Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Colleges fighting eating disorders

This month many students are returning to their classrooms. I was happy to read this week that many colleges and universities are shedding light on eating disorders, working to promote a healthy body image and provide support for students who are struggling with body image.

Here are 11 examples of special projects colleges around the country are doing their part to ensure students are getting the support they need to maintain a healthy body image:

1) Life size barbie: In April I talked about the Real Barbie Campaign. One student in New York actually made a life-size Barbie doll to illustrate the icon’s ridiculous proportions.

2) Alternative treatments: Yoga and relaxation solutions are integrated into other on campus activities to help those at risk to learn to develop a healthy sense of self and self-care.

3) Healthy body image fashion shows

4) Healthy Living Awareness: i.e. Body Appreciation Weeks

5) Removing calorie information: Harvard University found that those at risk for eating disorders were placing so much emphasis on calories and food values they removed nutritional information index cards from dining halls.

6)Sorority Body Image program: In order to challenge their stereotypes and change the perception of the thin ideal, students and sorority sisters at Trinity University in Texas have come together to share eating disorder prevention on their college campus and beyond.

7) Recovery art: The University of the Sciences's "The Art of Recovery" art display is therapy for the women who create it, and inspiring for those who view and appreciate it.

8) The Body Project: Inspired by Dove’s campaign for Real Beauty, Bradley University students posed for photos shared on campus and posted on the Body Project website

9)Fighting the thin ideal

10) Project Heal: The project is designed to give those who are suffering from eating disorders the money they need to complete the expensive treatment.

11) Healty Dining halls: Penn State has banished fried food and simple carbohydrates including white bread.

For more information, visit

Saturday, August 27, 2011

A children’s book about dieting?

“Maggie Goes on a Diet” aimed at 4-8 year olds about dieting for kids hits book stores in October.
Paul Kramer’s tale follows Maggie on her journey from being an overweight teen to a normal sized teen turned accomplished athlete. Known for writing books that address the issues children face today, this read is not without controversy. The premise is promising—the development of self confidence and positive body image through exercise and hard work.

But does it send the wrong message—emphasizing DIETING instead of healthy food choices?

Carolyn Becker, a professor of psychology at Trinity University in San Antonio who developed Reflections Body Image Program says the book misses its mark. "They are trying to promote healthier behavior, but at the same time they're likely promoting weight stigma," says Becker.

And not all reviews have been negative-- Fox News contributing psychiatrist Keith Ablow, commends the character for "taking charge of her nutritional status, her weight and her life.

For more on this debate, visit Time magazine online at

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Royal Thin-spiration

Last March I brought up the topic of pro-ana sites.

I was accused of having information that was out of date but I stand by what I have come to understand about these communities. A spokesman for UK eating disorders organization Beat concurs. "They frequently encourage people to believe that eating disorders are a lifestyle choice and not the serious mental illness that they truly are.”

Now the websites are making waves as Kate Middleton has emerged as an unlikely “role model” on the websites… “thin-spiration.” And the press isn’t helping—their angle on the Duchess has quickly gone from fairly tale to weight loss.

They’re eeeeverywhere—split screen photos of Kate in college (at a size 8) and at her wedding to now (at a size 2). Ok, as a friend to a few newlyweds, I’ve seen the diet and workout routines ‘regular’ brides endure to get in the best shape possible for their nuptials. But once life returns to normal, it’s likely these brides will gain the weight back.

While this doesn’t mean that Kate has an eating disorder, it does suggest that those who do look up to her. She is being heralded as a “success story” on these websites.

The Herald Sun reports that “she’ll be horrified that she is on these sites. Yes, she has lost weight but that’s largely down to the stress she has been under and all the travelling she has done recently.”

For the story, go to

For more information on Beat and the support services they provide in the UK visit them at

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Innovators of the Year

During my reign, I had the pleasure of working with a number of organizations throughout the state, most notably the Girl Scouts of Central Maryland and The Children's Guild. I was thrilled to read in the Daily Record that the CEOs of both companies, Traci Barnett and Andy Ross are being honored as the 2011 recipients of the Innovator of the Year award.


"Innovators are people with vision. With the ability to see a need and fill it. With the courage to make change and the stamina to await the results."

Join the Daily Record on October 26, 2011 at the American Visionary Arts Museum honor Maryland to celebrate these individuals and more who have had a positive effect and tremendous impact in Maryland.

For more event information, visit the Daily Record online at

Monday, August 22, 2011

“Being Pretty Powerful is Much Bigger Than Beauty”

Another reason to love Bobbi Brown other than her fun cosmetics line? She is answering a claaaaassic pageant question-- how do you define beauty? – with a campaign she launched last year called “Pretty Powerful.”

Brown believes that “beauty comes in all ages, colors, shapes and sizes. It's not about looking like someone else or trying to be someone you're not. It's about figuring out what works for you...It's about confidence and the path you take to achieve it.”

Ultimately, she encourages women to be who they are—it’s simple advice yet too often I even have a hard time remembering it. It took years to stop fighting the body I had and appreciate it.

To learn more about Bobbi’s work visit Pretty Powerful online at She is asking 30 women to share their stories behind their one-of-a-kind looks and sense of confidence.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Parenting Magazine article: Tweens and Anorexia

Margaret Renkl of Parenting Magazine writes that the “average age for the onset of anorexia used to be 13 to 17. Now it's 9 to 12, and children as young as 7 have been diagnosed.” Considering I was not yet 12 when I started showing signs of disordered eating... I can’t say that I’m surprised by this trend.

“A 7 year old announces that she's become a vegetarian... Then she starts eating less and less of her food. When her parents bring her into treatment, she is emaciated but pinches a tiny amount of flesh between her thumb and forefinger to illustrate "how fat" she really is.” Guilty.

The article goes on to comment that “Our culture serves up such a vast smorgasbord of body judgments, is it any wonder that so many kids are unhappy with the way they look?” If only it were that easy.

Truth is…the majority of young people will probably never develop an eating disorder but there is cause for concern in the increase in dieting and caloric restriction across the country that is unhealthy and a trigger for eating disorders.

And while I can't wait to be a parent someday I realize that for this reason, helping a child build self esteem and being a healthy role model, and so many others it is the most challenging and important job I'll ever have.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Good fortune

I'm not sure how or when this game actually started but everytime I get a fortune cookie, I shoot a picture of the message on my cell and forward it on to my friend Derek and vice versa. Considering I had bought a whole box of cookies last week, I saved him the barrage of text messages and sent him just one. TMI. Anyway, tonight I opened my last fortune which said "be happy, you have overcome many challenges."

JUST when I was feeling stressed, overwhelmed and just not good enough, I was reminded (albeit by a silly cookie) that yes, I have overcome many challenges, and even on my worst day...there is always something to smile about.

Looking forward to a serious spa day this weekend. :Sigh:

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Love Your Tree Call for Posters

The Center for Eating Disorders at Sheppard Pratt invites Maryland middle school and high school students to participate in the 6th annual Love Your Tree Call for Posters until December 16, 2011.

Original poster designs should respond to the statement "Like a Tree, My Body is..."

Love your Tree is a creative arts program that promotes positive body image. It is based on the work of writer Eve Ensler. In her Play, "The Good Body" Eve speaks to a woman that compares the natural beauty of trees to the female body. She urges Eve to stop hating her body and appreciate the diversity of all body shapes.

Last year's winning poster was created by Katherine Dunklee of Mount de Sales Academy and unveiled at the Love Your Tree art exhibit and awards ceremony this past February. During the ceremony the artists and their teachers were recognized for promoting positive body image through their art work.

For more information, visit the Center for Eating Disorders at Sheppard Pratt website

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Tune in to Foodnetwork!

And when my two loves combine (pageantry and sweets) you have... Miss USA at Cupcake Wars. Tune in tonight at 8!

There was a 60th birthday in Vegas the weekend of Miss USA and the Foodnetwork enlisted the bakers at the Cupcake Wars to outfit the celebration with their best treats.

In the first round, the contestants had to use traditionally Lebanese ingredients to honor Rima's heritage-- including rose water, sesame, honey, pistachios and other middle eastern flavors.

The round two challenge required that the bakers make and decorate their cupcakes in All-American way.

And in the end, an inventive display featuring the Miss USA logo atop 1,000 treats won over a more predictable table (although in their defense, it had a spinning crown on top that was well executed).

Sweet dreams!