Eating Disorders: South Bay Students Win Body-Image Essay Contest

Six South Bay students have been named winners in the Eating Disorders Resource Center’s eighth annual Every Body’s Beautiful writing contest.

In the high school division, Sean-Yuei Tseng and Vivian Le, both seniors at Piedmont Hills High, placed first and second respectively and Ayushi Ray, a sophomore at Cupertino, placed third.

In the middle-school division, Carina Chiu, an eighth-grader at University Preparatory Academy charter school in San Jose placed first; and Elisia Macias, a seventh-grader at Brownell Middle School in Gilroy placed second. The third-place winner chose to remain anonymous.

Published on The Mercury News website on 4.12.17
Written by: Sharon Noguchi

We Cannot Continue to Overlook ‘High-Functioning’ Depression

I first saw a psychiatrist for my anxiety and depression as a junior in high school. During her evaluation, she asked about my classes and grades. I told her that I had a 4.0 GPA and had filled my schedule with Pre-AP and AP classes. A puzzled look crossed her face. She asked about my involvement in extracurricular activities. As I rattled off the long list of groups and organizations I was a part of, her frown creased further.

Finally, she set down her pen and looked at me, saying something along the lines of, “You seem to be pretty high-functioning, but your anxiety and depression seem pretty severe. Actually, it’s teens like you who scare me a lot.”

Now I was confused. What was scary about my condition? From the outside, I was functioning like a perfectly “normal” teenager. In fact, I was somewhat of an overachiever. I was working through my mental illnesses and succeeding, so what was the problem?

Published on The Mighty website on 5.23.16
Written by: Amanda Leventhal

My Eating Disorder Had Nothing to Do with Barbie or the Media

A lot of people with an eating disorder will find the idea that it’s caused by Barbies or supermodels insulting and patronizing. It’s a mental illness, not a bad case of vanity.

When I was ten years old, I had a Barbie doll. I had VHS copies of every Disney movie ever made, and a stack of Cosmo magazines I’d stolen from my older sister. Six years later, I had anorexia. None of these things are related.

You can hardly go online nowadays without coming across an aggressively angry article decrying something or someone for perpetuating “unrealistic body standards”—be it Topshop mannequin, a Disney character’s waistband, or, time and time again, Barbie dolls.

Paradoxically, in discussions of “unrealistic bodies,” real women get the most stick for their stick-figures, be it flat-bellied celebrities on Instagram, or, most frequently, the entire modeling industry itself.

Published on the Vice magazine website on 2.20.15
Written by: Amelia Tait

Recovery Is Possible – Michelle’s Story

This month we feature the story of Michelle, who talks about her eating disorder developing from a harmless attempt at establishing healthier dietary patterns.  It is a powerful reminder of how diets are not a good idea for anyone, but also how recovery IS possible for everyone. 

All throughout my early childhood and pre-teen years, I had a healthy relationship with food. I never counted calories, never analyzed the back of nutritional labels, and never thought twice about what I ate, food was food. It wasn’t until the beginning of my senior year in high school, about 10 years ago, when I started noticing I was gaining some weight and was not as “fit” as some of my friends. Consequently, I slowly started to become more aware of the foods I ate. I also joined a gym in hopes of becoming more toned and losing a few pounds. My new fitness journey started out healthy, within a couple of weeks I was noticing a difference and felt better. My friends were noticing too and complimenting me on my new physical changes, which boosted my motivation.

With my new “confidence” I wanted to continue my healthy lifestyle and lose a few more pounds, then I would be truly happy (so I told myself).  I began being very strict with my diet, eliminating as many “bad” foods as possible. Certain foods were no longer “allowed.” My workouts at the gym increased substantially. Without realizing it, I was putting my body into a state of starvation, and I was spiraling downwards, quickly. I became obsessed with the scale, weighing in every morning and every night, sometimes even after school to make sure I didn’t put on too much water weight. The number on the scale consumed me. I could not have a high number on the scale, it just wasn’t acceptable.

Published on the Cielo House website on 3.29.17
Written by: Michelle Reuter

EDRC Press Release (3/30/17) – EDRC Announces Winners of 2017 Every Body’s Beautiful Writing Contest with a Record Breaking Number of Participants!

From the 3.30.17 press release:

EDRC Announces Winners of 2017 Every Body’s Beautiful Writing Contest with a Record Breaking Number of Participants!

Eating Disorders Resource Center (EDRC) is pleased to announce the student winners of its eighth annual Every Body’s Beautiful Writing Contest. The contest gives middle and high school students the opportunity to address self-love, self-acceptance, and the media’s effect on body image. A local high school videography class will make videos of the first-place winning entries. Through this, we are involving more young people in the topic and the creative process, as well as bringing the message into a medium more likely to be widely used and shared by today’s youth.

This year we received over 200 student entries from 35 different middle and high schools. Our esteemed participants shared what beauty means to them and how the media affects their body image. Judges included Peter Tavernise, Cisco Foundation; Munira Nasser Webb, Cisco; Allison Bennett, Peachjar; Matthew Wilson, Bay Area News Group; Louise Persson, AAUW Strong Girl’s Conference; and Laurie Kelm, FASS Services.

First, second and third place winners for each category will receive cash prizes of $300, $200, and $100, respectively in the next month. Special thanks to this year’s sponsors; Palo Alto Medical Foundation and the Santa Clara County Library District.

2nd Place: Vivian Le, Grade 12, Piedmont Hills High School
3rd Place: Ayushi Ray, Grade 10, Cupertino High School

2nd Place: Elisia Macias, Grade 7, Brownell Middle School
3rd Place: Anonymous, Grade 8, Venture Academy

Each time that she looks at herself today,
she vows to find something nice to say.
She won’t break herself down any longer
or make the cruel dragon any stronger.
She’s waited too long for a prince to swoop in,
not realizing that true love comes from within.
Now, she’ll rewrite the fairytales on her shelf
so the princess can finally save herself.
– Excerpt from our first place High School Winner, Sean-Yuei Tseng

Irvington High School Volunteers Represent EDRC at 2017 Evergreen Valley College (EVC) Strong Women Leadership Conference

On March 18, three volunteers from Irvington High School represented EDRC at the 2017 Evergreen Valley College Strong Women Leadership Conference. Presented by the San Jose chapter of the American Association of University Women (AAUW) and Evergreen Valley College Women and Gender Studies Department, the event included a resource fair, raffle contest, and a variety of workshops on campus sexual assault, healthy relationships, and positive body image.

Below is Katherine Chen’s reflection on the event:

“The Strong Women Conference was such a wonderful experience. Seeing all the people there who cared so much about the empowerment of women really inspired me. The guest speakers were so influential and powerful, and it was an honor getting to hear them speak about their hardships and successes.”

“There were many workshops to choose from, and we attended ‘When Women Lead, Women Win!’ by Chandra Brooks and ‘A Heavy Price: The Effect of Weight Stigma’ by Dr. Jen Henretty and Jamie Atkins. Both of these left me with a lasting impact. Chandra Brooks talked about how women can and should strive for the best instead of settling for ‘safe’ positions, since that is how women often act. Most success is primarily the result of hard work. People, especially women, work hard to get to where they are, but often times, people only see the final result and call it luck. In the second workshop, the presenters stressed the importance of how health is not defined by weight, and how many aspects of modern society and culture stigmatize weight.”

“Overall, this was a very rewarding experience and it left me with a very powerful impression of how women can also reach the top if they go for it, even if society often holds women back from doing so.”

View Katherine’s photos of the event below.

Volunteers Katherine Chen (L) and Amanda Tran (R) pose with the EDRC conference booth. 

Volunteers Amanda Tran (L) and Kyra Lorenzo (R) pose with the EDRC conference booth.

The EDRC conference booth. Volunteers created an informational board with eating disorder facts and resources. The booth also served as a safe space for visitors to share their thoughts about eating disorders.

One of the workshops attended by EDRC volunteers. 

How Instagram Encouraged My Eating Disorder

When vegan blogger Jordan Younger announced that she was giving up her vegan lifestyle, she not only lost Instagram followers but also received death threats. The famous food blogger had thousands of devoted kale-eating followers who were unaware that she had a dangerous eating disorder, which she masked in veganism. In Younger’s case, Instagram had served as a façade, enabling her to pass off disordered eating as a healthy lifestyle. As she explained to the New York Post, “The obsession with my diet took up my every waking hour. It was stopping me from leading a normal life full of social activities and other interests.”

I understood her words. I, too, fought an eating disorder for six years. And while I am not a famous blogger, I have felt Instagram’s overwhelming effect on my diet and disease. In promoting “healthy living,” food and fitness bloggers often inadvertently encourage their own — and others’ — eating disorders.

Read more…

Published on The Bold Italic website on 10.18.16
Written by: Brittany Ladin