Fit vs. Fiction's Blog

Why can’t life come with a PAUSE button for when you just need time to heal?

Posted in Uncategorized by fitvsfiction on February 16, 2014

How much pain does a person have to suffer before they’re allowed to admit that they feel it?
Our society has a lot of obsessions, one of which is the need to be STRONG. How often do we hear, “Keep a stiff upper lip, get over it, God doesn’t give us more than we can handle?”

Why is it that when we break a bone we’re allowed to cry and it’s perfectly acceptable to take the necessary time off to let it heal, but when the wound is emotional we’re encouraged to move on right away? Just as a broken leg won’t heal if you keep running on it, a broken heart won’t heal if not given enough time to grieve.

Where are we all rushing to that we don’t have enough time to work things out at our own pace?
And why should your pace be the same as mine?
Why does my sadness make you so uncomfortable and why does your discomfort make me feel like a failure?
You want to fix me but you can’t and I don’t want you to because I’m not broken
It would be so much easier for you if you could bandage me up and make me good as new and I’m sorry that that’s just not the case
You need to realize that the pain or fear or anger I may be feeling will not disappear overnight
The feelings I have won’t follow your time frame, they travel a path of their own
Why is there this need to speed up the process? Why can’t I just take my time?
So don’t try to mend me, it’s out of your hands
But you can show me love with acceptance and patience and let me know that you’ll be at my side
I may have a lot of questions
But that doesn’t mean that I expect you to have all the answers
The best gift you could give my ailing heart, is the warmth of your own


Breaking Free from an Image Obsessed society

We live in an image obsessed, fat phobic, one size fits all kind of world where we spend our whole lives trying to live up to an unrealistic expectations of beauty that is impossible to attain and it’s killing us. Body image issues and eating disorders are destroying the lives of boys and girls, men and women and it’s time to take a stand!

How can I help my overweight child without damaging her self-esteem?

Posted in Uncategorized by fitvsfiction on August 30, 2013


I get this question a lot.

Weight is a tough issue for all of us, and when it comes to kids we need to be extremely careful with how we handle it. When a parent asks me what they can say to their child to help them lose weight, my answer is, “NOTHING. Say Nothing.” Research tells us that talking about and focusing on weight with our kids will not have the desired effect we’re looking for and can actually make the situation worse.

While there’s nothing we should be saying to help our kids get healthy, there IS a whole lot we could be doing.

First and foremost, KEEP THINGS POSITIVE and keep the focus on HEALTH instead of WEIGHT. Our goal as parents should be to have healthy kids, not necessarily skinny ones. It’s so important that your child understand that bodies come in all shapes and sizes and that they need to be proud of who they are.

Time magazine recently published an article saying,” Losing weight does not help obese girls love themselves.” It explained how overweight children can feel stigmatized by the media and society and how that stigmatization leads to low self-esteem. Being overweight becomes a part of WHO they are. Even if these kids lose the extra weight, the feelings of shame are still there and can last a very long time. That’s why it’s crucial that we teach our kids to tune out negative messages and help them appreciate and respect themselves, as they are. The fact is: You can’t lose weight in order to like yourself; you need to like yourself in order to lose weight. It’s when we like ourselves that we believe we deserve to feel strong and healthy and that will motivate us to eat well and exercise.

1) Make it a family affair:

The last thing you want to do is single out one kid with “special” food or portion sizes at meals. Instead, why not change the way the entire family eats? The goal is to be eating healthier foods in healthier portions and everyone can benefit from that! Remember, you’re not putting your child on a diet, just making some changes as to how and what you all eat.

2) Keep food talk POSITIVE, it’s not about the foods you take out and all about the foods you bring in:

We all get into a sort of comfort zone, where we seem to pick up the same types of food week after week, so try some different! Try out a new exotic looking fruit you’ve always seen at the store but never thought of actually buying, or maybe buy those Kale chips your friends have been raving about. (That happened to me and they were actually quite tasty!)

3) Menu plan and shop TOGETHER:

Look for new, healthy recipes that you can shop for and cook together. Cooking food from scratch can give your child a new kind of respect for it and pride around it. Feel free to get creative, by coming up with theme nights! How about” Japanese night” or even “Breakfast for dinner”? PJs at the dinner table are a must, for that one. The idea is that eating healthy isn’t a punishment, just one important part of honouring our bodies.

4) Get active; TOGETHER!

When it comes to weight, we tend to put a lot of focus on the food we’re taking in and not enough on the energy we’re putting out. Exercise has an incredible amount of benefits and will definitely help to keep weight down while building strong bones and muscles. If your child is interested in group activities and sports, SIGN THEM UP! Joining a team, will increase their self-esteem and will make it easier for them to stick with it, since being part of a team means that other people depend on you.

If team sports or sports in general is not your kid’s thing, there are tons of other ways to be active. I personally love to go to the park in my neighbourhood and make up obstacle courses for my kids to do. I’ll say something like,” Run up the slide, do 5 jumping jacks, slide down the other side, run to the bench , step on and off it 5 times, do a crazy dance then run to the basketball net and back!”

Feel free to make comments about how your body FEELS. Instead of saying things like,” Our jeans are going to be so much looser!” Try saying,” Doesn’t it feel great to be using our bodies this way? We’re going to be able to run faster and play longer if we keep this up!”

The key is that they’ll be having too much fun to even realize they’re exercising! An added perk: By coming up with the courses and demonstrating them, you’ll be getting a workout in too!

Another simple idea is to go for a walk after dinner. Instead of turning on the TV and chilling on the couch for the night, go for a walk through your neighbourhood or even drive to a new neighbourhood, and then walk around and explore; the couch will be there when you get back.

5) Support their hobbies:

Is your child an aspiring artist, musician or actor? Take an interest in whatever interests them and be as supportive as you can. When they’re doing something they love and feel a sense of accomplishment from it, there will be less pressure put on what they look like. It’s a great opportunity to build confidence and self-esteem.

6) Don’t let them see you worry.

If YOU make their weight a big deal, they’ll make their weight a big deal and that won’t help anyone.

7) Just do what you do best: LOVE YOUR CHILD.

Feeling loved, respected and appreciated by you, will help them learn how to love, respect and appreciate themselves.

*Self-worth should not be measured in pounds!


My doctor told me I was fat. He was wrong. I wish I had known that.

Posted in Uncategorized by fitvsfiction on June 28, 2013

I stood on the scale, wearing only a pair of underwear and one of those flimsy robes that barely cover your butt at the doctor’s office. I didn’t want to be standing there. I had made that fact perfectly clear to my doctor. I had been very honest with him about what I was feeling. It was the beginning of September and just 3 months earlier, on May 28th,1987 I lost my brother to a liver disease no one knew he had until it was too late. He was only 21 years old and he was everything to me. From the day my father left the family when I was 10 years old, he took over as man of the house and I adored him. Soon after he had become ill, I had noticed myself becoming obsessed with food and what I was eating. It started with me rejecting the food that friends and family would bring to the the hospital in an effort to comfort us and continued through Billy’s funeral where I would watch my mother’s friends place platters of sandwiches and cookies on the table in front of me and I would revel in the hunger pains I felt, but would not feed, and into the weeks that followed. Luckily, in July, I was encouraged by friends and family, to accept a job offer to teach dance at an overnight camp. The same camp my brother had worked at the summer before. It ended up being a mostly positive experience as I started to loosen my grip on my diet and calorie counting and actually managed to enjoy the friendships I made and found comfort in the joy I got from dance and movement.

This made me feel like I was beginning to take small steps in the right direction by regaining some normalcy in my life. While I was aware of the fact that by eating without strict boundaries I had gained a little bit of weight, I wasn’t bothered by it. When I considered how thin I was before the summer, a 5 lb weight gain hardly seemed significant. As a very active 17 year old, standing 5’6 inches tall and weighing in at no more 130 lbs, I was well within an acceptable range. Or so I thought. But there I was; in my doctor’s office, standing on that scale; feeling incredibly vulnerable, terribly uncomfortable and completely unprepared for what was about to happen.

For the next 15 minutes, my doctor, and I use that term loosely, proceeded to berate me with insult after insult about how fat I had gotten. He pointed at my stomach and with a look of disgust on his face said, “Look at that, what is that?!” He then explained that although “Medically speaking” I was not overweight, society was thin, and in order to “fit in” to society, I would have to lose 10 lbs. Keep in mind, I had NEVER been called fat in my entire life; this was devastating! He continued his assault by letting me know that if he were me, he would not be caught dead in a bathing suit. I refer to this experience as an “assault” because with a few years and many therapy sessions under my belt, I can now differentiate between a doctor’s well meaning advice and the twisted ranting of a man who may as well have gotten his medical degree from the bottom of a cereal box.

Sadly though, on this day, the difference wasn’t as clear to me and as much as I tried not to, I took his words to heart. What was he thinking? Speaking those words in that way to any teenage girl could be dangerous, but a teenage girl who had just been through the kind of traumatic experience I had, was completely asinine. The fact that I had been honest with him about the way my brother’s death had started to affect my body image made it even worse. I left his office with direct orders to write down everything I ate from that day forward in a journal to be shown to him at the end of each week. My first meal after that appointment was an order of toast from the hospital cafeteria where I had gone for some follow up blood work I needed to get related to my brother’s illness. My plan was to forget about what the doctor had said and just return to eating in a way that felt healthy and balanced. However, sitting in that cafeteria, butter and jam seemed a bit overindulgent and I opted to eat my toast dry instead. That was where the insanity started, but nowhere near to where it came to an end.

I don’t blame Dr.Clueless for my disorder, but I know he played a role in it. On that day, he was not speaking to me as a doctor, he was speaking to me as a man with his own personal feelings and opinions about the female physique. I didn’t need to change the way I looked to be healthier, I needed to change the way I looked to be more attractive to HIM. I lost the 10lbs I was ordered to, followed by another 30 as an extra “Fuck you” to him. But I was the one who got screwed when my disorder took over my life and tore it to pieces. It took me 20 years to reclaim my body and my life and while I can’t relive the past, I decided to pay it a quick visit through the mail.

I decided to send him a copy of my book, “The Body Image Survival Guide for Parents: Helping Toddlers, Tweens and Teens Thrive”. It’s been well over 20 years since I’ve spoken to him and while I remember our conversation like it was yesterday, he probably doesn’t remember it all. I attached a short note with my book explaining what I had been through with my eating disorder and that he had played a significant role at the beginning of it. I also told him that while I felt no need to rehash the past, it was my hope that over the past 20 plus years he had become more knowledgeable and sensitive to the issues of body image and eating disorders and that he would accept my book as a gift for him to share with anybody who may benefit from it.

Not surprisingly, I never got a response. I don’t need to. I think it was more important for me to send it, than it would be for him to read it. Although, for his patients’ sake. I do hope he’s less of an ass these days.

Rosie MacLennan and Dove are getting girls off the bench and in the game!

Posted in Uncategorized by fitvsfiction on May 18, 2013

Kids are under a tremendous amount of pressure these days and that pressure can come from so many different sources. For some kids, trying to keep their grades up in school can be overwhelming, for other kids the stress comes from social situations with friends or relationship issues with family. Wherever the anxiety is coming from, it can lead kids down some dangerous paths which can include things like drugs, alcohol and eating disorders. Kids, just like adults, need healthy ways to release the stress they’re under while discovering new reasons to feel proud of themselves. Getting involved in sports is a great way to do that, but research shows that less and less girls are willing to participate in athletic activity because they just don’t feel pretty enough.

Crystal Chan is a 14-year-old, international taekwondo competitor who has been training in her sport since the age of seven. She says that she started taking taekwondo classes because it looked like fun and because she wanted to learn self-defence, but she’s gotten much more out of it than she’d expected. Along with making new friends and getting to compete with people from all over the world, Crystal says that she doesn’t worry about her weight or how she looks the way most of her friends do.

“Most of the girls in my grade NEVER eat lunch because they’re afraid of gaining weight. They’re always talking about how fat they are and how they need to tone up for summer, but never want to do anything active because they don’t want to sweat. It really upsets me when they talk like that because it’s much more important to be strong, healthy and fit than to worry about your weight all the time.”

Six in 10 girls quit activities they love because of how they feel about their looks,” according to new Dove research.

Last month, Dove launched its Girls Unstoppable campaign with the goal of preventing girls from giving up on the sports and activities that can help them build their confidence and self-esteem. The campaign also hopes to spark conversations between parents and their daughters on the subject of body image before it’s too late. I absolutely love this campaign because I hear from parents all the time whose daughters are struggling to find their own identity in a society that’s constantly telling them they don’t measure up. With so much focus put on image and appearance, it’s crucial that our daughters start believing that their bodies are capable of so much more than just being looked at. They need to stop worrying about how their bodies look and start taking pride in what they can do.

2012 Olympic Gold medalist, Rosie MacLennan, knows firsthand the amazing things that can happen with encouragement and support, which is why she was so eager to work with Dove on their campaign. Rosie is a Canadian trampoline gymnast and current reigning Olympic champion in the individual trampoline event. She wants girls to know that being part of the action is much more fun than sitting on the sidelines all the time. I spoke to Rosie last week and asked her a few questions about the connection between sports and body image.

Me: You started taking trampoline lessons at seven years old, what made you stick with it?

Rosie:  Being involved in a sport I loved, gave me a place to find my voice. I had friends in school, but making other friends who were as passionate about the same things I was, gave me another place where I could feel comfortable and supported.

Me: We live in such an image obsessed society; have you ever felt self-conscious about your body when competing?

Rosie: I have felt pressure at times. As a gymnast, the uniforms don’t leave very much to the imagination and it’s not uncommon to be compared to girls with smaller body types. What helped me was having a coach who put performance before aesthetics. I learned that in order to perform at my best, I needed to do things that would help me get there, which included feeding my body what it needed instead of restricting my food to change my physique. I don’t compare myself to anybody else, because we’re all built differently. I have muscular legs and a bubble butt, and these attributes give me the power I need to jump high and perform my best. I celebrate my body. We all should.

Me: How did your mother keep you interested in sports as you got older?

Rosie: My mom would always point out female athletes, so I grew up admiring women like Silken Laumann and Clara Hughes for what they accomplished in sports and in life. She also made a point of regularly checking in with me to see how I was feeling. I knew if I felt stressed, I could share those feelings openly.

Me: Have you seen girls drop out of sports because of body image issues?

Rosie: Sadly, yes. Some girls let the criticism get to them. It can be hard, but I understood that if I was worrying about how I looked in my gym suit, I was not focusing on what I needed to focus on, which was my performance.

Me: What’s the number one message you’d like to share?

Rosie: Find something you love and are passionate about. You’ll face challenges, but stick with it. Hold on to whatever your goals are and give yourself the chance to live your dreams.

What it comes to, is that being a kid shouldn’t be this stressful. Young girls need to start appreciating everything that they are, and stop judging who they think they’re not. Life is not a spectator sport, it’s time to get in the game and start playing!


I’m not buying it Coke; Your product OR your concern.

I just watched a commercial for Coca-Cola that was all about how they’re helping fight obesity with their low or no calorie drinks. The line that really pissed me off was when they said, “All calories count.” meaning that it’s better to drink their diet crap than their regular crap. The PROBLEM with that message is this: Saying that all calories count is saying that the lower calorie option is always the better one and that is NOT always true! It’s not about how many calories are in what we’re eating but what those calories are made of that count! It’s actually better to eat/drink something that has more calories but is full of healthy ingredients than to opt for the diet, chemical filled version of it! Replacing Coke in high school vending machines with Diet Coke will NOT make our kids healthier!
Don’t pretend to care about our health, when it’s your wealth that’s your true motivation.
  Shame on Participaction for partnering up with them too.

Why I started Fit vs Fiction and why I won’t shut up about it

We live in an image obsessed, fat-phobic, one-size-fits-all, thin is in, skinny jean wearing, thigh gap measuring, binging and purging, body hating society where kids barely out of pre-school are begging their mothers to keep them home from school because they feel like they’re just too fat to fit in!

And NOT..Okay.

Latest Book review from VictorianEDTreatment Center, Newport Ca

Book Review: The Body Image Survival Guide

by mhurst220— last modified Apr 24, 2013 04:05 PM

Filed Under:

The Body Image Survival Guide for Parents by Marci Warhaft-Nadler is a must read for every parent raising a child in the 21st century. A negative body image is a contributing factor for developing an eating disorder. Eating disorders are on the rise in children. There was a 119% increase of eating disorder related hospitalizations among children under 12 years old between the years 1999 and 2006.

Watching a family drop off their daughter at the Victorian – Eating Disorder Treatment is heart breaking. Emotions are high; crying, screaming and bargaining are all quite familiar. Our staff calms the parents and client reminding them that they are making a wise decision to seek help for this deadly mental illness. It is a scenario every parent dreads – acknowledging their child is sick and in need of professional help. Many question if anything could have been done to prevent the eating disorder? A genetic and social disease, preventing eating disorders is hard to quantify. However, a new book titled, The Body Image Survival Guide for Parents by Marci Warharft-Nadler, eating disorder survivor and Certified Personal Trainer provides several preventative tools to navigate a child towards a healthy body image.

The Body Image Survival Guide is broken down into chapters addressing issues for every age group:
•Ages 0-3
•Ages 4-8
•Ages 9-12
•Age 13 and up

As well as how to address body image in a variety of scenarios:
•Body image issues with boys
•Building self-esteem
•How to help an overweight child
•When parents need to lose weight
•Post-pregnancy dieting
•Role modeling positive body image
•The dangers of negative body image
•Media literacy

My favorite thing about the book is the way Nadler breaks up the chapters with real questions from parents. The “Dear Abby” format of the book quickly makes it seem as if Nadler is simply one parent talking to another. I highly recommend The Body Image Survival Guide for Parents to parents, teachers and school counselors.

You can purchase The Body Image Survival Guide HERE

and follow Nadler on twitter here: @fit_vs_fiction

We just need to be kind to eachother

Posted in Uncategorized by fitvsfiction on April 19, 2013

Amazing moment I just experienced:

I was feeling a little down this morning. Between the horrors in Boston and tragedy in Texas and the usual mom type of worries, I was feeling emotional and overwhelmed. I had a lot to do today and debated whether or not to stop at the post office to pick up some envelopes for some books that needed to be mailed, or to just go straight home. At the last second, I decided to get what I needed.

I stopped into the post office to get some large envelopes and there was an older gentleman in front of me trying to figure out which envelopes he needed. After a few minutes he chose a package of them and handed it to the young fella at the counter. Then he reached into his pocket and said, “UH OH, I’m in trouble now. I forgot my wallet.”

I looked at him and said, “It’s ok. I’ll get them for you.”

Stunned silence

He looked completely surprised and confused and said, “I can’t let you do that.”

I said, “It’s no big deal. Really.”

It’s hard for me to explain reaction. He just seemed so incredibly moved by this simple gesture.

He just stared at me, started to cry and then said very quietly, ” but why?” I said, (through my own tears) “With all of the bad going on right now, we all need to remember the Good. We need to be kind to eachother.”

He kept saying, “I can’t believe it. I just can’t believe it.”

He asked if he could have my address so he could send me the money for it later. I told him that he could repay me by paying it forward and doing something nice for someone else today.

He told me that he was from Florida and was visiting relatives in Ontario and told me that if I ever got to Florida, I needed to call him so he could pick me up at the airport and get me whatever I needed.

I told him that was very sweet, but all he needed to do for me was to reach out to someone else today, even something simple like opening the door for a stranger.

He took my hand, kissed it and said, “God bless you.”

He/She just did.

The best $4 I ever spent.

We need to fight FOR our kids and not against eachother

I decided to send my Huffington Post article about Childhood obesity to a fairly well-known local fitness team and asked them for their thoughts. I did this, knowing that my article “Childhood obesity is not the problem” is a tad controversial. In my post, I discuss the dangers of anti-obesity campaigns and the fact that I believe we need to focus less on weight and more on health. I was genuinely interested in hearing their thoughts as people who have spent the last 25 years or so, offering health tips to families. They responded by saying, “The author is missing point. I think she is taking the topic and twisting it to write an article.” I wrote back explaining that I am, in fact, the author and that while I understand that there’s a health crisis in this country, focusing solely on weight is completely ignoring all of the other factors that play into our kids overall health and well being.

I was really looking forward to the discussion that I was hoping was going to follow. Afterall, we’re both trying to reach the same goal and I believed in the benefits that could come from extremely dedicated people approaching the same issue from different angles. Sadly, that’s not what happened. Not only did the conversation end, but my entire post had been deleted from their Facebook page.


What this showed me was that some people are so stuck in their own opnions, that they aren’t even willing to consider that there may just be another way to look at things. I wasn’t looking to completely change their outlook, just expand it a little and I was just as open to the possibility of learning something new as well.

Here’s why I find this SO FRUSTRATING: There is hardly a lack of weightloss experts, programs and campaigns out there trying to make us lose weight and yet, obesity is still an issue. Maybe, just maybe, it’s time to look at things in a different way. If we keep banging our heads against the same “Skinny means healthy” concrete wall, nothing will ever change.

Do I believe that I have a TON of knowledge to contribute? Yes, I do. But I am also not so arrogant as to believe that I have nothing left to learn.

We all know that childhood obesity is a problem, but here are a few things most people don’t know.

Fact: In Canada, for all the kids who are overweight, there are even more kids who are NOT but THINK that they are.

Fact: Eating disorders aren’t just a teen girl issue anymore. Girls AND boys as young as 5 years old are destroying their bodies in an effort to be skinny

Fact: It can be extremely difficult to find treatment for eating disorders due to lack of resources or finances.

Fact: Some people suffering from eating disorders find it nearly impossible to be taken seriously if they don’t “look the part”. It’s easy to look at someone who weighs as much as 380lbs or as little as 80lbs and recognize that they probably have a problem but someone battling a severe eating disorder can look healthy while slowly dying inside and can be overlooked even by medical professionals.

Fact: Anti-obesity campaigns tell kids they need to be skinny to be healthy by focusing on numbers, but we are more than just numbers and our self-worth should not be measured in pounds.

I understand that obesity is an issue, but I also understand that it is one of several issues that need to be tackled simultaneously if we have any chance of truly raising healthy children. While I understand this, there are way too many people who refuse to see the bigger picture and choose only to look at fat as the enemy. For there to be any chance of us finding solutions to the health crisis we’re facing, and for our kids to stand a chance at the long, quality filled lives they deserve, we need to fight the risks of unhealthy living instead of eachother.

If we let ego get in the way of progress, WE may feel better, but our kids won’t get any healthier.

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