discrimination, is discrimination or stereotyping based on one’s weight, especially larger or thinner people. Weight stigma reflects internalized attitudes towards body size that affects how those who are the targets of bias are treated.”Truth About Weight Stigma 

Does she not realize that fat shaming doesn’t inspire anyone to change and often leads to weight gain!

Let’s stop the fat shaming! I understand you want to share stories that are “hot” and even “controversial”.

I get it.

There are other stories that you can share that don’t have such a negative effect!

As a woman who is living on the other side of a life threatening eating disorder  and walking with patients every day at an eating disorder hospital, who struggle with food and loving their bodies, I see the wounds and destructions our society is constantly reinforcing for them. Fat is bad. Thin is in. Search for it like the Holy Grail.

The message that was clearly conveyed in the story you aired…that obesity is one’s fault and one only needs willpower. YIKES! 

And like sands in the hourglass we continue on perpetuating an out of control problem in our society.

So what is the truth here? The truth is…Katy is wrong. And her little experiment in my opinion, is cruel

Most people had argued that obesity is a disorder primarily of willpower. This data suggests that there is an underlying biological problem directly involved in obesity.” Psychiatry Online This research suggests that people with eating disorders and obesity may not have the biological control mechanisms most of us have to keep us healthy.  When we tell someone to eat or not to eat, we are assuming that this person has normal hormonal responses and can easily control their appetite.  This research also forces us to conduct more research on the medical interventions that could help those with eating disorders and obesity regulate appetite and metabolism and make the journey to recovery more possible.”ANAD

This author in the Huffington Post has it right.

We are mired in an epidemic of self-harm in the form of body shaming and image bashing.”

Why do we need the media to perpetuate what is happening already in the schools, the workplaces and the homes?

Instead, why not stories of people who have overcome eating disorders (that aren’t sensationalized) or stories of people who are loving their bodies and celebrating them. You can help perpetuate body LOVE…not body shame. Please …won’t you try?

Let’s change the conversation!

Xo

Lee