“It is a given I am beautiful because I am alive”
I heard these words for the first time on Tuesday from Kathleen MacDonald’s presentation on eating disorders and healthy body image as part of Herstory month. After 20 years of struggling with an eating disorder, Kathleen is now fully healed and an advocate for those still struggling through her work at the Gail R. Schoenbach Foundation for Recovery and Elimination of Eating Disorders (FREED Foundation) .
This simple yet profound phrase has since changed my outlook. I find myself repeating them constantly throughout the day, and you know what? I feel happier, I feel freer, and I feel more beautiful. Perhaps this lesson is obvious for those of you out there with wonderful and healthy body images, but it wasn’t for me.
While I am generally comfortable with my body, eat healthy, and exercise, I have simultaneously kept a menta list of things I would change. As I would get dressed in the morning, I would think things like “ugh bloated today” or “need to work off that dessert I had.” Really positive messages to tell myself first thing in the morning, right WRONG! But when Kathleen asked those in the audience if they have ever wanted to change something about their bodies, every single person raised their hand.
How about instead of thinking we should look like some certain “ideal,” we try to start focusing on the beauty of being alive?
So, repeat after me: “It is a given I am beautiful because I am alive!”
Alive and Beautiful
You can learn more about Kathleen’s work here: http://freedfoundation.org/
Eating disorders are a serious medical condition that weigh heavily on those they affect. However, there is a lot of support on campus for those who are suffering or know someone suffering from an eating disorder. Please reach out to The Bridge or CAPS for peer counseling or professional counseling services. There are also nutritionists available at Vaden to help you build an eating plan that fits your life. Or, if it is more comfortable, reach out to your RA or PHE.
The Women’s Community Center Staff is always here to help support you and direct you towards appropriate campus resources. You are not alone in your struggle, though sometimes it may feel that way.