Tag Archives: eating disorders

Run The World: Kathleen Hassan On Women’s Power Source

By Jillian Martin, Editorial Intern
Photos: AMY RADER PHOTOGRAPHER

Last month, Teen Voices participated in NEDAwareness week, held by the National Eating Disorder Association. At the same time, the Mother Caroline Academy and Education Center mentor program held a self-esteem-building event featuring “Confidence Coach” Kathleen Hassan. The school’s gymnasium was packed with middle-school students, their parents, and their mentors and Beyonce’s girl power single “Run The World (Girls),” which kicked off the event.

Hassan teaches the girls where their power comes from: positive thoughts.

“There are girls in this room who feel like they’re not good enough,” Hassan began. “Some are starving themselves. Some would do anything to fit in.”

At this event, Hassan inspired the audience, teaching them where their power comes from—not from putting others down to build yourself up, and not from the media, which sexualizes women and portrays an unattainable image of perfection.

According to Hassan, 85 percent of women and girls have felt worse about themselves after looking at a fashion magazine and 86 percent of self-talk (thoughts) is negative. This happens because, to their detriment, many women and girls today tend to seek their worthiness and confidence from outside forces.

As a healthier model, Hassan teaches girls to get their power from within, instead of from the media, by choosing love over fear. She said, “Thoughts become things… wanted or not.” We emit energy with our thoughts; if they are negative, we will attract negative people and situations, and the energies will feed off each other, becoming more and more negative. On the flip side, if we emit positive and powerful energies, we attract powerful and positive people.

Negative images and energies infiltrate the thoughts of all young girls, but Hassan said we all have an emotional guide system that gives us the tools to “recalculate” those thoughts to something positive.

Hassan taught the audience two strategies to recalculate and achieve. Give them a try so that you, too, can feel confident and worthy and choose love over fear.

Soerny Cruz, a graduate from the program, "achieves" in the final part of the Body Prayer.

The first, Hassan calls a “body prayer.” She called four girls with big dreams to the stage to help out. The first girl was “dream,” and she laid her head in her hands. The next was “believe,” and she held her hands over her heart. The third was “receive,” and she held her hands out open to take in the positive energies. The final girl was “achieve,” and she flexed her arms, showing strength. Within minutes, Hassan had the entire auditorium dreaming, believing, receiving, and achieving.

The second strategy is the use of affirmations. Hassan suggested that everyone pick one affirmation from the list that she showed (these short sayings were accompanied by inspiring photos and the melodic voice of Bruno Mars singing “You’re amazing, just the way you are”) and repeat it every day for a month, as it takes a month to create a new habit. Here are just a few of the affirmations:

  • I choose LOVE over FEAR
  • I am fit, strong, and healthy
  • Peace begins with me
  • Happiness is a choice
  • I am strong

Readmore about NEDAwareness week and Teen Voices’ Artist of the Month Contest and vote on the March art—March’s theme was “Beauty is More than Skin Deep.” Learnmore about Mother Caroline’s adult education, shining star, and mentoring programs, including events and how to get involved.

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Beauty is More Than Skin Deep

By Kate Szumita, Editorial Intern

Art by Mary Davis, 15
Pennsylvania

In the United States, it is estimated that more than 10 million people of all ages struggle with the adverse effects of eating disorders every day. While the causes of these disorders vary, the effects are potentially fatal, and the National Eating Disorders Association is determined to help eliminate, or at least reduce this statistic.

The National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) is a non-profit organization dedicated to the prevention and access to treatment of disorders such as anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating. It strives to support affected individuals and their families and at the same time combat the causes. NEDA hopes to remove the stigma surrounding eating disorders through community-conscious activism.

For the past 25 years, NEDA has facilitated NEDAwareness Week, the collaboration of volunteers and experts in the fields of health, medicine, and social work seeking to create a nationally recognized support system. NEDAwareness week was last week, February 26th to March 3, and it helped spread the word that eating disorders are not a choice, but a disease, and there is help available. This year’s theme was “Everybody Knows Somebody.” Whether it’s you or someone you know who has battled an eating disorder, or if it’s something you’ve learned about and want to get behind the cause, NEDA wants your help in raising awareness of this widespread illness. Last year’s NEDAwareness Week recruited a record-breaking number of supporters spanning from all 50 states and 29 countries throughout the world

Like NEDA, Teen Voices wants you to love your body! In recognition of our proud partnership with NEDA, March’s theme for our Artist of the Month Contest is “Beauty is More than Skin Deep.” With the media’s perpetuation of the airbrushed, size-zero body as the standard for perfection, we realize that it can be hard to remember to “love the skin you’re in.” We’re dedicating the month of March to healthy bodies, healthy habits, and healthy attitudes in the hopes of raising awareness of body image and self-esteem issues and preventing eating disorders. Help us challenge unrealistic beauty standards and celebrate the things that make us unique—even the things we might consider “flaws.” Each month’s Artist of the Month Contest winner will be eligible to win Artist of the Year, with the prize of a full scholarship, including room and board, to the Pre-College Summer Art Studio in Boston a the School of the Museum of Fine Arts.

Find out how you can get involved with NEDA, participate in upcoming events, or contribute to our art contest in support of healthy, beautiful minds and bodies.

Pass the Mashed Potatoes? Eating Disorders and the Holidays

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By Carolyn Schweitzer, Editorial Intern

Photo by Christina McCafferty, 18, Massachusetts

The holiday season, though “the most wonderful time of the year,” can also be the most stressful. As  a teen, besides end-of-the-semester schoolwork, there may also be trips to plan, cards to send, parties to attend, and presents to buy, not to mention the colder weather! Holidays can really take a toll on all of us, but this time of year can be especially difficult for those who struggle with eating disorders.

According to the Eating Recovery Center of Denver, Colorado, more than 11 million Americans struggle with an eating disorder. Major life events, such as leaving home for college, can cause those who are genetically predisposed to having eating disorders to develop them for the first time. In fact, the average age at which an eating disorder first develops is 19. The pressures of living away from home, class work, making new friends, and all around stress can trigger these unhealthy habits in some students. Approximately 10% of women in college are estimated to have an eating disorder.

Families and loved ones often don’t realize that their loved one has developed an eating disorder or may be at risk for one until they come home for the holidays. It’s important to be aware of how new college students are dealing with stress and of any possible problems that might have developed.

The Eating Recovery Center recently outlined five important warning signs that families and friends should keep in mind over winter break.

  1. Noticeable weight loss or weight gain since he or she entered college.
  2. Helping with the preparation of holiday meals but not eating them.
  3. Excessive exercise, even outdoors in poor winter weather conditions.
  4. Withdrawal from family and friends and avoidance of gatherings, even if he or she has not seen loved ones for months.
  5. Discussing college in a “stressed out” or obviously anxious manner or altogether avoiding conversations about school.

If you do notice any warning signs, set aside some time to talk to your friend or family member in a private place. Even if he or she denies any problems, be sure they know that you’re there for them. Showing someone with disordered eating that you care is important before, after, and during treatment. If someone does need professional help, be informed about the counseling services available on campus and nearby treatment programs that specialize in eating disorders. Asking for help is hard to do, but you can make it easier for them by simply being there.

During the holiday season, it’s easy to get wrapped up (pun intended!) in everything you have to do. But take some time out of your busy holiday schedule this year to check in with all of your friends and family. Let them know that you care. Keep in mind that early treatment is the best way to combat eating disorders and reach out now!

To learn more about eating disorders and what you can do to help, visit:

The National Eating Disorders Association:

http://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/

Eating Recovery Center: http://www.eatingrecoverycenter.com/