by Marci Warhaft-Nadler

I know what it’s like to look at myself in the mirror and hate what I see. I know what it’s like to never feel good enough, smart enough or pretty enough.

I know what it’s like to think that if I could only lose weight my life would be perfect and I know what it’s like to lose the weight only to find out that I’ll never feel skinny ENOUGH.

But I also know what it’s like to find recovery and regain control of my body and my life. I know how it feels to feel comfortable in my own skin and like myself from the inside out. I know what freedom feels like and I’ll never go back.

I lost over 20 years of my life to body image and eating disorder issues and was one of the lucky few to find recovery.  As a fitness professional for 25 years, I had become frustrated with how our society confuses BEING fit with just LOOKING fit.  There is a difference.

As a mother, it angered me to hear children as young as seven years old berating themselves over the size of their jeabs and being bullied for their body types. As a recovering anorexic/compulsive overeater, my heart broke for every child on the verge of a life consumed with food and weight obsession. I felt an intense need to do something to help.

Three years ago, I created the “Fit vs Fiction” workshop for kids and parents that I bring to schools, camps, parent groups etc.  It’s an interactive presentation that gets people talking about the pressures they feel to live up to society’s unrealistic expectations about beauty.  I use images, games and true life experiences to break down the myths related to the beauty,fitness and diet industries.

By telling my story, I give kids a safe place to share their own. The truth isn’t always pretty, but there’s beauty in having the courage to share it when it can help others.

In the last few months, I have been hearing from more and more parents that their young children are showing clear signs of negative body image and are seeing a drop in their self-esteem. Once again, I felt the need to take a stand.

The Fit vs Fiction Body Image Awareness Campaign was designed with the goal of bringing attention to the fact that our kids need help NOW.  I’m constantly amazed at what the kids I meet share with me about the risks their willing to take to get the bodies they think they should have.

I’m hoping to get my posters seen by as many people as I can because nothing will change unless we change it.

Marci Warhaft-Nadler is the mother of 2 very active tween boys and has spent the last few years bringing her Fit vs Fiction workshop to schools in an effort to change the way kids treat and feel about themselves.In sharing her story of a lifelong battle and ultimate recovery from Body image issues, she gives kids a safe place to share their own. While no longer obsessed with food, she can’t however say the same thing about tattoos. Follow Marci on Twitter.

Author

Maria Lianos-Carbone is the author of “Oh Baby! A Mom’s Self-Care Survival Guide for the First Year”, and publisher of amotherworld.com, a leading lifestyle blog for women.

2 Comments

  1. Thank you for this. I have a design background and 7 years ago decided that as designers and graphic artists, we have a responsibility to educate clients and other designers that ‘untouched is beautiful’, and that we do have a say in which images become associated with the concepts of ‘health’ and ‘beauty’. I have grown very concerned by the images of ‘ripped’, diuretic-enhanced men and women as the spokespeople for ‘being fit’ and therefore ‘healthy’. Further, the ‘digital diets’ and retouching that I’ve seen (and done firsthand) have left my heart breaking for young men and women, and even for the models themselves – who often just wish they could look like the pictures of themselves.
    If you add in society’s fixated concerns regarding obesity, and the opposing aesthetic extreme to champion ‘thin’ as beautiful, you get a recipe for confusion and self-deprecating behaviours that is destructive and all-consuming in people of all ages, shapes, and sizes. This has to change.
    In this age of media bombardment, I find it amazing when people campaign for awareness. If there’s anything I can do to help with getting the message out there, let me know. I would be glad to speak to kids about what we do on the design side of things.. All the best!

  2. Pingback: What Happens When Your Mother Tells You She Is Fat | Awesome Åshild

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