Tuesday, May 16, 2017

To The Women Who Gained Weight In College


To The Women Who Gained Weight In College: A blog post by Kenia Calderon:

This is for all the women who are learning to love themselves after gaining weight.

I love seeing women show their before and after pictures after losing their unwanted weight. However, I think we also need to see women show their progress in other forms of self love.

Over the past three years I’ve gained more weight than ever before. At the beginning I hated the way I was starting to look, but at the time I could do nothing about it. My battle with depression had returned, and I was busy with school, work, and meetings from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. I was too busy keeping myself sane and alive. 
My health continued to deteriorate. I’d never been one to eat extreme amounts of junk food so it was clear this was something much bigger than I could handle on my own.

At first, comments like “oh, you look different,” “you seem a little chunkier lately,” and my favourite one, “I have a diet you could try,” made me feel insecure and ashamed. .....

Continue reading



Friday, May 12, 2017

France bans 'unrealistic' beauty




A new law means that French models will have to have a doctor's certificate detailing their body mass index (BMI), which compares weight in relation to height health.

The French health ministry has stated that the objective behind the law is to confront head on, the issues of eating disorders and inaccessible ideals of beauty. Anorexia affects between 30,000 to 40,000 people in France, 90% of whom are women.

In addition digitally altered photos will need to be clearly labelled from 1 October. Manipulated images
(where a model's appearance has been altered) must be marked ‘photographie retouchée’ (English: retouched photograph).

Regarding BMI, the new law does not set a yes/no criteria, instead it put the onus on doctors to decide whether a model is too thin; taking into account their weight, age, and body shape.

Employers breaking the law could face fines of up to 75,000 euros (£63,500; $82,000) and up to six months in jail.

"Exposing young people to normative and unrealistic images of bodies leads to a sense of self-depreciation and poor self-esteem that can impact health-related behaviour," said France's Minister of Social Affairs and Health, Marisol Touraine, in a statement on the matter.

France’s legislation on underweight models follows similar laws in Italy, Spain and Israel.



Monday, May 08, 2017

Embracing being 7ft 7

Paul Sturgess from Loughborough is officially Britain's tallest man. He is also in the Guinness book of records for being the tallest professional basketball player (five years), which has given him opportunities to play with the World famous Harlem Globetrotters (three years).

Standing 7 foot 7 (and a little bit) tall, Paul weighs 25 stones and eats approximately 7000 calories a day when training. He takes a size 19 shoe which are difficult to source; he is forced to spend time searching for footwear online. Clothes are easier to find as he spends a lot of his time in America, which has a large number of tall people, thus allowing him to buy clothes off the rack. Paul’s associations with basketball have also provided opportunities for team sponsorship; he is sent clothes and other products.

Speaking on ITV’s This Morning Paul said:

“[Some things] are quite difficult for me, but I take the negatives with the positives”.

Apart from shoes, negatives of being 7ft 7 include not been able to drive in the UK (he has been unable to find a driving instructor with a car big enough to take lessons in), going through doorways and showering.

Positives include i) basketball which has allowed him to travel all over the world (38 countries) and America (every state) to play exhibition basketball, ii) being regularly upgraded to business class when travelling on aeroplanes and iii) most people being welcoming and wanting to know about him.

"I am really really proud of who I am”, he said, “and obviously the height makes me that. I'm actually using my height to go into primary schools to do basketball with the kids and assemblies where I talk about anti-bullying and healthy eating. So it's easy for me to use my height to portray a positive message”.

Looking ahead to when his basketball career comes to an end Paul is actively looking at expanding his options and is contemplating acting; he join an agency a few weeks ago.

This is a great example of someone embracing his his/her body and moving forward with a positive attitude.



Wednesday, May 03, 2017

Loose Women -MyBodyMyStory

ITV’s Loose Women have taken a photo wearing swimwear in support of the #MyBodyMyStory  campaign.

The un-airbrushed, unfiltered photograph, taken by singer-songwriter and photographer Bryan Adams, can be seen on billboards around the country. The stated objective behind the image is to encourage women to love their bodies and accept their flaws, whatever their age or size.

Commenting on the project Bryan Adams said: “It was a funny thing to get a call and be asked to do this… and what I thought was interesting about the brief was, they wanna be natural, they don't want any retouching, and they want it to be real, and I thought, ‘Ok! that sounds really good!’ So the fact that all of the women were all being really honest about how they are, I thought, ‘Well that's great.’”

Comments from some of the Loose Women featured in the photograph include:

Host Andrea McLean: “I hope people see the pictures for what they are; real women, not edited or airbrushed, letting their body tell their story. Since the shoot my confidence has really increased.”

Nadia Sawalha: “I have wasted more time than I can to think of over my body issues. I’ve always hated being naked. I felt quite panic stricken at the thought of getting my body out in front of myself never mind a rock god! Stepping into the studio in my bra and pants was beyond cringe. There I was stretch marks, cellulite and all the battle scars of life for all to see with the knowledge that there would be zero airbrushing.”

Janet Street-Porter spoke of her part in the pictures. She explained: “It’s really important to do this campaign because I want women all over Britain to learn to love their body. Our bodies are brilliant – it’s your weapon!”

Coleen Nolan revealed: “I hope other women with body shapes like mine feel they can also be proud of themselves - there's no perfect person in the world - we all come in different ages, shapes and sizes and life is too short to spend it hating yourself because you not a size 8 or 21 anymore.”



Monday, April 24, 2017

Different sized women standing next to each other

Georgia Gibbs, 21 and Kate Wasley, 22 are friends. There was nothing unusual or noteworthy about their friendship until a picture they posted of themselves on Instagram received a lot of negative feedback. Why?
Georgia is a size 6 model and is viewed as being fit and healthy. Kate, on the other hand, is a size 16 plus-size model.

The online criticism was aimed at Georgia, accusing her of posting a photoshopped picture of herself next Kate so that she would look slimmer and my implication, making Kate look worse.

“The response shocked us both,” Gibbs said.
“People calling Kate overweight, and me too skinny. We realized people aren’t used to seeing two different sized women standing next to each other.”

Speaking on ITV’s This Morning Kate said it was ridiculous that people assumed she should feel bad posing next to her slimmer friend, as the models called on women to 'quit the comparison'.

'Why should I [feel bad]?' Kate asked. 'But that's what people are thinking, because everyone is so obsessed with looking the best on social media”.

“Society’, responded Georgia, “has a little bit of an issue with two girls two different sizes being next to each other, and the thing is we want to make it a norm. We've never looked at ourselves as different, so why should anyone else?”

In response to their unexpected notoriety, the two women
have created an Instagram account called Any Body Co.

Kate said it was inspired by how 'shocked' people were at seeing her and Georgia next to each other, adding they want to encourage women to stop being 'so hard on ourselves'.

'Our whole thing now is to be who you are. Our intention is to encourage all women to quit the comparison.
'Individuality is something that should be celebrated, healthy bodies come in different shapes and sizes.'



Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Teens preoccupied with how they look

The new series of BBC1’s Child Of Our Time, hosted by Professors Tanya Byron and Robert Winston aired last week.

In the first episode they looked at the effects of biology and technology on the body image of modern teenagers.

Professor Winston stated: “All our teenagers are more concerned about the way they look and their body image than they ever were as children”.

When the teens were 7 years old, the BBC asked them what they felt about their bodies. They were shown a set of images and asked to select the one that was most like them. They were then asked if they would prefer to look like one of the other images. On the whole, the children were happy with their body.

However, at 16 the teenagers are now much more critical of their appearance. Unlike when they were 7, given the choice most of them would prefer a different body”. The teen’s body image comments included:

'I would like to be taller, less fat.'
‘ I would prefer myself with a slimmer frame'.
‘I am a bit too skinny, I would just like to be able to put on a bit more weight. Being called anorexic is not too great'.

Most people recognize the fact that teenagers tend to be self-conscious. Science now points to a particular change in the teenage brain. In experiments with adults and teenagers, an adult brains shows little activity when asked to think about being judged by others, while teenagers show a huge amount of activity. The part of the brain of interest is called the Prefrontal Cortex; it is associated with how we perceive others and how we think others perceive us. During the teenage years, the Prefrontal Cortex undergoes enormous changes, resulting in a preoccupation in what teenagers think others think about them.

Alongside brain changes; technological change, social media in particular, has created an environment where teens are constantly posting selfies online, which are then judged by others. This effects, significantly in many cases, teenage body image and confidence.

“The combination of a world obsessed with selfies and a brain extra sensitive to the judgment of others”, concluded Professor Winston, “means that it is no surprise that today's teens are preoccupied with how they look”.



Thursday, April 06, 2017

'Apprehensive about taking my wig off'

Victoria Derbyshire has posted a video diary titled 'Taking my wig off'. In the video she expresses her feelings about her hair, wig, cancer and body image”

“Okay, so it's time to stop wearing a wig, which I have been wearing since December 2015, since I had chemotherapy for breast cancer treatment.

“Probably about ½ my hair maybe ¾ of my hair fell out as a result of the treatment. I have to say losing my hair was the worst bit about cancer treatment for me; more so then having a mastectomy. Don't judge me for that, it's just the way I felt. I am grateful to this wig actually, because it helped me get on with things, go to work, live my life normally without worry, it is time for it to go”.

[Victoria takes of her wig]

“This is my new hair, this is about 12 months growth since chemo finished and it's come back as thick as it was if not thicker; as shiny as it was, slightly more 'ringlety' than it was before, but I am actually apprehensive about taking my wig off, because this is not me. I know it doesn't really matter what my hair looks like, the point is this, if proof was needed, once chemotherapy is complete your hair does grow back. When you're in some of those dark moments during chemo, you do doubt that, as irrational and absurd as that sounds.

“Your body does slowly renew itself once chemo is complete and there is something really optimistic about that."



Friday, March 31, 2017

Acne affects teenage confidence

Acne affects approximately 80% of teenagers aged 13-18 years. Despite acne being commonplace, a British Skin Foundation (BSF) study (10-18 year-olds) found that teenagers with acne are often on the receiving end of bullying, by friends, family and strangers.

The BSF survey of teens with acne found that, due to their acne:

• 62% have experienced verbal abused by friends, family or a person they knew
• 40% have been verbally abused by a member of the public
• 46% reported being bullied regularly
• 19% have contemplated suicide due to their acne, with another 4% actually attempting suicide
• 19% have considered self-harm and a further 16% have actually self-harmed

On a more positive note 48% relied on their family for support.

Regarding an acne remedy, 52% have tried five or more acne treatments.

BFS’s Dr Mahto’s tips for tackling acne by include:
• Cleanse your face twice a day with a face wash designed for acne-prone skin. Products that contain salicylic acid and zinc may be beneficial. Exfoliate your skin weekly, this will remove the upper layer of skin cells, resulting in a brighter complexion and help reduce blackheads
• Try over the counter acne treatments such as benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid to apply directly onto spots
• Avoid heavy cosmetics and products that will block pores and choose items that are oil-free and non-comedogenic
• See your GP or a dermatologist if your acne fails to respond to these measures, if you notice scarring, or it is starting to affect your self-esteem

Source: British Skin Foundation



Friday, March 17, 2017

Magazine covers - A whole new place to go to

 Daniel Wheeler’s muscular physique following successfully losing (and keeping off) 8 stones earned him the coveted place on the front page of Men’s Fitness magazine.

Daniel explained (on Channel 4 Super Slimmers – Did they really keep the weight off?) the difficulties associated with achieving and maintaining his picture perfect muscular form.

“My mind-set at the time when I lost the majority of weight was kind of obsessive and addictive.

“A lot of people wont realise this, but in order to get that magazine shot, although you may look pleasing to the eyes, because of the abs and pecs and all that type of jaz, its a whole new place to go to; from a physical prospective it’s just disgusting. So any guy you see on the front cover, they’ve had to diet for months and months to achieve that spot like physique; which maybe they could hold for a couple of weeks and then they have got to let go of it.

“Dieting to low body fat levels is incredibly difficult, mind-set wise, because the body doesn’t want to lose that fat. You know, body fat is a protective mechanism, its an energy source and survival tool; and it doesn’t want to let go or it. So it does everything it possibly can not to get rid of it.”



Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Scales removed from fitness centre


Carleton University (Canada) has removed scales from the campus fitness centre “in keeping with current fitness and social trends” aimed at people with a special sensitivity to learning their weight.

“Scales are very triggering,” Carleton University freshman Samar El Faki posted to Facebook in support of the decision. “I think people are being insensitive because they simply don’t understand. They think eating disorders are a choice when they are actually a serious illness.”

The college’s athletics manager, Bruce Marshall, explained the decision in an email: “We don’t believe being fixated on weight has any positive affect on your health and well-being. The body is an amazing machine and even when we are dieting and training it will often find a homeostasis at a certain weight. It takes weeks, even months to make a permanent change in your weight. So why obsess about it. Why not look at other indicators?”

Speaking on CBC Marshall suggested an alternative way (than weight) to measure health and fitness.

“Although it (scale) can be used as a tool to help measure certain aspects of fitness it does not provide a good overall indication of health and here at athletics we have chosen to move away from focusing solely on bodyweight. ”

“If you need a number to focus on in regard to reaching certain fitness goals we suggest using girth measurements. You can start by recording measurements in multiple areas, for example your torso, hips, chest, legs and arms. You would then revisit these measurements after a few weeks to keep tabs on your progress.”

Students and many others criticised the decision, a number went online to publicise their feelings.

“This is absolutely ridiculous,” Eduardo Platas posted to Facebook with a link to The Charlatan story. “Why is society becoming stupidly sensitive? So #Carleton gym removed the scale so that people won't be offended by the measurement it provides. Novel concept, don't step on the scale".

Aaron Bens, a communications student at Carleton, posted that he was “frustrated” by the “next escalation of trigger culture” and offered a common sense solution.

“We stand up for free speech and defend the books that offend certain people because of their merits. They can simply choose not to read them,” he wrote. “This is the same thing. Those who are offended by the scale can simply choose not to use the scale. Certain athletes like boxers and rowers rely on those measurements, for them (the scale) is vital,” he wrote.

Other comments were harsher. The fierce backlash has forced the college to revisit their ruling to remove the scales.

“We will weigh the pros and cons and may reconsider our decision,” Marshall said.


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