Thursday, February 28, 2013

...I Promise

But God can

About A Whale...

I saw this post recently online. Something to think about. A while back, at the entrance of a gym, there was a picture of a very thin and beautiful woman. The caption was "This summer, do you want to be a mermaid or a whale?" The story goes; a woman (of clothing size unknown) answered the following way: "Dear people, whales are always surrounded by friends (dolphins, seals, curious humans), they are sexually active and raise their children with great tenderness. They entertain like crazy with dolphins and eat lots of prawns. They swim all day and travel to fantastic places like Patagonia, the Barents Sea or the coral reefs of Polynesia. They sing incredibly well and sometimes even are on cds. They are impressive and dearly loved animals, which everyone defend and admires. Mermaids do not exist. But if they existed, they would line up to see a psychologist because of a problem of split personality: woman or fish? They would have no sex life and could not bear children. Yes, they would be lovely, but lonely and sad. And, who wants a girl that smells like fish by his side? Without a doubt, I'd rather be a whale. At a time when the media tells us that only thin is beautiful, I prefer to eat ice cream with my kids, to have dinner with my husband, to eat and drink and have fun with my friends. We women, we gain weight because we accumulate so much wisdom and knowledge that there isn't enough space in our heads, and it spreads all over our bodies. We are not fat, we are greatly cultivated. Every time I see my curves in the mirror, I tell myself: "How amazing am I?! "

Who are You? Wanted...

Who are you? You are wanted. Can you believe that reality? The Definition of Wanted is as follows: “To desire something: to feel a need or desire for something; to miss something: to feel the lack of something” Has that been your experience? Your answer to that question is probably “no,” right? If you’ve suffered rejection, bullying or abuse, the word “wanted” has been a much missed word from your life. And, if you’ve struggled with any form of eating disorder and self-injury behavior, you’ve probably tried to cope with that experiential absence, trying to fit in, gain love, stop the pain or simply escape. You probably have received negative results concerning your efforts. Unfortunately, we, as human beings, can be cruel. But that never dictates how God feels about you! God wants you; God desires you… “I have chosen you and have not cast you away.” Isaiah 41:9 He loves you so much, in fact, the often quoted scripture of John 3:16, indeed, applies personally to you! “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16 You may have not had a wanted experience consistently in your life, but Jesus understands your pain; He knew exactly what rejection felt like… “He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.” Isaiah 53:3 You are not alone. You are loved, wanted and thought of by the Most High God! You are that important! Copyright © 2013 by Sheryle Cruse

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Some Sobering Stats...

42% of first-third grade girls want to be thinner. 81% of 10-year-olds are afraid of being fat. In the past decade, hospitalizations for eating disorders increased by 119% for children younger than 12. (stats from NEDA)

Who are You? Planned...

Who are you? You are planned. Do you feel like your life is pointless? Do you know why you’re here? Do you feel like a mistake? Often, in life, we can get presented with so much negative evidence of our existence. You may have had experiences in which someone said hurtful things like “you weren’t planned” and “you were a mistake.” Those kinds of things are painful- and untrue. Let’s look at the definition of planned: “To have as a specific aim or purpose; intend:” How do you reconcile that definition for your own life? You may not feel there’s a deeper meaning to your presence. Perhaps you’ve even thought of and/or attempted suicide. Can you see how intentional God was in creating and planning you and your life? “Your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” Psalm 139:16 Regardless of what negative lies you’ve heard and who you’ve heard it from, the Truth remains; God loves you and intends for your life to count. Your circumstances may not appear to reflect that, but there’s so much more to who you are than any negativity surrounding you. You’re not a mistake; you are intentionally loved and created by an incredible God! He has the blueprint for your life! Celebrate that today! Copyright © 2013 by Sheryle Cruse

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The Secret Ice

There’s a love/hate perspective concerning secrecy. After all, it frequently drives the eating disorder behaviors which can consume our lives. I’ve been looking at the secrecy thing more lately. I see how it can be detrimental; I’ve recently explored and written about its impact on my own family. From one generation to the next, there has always been some kind of forbidden secret, spurring subsequent behavior to cope and/or cover up its existence. The results? It’s been things like addictions, disorders and problematic relationship situations- not the desirable outcomes. Indeed, I’ve also seen how secrecy and shame sparked and fueled my development of anorexia, bulimia, binge overeating and, oh yeah, my bad self and body image. Pretty thorough. Winter reminds me a lot about secrecy. If you live in any winter weather climate like Minnesota, as I do, there’s the power of the secret things just under the snow. It may look peaceful, beautiful, all Currier and Ives on the surface. But the reality? Often, there’s some patches of ice lurking just underneath that beautiful white blanket. And that blanket always seem to be at its most slippery whenever you are wearing shoes with the least amount of traction on them. Yeah. So, you know what happens here. I’m at my most graceful during these times. And, it’s at these times, brought to mind during these snowy- and icy- winter months that I’m reminded of the powerful impact of the secret. Scripture tells us… “There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known.” Luke 12:2 “For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open.” Luke 8:17 “But the LORD said… ‘Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature…for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.’” 1 Samuel 16:7 That includes not only the infamous hidden winter ice, but also our secret behaviors, thoughts and motives as well. Great news, huh? It’s not to make us running screaming across the snowy and icy hills, however. It’s a reality check, to survey our lives. What secrets are we keeping, hiding, lying about, denying and/or struggling with? Last time I checked, with so many of my own life experiences, secrets just don’t heal the situation. But make it worse? Oh yeah! No problem there! God already knows you; He knows ALL ABOUT you! You and I aren’t getting away with anything! Let that be a freedom, not a horror to you. It’s because of God, after all, we are alive and have the blessings we have. “'For in him we live and move and have our being.' As some of your own poets have said, 'We are his offspring.'” Acts 17:28 Remembering that Truth can help us all navigate our own slippery, spiritual, secret ice situations! Don’t let your secrets get the better of you; give them to God and breathe in the Truth- through every season! Copyright © 2013 by Sheryle Cruse

Who are You? Captivating...

Who are you? You are captivating. Do you see yourself that way? Whether or not we realize it, the desire to be captivating is in our lives. Need proof? Check out the makeup and perfume ads, for starters. These ads try to sell us allure. If we don’t have said product, then we’re not captivating. Lie! Check out its definition: “enchanting or irresistible: attracting and holding somebody's attention by charm or other pleasing or irresistible features” Do you feel like that? Most of us, if we’re honest, would probably answer “no” to that question. But check out God’s perspective: “How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand: when I awake, I am still with thee.” Psalm 139:17-8 One of those thoughts, indeed, is Jeremiah 29:11: “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” If God didn’t love us that much, if He didn’t find us that irresistible, then He certainly wouldn’t invest in giving great futures for our lives. He’s constantly at work to create those futures. He’s constantly thinking about what He can do to bless us. He is thinking about us right now. He is our riveted audience right now! You are captivating. You may not feel beautiful alluring or glamorous, but God is besotted with you! “Thou art all fair, my love; there is no spot in thee.” Song of Solomon 4:7 You have captured God’s attention! Celebrate that! Copyright © 2013 by Sheryle Cruse

Monday, February 25, 2013

Who are you? You are Valuable...

“What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.” 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 The Definition of Valuable: “having great importance or usefulness; cherished or esteemed because of personal qualities; highly prized” Do you consider yourself to be valuable? Often those of us dealing with any form of disordered eating or body image issues fail to recognize our inherent worth. And so, we go to appearance, weight loss and the “answer” of eating disorders to “fix” us. But, we soon find out, there is no fix found there. What we find instead is misery, punishment, disappointment, shame, fear and despair. And then we feel even more useless than when we started out. God has already decided each one of us is valuable, without doing anything to enhance or alter ourselves. Each one of us is as special as this tree made of money. Can you take that in? He created us and desires us so strongly He sent Jesus to die for us, to “buy us back.” Like 1 Corinthians states, we are “bought with a price.” You and I, indeed, are the embodiment of the value definition: “having great importance or usefulness; cherished or esteemed because of personal qualities; highly prized.” Let’s embrace that definition for ourselves as much as God embraces that definition of us! Copyright © 2013 by Sheryle Cruse

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Everybody Knows Somebody

A person struggling with disordered eating and body image issues is closer than you think. Be part of the solution, not the problem; support recovery!!!

Who are You? Precious...

Who are you? As we start off the 2013 National Eating Disorder Awareness Week, let’s get a real perspective. Let’s get God’s perspective. We’ve wrongly believed who we are in life, measuring ourselves by media, fashion, society and other people’s estimations. But the final say about who we are, really, comes from God. Who does God say we are? Let’s think about that! Let’s dare to apply that! Let’s dare to live that! You are more incredible than you realize! You are… Precious- “Since you were precious in my sight… I have loved you…” Isaiah 43:4 Definition of Precious: “highly valued, much loved, or considered to be of great importance, rare or unique and therefore to be used wisely or sparingly or treated” Yes, you! You are precious! I don’t know about you, but, growing up, I always was convinced everyone else was worth something, while I wasn’t. Can you relate? That still seems to be one of the biggest lies out there, and it’s camouflaged with the argument of you’re the only one; you’re alone. You’re not. Just like the lie, perhaps, you’ve been confronted with concerning your food, weight and body image issues: “I’m the only one.” Nope. As one of many who are afflicted with eating disorders, let me tell you it’s not true. You’re not inferior and weak, the only soul to struggle with anorexia, bulimia, binge eating or ednos. There are a lot of us out there! Believe me, whoever-wherever- you are, you’re not the only one wrestling with a bad self-image. No one is immune from insecurity; no one is unaffected. But some hopeful news? You are also not alone when it comes to the precious distinction. Did you read the definition? See yourself here? You’re included, not excluded. Right now. Where you are. As you are. You’re precious. Look at the gemstone here. Can you see yourself as a jewel? If not, why not? The loathing and hatred you may feel about yourself is not, repeat, is not coming from God. Is it coming from you? Is that negative view of yourself how you’d look at a gemstone? God had made up His mind about you already. That mind is filled with love, acceptance and delight in you, toward you. You’re not mediocre. You’re extraordinary! Copyright © 2013 by Sheryle Cruse

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Jairus' Daughter: Stand Tall!!!

Scripture tells us that God’s Word always comes back with a relevant result: “So is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” Isaiah 55:11 So, that’s the power in applying the revelation of Jairus’ Daughter. Read the passage for yourself (Mark 5:35-43). By all accounts, things looked hopeless. But with wasn’t with Jesus on the scene. Is Jesus on your scene, even concerning your food, weight, body images and eating disorder issues? Open your life to possibility, healing and God’s intervention! Apply Jairus’ Daughter for yourself, stand tall and arise!!! “And he took the damsel by the hand, and said unto her, ‘Talitha cumi; ‘which is, being interpreted, ‘Damsel, I say unto thee, arise.’” Mark 5:41

Jairus' Daughter to Your Who

Who are you? Let the owl remind you of your incredible value; ask that “who” question! You are not worthless, pointless, ugly or a mistake. You were created on purpose by the Most High God! In short, He wants you!!! That’s who you are: beloved, chosen, special, beautiful and valuable! Who are you? For starters, a child of the Most High God!!! Celebrate that; celebrate who you are! Apply the revelation of Jairus’ daughter and arise in your God-given identity!!!

Friday, February 22, 2013

Jairus' Daughter To Prayer

“Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.” James 5:16 Prayer works. God hears it; God honors it. Because prayer is direct communication with Him. You don’t need to “get good enough” to talk to God. He always wants to hear from you. Right now. As you are. Don’t be intimidated; arise and talk to God; apply Jairus’ daughter to these conversations. You’ll be surprised and blessed by the results!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

The Jairus' Daughter Applied to the Fridge

“Is not life more than food?” Matthew 6:25 Whenever we open the refrigerator door, it can feel like we’re opening a prison door, only to go in and remain forever trapped. Indeed, the meaning we give to food often plays a part in our disordered food, weight and body images. We believe food is love, comfort, happiness, celebration- or the enemy. These are just a few meanings out there- and they all can imprison our minds, bodies and lives. But what is food? It’s the thing which keeps our bodies alive- that’s it. God is to be our Source of love- and everything else we chase in life. He is all we need. Can we arise in the food issue area? Yes, we can! Apply the revelation of Jairus’ daughter to your own food issues. God is always at work; He’s always working in you to help you arise! It’s not hopeless; YOU’RE not hopeless!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Apply Jairus' Daughter to That Scale

What are you weighing in life? Your body? Your food? Your motives? God’s much more interested in the last option, than any actual number representing pounds or inches. Apply Jairus’ daughter and its revelation to the oppressive definition of weight and measurement. Arise, knowing you’re incredibly valuable, beyond any number whatsoever! “…Motives are weighed by the Lord.” Proverbs 16:2

Monday, February 18, 2013

Jairus' Daughter To Exercise

Ah, yes. Here we are: the infamous exercise issue. It can be such a minefield of issues for many of us. And, for those of us with disordered eating, approaching something like exercise can become a harmful way of furthering our destructive tendencies. However, as we logically know, it was never meant to be used this way. We need God’s help and view of what role exercise should play in our lives. Our bodies were created to move, but never to be abused through over-exercise. Likewise, neglect through inactivity is also unhealthy. And healthy is part of God’s will for each one of us: spirit, soul and body. After all… “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.” 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 Therefore, let’s apply the powerful arise revelation of Jairus’ daughter to our attitudes and to the incorporation of exercise in our lives! Let’s arise and move in a Godly, healthy way!

Beauty Individually!!!

Listen To Health!

A prayer worth praying...

Applying Jairus' Daughter:The Mirror...

Mirror “…your form is lovely.” Song of Solomon 2:14 Mirror, Mirror… When God look at you, He calls you good (Genesis 1:31). Period. Apply Jairus’ daughter to your mirror, more specifically, to your self-image. How do you see yourself? View yourself as arising, through God’s love and help; you are!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

"The Heavy"

First, a disclaimer: I am not a mother. I mention this because I recognize my observations come from a childless perspective. Being a parent- and more specifically, being a mother is, I believe, the hardest job one will ever have in life. So, no, I have no real world, exasperated experience of dealing with the daily challenges of raising a child. I have no experience addressing such complicated issues like navigating the internet/technology overload, handling the minefields known as sex, violence and drug use issues, not to mention, raising healthy children without negative body images and disordered eating behaviors. I’m in a humongous glass house where those matters are concerned. It’s, therefore, hard for me to throw any boulders. I am not a mother, unless you count my two beloved felines, Gracie and Glory. I know, but they are my babies. But, as a recovering eating disorder sufferer, I do have my share of personal experience. And much of that stems from the root cause issue of the mother/daughter dynamic in eating disorder development and behavior. I address some of it in my book, “Thin Enough: My Spiritual Journey Through the Living Death of an Eating Disorder.” Whenever I speak, I often mention the enmeshment challenges, not to throw my mother under the bus, but to caution the risky over-involvement damage which can often come when healthy boundaries are not in place. Learning correct boundaries and coping methods, to this day, is still one of the biggest challenges of my life; it is of as much importance to my day by day recovery as learning how to eat and treat my body in healthier ways. In my recovery, I’ve come across a number of books on all things eating disorder: celebrity accounts, professional treatment approaches and personal perspectives of the eating disorder sufferer’s family and friends. So, recently, when I saw Dara Lynn Weiss, author of “The Heavy” on an episode of Anderson Cooper’s talk show, my ears perked up. She first sparked controversy by writing an article for a spring 2012 issue of Vogue magazine about placing her seven year old daughter on a diet. Ding, ding, ding! You have my attention. And, from there, her experience turned into this full- fledged book, “The Heavy.” In fact, just under the book’s title read the following: “A mother, a daughter, a diet.” I became uneasy. It’s difficult to remain objective about the mother/daughter/diet issue. It screams of non-existing or, at best, confusing personal boundaries and harmful belief/value systems of what’s important in life. My mother and I were both food and diet buddies. I remember, as a child, hearing my mother declare how she needed to get down to her “right weight.” And then, when I went on my first diet with her, it turned into “when you and I get down to our right weight.” So, no, I don’t squeal with joy whenever I hear of mother/daughter diet projects. I cringe instead. But, I chose to read Weiss’ book, to get her perspective. I wanted to hear her story- and go from there. So, I braced myself before I started reading. After all, I knew trigger emotions would flare. And, sure enough, as I hearkened to my own story, there were instances when I felt protective of Weiss’ daughter, Bea. I had moments when I felt Weiss was setting her daughter up for not just failure, but for eating disorders and irreversible damage to her psyche. But, I wanted to be as open, if not objective, with her book. So, as I read it over a two- day span, I took notes, trying to categorize the good, the bad and the ugly of the memoir. I wasn’t interested in vilifying her as the worst mother in the world. But I did want to address the potentially dangerous red flags, at least as I saw them, anyway. So, that’s what I’m attempting to explore in this review here. And, of course, you can choose to read or not read the book for yourself. A word of caution though, before we delve: if you are recovering from eating disorders or surrounding body image issues, please be advised this book may trigger some strong emotions and even behaviors. Any book, dealing with eating disorders and body image, can indeed, be triggering. Heck, I know my book can be triggering. But I understand and appreciate Weiss’ candor. I believe she’s not trying to glamourize the issue; she’s putting it out there to get it out in the open. There is emphasis on certain foods, menus, different planning methods for weight loss, as well as a focus on different weight numbers. All of this can be triggering. But, if you’re going to write a book about it, I understand you need to put that in there. With that in mind, however, I categorized that information into the following: what I believe to be the negative points, the Fallout, the Mother/Daughter element and its dilemma and finally, the positive points. First, the negative aspects… How did the whole odyssey start? Weiss’ daughter, Bea was not an overweight baby. But, as she grew into a toddler, weight became an issue, not just in Weiss’ eyes, but also with the pediatrician. So, around the age of six, there was an increasing focus on Bea’s need for weight loss. And repeatedly, throughout the book, Weiss, indeed, states that her daughter had a health crisis, like that of Diabetes. She wasn’t doing this for vanity; it was to stop future health issues. And that’s commendable. But, as I kept reading, I was struck by how much emphasis on the specific numbers and results of a certain weight. There were detailed records of Bea being up a half a pound here or down a half a pound there as the diet plan went into full force. There was not much attention to feeling better, lowering high blood pressure or sugar levels. There wasn’t much emphasis, in my opinion, on the tangible health benefits of a healthier lifestyle. It was all about losing weight to avoid the horrific potential problem of having Bea become an overweight child. I understand that stigma, having been an overweight child myself. It’s painful to experience the rejection, scrutiny and taunts which come from being overweight. But there needs to be a focus on health, not just appearance or perception. The child needs to know the importance of taking care of his/her body to live a healthy life. It’s not just about appearance, looking pretty or fitting into fashionable clothes. As I read on, I felt like sometimes the pursuit was just to attain the goal of not being an overweight child. That’s where it stopped. And, it should be noted, according to child weight percentiles from Bea’s physician, Bea was, indeed, diagnosed as “obese.” So, I can understand the alarm that may have set off with Weiss. Add to that, her lifelong weight struggles, I’m sure she wanted better for her daughter than her childhood experiences. I know this was a confounding issue for the entire family, not just mother and daughter. Intentions may start out well, but it’s easy to get caught up in a momentum of results and the power they hold. Whether good or bad, however defined, all too quickly, success or failure hinges on them. The destination is everything; the journey is therefore, only a frustrating creature. So, often, there were questionable decisions made to achieve the weight loss goal. Processed food was chosen over healthier fair, simply because it had fewer calories. And Diet Coke was perceived to be more desirable option for seven year old Bea than a too caloric, too sugary Shirley Temple beverage. And exercise? Dance classes were mentioned, as well as Bea’s genuine interest in Karate. But Weiss, herself, admits she doesn’t exercise herself. Again, the bottom line- does it work powerfully to lose weight? If not, why bother? That’s the message I got, anyway. And, there’s something else which sticks in my craw. I didn’t see much in the book about Bea’s other interests or activities. I know Weiss loves and values her daughter, but where was the nurturing of her creative and academic interests? What about the reading/book programs for Bea? Did she love to draw? Paint? Write? Sing? What else was she focusing on besides losing weight? Was that where all the focus went? And, me being me, subscribing the tremendous impact God has upon a life, where was the spiritual pursuit? I personally wondered if Bea believed in God, even as this young child. I’m sorry, but, because God had a profound impact in my life and in my recovery, I feel the spiritual component needs to be there in order to have a healthier, fuller life. It’s my opinion- but hopefully, not a glass house boulder. Like I said, throughout the book, there was a great deal of emphasis on results, mainly Bea’s weight loss. During this diet process, there were numerous “setbacks” and “successes.” And, by the time Bea turned eight, she was close to her goal of weighing seventy-seven pounds. Weiss, to me, seemed more obsessed with that number than Bea. I know the “magic number” to a particular weight or dress size. How many of us women determine our worth or happiness according to digits? It’s there, I get that. What had me further concerned (again, red flags), was that upon Bea finally reaching that “magical 77,” her pediatrician declared, “She doesn’t need to lose any more.” And, with that declaration, there was celebration and positive attention toward Bea; Weiss was proud. But, I also detected something else. I detected an uncertainty about what to do next. After all, the goal had been reached. Now what? Whether it was just my observation or something Weiss was truly experiencing, I felt there was a kind of lost quality. Perhaps, even more troubling, there was a disappointment at not needing to go further, to lose more weight. As someone who, at the height of my anorexia, kept moving the target weight loss to lower and lower goals, again, the momentum can get addictive. Was that what Weiss was experiencing? I know she loved Bea, but was there ever a thought going on, toying with the thought, “another five or ten pounds would be even better.” I had that thought- and, no matter how low my weight became, it never was better; it never was “enough.” Anyway, upon reaching the goal weight, Weiss documents Bea’s ongoing weight struggle. And that presents the fallout of this child diet, as well as the dilemma of the tricky mother/daughter enmeshment issue which is often part of disordered eating issues. Bea is a precocious little girl, wise beyond her years. She’s made a few statements, post diet, which are unsettling to me. Between mother and daughter, there were numerous arguments and power struggles over food issues, mainly “don’t eat that because…” Reflecting upon her dieting experience, Bea does seem to resign herself to “needing” to always watch her weight: “It may sound sad, but it’s my life, you know? Once you start going on a diet, it makes you feel great, but inside you know that you’re different from other people. And you’ll never be able to change that.” She was seven years old when she said that, by the way. What were you thinking when you were seven? What should a child be thinking at this age? Should it be dieting? And then, Bea reflects on being “different.” Most kids recoil at that thought. Acceptance is paramount when you’re a child. Fitting in is the name of the game and in this next statement, Bea mentions her reality: “I feel cut off from the other kids, because I feel like they don’t have to go on a special diet. They don’t have to do something special. Just because I have to makes me different.” Bea seems to have accepted this will be her lifelong issue. “Even if I fit in and I’m not fatter than the rest of the kids, that’s who I was: the fat girl. And that’s who I’m always going to be. Even if I change, I’m always going to be known as that person.” Again, these words are coming from a seven year old. It’s heartbreaking to believe Bea will always have an inner image which she sees so negatively. A lot of us struggle with our own inner images. But, just when you think this little girl couldn’t sound any wiser, she addresses her true feelings about her weight loss: “I think I’ve changed half of the way, but not that I fixed my entire life. Because that isn’t true. Who can fix their entire life when they’re eight?” It’s out of the mouths of babes. So, is there hope for Bea? Are there more positive or negative results from this diet project? It’s hard to say; it’s too premature to say. And that’s where the dilemma and the power of the mother/daughter issue come into play. Weiss herself isn’t even fully certain of the results. She has mixed feelings throughout the book about what good or harmful effects are occurring during the diet. She worries about Bea developing fear and guilt about food, self-loathing and hatred of her body and potential eating disorders in the years to come: “As for the risk of eating disorder?... I think that’s either in Bea’s DNA or not. I hope like crazy that it’s not, but only time will tell.” Time will tell. Hopefully, she won’t. And there’s the Russian roulette to the dilemma. An eating disorder doesn’t just happen. It’s built through years of experiences, thoughts and messages. And it can happen, even in spite of the best intentions, the happiest home and the most loving family. And again, I believe Weiss strongly loves her daughter; I believe she wants the best for her daughter. There are some good points in the book. First, Weiss is opposed to “fat talk.” She refuted that statement when Bea complained, “I’m fat.” That’s admirable. And, concerning impressionable children, it’s powerful. And then there’s this statement: “Bea did not need to lose weight to earn my love. She did not need to lose weight to be beautiful…” The unconditional love is critical. However, I’m still uneasy with the latter part of the statement… “…But she did need to lose weight to be healthy. Once I understood that her weight problem was a disease, I had no choice but to treat it as such.” Did she? Does she have a disease? A health crisis? Or is this all just too much emphasis on dangerous and superficial issues? Again, it’s a dilemma. But I am encouraged by one of Weiss’ last statements: “I love all of her.” That’s the message each of us need in our lives, families and bodies. All of us are loved. All of all of us! So, yeah, these are my observations, far from objective. "Do not judge or you too will be judged.” Matthew 7:1 After reading the book, how did I feel about it? The term “thought provoking” certainly comes to mind. Is it damaging? No, not necessarily. It’s Weiss’ perspective. And how much of that perspective, through the editing process, was steered toward the exclusive focus on all things “triggering” to those of us with food, weight and body image issues? Unfortunately, child obesity is on the rise. Unfortunately, it is a health issue. But the squirmier issue is placing any child on a diet. Should it ever be done? In what context? With what approach? What should also accompany that particular plan? At what point is it necessary intervention versus harmful obsession? I don’t have those answers. I do appreciate Weiss’ honesty with a very unpopular subject. No one likes to look at and deal with the tough unpopular stuff. But, to one degree or another, we need to. Again, make up your own mind; read or don’t read the book. And again, use caution if you’re sensitive to the “triggers” of the discussed issues. You, more than likely, will have a strong response. I believe, regardless, it’s a subject worth discussing. Hopefully, we can reach some healthy, relevant and achievable solutions. Copyright © 2013 by Sheryle Cruse

Do something brave

Admitting you need help...

Friday, February 15, 2013

Who Are You?

The 2013 NEDA Week is coming soon... Who are you? The answer's incredible!

One day I’ll…

No one I know of ever says to themselves, as a child, “When I grow up, I’m going to have an eating disorder or an addiction.” We may dream of being teachers, police officers, firefighters or movie stars, but no one dreams of having a life fraught with destructive addictions, depression and disordered eating. When you were a child, what did you dream for yourself? But then, somewhere, along the way, things got off track. Low self-esteem, abuse, family circumstances beyond our control and a myriad of other reason which “trip the trigger,” we can, all too quickly, find ourselves in the grips of something we never planned. “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” Proverbs 4:23 At the root of it all: our heart’s issues. That’s why it’s important to be careful how we think about- and talk about ourselves. We are always listening. And, we never know who else is listening as well. There are always young eyes and ears, picking up messages. Upcoming generations are paying attention. What, via our messages, are they inheriting? For now, they’re dreaming dreams with few limits. For now, they are not addicts, cutters, suicide attempters and eating disorder sufferers. For now… We’re coming close to the 2013 National Eating Disorder Awareness Week (February 24th- March 2nd, 2013). Each year, NEDA has a theme for its week; this year it is “Everyone Knows Somebody.” And sadly, that is becoming more and more of the case. You often may not even know it. Eating disorders are built on shameful secrecy. And it all begins with a thought. “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he...” Proverbs 23:7 No young child starts out thinking “one day I’ll have a full blown addiction or eating disorder.” The thought, instead, is more like, “one day I’ll be acceptable…loveable…perfect…good enough… in control…happy...” And sadly, the self-destructive coping mechanisms like eating disorders, cutting and addictions present themselves as being that exact solution. However, they never are. Let’s all be mindful of the messages we believe and send out to young impressionable minds. Are we placing too much importance on image, on appearance, on denying and/or covering up the “ugly Reality?” What are the results of those choices? Are they creating more problems and unhealthy results? What can we do to change that? We can all do something. We can think differently. And we can speak differently about our bodies and our attitudes to healthy lifestyles. “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.” Ephesians 4:29 “Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification.” Romans 14:19 “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:11 “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” Philippians 4:8 Let’s all speak these words about ourselves and those around us, watching and paying attention to all we value. Then, perhaps, one day, we’ll have future generations who will say, “one day I’ll be healthy in body, mind and spirit!” Copyright © 2013 by Sheryle Cruse

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Who Is Wise?

Love this! So amazing!!!

Be Mine

Here we go again- Valentine’s Day. I hear you groaning. Yes, once again, it’s that Hallmark holiday, pressuring us to buy cards, flowers, jewelry and candy. Candy… Like those message hearts… You know, it’s the hard, pastel colored heart-shaped candy with cutesy phrases on them like, “Hot Stuff,” “Kiss Me” and “Too Cute.” And of course, one of the most popular candy heart and Valentine’s Day messages out there is “Be Mine.” Now, I’ll admit to being and candy girl. However these hearts aren’t one of my favorites. First of all, in my opinion, they always taste like sugary chalk which has been kept in a stale box for years. And, maybe it’s just me, but either the pastel pink or the pastel green hearts always tasted a little too much like Pepto-Bismol? Am I the only one that thinks so? Anyway, the most exciting thing about the candy is the message. And, with the depression, heartbreak and disappointment which come with this infamous heart holiday, I thought it was worth noting how much God loves each of us. Regardless of our love status: single, married, in a relationship or some hazy “other” description, God loves us unconditionally, 24/7. “The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying, ‘Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.’” Jeremiah 31:3 And He was the first to write the message heart down for us in His Word: “…I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.” Isaiah 43:1 Just a lil’ “pick me up” reality check. You may have a broken heart now. You may be frustrated, lonely and disappointed. Or, you may be deliriously in love with the person of your dreams. Either way, it still doesn’t change God’s stance on you. You’re constantly in His thoughts. “How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand. When I awake, I am still with you.” Psalm 139:17-18 To put it in a candy context, imagine a dump truck spilling a mountain of pastel candy hearts. That’s just the tip of the “love you” iceberg! God’s constantly pleading with you, “Be Mine.” Why not accept being His Valentine invitation? Copyright © 2013 by Sheryle Cruse

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

You Look Fine

“O my dove…let me see your form…for your form is lovely.” Song of Solomon 2:14 When you look in the mirror, do you like what you see? Most of us, if we’re brutally honest, would say, “no.” We’d pick apart some specific feature- or features. This is too big; this is too small. And usually, we always seem to want what someone else has: hair, nose, height and lips are just a few examples of this coveting list. And I’m sure you’re like me when it comes to the situation of having a significant other wait on you, while you’re fretting away in the bathroom or trying on umpteen different outfits. The question we always ask in these situations? “How do I look?” And usually, what the answer we get from our sweetheart? “You look fine.” Do we believe that? Of course not! But why can’t we believe we look fine, even great? Why is it so difficult to believe anything besides an overly critical, harsh and insulting judgment, often self-imposed? That’s the million dollar question, isn’t it? It’d be great to have a precise and completely healing answer to it. It’s easier said than done, however. The fact is, our lack of self-acceptance and self-appreciation happen for numerous, layered and, yes, folks, complicated reasons. Oh, goody! And it’s usually been a process of one negative thought connecting to another thought, to another and so on, over years. There’s nothing that just happens “overnight.” It’s been gradual and systemic. I’ve heard it said that for every negative comment, like “you’re ugly,” it takes at least twenty-five positive, “you’re beautiful” comments to undo its damage. Not encouraging. After all, we live in a negative world. And then there’s the theory which states it takes twenty-one consecutive days to establish a new habit. Again, it’s not always so encouraging. Positive affirming stuff seems to take more effort than choosing the negative approach. So, what are we to do? We do have a choice. It may not appear like we do. It certainly may not feel like we do, but we do, all the same. “…Choose you this day whom ye will serve…” Joshua 24:15 Each of us, regardless of life history, can always make the conscious choice to be at peace with our imperfect selves. Doing so does not mean the problems will automatically go away; it does not mean we’ll feel instantly happy with life. But how long have we chosen to believe horrible things about ourselves? We certainly did not deserve the verbal abuse hurled at us. But, thought by thought, choice by choice, somewhere, we held those comments as valid enough to believe they were accurate about us. And they’re not. They are lies. What’s the truth then? What God has to say about us… “Behold, thou art fair, my love; behold, thou art fair; thou hast doves' eyes.” Song of Solomon 1:15 “Thou art all fair, my love; there is no spot in thee.” Song of Solomon 4:7 Not too shabby, eh? Each one of us is in some form of recovery, if nothing else, from life itself. We’re all notoriously imperfect beings, just trying to figure things out. Those of us dealing with eating disorders, addictions and self-injury behaviors may feel we’re approaching an impossible mountain whenever we try to see ourselves as acceptable, valuable and beautiful. But that is who we are! Bishop T.D. Jakes has a great quote: “No one lands on a mountain top.” The effects we’re dealing with now, the consequences of our choices didn’t happen overnight. Neither will our recovery. It’s a process. I know that word is used a lot, but it’s true. Again, a choice needs to be made. Will we choose the negative choices of self-hatred, destruction and abuse? Or will we look into the mirror and say, “I look fine. Even better than that, I look- I AM great, valuable, beautiful, loveable and wonderful?” The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. We hear about positive affirmations. It needs to start somewhere. So, how about these? Wherever you are, start the process. You’re worth it! Copyright © 2013 by Sheryle Cruse 20 Ways To Love Your Body Compiled by Margo Maine, Ph. D. 1.Think of your body as the vehicle to your dreams. Honor it. Respect it. Fuel it. 2. Create a list of all the things your body lets you do. Read it and add to it often. 3. Become aware of what your body can do each day. Remember it is the instrument of your life, not just an ornament. 4. Create a list of people you admire: people who have contributed to your life, your community, or the world. Consider whether their appearance was important to their success and accomplishments. 5. Walk with your head held high, supported by pride and confidence in yourself as a person. 6. Don't let your weight or shape keep you from activities that you enjoy. 7. Wear comfortable clothes that you like and that feel good to your body. 8. Count your blessings, not your blemishes. 9. Think about all the things you could accomplish with the time and energy you currently spend worrying about your body and appearance. Try one! 10. Be your body's friend and supporter, not its enemy. 11. Consider this: your skin replaces itself once a month, your stomach lining every five days, your liver every six weeks, and your skeleton every three months. Your body is extraordinary--begin to respect and appreciate it. 12. Every morning when you wake up, thank your body for resting and rejuvenating itself so you can enjoy the day. 13. Every evening when you go to bed, tell your body how much you appreciate what it has allowed you to do throughout the day. 14. Find a method of exercise that you enjoy and do it regularly. Don't exercise to lose weight or to fight your body. Do it to make your body healthy and strong and because it makes you feel good. 15. Think back to a time in your life when you felt good about your body. Tell yourself you can feel like that again, even in this body at this age. 16. Keep a list of 10 positive things about yourself--without mentioning your appearance. Add to it! 17. Put a sign on each of your mirrors saying, "I'm beautiful inside and out." 18. Choose to find the beauty in the world and in yourself. 19. Start saying to yourself, "Life is too short to waste my time hating my body this way." 20. Eat when you are hungry. Rest when you are tired. Surround yourself with people that remind you of your inner strength and beauty. Maine & Weinstein Specialty Group, LLC Margo D. Maine, Ph.D. Robert J. Weinstein, Ph.D., M.B.A. Used with permission

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Periwinkle: A Recovery Reminder

“Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, This is the way, walk in it, whenever you turn to the right hand, and whenever turn to the left.’” Isaiah 30:21 “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go: I will guide you with My eye.” Psalm 32:8 Just a reminder for recovery... The National Eating Disorder awareness Week is coming soon (February 24th- March2nd, 2013). God is incredible and loving to help each one of us. Let's all start thinking recovery; think Periwinkle!!!

Remember His Mercy...

"Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness." Lamentations 3:23
A God's Mercy Reality Check: He loves and helps us, because of His Mercy, not our performance. God's loving mercy trumps our efforts, failings and relapses. He has- HE IS- the last Word cfoncerning each of us! It's not hopeless; YOU'RE not hopeless!!!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Not Even the First Lady is Off Limits…

Not again. Not even the First Lady is off limits from body gossip.
I came across this on MSN today. Apparently, a teacher was suspended for a “fat butt” comment he made about First Lady Michelle Obama. Here we go, yet again. According to the article, a teacher from Alabama made the offensive remark, during a debate-type discussion about current affairs in his class. He blamed the school’s low-calorie lunch offerings on “fat butt Michelle Obama." He also added, “Look at her. She looks like she weighs 185 or 190. She’s overweight." Because of the remark, this teacher will be banned from all teaching and coaching responsibilities. He’ll also need to meet with the school system’s personnel director. But the words cannot be unsaid. This latest incident adds to a string of negative remarks concerning the First Lady. According to the article, the following incidents have also targeted her physical appearance: “Rush Limbaugh, the conservative radio host, has called her Michelle “My Butt’’ Obama, and Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) was heard saying “she lectures us on eating right while she has a large posterior herself.’’ The Atlantic also ran a story in December 2011 titled, “Why Fat Conservatives Love Calling Michelle Obama Fat” in which it labeled calling the First Lady fat one of the right wing’s 'top political memes.’" Really? This kind of discussion is allowed? Appropriate? Warranted? The First Lady is a wonderful example of a positive, healthy female role model. Regardless of your political views, she still promotes a positive message about health, exercise and integrity. What about the garden she’s created at the White House? What about the emphasis on changing attitudes on health and exercise? And even if she never did those things, why, oh, why, is it EVER okay to make a negative comment about a person’s body? This teacher, to me, did not make the comment to improve the situation. For, if he wanted to improve things, he could have taken constructive action. And I have a hard time believing doing so would have involved the First Lady in any way whatsoever. But he didn’t make that choice. He chose the cheap easy comment, the putdown. There’s a theory which state that if you cannot rise to another person’s high level, then there’s the ugly alternative option to try to drag them down. It’s called “leveling.” It’s the stuff of gossip, defamation of character, slander and abuse. What good can come of it? Plus, it’s not scripturally endorsed. After all, once again, regarding our words, our powerful words… “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.” Ephesians 4:29 “Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification.” Romans 14:19 “Each of us should please his neighbor for his good, to build him up.” Romans 15:2 “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:11 This teacher, in my opinion, was not concerned with doing just that. In my opinion, his intention was to level her. The words have been said. He can apologize (I don’t know if he has, in the article he said he “misspoke”). But those words are out there. And they influence males and females. Judgments, decisions and opinions from all who are in earshot are affected by the remark. And some of the possible results, unfortunately, may be that of disordered eating, misogyny and domestic violence. Once again… “But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken.” Matthew 12:36 That’s what these kinds of comments are. And they’re unfounded. The First Lady is a beautiful, healthy woman; she’s a wife, a sister, a daughter, a mother.
Is it ever okay to make a horrible comment like that to anyone’s wife, sister, daughter or mother? If the answer’s “yes,” we have a bigger problem. What’s the antidote? How about the scripture of Philippians 4:8? “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” “If anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” And how about speaking on those things as well? We have a long way to go; the body gossip needs to stop! Copyright © 2013 by Sheryle Cruse

Airbrush Sm-Airbrush

Recently, on a talk show appearance, Kelly Osbourne talked about her recent magazine cover.
She made the point of mentioning how, in Great Britain, when it comes to beauty and health images in magazines, it’s illegal to air brush. Bravo! Airbrushing is an all too common technique used in the fashion and beauty industries. In the United States, you and I would be hard pressed to find a magazine cover which is not “retouched” in some way. Years ago, actress Kate Winslet was quite vocal about how a particular magazine airbrushed her body to be viewed as slimmer than it actually was. And we’ve seen that practice repeatedly among celebrity covers. Whether it’s a tinier waist, thinner thighs or larger breasts, the image is, nevertheless, manipulated. And so, the message is manipulated. I’m a big supporter of airbrushing advisories, like the stickers used on recording artists’ albums containing more adult material.
If airbrushing continues, if, according to the advertising world, it’s a “necessary evil,” then let’s be straight about it. Let’s put it out there about what’s really going on. Otherwise, it’s openly selling a lie and creating an environment for further eating disorder and body image issues to occur. Regardless of what does or doesn’t happen in the advertising, fashion and beauty industries, let’s remember to counteract the negative images and messages ourselves. Dr. Nicole Hawkins, in the article, “Battling Our Bodies? Understanding and Overcoming Negative Body Images,” gives us all some helpful tools to do just that: Seven Ways to Overcome Negative Body Image 1. Fight "Fatism": Work on accepting people of all sizes and shapes. This will help you appreciate your own body. It may be useful to create a list of people who you admire that do not have "perfect" bodies, does their appearance affect how you feel about them? It is also important to remember that society's standards have changed significantly over the last 50 years. The women that were considered the "ideal beauties" in the 1940's and 1950's like Marilyn Monroe (size 14) and Mae West were full-bodied and truly beautiful women, but they would be considered "overweight" by today's standards. 2. Fight the Diet Downfall: Ninety percent of all women have dieted at some point in their life, and at any one point in time, 50% of women are dieting. Women are two times more likely to diet than men. To dieters' dismay, 98% of all dieters gain the weight back in five years. Studies also show that 20-25% of dieters progress to a partial or full-blown eating disorder. Women are foolish if they believe that dieting will make them feel better about themselves. Dieting only helps you lose your self-esteem and energy. Dieting also creates mood swings and feelings of hopelessness. If you feel pressure to lose weight, talk to a friend or loved one or seek professional help. 3. Accept Genetics: It is critical to remember that many aspects of your body cannot be changed. Genetics does play a role in your body and at least 25% to 70% of your body is determined by your genes. While there are many aspects of our bodies we cannot change, you can change or modify your beliefs and attitudes which influence the way you feel about yourself. Change starts with you, it is internal and it starts with self-respect and a positive attitude. It is import to focus on health and not size. 4. Understand that Emotions are Skin Deep: It is important to discover the emotions and feelings that underlie your negative body image. The statement "I feel fat" is never really about fat, even if you are overweight. Each time a women looks at herself in the mirror and says "Gross, I'm fat and disgusting," she is really saying "There is something wrong with me or with what I'm feeling." When we do not know how to deal with our feelings we turn to our bodies and blame our bodies for our feelings. Every time you say "I'm fat" you are betraying your body, and you are betraying and ignoring your underlying feelings. Remember that "fat" is never a feeling, it's avoidance of feelings. Learn to discover your emotions and feelings and realize that focusing on your body is only distracting you from what is "really" bothering you. 5. Question Messages Portrayed in the Media: The media sends powerful messages to girls and women about the acceptability (or unacceptability) of their bodies. Young girls are thought to compare themselves to women portrayed as successful in the media, assessing how closely they match up to the "ideal" body form. Unfortunately, the majority of girls and women (96%) do not match up to the models and actresses presented in the media. The average model is 5'10" and weighs 110 pounds, whereas the average women is 5'4" and weighs 142 pounds. This is the largest discrepancy that has ever existed between women and the cultural ideal. This discrepancy leads many women and girls to feel inadequate and negative about their bodies. It is important to realize that only 4% of women genetically have the "ideal" body currently presented in the media, the other 96% of women feel they must go to extreme measures to attempt to reach this unobtainable image. Many of the images presented in the media have been computer enhanced and airbrushed. The models' hips and waists have often been slimmed and their breasts enlarged through computer photo manipulation. Many of the women presented in the media suffer from an eating disorder or have adopted disordered eating behaviors to maintain such low body weights. It is important to start to question images in the media and question why women should feel compelled to "live up" to these unrealistic standards of beauty and thinness. 6. Recognize the Influence of Body Misperception: Women are prone to more negative feelings about their bodies than men. In general, women are more psychologically invested in their physical appearance. Your body image is central to how you feel about yourself. Research reveals that as much as 1/4 of your self-esteem is the result of how positive or negative your body image is. Unfortunately, many women with eating disorders have a larger percentage of their esteem invested in their bodies. Women with eating disorders often exhibit unequivocal body image misperception, in which they misperceive the size of part, or the entire body. Hence they are "blind" to their own figures. This distortion is real and it is not due to "fat," but to the eating disorder illness. It is important to recognize this misperception and attribute it to the eating disorder. When you feel fat, remind yourself that you misperceive your shape. Judge your size according the opinions of trusted others until you can trust your new and more accurate self-perceptions. 7. Befriend Your Body: It is important to combat negative body image because it can lead to depression, shyness, social anxiety and self-consciousness in intimate relationships. Negative body image can also lead to an eating disorder. It is time that women stop judging their bodies harshly and learn to appreciate their inner being, soul, and spirit. A women's body is a biological masterpiece; women can menstruate, ovulate and create life. Start to recognize you do not have to compare yourself to other women or women in the media. Begin to challenge images presented in the media and realize that your worth does not depend on how closely you fit these unrealistic images. And another to remember, God sees us differently than we see ourselves and each other. “…‘Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.’" 1 Samuel 16:7 It’s another reality check and spark of hope in that scripture. Let’s focus on that instead of on a manipulated, airbrushed image!

Friday, February 1, 2013

The Fuss About Christina

Alright, a couple of weeks ago, I encountered some ridiculous statements about a Jennifer Lopez “People Magazine” cover, stating how she looked old and haggard. So, that had me ticked. And now, the pop culture scene is taking a swipe at Christina Aguilera’s figure. It is discussed in an article, titled, “Is Christina Aguilera’s Curvy Body Inherently ‘Defiant’?” In it, the Daily Mail made a comment on Christina’s AMA Appearance last November, proclaiming how she was “an unapologetic air of defiance to the skinny.” Scream here, if you haven’t already started shrieking in frustration. The reaction centered on this look here:
What’s the fuss all about? When Christina hit the pop culture scene in the late 1990’s, she arrived as this tiny teenage Lolita with the larger than life voice. Yes, I admit to trying to belt “Genie in a Bottle” (trying, however, does not mean successfully achieving). And, as she grew up in the public eye, she went through all kinds of phases, exploring music and fashion styles. During these phases, of course, she was scrutinized for exploring and pushing assorted buttons on her sexuality and display of it. Tiny short-short, cleavage and leather chaps were included in that display. But there never seemed to be criticism over her weight until she had her son. Once that happened, however, things, including her body shape and attitude changed. And then, all of a sudden, there was the picking apart of her fuller figure. The criticism, to me, seemed to stem from pop culture’s sense of betrayal when Christina changed from being a nubile pop princess temptress. How dare she change, grow up, have a child, put on pregnancy weight and then not snap back to her seventeen year old figure two seconds after the birth of her son? It sounds ridiculous. It sounds ridiculous because it IS ridiculous! Why is this kind of body gossip allowed? Why is it accepted? It does no good to anyone. Scripture tells us… “And I tell you this, you must give an account on judgment day for every idle word you speak.” Matthew 12:36 That’s what this body gossip is; it’s idle words. And what’s equally disturbing, it’s a bunch of harmful words. Think about the message going out. “Real” woman’s bodies aren’t satisfactory; they deserve criticism until they are “thin enough.” And what exactly IS that? How thin? That’s the dilemma sparking and exacerbating eating disorders and body image issues now. The line is a moving target, impossible, unrealistic and harmful to our physical, spiritual and mental health. When I wrote my book years ago, a question I explored was “Why would being thinner make me better?” And it seems that question is driving this image-obsessed culture today. Why do we equate weight loss with improvement? Why is there such an emphasis on it? If Christina Aguilera never loses weight, if she remains the same in her appearance and weight now, or, according to pop culture’s “worst case scenario,” even gained more weight, is she, therefore, deemed as a tragic, horrible failure as a woman, an artist or a mother? And if the answer to that question is “yes,” why is that answer allowed and acceptable? If we choose not to go to extraordinary and unhealthy extremes to achieve thinness, are we then categorized as “difficult,” “rebellious” or “defiant?” Whatever happened to us being women living our lives, living in our bodies? And why isn’t that celebrated instead of a certain look or pursuit of a look? The one constant in life is change. No one remains the same forever, indefinitely. The pop culture squad of body gossipers would do well to remember that. Each one of us, as well, would benefit too whenever we view a celebrity, a friend, a family member or even ourselves. Let’s get over the gossip and the backbiting; let’s make our words healing, loving and powerful not idle! Christina, look you great. And, by the way, you, reading this entry- you do also! Copyright © 2013 by Sheryle Cruse