Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Can Emotions Predict Eating Disorders?

A new paper analyses emotional characteristics including the way in which negative emotions are dealt with and emotional expression, the main objective being to construct an 'emotional profile' of women at risk from succumbing to eating disorders, as well as those already suffering.

The paper states there is a greater risk of developing an eating disorder when emotions are influenced by low self esteem, anxiety, acting on impulse and when emotions are not expressed.


I personally believe that there is a need to address where these emotions are coming from in the first place - what is driving them? Is there a deeper issue that needs to be addressed?

In addition, could it help us to explore the emotionality of the individual i.e. the observable and physiological components of their emotions. For example, someone who is anxious would experience an elevated heart rate and perspiration, as well as the more obvious signs of talking quickly or stammering. Could this provide more clues as to whether or not an individual is capable of expressing emotion, and if so, could this lead to establishing mechanisms to encourage self expression?

Creative outlets such as writing, drawing or movement through yoga or dance, are a wonderful way to express feelings and emotions, and help expel negativity, in a non confrontational manner.

Perhaps if self expression as a method of dealing with negative emotion, was encouraged from a young age, adolescents would have more confidence asserting themselves if they feel angry or hurt or sad, and the incidence of self destructive behaviours such as anorexia and bulimia, would diminish.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Who Magazine & Positive Body Image

This week's issue of Who magazine profiled a handful of celebrities who shared how they've triumphed over body image issues.

From 25 year old Jennifer Hawkins, who admits to having a 'love-hate' relationship with her body, however, says "if you're healthy and you feel good, then that's all that matters", to Danni Minogue, 37, who says "I hope, for the sake of younger girls, that there will be a time when it's accepted that we're all different shapes".

Kate Ceberano, 42, says that becoming a mother helped the singer to value her shape " I was a hottie when I was in my 20s but I thought I looked disgusting. At that time I was very disappointed that I didn't look the way I wanted to, but now I'm able to focus on the things I do like".

It's refreshing to see a mainstream magazine promoting awareness of positive body image, and celebrities speaking out about overcoming their struggles with the way their bodies looked.

In an age where society tends to sensationalise the "stick thin" concept, and brand celebrities with the dreaded 'F' word if they aren't cutting it as a size zero, this kind of feature goes a long way in helping young adults accept themselves as they are.

I personally feel that we need to nurture teens and young adults, and encourage self acceptance so they feel a sense of confidence that evolves with maturity. This can only be achieved by creating positive role models who in turn have a positive impact on the younger generation.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Crack Team to Lift Teen Esteem

A new national advisory group chaired by former Cosmopolitan editor and Fairfax columnist Mia Freedman has been formed to educate teens about positive body image.

The advisory group also includes the Minister for Youth and Sport, Kate Ellis, and Sarah Murdoch, host of Australia's Next Top Model, who is also a Bonds model. Ms Murdoch is keen to change the 'thin is beautiful' mentality. "This is the perfect time now for us to get involved at a government level, the fashion industry, with researchers … and work out how can we progress this even further and put more positive images out there," Ms Murdoch said in the article that appeared in today's Sydney Morning Herald.

This is a brilliant initiative and one that I, as an author and public speaker on the topic of positive body image and eating disorders, wholeheartedly support

To read the article, go here:


Sunday, March 1, 2009

Yoga - A New Way To Promote Recovery

A 2005 study in the journal 'Psychology of Women Quarterly' found that women who routinely engage in a mind-body practice like yoga were more satisfied with their body and exhibited less eating disorder symptoms, than women who undertook other aerobic-style exercise.

Yoga is about connecting with yourself - mind, body and spirit. It is self exploration at the heart level.

One of the things I actively encourage people who are trying to let go of their eating disorder to do, is listen to the voice that speaks from their heart. This is the voice that honours who we are deep inside, and the voice of self love. The more attention you pay to this voice, the louder it becomes until it drowns out the negative voices that attempt to perpetuate the eating disorder.

Yoga is a wonderful way to connect with your heart whilst falling in love with your body. Yoga’s magical ability to allow us to tune in with our inner self is a powerful shift in how we see ourselves, and an integral part of the journey to recovery.

Read more here: