Rebuilding Body Image

Kirsten Haglund

Hosted by Kirsten Haglund of Timberline Knolls Residential Treatment Center
May 12, 2016

Woman in the oceanEDH: Welcome to today’s #EDHchat! Our topic is about Rebuilding Body Image

EDH: Special thanks to @timberlinetoday for helping us make this Twitter chat possible!

EDH: We would like to start by welcoming our special guest @kirstenhaglund

EDH: @kirstenhaglund is former Miss America, NEDA Ambassador & Community Relations Specialist for @timberlinetoday

EDH: It’s great to have you all here today!  Let’s get started with some of our questions. Please tell us a little bit about yourself and your current role.

Kirsten: As Community Relations Specialist for TK, I travel around the country speaking at universities, conferences, host community events and moderate panel discussions

Kirsten: I also help run our Twitter & Instagram accounts, blog, and do other media.

Kirsten: Through my Foundation, started in 2009, we raise funds for eating disorder treatment.

Kirsten: I also serve as a NEDA Ambassador.

EDH: What do you think impacts a person’s body image?

Kirsten: Body image is complex and influenced by many factors.

Kirsten: One usually cannot help but be influenced by their parents’ body image, in particular, the mother’s comments and attitude toward her body.

Kirsten: This helps form a young woman’s idea of what her relationships with her body should be

Kirsten: One of punishment and shame, or one of acceptance, love, and respect.

Kirsten: Also, environment.

Kirsten: Body-conscious environments like dance, sports, modeling, entertainment can be triggering for negative body image.

Kirsten: Body Image is also heavily influenced by peers; their comments about their bodies and others, the media they consume.

Kirsten: The media influences body image through advertising, fashion, television and movies, which often present a highly unrealistic body ideal in their images.

EDH: Have you struggled with body image in the past?

Kirsten: Yes, growing up as a ballet dancer, I compared my body constantly to my fellow dancers and professional ballet dancers that I aspired to be like

Kirsten: My perception was that I didn’t look like them and never would

Kirsten: Access to student counseling center with an eating disorder specialist to identify & make treatment recommendations.

Kirsten: As an adolescent I compared myself to friends and equated thinness with success and achievement.

EDH: What has helped you achieve and maintain a positive body image?

Kirsten: Through recovery from an eating disorder, I discovered a new and wonderful relationship with my body.

Kirsten: It began with acceptance, and I had to choose it..

Kirsten: I had to will myself to wake up in the morning, look at my body in the mirror every morning, and accept it for all its perceived flaws and weaknesses.

Kirsten: I had to accept the body God had given me, instead of punishing it into submission.

Kirsten: Practicing acceptance was hard, but truly led to a deep love and appreciation for my body.

Kirsten: As I started to heal from anorexia, I discovered a love for my muscles and my strength, a profound appreciation for the energy my new body had, and what it could propel me to do.

Kirsten: I loved that my body allowed me to be active.

Kirsten: Today, I’ve learned not to “compare and despair.”

Kirsten: Every single one of us is different and that is beautiful.

Kirsten: I have learned that I can’t worry about what I cannot change – and I can’t change others, and I can’t change certain elements of my bone structure, or other things I was born with.

Kirsten: I understand my body not as something to be disciplined, but as something that brings joy and energy and life.

Kirsten: It took hard work to get that viewpoint to change, but it has, and practice makes permanent.

EDH: What support and resource tools have you found to encourage positive body image?

Kirsten: What media we consume is so vital to developing our body image – so monitor what you see.

Kirsten: I follow body positive role models, clinicians and bloggers on social media.

Kirsten: I choose not to read certain fashion magazines or blogs that I know perpetuate negative images and standards for women

Kirsten: I utilize my own social media to encourage positivity and post uplifting and inspirational articles and stories.

Kirsten: ED Hope provides great articles to promote positive body image, as does our own TK twitter account!

Kirsten: Also, NEDA’s Proud2BMe is a great site for teenagers looking for wisdom and guidance related to body image

EDH: What steps should someone take in order to rebuild their body image?

Kirsten: Practice acceptance, every single day, even when you don’t feel like it! Especially when you don’t feel like it.

Kirsten: Also, pay attention to the thoughts and comments in your head about your own body, and about others’ bodies.

Kirsten: Are they positive or negative? Would you say them out loud? If not…. Should you try to think about changing those thoughts?

Kirsten: Get in the habit of “taking captive” negative or destructive thoughts about your body and others’ and replacing them with more positive and truthful ones.

Kirsten: Finally, appreciate your body with spoken or written affirmations, heaping praise based on what it can do, the things you love about it

Kirsten: Recognizing it as just one part of your – your soul, your mind, your heart being just as important, if not more so.

Kirsten: Also, pay attention to the media you consume, and consider the effects if might have on your thought life.

Kirsten: If it encourages negative thoughts, maybe it’s time to go on a media diet!

EDH: What encouragement might you offer to the individual struggling with their body image today?

Kirsten: It does get better!

Kirsten: Getting up each day and practicing radical acceptance of who you are and what your body looks like right NOW (not yesterday, not tomorrow) works wonders. I promise.

Kirsten: And you are more than what you weigh, what size your jeans are, or what you ate last night.

Kirsten: Your beauty shines from the inside out, and the love and respect that you show your body will not only heal you, but will be a beacon of light to others.

Kirsten: You are a body image ambassador, and when you love and accept yourself the way God made you, you spread relief, love and tenderness to women going through the same battle.

Kirsten: Be strong for yourself, for others, and for the next generation who looks to you to discover how they should think about their bodies.

Kirsten: We can make an indelible impact!

EDH: Thank you to everyone who participated in our Twitter chat today!  And thank you for the great insight @kirstenhaglund

EDH: If you are struggling with body image, we hope this message has brought you hope and encouragement

EDH: Please stay tuned for future Twitter chats from EDH!

EDH: If you are in need of resources for an eating disorder, visit Timberline Knolls Residential Treatment Center at http://www.timberlineknolls.com or EDH at www.eatingdisorderhope.com