Fit vs. Fiction's Blog


My life with a binge eating disorder

Posted in Uncategorized by fitvsfiction on May 24, 2015
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Food is my weapon, impeccable aim

Won’t ease off the trigger til I’m writing in pain

Suddenly my skin feels 10 sizes too small

Can’t fit in my clothing, I’ve outgrown them all.

I nibble for pleasure, then binge into pain

Can’t stop the cycle, am I going insane?

My heart is in pieces, where it used to be strong

Try to fix it by eating, though I know that it’s wrong.

It’s like food is my savior, and sugar’s the cure

How much more of this madness, can my body endure?

The scale in my bathroom continues to rise

My spirit is dying, can’t muffle the cries.

The strong fearless woman that I used to be

Is quickly becoming a stranger to me.

“Not thin enough, not thick enough, not sick enough” they say

Yet I cry myself to sleep at night praying, “God, take me away”.

In a world where being STRONG earns respect and revere

It’s hard to feel weak and want to be here

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

BECAUSE:
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 THAT..is 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:
psychology

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 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.

REALLY?!

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.

The Body Image Survival Guide for Parents:Helping Toddlers, Tweens and Teens Thrive

Front20cover20no20spine   This is my book.
The book I wish my own mother had had when I was struggling and she felt so powerless. It states the problems but is full of solutions, games, projects, resources and cheat sheets for when your kids ask you sticky questions… and you need solid answers. The negative messages our kids will hear from the media and society will be loud. The positive messages we give them as their parents need to be even LOUDER!
As of today (Friday, March 15th) You can order your book from Amazon.com (or from my website www.fitvsfiction.com)
These are the tools you need to empower your kids to grow up with the self-confidence and self-esteem they deserve.
Self-worth shouldn’t be measured in pounds! xoxoSee More

Body Image Pledges for Parents and Kids: A promise to be good to ourselves and eachother!

Body image pledge (for older kids):

I promise to believe in myself and to reject the unrealistic and unhealthy ideals that may be thrown at me by society, the media or marketers trying to profit off my bruised self-esteem. I will lead; not follow. I understand that nobody can make me feel bad about myself unless I let them. And I will not let them. I believe in myself and I am amazing just as I am.

Pledge for younger child:

I promise to always treat myself with love and respect. I promise to be proud of who I am and not let anybody make me feel like I’m not good enough. I won’t judge other people on how they look because it’s what’s on the inside that matters. I will believe in myself and follow my dreams. I don’t have to be perfect. I’m great just the way I am. I don’t need to be exactly like everybody else, because I am unique and special in my own way. I’m me and I’m magnificient!

SELF-WORTH SHOULDN’T BE MEASURED IN POUNDS!

* “The Body Image Survival Guide for Parents: Helping Toddlers, Tweens and Teens Thrive”

Available through Amazon.com and www.fitvsfiction.com

Why I had to write the Body Image Survival Guide for Parents:

Why did I write this book?

I always thought that if I ever wrote a book about my life, the title would be, “Who knew?”.

It seems fitting because whenever I look at old pictures of myself from when I was just a little kid, before the traumas came fast and hard, I look at the little girl in the pictures and think, “You have NO IDEA what life is about to throw at you. Get ready, it’s gonna get rough for awhile”.

Life has definitely sucker punched me in the gut on more than a few occasions and thrown a crapload of challenges my way that proved extremely hard to overcome. I’ve lived a lot, lost a lot and learned a lot. Along the way, there was one thing that was there for me through it all. My eating disorder.

Yup, when life got too hard and the pain too intense, I turned away from what was hurting me and turned to my disorder for help. At the time, it made sense. When I was 17 years old, my brother Billy died and a huge part of me died right along with him. The pain of his loss was too much to bear and my life seemed completely out of my control so I turned to the one thing I thought I could control. My body. I started starving myself in an effort to feel like I was in control of SOMETHING or else I was sure I’d go completely insane.

It was easier to deal with the pain of an empty stomach than the sadness I felt walking into his empty room.

My disorder was the diversion I thought I needed. I thought it was helping. I didn’t know it would end up robbing me of my friendships, my health and my dreams. It kept me from making new friends and made it hard to keep old ones. It encouraged me to drop out of school and give up my ambitions. It told me I was nothing without it and I believed it.

I know what it’s like to think that everything you are and everything you could ever be depends on what you LOOK like but to feel like you’ll never look good enough. I know what it’s like to feel like you could never be smart, or funny or interesting enough to matter so you sure as hell better be pretty enough, but to never feel that you are. I know what it’s like to hate who you are so much that being the “girl with the eating disorder” becomes your entire identity and even though it hurts so much, you don’t want to give it up for fear you’ll just disappear.

I know what it’s like to battle with body image. I know what it’s like to watch my mother see me in pain and feel completely powerless about how to help me. I know that this is an issue that is confusing and complicated and incredibly hard to understand.

I also know what it’s like to recover.

My body image issues may have taken me to hell and back, but the important part is that I came back.

I know that with the right tools and information, parents don’t have to feel powerless. There is so much we can do as parents to instil the right messages from the time our kids are babies that can help them grow up with the confidence they deserve. Kids younger and younger are feeling pressured to be who they THINK society expects them to be instead of appreciating who they already are. They need our help.

I wrote the book I wish my own mother had had when I was struggling. I want parents to feel EMPOWERED. I give practical, solid answers to sticky questions and suggest games and projects that build healthy body image and self-esteem. I’ve included positive internet resources and body image pledges and include tons of stories from real people sharing real experiences.

My goal is to teach people that the “Best” bodies are HEALTHY ones and that SELF-WORTH IS NOT MEASURED IN POUNDS!

xoxoxoxo

Sugar-free, Fat-free, chocolate flavored pudding..is NOT pudding!

And there is nothing cake-like about rice cakes.

Diet companies might be able to package their fat free, sugar free, carbohydrate free “treats” to look good, but nothing can be done about the taste. The sad thing is that we accept it! We convince ourselves that they are just as good as the real thing and then wonder why we’re still hungry after eating them. “How can I still be craving chocolate?” you wonder, as you swallow the last piece of the “ChocNOfat BAR” you bought at the health food store. Our bodies are smarter than we think, when we crave certain things, we can’t simply trick our taste buds into thinking we’re satisfying those cravings by eating something that’s the same color, shape or texture. What usually ends up happening is we wind up eating “around” the foods we really want. For example, you might really want a few chocolate chip cookies, but to avoid the calories and inevitable guilt that will follow, you choose instead to have something else. Maybe you choose a couple of rice cakes, but when they don’t quite do the trick, you decide to have something sweet, so you grab an apple, but when that doesn’t work, you try something a bit more substantial and grab a few slices of bread with some low fat cheese. Still not satisfied, you end up giving in to your original craving and have a few of the cookies you wanted in the first place. Only now, you’ve had the cookies PLUS, rice cakes, an apple and bread with cheese. Had you just eaten what you wanted in the first place, you would have been satisfied and gotten on with your life! Unfortunately, it doesn’t stop there. Now that you’ve eaten the forbidden fruit, or in this case, cookies, you are overwhelmed with guilt and feel like you’ve just blown your diet and will usually react in one of 2 ways. Either you vow never to eat cookies again and start following an unrealistically strict diet to repent for your food sins, which, in time, you will find impossible to maintain. Or, you’ll skip the diet and, feeling completely discouraged over your own perceived lack of willpower, give up on healthy eating altogether, and punish yourself by gorging on anything and everything with complete abandon while your self-esteem sinks to a new low. All this can be avoided, however, if we learn how to be patient with ourselves and realize that food is not the enemy.

Eating food doesn’t make us overweight; OVEReating food can. The simple fact is that it takes more than a slice of cake, or a few cookies or a small serving of fries to lead us into a life of obesity. A lot more. I don’t believe that we need to or should ban these foods from our lives, in fact, we need to learn how to live with them if we want a chance at living a life free of the diet and body image angst that plagues so many of us.

After years of being told that we don’t know how to eat, we’ve actually started to believe it. This makes us completely vulnerable and therefore prime targets for any and all new diet plans or products that come our way. When did we lose faith in ourselves and start putting all our trust in complete strangers, who care more about healthy incomes than healthy consumers?

I realize that there is a problem with obesity in our culture, but it’s certainly NOT from a lack of diet products available; quite the opposite actually. When we’re told to avoid fat and sugar, we immediately start stocking up on all the fat-free, sugar-free products we can get our hands on. There is a diet version of almost everything these days. Each of them promising to taste just as good as the original. What they don’t say, is that the fat free items are loaded with extra sugar and the sugar free ones are made with extra fat. It’s their way of replacing some of the lost flavor. I’m not suggesting that we should always choose the most decadent option available, but there is almost always a happy medium. Life is too short to live without flavor. Don’t settle for bland and dry over moist and delicious. While we shouldn’t make decadence the main component of our diets, we shouldn’t completely avoid it either.

Along with a Barrage of diet products telling us what to eat, are countless weight loss companies telling us HOW to eat. We are so tired of feeling like we’re fighting an uphill battle with our bodies and trying to figure out how and what to eat every single day, that we’re relieved when some diet company offers to do our thinking for us. Some of them will sell us books detailing what foods to eat, others will make their own, prepackaged foods available at most grocery stores, and some, will go as far as to offer home delivery so you never have to shop, cook or think for yourself ever again. BUT AT WHAT COST? Needless to say, these options are very expensive, but worse than that, they make us completely dependent on them. Suddenly, we can’t take a bite or a sip of anything that hasn’t been pre-approved by whichever diet company we’ve sold our souls to! That can’t possibly seem like a good idea long term. When does it end?

I understand the desperation to lose weight, but most people want to lose weight because they feel that their extra weight is keeping them from enjoying life to the fullest, but how does being a slave to a diet plan improve their quality of life? Where’s the freedom in that? We need to learn how to live WITH food, not fear and avoid it. We are all so much more powerful than we give ourselves credit for. It’s time to reclaim that power. We have to stop paying other people to do what we should be doing for ourselves. The only things getting leaner are our wallets! Instead, we need to take the foods we enjoy off our “naughty lists” and learn how to incorporate them into our daily lives. It’s time to go back to REAL food. Throw out all the fat free, sugar free, carbohydrate free, flavor free products that are filling your pantries and refrigerators and start enjoying your food again. Listen to your body, respect your body and most of all, start working WITH your body instead of fighting AGAINST it.

1306755173398

 

Childhood-Obesity is NOT the problem!

Childhood Obesity isn’t THE problem.

There, I said it and I’ll say it again: CHILDHOOD OBESITY is NOT THE PROBLEM.

While it’s become nearly impossible to turn on a TV, listen to a radio or read through a newspaper without hearing about our society’s obesity epidemic and it seems like there are anti-obesity programs and campaigns popping up everywhere, I believe we are focusing our energy and efforts on the WRONG problem. Is obesity a serious issue? Yes, it is. But obesity is just one SYMPTOM of the real issue which is unhealthy living. By focusing solely on obesity, we are turning a “lifestyle” issue into a “fat” one. By doing this, we’re completely missing out giving people the information and the tools they need to be truly HEALTHY. The dangerous part about this is that instead of encouraging people to get healthy we are demanding that they get skinny and the truth is, skinny is not always synonymous with healthy. As a result of our “war on obesity” we’re creating a generation of kids who are TERRIFIED of being overweight and because of our society’s obsession with thinness, they don’t even know what being overweight truly looks like! Watching TV or flipping through fashion magazines and being inundated with unrealistic images of unattainable physiques can have most tweens and teens feeling inadequate and insecure about their looks within minutes. When the media is telling them that they need to be skinny to be beautiful and anti-obesity campaigns are telling them they need to be skinny to be healthy, the only message they’re hearing is: YOU NEED TO BE SKINNY!
Here’s a shocker: You can’t always tell how fit or unfit a person is simply by what they look like.
Being a little overweight and active is healthier than skinny and sedentary. Weight is not the ONLY factor in a person’s overall health, and we shouldn’t be made to feel like it is.

WHAT ARE THE DANGERS?

1.Thin kids become apathetic:
There are some kids who can eat as much junk food as they want and do very little physical activity without gaining any weight. Lucky for them, right? WRONG. However, IF they’re constantly being told that OBESITY is the issue than they won’t see the risks related to their present lifestyles. Things like: Diabetes, heart disease, high cholesterol and Cancer.

2.Skinny at all cost mentality:
How about the kids who are so afraid of gaining weight that they become overly concerned with every piece of food they consume? I get emails and phone calls from parents of kids as young as 5 years old who are already struggling with eating disorders! While it wouldn’t be surprising to hear our toddlers worry about imaginary monsters or witches, hearing them cry because they feel they look fat in their snowsuits is something most parents are not prepared for. More and more kids are putting their health at risk through dangerous behaviour related to weight loss and a huge part of it is because of our society’s Fat-Phobia!

Recently, many schools have tried to get on board the fight against obesity by implementing programs aimed at making our kids healthier. Unfortunately, in an effort to solve one problem, they are inadvertently creating an even bigger one by encouraging disordered eating and negative body image. While numbers and charts may offer a little insight into a person’s health status, they can be drastically misleading if other important factors are ignored.

Take for example, the recent story about the 10 year old Massachusetts boy who was sent home from school with a letter saying he was obese. This boy’s athletic (healthy) build was considered obese by the BMI rating his school was using to measure their students body weight. To be honest, I am completely against ANY KIND of program that has school faculty measuring (judging and shaming) a child’s weight and the fact that they’d use such an inaccurate system to do it, makes it all the more frustrating.

http://todaynews.today.com/_news/2013/02/27/17119287-fat-letters-sent-home-to-students-cause-a-stir

Schools need to EDUCATE, not HUMILIATE.

3.It’s become okay to point fingers at the chubby kid.

You’d think that with all the talk about bullying going on these days, we’d be able to recognize when we’re doing it ourselves, but here’s another example of good intentions lost on bad execution. By singling out the “overweight” kids we’re making them easier targets to be picked on. Some might argue that if they’re overweight, they’re probably already being picked on, but the difference is that they’ve now got school staff agreeing with the bullies. This kind of negativity will only make them feel less worthy of respect from others and themselves. HOW does that help??

We all want the same thing. We want our kids to grow up as healthy and as happy as they can be, but we really have to be so incredibly careful about how we go about doing that.

Eating with balance and moderation and being physically active shouldn’t be something we feel forced to do because we hate our bodies, but something we WANT to do because we love and respect them. We can’t lose weight in order to like ourselves, we have to first like ourselves in order to lose weight.

Enough with the “ANTIs” and bring on the “PROs”. Instead of an Anti-Obesity approach, why not try one that’s Pro-Health? We shouldn’t be fighting AGAINST our bodies but working WITH them.

FAT isn’t a bad word. It’s an essentially nutrient necessary for good health. Why have we turned it into an insult? Teaching kids that fat is “Bad”, can be a dangerous lesson. However, educating them about the benefits and risks related to different kinds of fats can be extremely helpful without being judgemental.

A truly healthy child is one that is healthy physically, emotionally and psychologically. By focusing simply on the physical, we risk damaging everything else.

The question I’m asking is: Do we want HEALTHY kids or just skinny ones?

Olympic medallist Leisel Jones criticized for being "Fat".

Olympic medallist Leisel Jones criticized for being “Fat”.

Olympic medallist Cathy Rigby.Admits that she and many teammates battled eating disorders while competing

Olympic medallist Cathy Rigby.
Admits that she and many teammates battled eating disorders while competing

Healthy bodies have less to do with how they LOOK and everything to do with how they WORK.

“Self-worth shouldn’t be measured in pounds”

Why I LOOOOVE sharing Fit vs Fiction with kids!

Believe it or not, there are still WAY too many people who don’t believe or understand that Body Image and eating disorder issues are killing our kids. These issues destroy them physically, emotionally and spiritually. They hit so deep that it can take years and years of hard work to get their mental and physical health back on track, if ever.

 

I share my Fit vs Fiction workshops at schools as a way of breaking down the dangerous myths related to fitness and beauty and get kids talking about the pressure they feel to be “Perfect”. I use TONS of pictures while discussing things like media manipulation, sexualization and the motivation behind the messages they’re being inundated with on a daily basis. I share my truth; the good, the bad and the very, very ugly so that they can feel safe sharing their own. I make them think, I make them laugh, I make them understand that they can be whoever and whatever they aspire to be and that no one has the right to make them feel otherwise. For years I put my health and life at risk more times than I can count through my negative body image and disordered eating and while I was able to find recovery, I will never get back the 20+ years the disorder took away.

I’m often told that I’m fighting an uphill battle and that our fat-phobic, youth and weight obsessed world isn’t ready to change and I don’t completely disagree. But, as hard as this battle might be, it’s NOTHING compared to life with an eating disorder.

After doing a couple of Fit vs Fiction workshops at an elementary school last week, I came home to an email from one of the teachers that was there. She had copied me on a note she sent to the V.P. following my workshops. I’m sharing it because with all of the people who are still in the dark about the severity of these issues, it’s such a joy to hear from someone who is aware and willing to help.

Hi L.,

I am so pleased that I was able to participate in this
absolutely fabulous workshop.  The students in Grade 6 and 7 were absolutely
riveted to what the presenter Marci Warhaft had to say about healthy body image.
Ms. Warhaft also showed many pictures from the media of distorted body images
using television and film personalities known to many of the students.  She used
her own previous experiences of poor self-image as an example, and spoke
eloquently of how she was able to nurture a more healthy body image as time went
on.  Her responses to student questions were excellent, and her presentation was
well-paced and upbeat.

Thank you for bringing such an effective and
timely speaker to this school! I would be glad to assist in any way possible to
publicize Ms. Warhaft’s session to the school community in
April.

Mrs.
Junior/Intermediate
French Teacher

(I edited names for anonymity)

Kids need and WANT to talk..we just need to start listening!

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