Wishing everyone a spooktacular day!
I was going to college for health and fitness in Toronto when my behaviours became extreme. As my weight and health quickly plummeted no one asked me what was going on. Even at my physically worst I was only ever asked about drug use by doctors, but never a question about food or exercise. Hidden in plain sight, I was a man with an eating disorder.
That was 4 years ago. Now I have a successful career in health and fitness, and I live a lifestyle that is actually healthy, with no extremes. Eating and exercise are now just two of the many fantastic components of my life. Alright, that’s enough of me boasting about me.
How did I turn it around? And why should anyone reading this care?
I turned my life around because I decided to speak. I hope that anyone reading this does care, because I believe that one of the biggest steps to getting better is to speak honestly about it.
In speaking out loud, I realized that I was far from being the only guy to not feel good about his body. In speaking out loud, I was given support and people who wanted to help me get better. In speaking out load, I started to regain hope that maybe I didn’t have to live such an exhausting life.
Being able to speak out allowed me to understand exactly what I had been doing. My behaviours, my lack of self-worth – it all became more concrete somehow. By getting it out, I was then able to reflect on it objectively. When I realized that no one else was judging me for my eating disorder, I slowly began to stop judging myself.
Sadly, in our society, it is all too common for women to be pestered about their eating habits (which I am sure is annoying ladies, do not get me wrong), with men are rarely asked these same questions. Unfortunately, the job is most often left up to us guys to come forward on our own, and while there may be some added obstacles, I implore any man out there who is suffering to talk about it.
I spend a fair amount of my time talking to people about talking, as I believe that it is a key step in letting the eating disorder out of your system and moving on from it and toward a better life. I personally spoke with family and a few friends at first. I later moved on to professionals, both in group settings and one on one. However, it was that first day that I said anything to my mother that I felt a small crack in the freezing cold ice, when just a miniscule amount of warmth came through. While every person’s path is individual, talking is always a key component.
I leave you with this letter.
Dear all boys, men, guys, dudes: Talk to a friend. Talk to a parent. Talk to a partner. Talk to a professional. Talk to a doctor. Talk to a therapist. Talk to a specialist. There are options out there.
If you live in the Toronto area and are a self-identified man with body image concerns, Sheena’s Place (http://www.sheenasplace.org/) is holding a confidential focus group in order to help them develop a men’s body image help group on October 23rd at 6pm. For more information contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Contact us for more information about Riverwalk Wellness Centres’ support for males. Email email@example.com or call 905-886-6632.
When Chrisler lectures to women’s groups about how to feel better in their own skin, she offers the following tips.
Focus on health, not on weight. Eat a variety of foods, exercise and get enough sleep. Have a massage from time to time. Moisturize your skin. Wear clothes that fit. “A lot of women are not nice to themselves because they’re disappointed in their bodies,” she said.
Watch more foreign movies. “If you watch films from France and Japan, you’ll see many more older women than you see in U.S. movies, and they’re not all skinny as rails,” she said.
Avoid fashion magazines. “They’re full of young women and they’re wearing clothes that don’t look good on older women. They’re not made for us,” Chrisler said.
Don’t consider it a personal failure if the jeans you wore in high school don’t fit you in your 50s. “Women do gain weight at each reproductive milestone,” she said. “We gain weight at menarche, with the birth of each child and we gain weight at menopause, so we’re not going to have the same body size and shape at 50 as we had at 20. And if we don’t expect that, that would be a help.”
EDMONTON – Lauren Wood says her five-year-old daughter Lillian can’t seem to stop thinking about her weight ever since a visit to a Strathcona County immunization clinic in August.
A public health nurse described Lillian as “large” on the BMI (Body Mass Index) scale. Lillian was in the room at the time.
She and her husband didn’t fully realize the statement’s impact on Lillian until they left the clinic.
“On the way home, she asked if she was too big, and why she was too big. And then later she was playing, and got on the scale…and asked us if she was still too big,” Wood recalled, adding how hard it is to see her daughter pre-occupied about weight at such a young age.
Read the rest of the article here: http://globalnews.ca/news/921741/weight-shaming-when-is-a-child-old-enough-to-hear-they-are-overweight/
Lily Myers’ slam poem, “Shrinking Women,” which won Best Love Poem at the 2013 College Unions Poetry Slam Invitational in April, perfectly expresses the pressure women feel to take up less and less space, to be quiet, to be small and to eat sparingly.
You have been taught to grow out, I have been taught to grow in. You learn from our father how to emit, how to produce, to roll each thought off your tongue with confidence. You used to lose your voice every other week from shouting so much. I learned to absorb. I took lessons from our mother in creating space around myself. I learned to read the knots in her forehead while the guys went out for oysters.
The Auroran: Arts and Culture
Musicians hope to take “vehicle” international
October 23, 2013
By Brock Weir
The phrase “have gun, will travel” is a well-used one, but it’s a philosophy not unlike that shared by musicians Justin Hines, and Ash & Bloom. They don’t need much – just some room and board, a place to play, and a good cause.
The trio of Hines, James Bloemendal and Matt McKenna, appeared at the Aurora Cultural Centre earlier this month to support Eating Disorders of York Region’s (EDOYR) Riverwalk Wellness Centre.
EDOYR director Janice Morgante has long been a fan of Hines, and when she went to a recent show announcing his Vehicle of Change tour, she knew this would be a perfect fit for her organization. The Vehicle of Change Tour is the brainchild of Hines and his management team, the Agency of Extraordinary People, to quite literally be a vehicle of change to non-profits and worthy causes the length and breadth of North America.
Groups sought them out, and vice-versa, and the result was over a year on the road building a perfect harmony – all for the cost of room and board, with full proceeds going to the group that brought them there.
“We had this idea of doing something a little different and not the standard musical tour,” said Hines. “We wanted to do something meaningful and outside the box. We wanted to be inclusive and part of the change for everybody. We have had a lot of things to figure out along the way, but we have connected with so many different people from all different walks of life and it has been amazing.”
Adds Bloemendal: “The whole idea behind Extraordinary People is everyone has the opportunity to be extraordinary and one of those ways is changing the lives of those around them”
Hines connected with Ash & Bloom by chance as well, having a brainstorm seeing them on stage in Port Perry. Sensing they could make beautiful music together, they are, “miraculously”, still friends after spending more than 12 months in close quarters in a vehicle, and a rotating cast of friends and pets.
The Aurora stop was the last in their Vehicle of Change tour and, in the meantime, they are taking time to regroup, evaluate their success, and chart an even grander goal for the years ahead – taking their “vehicle” international. In the meantime, Ash & Bloom are working on their album which drops this fall and the duo will be returning to the Cultural Centre for a concert on December 8.
“I’m excited to watch their evolution and progression,” said Hines. “This has been awesome for me. In some ways they’re like my baby. Wait, that sounds really weird.”
“Thanks, Dad!” said McKenna with a laugh.
“Yeah, that was much weirder than I thought it would be.”
Farewell message from Justin as the “Vehicle of Change Tour” comes to an end: http://www.pledgemusic.com/projects/justinhines/updates/27885