Hey women heeeey! I’m Moriah, an Intuitive Eating Nutritionist who specializes in overcoming disordered eating, and today I want to talk about body image/disordered eating, as well as an exciting opportunity we have here at GRRRL! I don’t know about you, but I can still remember comments that were made to me about my body when I was 5 and 8 years old--very specific comments that reinforced the fact that my body wasn’t anything like the appearance ideal, and my body was wrong because of it. These comments stuck with me forever and fuelled my body hate and disordered eating. I wish I had a program like this when I was younger, to prevent the disordered eating cycle I continued on through my childhood, youth, and young adulthood. Body Image There is a very strong link between body image and disordered eating/eating disorders. People who experience body dissatisfaction are far more likely to develop disordered eating or an ED in a pursuit to change that body (NEDA). Today, kids younger than 7 are developing body image issues (University of South Australia) and some research suggests that girls as young as three years old are already concerned about their bodies (PACEY). GRRRL has been active in helping women develop body acceptance since its inception. Now, with how pervasive diet culture is in the media and in society at large, it’s important for us to take action to prevent poor body image and disordered eating while our kids are young. Kids are getting at least 5 hours of screen time these days and the media’s portrayal of the appearance ideal is unavoidable. It’s no surprise that kids & youth are becoming obsessed with trying to look like these ideals and developing eating disorders because of it (Morris & Katzman). One of the ways we can help let go of this obsession with the appearance ideal is to help our youth shift their focus away from how their bodies look and learn to find value in themselves outside of their appearance. Appearance vs. Health It’s important to note that letting go of the appearance ideal does not mean letting go of health. When we talk about the appearance ideal, we are talking about doing everything you can to attain the unrealistic beauty standards that are perpetuated by the media and in society. People often develop extremely disordered behaviors in order to achieve this ideal, because nothing else matters as long as you’re thin. Alternatively, shifting your focus away from what your body looks like and instead focusing on health allows you to develop behaviors that make you feel good. The culture that feeds us the appearance ideal doesn’t care about your health. Health has nothing to do with appearance; it looks different on everyone. We Need Action It’s time we start changing the narrative. We need to teach our youth that their value is not found in their appearance. That they are so much more than their bodies. That they can learn to accept their bodies and pursue health just as they are. Half of our youth are at risk of developing an eating disorder and that statistic is only getting worse. The time for change is now. The Body Project As you may remember, last year GRRRL partnered with NEDA to bring you The Body Project, an evidence-based program to prevent eating disorders in young women and help them develop body acceptance. The Body Project has been repeatedly shown to reduce body dissatisfaction and disordered eating, and influences the risk of future onset eating disorders. The activities are designed to help youth resolve cognitive dissonance by challenging the beliefs that have been instilled by diet culture and speaking, writing, and acting in a way that goes against the appearance ideal. It is the most researched and most effective body acceptance intervention/eating disorder prevention program for youth. One trial noted this program to have a 60% reduction in future onset of eating disorders in its participants (Becker & Stice). Over four sessions, the activities in this project will help participants do the following: Define the “appearance ideal” and costs associated with pursuing this ideal Reflect on their past experiences with diet culture and come up with ways to resistance the pursuit of the appearance ideal Challenge personal body concerns and start to develop body acceptance Challenge past behaviors and take action to transform body image Will you join us? If you want to sign up to be a Body Project Facilitator, our next training will be held via Zoom on August 21th & 22th from 9am-1pm PST on both days. Book your ticket in the link below! https://www.grrrl.com/product/grrrl-body-project/ Please share this if you’re ready to join us in sticking it to diet culture and protecting our youth!