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Resources for Being a HAES Ally

Resources for Being a HAES Ally

A few weeks ago, a negative article shaming Nike for using plus sized mannequins circulated around. There was a lot of backlash on most of the HAES©   friendly social media accounts I follow. People were rightfully upset that Nike was being shamed for this. This response wasn’t surprising to me to see within the HAES circle. But what was pleasantly surprising to me was that I saw lots of people from other circles; friends, family, acquaintances, etc. who were just as openly appalled by the post that shamed Nike.  There was the article was fatphobic. And it promoted really damaging messages that society tends to promote, such as a fat woman working out because she enjoys it rather than to lose weight is “wrong”. The idea that there’s a way to look “fit” or “healthy” is restrictive, damaging, and outright wrong. But I think some good came out of the article, regarding the magnitude of the backlash. I think it shows that while there’s obviously lots of work to do, that people are starting to be more accepting of body diversity, and there’s more rejection of body shaming. The purpose of this blog post is to provide information on how you can play a role with this progress. Like I said earlier, there’s still lots of work to be done to make being inclusive of all bodies the norm, and every bit helps.    I recognize I’m writing this resource post as someone who has thin privilege, and its so, so important that if you’re a thin ally to not take over/define movements that aren’t about you. The...
Amazing Accounts to Follow this Summer

Amazing Accounts to Follow this Summer

By Caroline Best  Last Summer I went on a social media break for a week, and completely stayed off all of my accounts. To be honest, it made a big difference in my mood. I noticed my day-to-day state was happier and more relaxed.  I’ve thought a lot about why I had such a strong reaction to doing something so simple.   Social media can be a positive thing in moderation. It’s a great way to keep up with loved ones and see interesting/inspiring things. However, social media (especially a lot of it at once) can be pretty toxic if we’re not careful.  People tend to post what I call “highlight reel” pictures. Or photos where they’re out doing fun things, looking great, surrounded by friends, ect. Seeing enough of these photos can play on very natural human insecurities. There’s a lot of research being done right now on how this can affect mental health. This constant exposure to everyone’s highlights makes us feel like we need to “keep up”.  And this can have a draining effect. We have an earlier post that talks a lot about how to combat this ( link). However, this post has to do with social media in the summer and some amazing accounts to follow. Social media in the summertime can be especially toxic because of “summer body” culture. There’s a lot of absurd (and dangerous) messages about how to “look best”  for the summertime and focusing on getting a “swimsuit body”. We’re all constantly exposed to marketing  trying to convince us to try to mold ourselves to narrow and often unattainable beauty...
From Disordered Eating to Finding Peace: My Story

From Disordered Eating to Finding Peace: My Story

By student intern and Alex Raymond, RD,LD. Please note: This is a story of someone’s eating disorder/recovery journey. There may be information triggering to you. So please feel free to stop reading if you find the information to be triggering and also be mindful that someone is speaking of their own personal experience and everyone is different. “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind” Romans 12:2. Not to be dramatic or anything, but this bible verse kind of changed my life. No matter your religious beliefs, I believe that this statement is something that a lot of people need to hear to finally be at peace with both their minds and bodies. It’s almost impossible getting through the day without being bombarded by the things society has to say about standards. I can’t even tell you how many article titles or ads I’ve read along the lines of: “Keep the weight off with THIS 30-day exercise program and see the results!” “Try out our new juice cleanse to detoxify your body and lose weight fast.” “Throw out your junk food [and mental peace] to finally be a better YOU!” And I’m sick of it.   The social media realm works as a constant distraction. It reveals new ideas that sweep our brains from the present moment and takes us into a mind of its own, causing us to be vulnerable to succumbing to the latest fads and norms of materialistic living. Instagram and Snapchat especially make us feel the need to one-up each other on our...
Empowered Activity and Exercise

Empowered Activity and Exercise

By Caroline Best (student intern) and Alex Raymond, RD,LD. My fun fact about myself during first week of class icebreakers is that I play on Virginia Tech women’s ultimate frisbee team ( a second fun fact is that I absolutely hate icebreakers). I’m met with a range of responses from “cool” to “is that like the disc golf thing?”.  Ultimate is sort of a mix between soccer and football played with a disc. My first semester of college a friend brought me to a practice, the girls seemed cool and I was a nervous freshman who wanted to make friends so I decided to try it. Now here we are four years later. This brings me to my topic for the post: the way society addresses the role exercise is “supposed” to play in our lives and how screwed up these messages are. I brought up ultimate to introduce this topic because the idea for this blog popped into my head after my team’s  tournament a few weeks ago. The theme of the tournament was building women’s ultimate and it was such a fun weekend.  There was lots of team bonding , running around on a beautiful fall day, working on skills, and badass women playing ultimate.Only on the drive home did I realize “I am so sore,  I didn’t realize how much work my body did this weekend!   I had been enjoying myself so much I actually forgot I was moving my body differently that I normally do AND THIS IS HOW SOCIETY SHOULD LEARN TO APPROACH EXERCISE. Exercise is very much portrayed as a necessary chore...
Instagram and Mental Health

Instagram and Mental Health

By Caroline Best, Student Intern Instagram is such a huge part of our culture. There’s no way around it. I can guarantee you know at least one person with an account.  This popular app is used for photo sharing. Newsfeeds filled with photos from family, friends, peers, and even strangers.  Looking at pictures of people’s dinner, or dog, or a party seems fun, and definitely harmless. However, a new consideration with the rise of popularity with this app is how looking at these photos impacts our mental health. If you’re like me you scroll through your newsfeed before you go to bed (or when you wake up, or on your lunch break, ect.) almost daily. Checking social media accounts easily becomes part of a routine. I know I’ve definitely had uncomfortable feelings while doing this. Moments where I’m lying around doing absolutely nothing looking at photos where everyone looks fantastic and is out doing fun things in fun places.  And it doesn’t feel great. This sort of discomfort is a real and studied thing. Researchers at Concordia University in St. Paul, Minnesota found a direct connection between regular Instagram use and lowered self esteem/ body image in women in their teens. So let’s talk about WHY something seemingly harmless and even enjoyable – scrolling through Instagram for 10 minutes when you’re relaxing – can actually have such negative effects. Think about it- I know when I post a photo it’s the best photo from whatever event I’m sharing. The photo with the best lighting. Where I look like I’m having the most fun. I think many people follow this...

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