Category Archives: outside resources

you are not a fashion week sketch

i live in nyc for about nine months out of the year while i go to school.

while all body types are beautiful, the fashion industry is choosing to only represent one type and that, is dangerous to the other 99% who will never look like this girl.

while all body types are beautiful, the fashion industry is choosing to only represent one type and that, is dangerous to the other 99% who will never look like this girl.

this past week, all anyone could talk about was “fashion week.”

while some people see the week as an opportunity for designers to have their beautiful creations paraded down the runway for the entire world to talk about, i view it as a trigger.

to me, fashion week is dangerous.

to me, fashion week sends the wrong image.

don’t get me wrong, some designers, like carrie hammer, have made history for selecting a wheelchair bound woman to “walk” the runway. last february, dkny had “normal people” walk the runway with high end fashion models.

and that’s what gets me: you’re ether an average person or you’re high end.

you’re either part of the average 99%, or the lucky 1% who is considered beautiful enough to represent designer labels.

recently i came across a public service announcement which told viewers to “say no to anorexia.”

the human woman beside the drawing looks malnourished, sad and weak. the drawing looks confident, sexy and powerful. the real woman looks sad, malnourished and weak.

the human woman beside the drawing looks malnourished, sad and weak.
the drawing looks confident, sexy and powerful. the real woman looks sad, malnourished and weak.

this post is not about how much i hate the idea that one person can simply “say no” to a mental illness, therefore curing herself of those terrible thoughts.

i’m ignoring the written message and focusing on the visual one instead.

in the picture, there is a fashion design for a black miniskirt outfit.

the drawing doesn’t alarm us.

the drawing actually looks terrifyingly acceptable.

however, when the drawing is brought to life by a real woman, it becomes alarming.

the human woman beside the drawing looks malnourished, sad and weak.

the drawing looks confident, sexy and powerful.

so where do we draw the line?

when do we speak up and tell designers to draw their sketches on a variety of body types?

i’m ready for a woman with a pear or apple shaped body to appear confident, sexy and powerful in a sketch.

i’m ready for the fashion industry to realize what a dangerous message it’s sending to millions of people, simply by showing a drawing.

you are beautiful.

you deserve to feel confident, sexy and powerful, regardless of your body shape.

#semicolonproject416

a semicolon is a powerful grammatical tool: it shows there was a potential to quit writing, but the author chose to keep moving forward.

a semicolon is a powerful grammatical tool: it shows there was a potential to quit writing, but the author chose to keep moving forward.

a semicolon is a continuation of a thought, where one could previously ended.

a semicolon is a a symbol that you could have stopped fighting, but you’re still here.

a semicolon is going to unite thousands this week.

last year, the semicolon project was born.

a group of people got together and tweeted out a simple black and white poster, asking anyone who wanted to draw a semicolon on his wrist, to show support.

the responses were overwhelming.

the goal was to have “anyone who self harms, is suicidal, depressed, has anxiety, is unhappy, going through a broken heart, just lost a loved one, etc.” draw a semicolon on her wrist.

one year later, it’s still that simple.

#semicolonproject416

#semicolonproject416

 

on wednesday, april 16th, draw a semicolon on your wrist.

that’s it.

draw a semicolon.

no flash facebook status, no bright colors:

just a little semicolon on the inside of your wrist.

by drawing a semicolon, you’re proving you are the author of your own life and where your sentence could have ended, you decided to keep going.

you decided to keep writing your story.

i decided to keep writing my own story.

the author could have ended, but chose not to. the author is you and the sentence is your life.

the author could have ended, but chose not to. the author is you and the sentence is your life.

by drawing a semicolon on your wrist, this wednesday, you’re showing support for a community larger than yourself.

you’re showing support to the boy in your language class.

you’re showing support to your boss at work.

you’re showing support for yourself.

take a stand with me and participate in the semicolon project this week.

if you do participate, tweet a picture to @RecoveryBeauty, include #semicolonproject416 and i’ll retweet it.

let’s come together on wednesday.

let’s become a stronger community.

you are beautiful.

you deserve to be the author of your life.

“anorexia: breaking the silence” a documentary preview

eating disorders have one characteristic in common.

no, it’s not the weight loss.

no, it’s not “a teenage disease.”

eating disorders are silent killers. 

according to neda, eating disorders kill 4.0 percent of those with anorexia, 3.9 percent of those with bulimia and a staggering 5.2 percent with an eating disorder not otherwise specified (ednos.)

think about it: five out of every 100 people will die because of an eating disorder.

five will die because they chose to remain silent.

because they chose to not speak up.

i’m here to change that.

i’m here to tell my story.

a few months ago, i published a piece called “refeeding syndrome: my story” and it took off.

i was astonished to see how many people viewed and connected with my story.

i’m back to tell the entire thing, but this time, as a documentary.

director and youtuber, celia werner approached me about producing a piece on my struggles with anorexia and decision to pursue recovery.

i was nervous to show my face at first, but felt the project could reach people in a way my blog never could.

the project is done.

the story has been told.

the face on the camera is mine.

in the coming weeks, my story will be published in segments and i’ll further explain my thoughts in writing.

here’s the sneak peek of the upcoming special: “anorexia: breaking the silence”

you are beautiful.

you deserve to break the silence.

wintergirls

“you’re not dead, but you’re not alive, either. you’re a wintergirl. you’re a ghost with a beating heart.”

wintergirlspowerful words.

just let them resonate for a few seconds before you continue to read on.

over the weekend, i read laurie halse anderson’s novel: wintergirls.

now before you click out of this window, stop.

this isn’t a book report.

this isn’t a book review.

i had been a little apprehensive in picking up this particular novel.

it is incredibly popular among my followers and i was honestly very curious what all the hype was about.

before i started reading, i asked my lovely twitter followers what their opinions on the book were and all of them raved about it but warned me of how triggering it was.

yes, the novel is extremely triggering.

yes, the novel made me cry multiple times.

yes, the novel is incredibly accurate and well written.

but beyond the pages, i felt a certain connection with everyone who’s ever suffered from an eating disorder.

in my own experience, having anorexia was something i tried to hide from the world.

through the excuses of “why i’m not hungry” to the “reasons why i’ve been losing weight,” it was a very internal and personal struggle.

wintergirls did exactly the opposite: it melted the ice around such a personal topic and has allowed me to feel not so alone.

after finishing the novel, i was able to understand completely why so many of my followers have fallen in love with this book: for once you feel as if you aren’t alone.

in one scene, the main character, lia, is having an anxiety attack.

her anorexic thoughts have completely taken over, for almost no reason, and she is cutting herself in the bathroom.

the quick pace of the writing allowed me to go back to these exact moments in my life, some of which were as recent as august, and they brought me to tears.

lia's thoughts during her anxiety attack are all too familiar in the mind of someone with an eating disorder.

lia’s thoughts during her anxiety attack are all too familiar in the mind of someone with an eating disorder.

i felt her pain.

i felt her frustration.

i felt the broken pieces of her soul crumble to the floor.

lia looks in the mirror and thinks:

“i am locked in the mirror and there is no door out.”

how many times have you thought this?

often times i allow the mirror to dictate how i feel on any given day.

the mirror is often your worst enemy holding you captive.

the mirror is often my worst enemy holding me captive.

yet, you build a bond with lia, and allow yourself to root for her own recovery.

a monumental step for most of us if you really think about it.

how many times have you tried to not “get better” and continue in your own patterns?

for me, this book allowed me to observe someone struggling with something so personal to myself, and i actually wanted to see her make it out.

wintergirls allowed me to see my disease from a personal, yet outside perspective.

but for me, wintergirls was more than an opportunity for me to feel connected with others battling the same issue:

it was about seeing just how close i came to not writing this post.

i was in the “dangerous” 85 pound zone less than two years ago.

i was starving myself to the point where i didn’t feel safe driving a car.

i remember the feeling of standing next to baked goods and watching everyone else “get fatter” while i displayed self-control.

i remember pledging to myself, just as cassie and lia did, to be the “skinniest girl in school.”

i remember it all.

for months i’ve tried to block out those memories and pretend they didn’t happen.

pretend i was “normal” for all those years.

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for me, wintergirls helped me come to terms with who i was and who i’m learning to be.

if you are interested in purchasing a copy of wintergirls, i’ve provided a link to amazon.

please leave a comment and let me know how this book has impacted your life.

i’d love to know.


like lia says, “i am thawing.”

winter is over.

you are beautiful.

you deserve to melt the ice.

refeeding syndrome: my story

there isn’t a lot about refeeding syndrome on the internet.

sure, websites will tell you about how it was discovered after the holocaust.

sure, websites will tell you how starvation mode, for an extended period of time, will cause this.

sure, websites will tell you that it’s common while recovering from an eating disorder.

but to me that isn’t good enough.

those aren’t answers.

those are facts.

those aren’t stories from real people.

this is me, november 2011. i was about 95 lbs here and truly believed i was disgustingly overweight.

this is me, november 2011. i was about 95 lbs here and truly believed i was disgustingly overweight.

i decided that if i ever made it to recovery, i’d tell my story.

well, here i am.

the pictures are of me.

the story is my own.

and here’s the uncensored truth behind refeeding syndrome.

the summer of 2012 was a living hell for me.

i had decided in february of that same year i was going to kick anorexia’s butt, so i began my own recovery program without the aid of a hospital.

i’m 5’4″ and at my lowest i was 85 lbs.

i knew i needed to eventually weigh more so naturally, i began to eat more.

months later i would learn how incredibly dangerous this was and how i could have potentially died, due to complications.

refeeding syndrome is the long-term effect of starvation mode in which your body stores everything you take in.

if untreated, health risks can range from cardiac arrest, organ failure and even death.

let that sink in, because of the eating disorder you’ve been clinging to for security, you could die.

the eating disorder i clung to for security almost killed me.

but getting back to the story…

i began to notice my physical appearance changing as i tried to increase my caloric intake.

i began to look “puffy.”

this terrified me because i didn’t want to “get fat,” but i knew i needed more food.

i began trying to restrict again and exercise more, but the weight kept piling on.

it scared me.

badly.

my clothes stopped fitting.

my face was getting really full.

the worst part was i was eating less than 400 calories a day and i was still gaining weight fast.

this is me, summer 2012. i had nearly doubled my body weight and was visibly "puffy." i was incredibly depressed and have very few pictures of myself from this time.

this is me, summer 2012. i had nearly doubled my body weight and was visibly “puffy.” i was incredibly depressed and have very few pictures of myself from this time.

some weeks i was gaining over 5 lbs and my doctors couldn’t figure out why.

they told me to eat healthy, but i already was.

they told me to exercise more, but i already was.

nothing was working, so they began to test me for heart, kidney and intestinal problems.

to make matters worse, every time i ate anything i was getting sick.

i seriously couldn’t keep anything down for more than 20 minutes before i would get sick.

the doctors couldn’t figure out why i was so puffy and i became frustrated.

i quickly slipped into depression and stopped seeing my friends.

i sat inside and played on my computer because i was ashamed at my outward appearance.

a few months ago, i was able to control every aspect of my physical appearance and now i couldn’t even if i tried.

i now was tipping the scale at a little over 160 lbs, officially overweight and unable to do anything about it.

i was about to transfer to a new college and i was afraid no one would want to be my friend because i was “the fat girl.”

i wanted to die and cried all the time.

then my doctor suggested one more blood test:

hypothyroidism.

if this was my problem, it meant my metabolism had been so weakened, by my anorexia, that it stopped working all together.

words cannot describe how happy i was to find out that i tested positively for this disease.

by taking one pill a day, i was able to have a functioning metabolism again.

this meant more energy, better moods and natural weight loss.

over the past 20 months, i’ve learned to be patient with my body as i’ve watched to slow change “back to normal.”

this is a photo of myself from last month. i'm slowly making progress towards a healthy and normal life.

this is a photo of myself from last month. i’m slowly making progress towards a healthy and normal life.

currently i’m in the high 120s and have been told by my doctors not to lose anymore weight.

i’m not allowed to diet, but i am encouraged to exercise daily and make healthy choices.

i’d be lying if i told you everyday is easy and i never struggle.

i’d be lying if i didn’t look in the mirror and sometimes wish i had my skeletal frame back again.

but i’d also be lying if i told you i was happier living with anorexia.

these past 20 months have taught me that i may not look like a model but i’m still beautiful.

these past 20 months have taught me i’s ok to eat a reese’s cup.

these past 20 months have taught me that no one is too far gone.

if you would like more information on refeeding syndrome, please read the linked article.

it’s full of really good information that is very accurate.

just remember, you didn’t get to where you are today overnight, recovery takes time.

you are beautiful.

you deserve to know the truth on refeeding syndrome.

bad days don’t call for suicide

often times you feel alone and it seems you're the only one that doesn't have a perfect body. have no fear, there are 3 billion other women who might not be "runway ready," but are equally as beautiful.

often times you feel alone and it seems you’re the only one that doesn’t have a perfect body. have no fear, there are 3 billion other women who might not be “runway ready,” but are equally as beautiful.

bad days.

we all have them.

we wish we didn’t.

for any “joe shmoe,” a bad day is just a wrinkle in his shirt.

it’s no fun in the moment but after a good night’s sleep, everything is better.

for someone with an eating disorder, depression or anyone suffering from self-harm: a bad day is more than a day.

a bad day is hating yourself on a deeper level than normal.

a bad day is wishing you were dead. and meaning it.

a bad day is bringing a razor to your skin, purging into the toilet, writing one final letter…

a bad day makes you feel like everyone is against you.

before i go any further, just understand i know how it feels.

i understand the pain you’re feeling.

i know the feelings you can’t put into words.

if today is one of those dark days and you’re feeling alone, i’m talking to you.

you are not alone.

but take heart in the fact that this is only one day.

tomorrow is a new fresh page for you to write a new story on.

this day, or any bad day in the future, is not what defines you.

in my personal struggles with anorexia, i began to look to self harm to cope with my depression.

i would cut myself and then feel so ashamed afterwards.

even this past summer, over a year into recovery, i slipped back into old habits.

my dad saw my wrists and understood.

he just hugged me and let me cry.

sometimes it’s ok to cry and just be upset.

it’s a normal reaction to a very real feeling we all experience.

whether your sadness was triggered by looking in the mirror, seeing a picture of yourself or simply not making it to the gym: you’re allowed to be sad.

so now i know what you’re thinking:

tell me how to “snap out of it.”

tell me how to stop feeling like this.

there unfortunately isn’t a perfect answer.

there isn’t a formula for happiness that you can plug variables into and achieve the desired results.

but there are ways to make yourself smile.

love music?

check out charlie puth, he’s a youtube artist that was on “ellen” and does really great covers of top 40 hits.

love baby animals?

check out bored panda‘s “30 baby animals that will make you go aww.” it’s the perfect amount of adorable to put a smile on your face.

sometimes just trying to distract yourself with something happy can raise your spirits.

but if that doesn’t work, know you’re worth more than a bad day.

you’re worth more than the negative thoughts in your head.

you’re worth more than giving up.

if you, or someone you care about, is struggling with thoughts of suicide, please call the suicide hotline:

1-800-273-8255

you are beautiful.

you deserve to stay alive.

advertising the eating disorder

i love to watch tv.

i really do.

i’m also probably the easiest person to convince to buy something after just watching a 30 second commercial.

think of all of those stupid products you see advertised on infomercials: chances are i probably own it.

so what’s the point of this little commercial rant?

no, i’m not telling you to go out and buy yourself a “magic bullet…”

the images we see on tv have so much of an impact on us.

they tell us what kind of shampoo to use.

they tell us where to buy jewelry.

they even tell us what to eat.

anyone remember this particular yoplait light commercial from 2011?

in the commercial, a thin woman is trying to rationalize eating a slice of cheesecake.

she thinks about “canceling out” the cake with celery.

she thinks about exercising while she’s eating.

but how does the video end?

she doesn’t eat the cake.

she instead eats yoplait’s “diet” version of their dessert line.

so what’s the big deal?

why was this advertisement eventually banned from airing on networks?

eventually, it was argued the commercial was insensitive to the millions of people with eating disorders.

i couldn’t agree more.

i had these thoughts multiple times a day when this commercial originally aired.

i remember thinking nothing of it.

there are so many impressionable minds watching tv; seeing an ad like that will justify “thinking about the wasted calories” and not eating.

justify depriving themselves to stay thin.

justify anorexic or bulimic thoughts.

justify something that can eventually kill.

maybe instead of promoting ideas linked to eating disorders, stations should air commercials like this:

we are what we watch.

we absorb more than we think.

we need to be careful what we allow ourselves to believe.

you are beautiful.

you deserve to see the truth.

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