National Eating Disorders Association
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Body Image

Let me start off by saying that I genuinely love giving people compliments. I love spreading kindness and when it comes to compliments, I don’t hold back. With that being said, I will not compliment someone’s weight loss and I don’t think you should either for the following reasons:

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"Dear KJ" is a monthly advice column by Dr. Kjerstin "KJ" Gruys, sociologist, author, and body image activist. She holds a Ph.D. in sociology with a focus on the politics of appearance and is the author of Mirror Mirror Off the Wall: How I Learned to Love My Body By Not Looking at It for a Year (Avery Press, 2012).

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In the grocery store checkout line in suburban Orange County, Calif., my mom looked at me and said, “watermelon.”

It was our code word for “stand up straight.” I was a preteen, taller than all my friends, and was constantly slouching. The reminder was so constant my mom decided a code word would make it less embarrassing to hear in public.

Each time I would heed my mom’s advice and stand up straight, I would instinctively look down at my chest, where my breasts were just beginning to take shape. 

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When I started @iamdaniadriana five years ago, I never thought that I would amass nearly 100,000 followers on Instagram. My dream when I started @iamdaniadriana was to give a voice to those who have felt marginalized from the eating disorder community, people who have felt let down or ignored in the past as they didn’t fit the “typical” look of someone with an eating disorder. 

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During my teenage years, I was very confrontational. I was also very angry and embarrassed to be in my body. This anger and shame, encouraged me to yell at and hate the strangers I caught staring at me in public places. 

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Body Image & Eating Disorders

body image and eating disordersBody image is defined as one’s thoughts, perceptions, and attitudes about their physical appearance. How do you see yourself and feel about your body (e.g., height, shape, and weight) when you look in the mirror?

Body Image

Body Image

Body image is how you see yourself when you look in the mirror or when you picture yourself in your mind. It encompasses:

Valentine’s Day can be difficult as it emphasizes the “special someone” in your life. There are set expectations of roses, chocolates, and candle-lit dinners but here are some ways to reclaim the day and make it about the most special someone in your life—you. 

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Ask people what they see in an abstract piece of art, and chances are they won’t say the same thing. Every individual shape is a unique interpretation, and this different experience for every viewer is a communication channel between the artist's ideas and the viewer’s thoughts.

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I am six years old, staring at the mirror, knowing there’s a difference between pretty and ugly. I know who’s “pretty” and who’s "ugly;” even my six year old self, learning to write e's and j's, to paint rainbows with my fingers, knew the difference.

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