CED’s 5th Annual “Love Your Tree” Campaign

“Like a tree, my body is… renewed”

“Love Your Tree” is an inspiring body image campaign based on the work of author and activist, Eve Ensler.  Ensler’s award winning play, “The Good Body” sends a message to women to stop hating their bodies and encourages us all to challenge society’s narrow definition of beauty. The Love Your Tree program was created five years ago as a creative avenue for this important message to reach young people in our state. The central theme, “Love Your Body, Love Your Tree” encourages self awareness and self care as well as an appreciation for the diversity of beauty.

“Like a tree my body is…unique and my heart breaks free of the images in the media.”

Middle school, high school and college students from across Maryland are invited to create and submit original posters that illustrate their positive response to the phrase, “Like a tree, my body is…”. This campaign provides students with an opportunity to use art as an avenue for learning about and expressing messages of body appreciation.

How to Get Involved:

Teachers, counselors, school administrators and other youth leaders in Maryland are encouraged to contact us if you are interested in setting up a “Love Your Tree” workshop for a group of students during October, November or December 2010. Poster entries are also accepted from any interested individual students.

Please download the following items for details on how to submit a poster:

“Like a tree my body is, fun, strong, alive, exquisite, beautiful, lovely, UNIQUE!”

The campaign will culminate in February 2011 with a special recognition ceremony and a public exhibit of student artwork.  Students will receive awards for their artwork and one poster is chosen to be reproduced and utilized in the following year’s efforts towards promoting a positive body image. Community members, parents, friends, teachers and school administrators are invited to attend the reception.

Poster entries must be no smaller than 9″x12″ and no larger than 12″x18″. Only two- dimensional media will be accepted.

For more information, contact the CED Outreach Department at (410) 427-3886 or kclemmer@sheppardpratt.org.

The inspirational posters pictured above  were part of the 2009/2010 LYT exhibit.  Student names and their corresponding artist statements are listed below (from top to bottom):

  • Kiley Baker, Bel Air High School,  “Like a tree, my body is… renewed”
  • Leeza Faraone, Notre Dame Preparatory School, “Like a tree my body is…unique and my heart breaks free of the images in the media.”
  • Frank Sobczynski, MICA, “Like a tree my body is, fun, strong, alive, exquisite, beautiful, lovely, UNIQUE!”

Positive Body Image is Always In Season: 7 Tips for Year-Round Body Image Boosting

With two of the most influential annual body image campaigns about a week behind us, the seeds for change have been planted once again.  As proposed in our previous post,  Fat Talk Free Week is Over – Now What?, it becomes important for each of us to think about how we can maintain the national momentum of positive body image on a long-term basis in our own lives.  Yesterday, we shared a few startling statistics that show just how pervasive negative body image is in our country;  whether you’re three years-old or thirty-years old, it is something that can have profound effects on self-esteem and overall quality of life.  So in an effort to help fuel the positive energy triggered by Fat Talk Free Week and Love Your Body Day, we wanted to share several easy ideas for body image building all year long.

  1. Plan ahead. It’s always okay to schedule a positive body image session for a later date.  Page through your daily planner (or scroll into the future on your iPhone calendar) and jump ahead a few weeks or months.  Insert positive body image statements on random days or write down empowering statements on birthdays and special events that will help you remember and commit to appreciating your body and being “fat talk free”.
  2. Don’t forget to share. Have you seen this Tri Delta Fat Talk Free Video from the 2008 campaign?  This is powerful stuff!  Post it on your Facebook page or share it with co-workers any day of the year.  Spread the word so that you can begin building a support system of body positive people around you who also choose not to engage in “fat talk”.
  3. Speaking of Facebook…check out the Center for Eating Disorders FB page and become a fan to receive positive body image status updates, motivational quotes, and links to helpful resources and events.
  4. Reconsider monthly magazine subscriptions.  Research has shown that even just 3 minutes of looking at fashion/women’s magazines can have a significantly negative impact on our self-esteem and body image.  Similar effects can be attributed to men’s health/fitness magazines which have been shown to encourage body dissatisfaction and unhealthy weight control behaviors among males.  Consider switching subscriptions or signing up for a positive affirmation email so you get a reliable dose of confidence in your inbox instead of a monthly blow to your self esteem.
  5. Celebrate the seasons. As the season changes and autumn is here, feel the brisk air as you breathe, notice the colors of the leaves you can see, taking in all that nature can offer and remember that it is your body that allows you to have these experiences.   Start to focus on your body’s functionality more often.  In each season there are opportunities to reflect on what the body can do and its ability to maintain balance even as things change around us.
  6. Break it down. For individuals with eating disorders or severe body image distortion even just one day of “loving” your body may seem like an insurmountable or overwhelming task.  Setting goals is good but when we set goals too high too quickly we set ourselves up for failure.  If  loving your body doesn’t sound do-able at this time in your life, remember that body image is not an “all or nothing” concept.   Any changes, even small ones, that can be made to help you realize how special, unique and beautiful your body truly is can be seen as an important step forward in recovery that often leads to further acceptance of self and health.  Start with something small like giving yourself permission to accept a compliment instead of immediately trying to disprove it.  Or, you can work with a therapist to come up with a specific body image goal that’s right for you.
What else have you tried to keep the positive body image momentum going?  Share your comments below or on our Facebook Page, and check out some of our most popular body image blogs from the past year:

Written by Kate Clemmer, CED Outreach Coordinator and  Amy Scott, CED Admissions Coordinator

Above photos courtesy of  blogs.targetx.com and www.youtube.com

“Fat Talk Free” Week is Over – Now What?

Last week was an important one in the world of positive body image promotion and eating disorder awareness.  Tri Delta’s Fat Talk Free Week (Oct. 18-22) interjected with the NOW Foundation’s  Love Your Body Day (Oct. 20)  created some much needed opportunities for public discussion around our country’s deeply rooted body image struggles.  On an individual level, these national campaigns provided people of all ages with a platform on which they could freely verbalize or begin to feel love for their bodies and hopefully offered an extra incentive not to engage in the destructive day-to-day “fat chat” that is so common among friends and family.

On a national and even international level, these campaigns garner a lot of well-deserved attention, stimulate some incredible events (especially on college campuses nationwide) and provide much needed education and awareness about body image health, media literacy and self-acceptance.  This year, media attention for Fat Talk Free Week seemed to grow, even catching mentions on MSNBC, Rosie O’donnell’s radio talk show and many online sources including Time magazine , Marie Claire and  Glamour.

Today, however, is a new week and these great campaigns are officially behind us until October of 2011.  So what  happens now that the event fliers are coming down and press outlets have stopped paying attention?  What happens to our ability to appreciate our bodies today, next week or next month?  And how can we make sure that the messages of Love Your Body  Day and Fat Talk Free Week stick with us even after these campaigns come to a close?  Consider for a moment that we celebrated  “Love Your Best Friend Day” once a year… surely we wouldn’t have much trouble remembering to feel gratitude for our bff a month later, and we certainly wouldn’t let his or her pant size determine their worth in our lives.  Yet, sadly it continues to be difficult to bestow this same respect on ourselves and our own bodies after the public attention to the cause dies down.

When people feel badly about their bodies it can affect their core sense of self, inhibit interpersonal relationships, impact school/work performance, deter participation in sports and social activities, and it is the most reliably observed risk factor for the development of serious eating disorders.  Despite our increasing knowledge about these consequences, there’s  expanding normative discontent with our bodies across all ages and gender:   

  • Nearly one-third of 3 to 6 year-old girls would change something about their physical appearance and nearly half of them worry about being fat.
  • At age 13, 53% of American girls are “unhappy with their bodies” –  this grows to 78% by the time girls reach age 17.
  • 67% of women over 30 were dissatisfied with their body weight
  • 62% of women over age 65 want to lose weight
  • In the past two decades the number of men who openly report dissatisfaction with their physical appearance has tripled — and today, nearly as many men as women say they are unhappy with how they look. (Males & Body Image)

Certainly, the goal of national body image campaigns are not to reverse these trends overnight but instead, they provide a jumping off point and help to plant seeds for ongoing change and steady progress.  Now it’s up to each of us to take the small steps necessary to make sure they grow into something that is long-lasting and, hopefully, contagious.

Check out our follow up to this  post about daily, monthly and seasonal steps you can take to make long-term improvements to your body image… Positive Body Image is Always In Season: 7 Tips for Year Round Body Image Boosting. You can also click on the photos above to find out more about how the NOW Foundation and Tri Delta are continuing to spread important education and messages about body image all year round.

Questions about treatment for eating disorders and body image? Visit  The Center for Eating Disorders at Sheppard Pratt homepage or call us at (410) 938-5252.