Tuesday, February 25, 2014



The 12 Best LOVE YOUR BODY Blogs/Web Pages

The Yoga Bag Blog 

In honor of National Eating Disorders Awareness Week. I have compiled some blogs and web pages that are wonderful tools for your journey to LOVE YOUR BODY.


I have noticed that when we love our bodies, that is—engage in the practices of self-love, we protect ourselves from self-harm.  Self-care and self-love are the anecdotes to the cultural pressures to judge, analyze, and lose ourselves.

I also included a few resources for those of us who are struggling with eating disorders. See the end of the blog : )

So go ahead- LOVE YOUR BODY and here is how - have fun!!

ONE: The Body Positive 


“The Body Positive transforms beliefs about beauty, health, and identity, freeing people to use their talents and passion to change the world instead of their bodies.”

TWO: Weightless (from Psychcentral)


“Weightless is about fostering a fulfilling body image and life, at any shape + size. It’s about well-being, not weight.
Weightless is about building a healthy relationship with food and yourself. It’s about transforming your self-care, and finding self-acceptance and self-love.
Weightless is about becoming a clever consumer and recognizing when women’s magazines and other mediums tout unrealistic and damaging tips and standards.”

THREE: Audios Barbie 


“Adios, Barbie: The One Stop Body Image Shop for Identity Issues including Size, Race, Media, and More!

Since the dawn of the world wide web (or at least since 1998), AdiosBarbie.com has been the only site whose mission is to broaden the concepts of body image to include people of all ages, cultures, genders, abilities, sexual orientations, races, and sizes. And while that’s a mouthful, we believe that body image, like identity, happens in the mind. In fact, a person’s body image has very little to do with one’s actual body. Rather, it comes from external influences, beliefs, habits and conversations.”

Four: Already Pretty 


Already Pretty blogger, “Sally McGraw is a Minneapolis-based freelance writer, blogger, and communications professional. She earned a creative writing degree from Binghamton University in 1998 and, after graduation, worked in the book and magazine publishing industry for 10 years. She has contributed writing to local newspapers, magazines, and websites throughout her entire professional life, and is an ongoing contributor to the Minneapolis Star Tribune and The Huffington Post.”

FIVE: We are the Real Deal


We Are The Real Deal is an educational blog universe instructing today’s youths on body image, healthy coping, nutrition and self-esteem via empowering content authored by professionals from arts, wellness, nutrition, yoga and psychology.

WATRD’s mission is to empower girls and women by providing a “safe” space to learn about healthy body image, finding the voice, stress management and to promote media literacy.  The site is a program of the mentalfitness, inc. national nonprofit."

SIX: Nourishing the Soul 

“Pull a chair up to the table and…
…get comfortable. Nourishing the Soul was created to be a forum for growth and self-discovery, as well as a resource for the latest news, research, and advocacy information in the fields of eating disorders and body image. Whether you’ve experienced disordered eating, know someone who has, or simply want to learn more about how our relationship with food and our bodies can become distorted, I welcome you. I hope this site is not only a source of information, but one of hope as well.”

SEVEN: Health at Every Size (HAES)  

 “Let’s face facts. We’ve lost the war on obesity. Fighting fat hasn’t made the fat go away. And being thinner, even if we knew how to successfully accomplish it, will not necessarily make us healthier or happier. The war on obesity has taken its toll. Extensive “collateral damage” has resulted: Food and body preoccupation, self-hatred, eating disorders, discrimination, poor health... Few of us are at peace with our bodies, whether because we’re fat or because we fear becoming fat.
Health at Every Size is the new peace movement.
Very simply, it acknowledges that good health can best be realized independent from considerations of size. It supports people—of all sizes—in addressing health directly by adopting healthy behaviors – An excerpt from Health at Every Size: The Surprising Truth About Your Weight by Linda Bacon, PhD.”

EIGHT: Love Your Body  

Every day, in so many ways, the beauty industry (and the media in general) tell women and girls that being admired, envied and desired based on their looks is a primary function of true womanhood. The beauty template women are expected to follow is extremely narrow, unrealistic and frequently hazardous to their health. The Love Your Body campaign challenges the message that a woman's value is best measured through her willingness and ability to embody current beauty standards.”

NINE: Intuitive Eating 

This web page connects you with tons of resources, training materials, and inspiration for eating with and for your body.

TEN: Hardy Girls Healthy Women 

“Hardy Girls Healthy Women (HGHW) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the health and well being of girls and women. Our vision is that all girls and women experience equality, independence, and safety in their everyday lives. To that end, our mission is to create opportunities, develop programs, and provide services that empower them. Since day one, Hardy Girls programming, resources and services have been powered by the latest research in girls' development. Much of that research comes from the work of Hardy Girls co-creator and board member, Lyn Mikel Brown.”

ELEVEN: Powered BY Girl 


“POWERED BY GIRL is an online media activism campaign for girls by girls. We exist to interrupt media sexism in all it’s racist, classist, homophobic forms with humor, satire, and the online tools at our disposal. Whether it’s a drawing, cartoon, poem, satiric remake of an ad, or a good old rant against the patriarchy, every post here is original work from our fantastic social media interns and guest girl bloggers. We consider ourselves culture jammers who call out the absurdity of who and what we’re expected to be in the media and in our daily lives.”

TWELVE: The Body Love Conference 

“The Body Love Conference is a high energy, positive and progressive event where women can come together to build a community in a supportive environment while participating in revolutionary presentations and workshops. Backed by an all-volunteer staff of dedicated body-positivity activists and artists, Baker’s  Body Love Conference dream is well on its way to becoming reality. Among the body-positivity celebs already booked to attend are EffYourBeautyStandards founder and model Tess Munster, and local celebrity photographer Jade Beall of A Beautiful Body Project. With over 400 anticipated attendees and an all-day program of presentations and workshops on a range of subjects – featuring the history of the beauty myth, social concepts of aging, post-birth bodies, clothing alteration, body-positive dance, overcoming self-hate with love, and why it’s crucial to challenge and reform social norms, among others - The Body Love Conference is attracting enthusiastic participants from Tucson and beyond.”


A photo I took in Kenya in July 2013

 And a few to Help with Eating Disorder Struggle

ONE: Eating Disorder Hope 

“Eating Disorder Hope™ offers education, support, and inspiration to eating disorder sufferers, their loved ones, and eating disorders treatment providers. Eating Disorder Hope™ resources include articles on eating disorder treatment options, support groups, recovery tools and more. Whether an individual struggles with bulimia, anorexia, body image distortion, or binge-eating disorders, Eating Disorder Hope™ can help.
Eating Disorder Hope™ promotes ending eating disordered behavior, embracing life and pursuing recovery from anorexia, bulimia, binge eating, and other eating disorders. Our mission is to foster appreciation of one’s uniqueness and value in the world, unrelated to appearance, achievement or applause.”

TWO: Something Fishy 

“We are dedicated to raising awareness about eating disorders... emphasizing always that eating disorders are NOT about food and weight; They are just the symptoms of something deeper going on, inside. Something Fishy is determined to remind each and every sufferer of anorexia, bulimia, compulsive overeating and binge eating disorder that they are not alone, and that complete recovery is possible. If you are the loved-one of someone that suffers with an eating disorder, use this website to educate yourself. The more you know, the more you are equipped to provide the support your loved-one needs. If you have an eating disorder, you can find help. You can recover. And you deserve to do both.”

THREE: National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) 

NEDA supports individuals and families affected by eating disorders, and serves as a catalyst for prevention, cures and access to quality care.”

FOUR: Academy for Eating Disorders AED 

The Academy for Eating Disorders is a global professional association committed to leadership in eating disorders research, education, treatment and prevention.”

FIVE: Eating Disorder Help Gide 

“If you have an eating disorder, you may believe that being thin is the key to being happy, or that if you can control what you eat, you’ll be able to control your life. But the truth is that happiness, confidence, and self-empowerment come from accepting yourself for who you truly are—and that’s only possible with recovery.Overcoming an eating disorder involves rediscovering who you are beyond your eating habits, weight, and body image. It also involves learning to recognize and deal with your emotions in healthy ways, rather than using food—whether by obsessing about it, avoiding it, or overeating—as a substitute.”

SIX: ANAD http://www.anad.org/

National Association of Anorexia and Associated Disorders

SEVEN: Families Empowered 


Support for families with members struggling with eating disorders.




Sunday, February 16, 2014

True Beauty: The Beauty and the Beast

True Beauty: The Beauty and the Beast
By Maya Cottone
(Age 13)

we are all different
from our hair, to our toes
to our arms and legs
to our stomachs
to our feet

but we all feel the same things
we all feel happiness and joy

but through and under all that
we feel pain and sorrow

to express it, all we can say is
I wish, I wish, I wish, I wish
to be beautiful, to be skinny…
to be like her

the perfect girl that does not exist


the girl on the billboards who is not real


we want to be like her because we have been tricked into thinking she is happy
but how?

how can she be happy?
through the pills and the bulimia
and the standards
how is she happy?
the truth she is not

so we need to happy with ourselves
we all know how to cut our wrists
and not eat our food but that is not who we are

we are girls
we are not fake


so let go of the sorrow and the pain
because you are beautiful

I once heard a wise man say
“you are perfect through all of your imperfections”
he did not mean thinking you are ugly or fat
or popular
he meant believing it

so look at yourself and say
I am beautiful
because it is true
all you need to do is believe it

Friday, February 14, 2014

Ice Cream Theory of Love

Ice Cream Theory of Love

Once upon a time, there were two little boys. They both loved ice cream. Yet, they had different tastes. The first little boy loved maple walnut ice cream and the second little boy loved mint chocolate chip ice cream. Their preferences were quite strong and life long. To the first boy, maple walnut was the best tasting ice cream that there was. For the second little boy, mint chocolate chip ice cream was the best tasting ice cream that there ever was or ever could be.

In the Adirondack Mountains of New York State there is an ice-cream factory that makes the finest maple walnut ice cream in the world. The cream comes from cows that roam free in the foothills of the Adirondacks. These cows are fed wild grass and are taken care of by kindly farmers who love each cow uniquely. The walnuts are shipped from an award-winning orchard in California. Most importantly, the maple syrup is from a small family farm. Each tree is tapped and tended by the farmer and his wife. Each year, they skillfully mind and tap the trees carefully crafting each batch of syrup. When all of the ingredients arrive, they are expertly blended together by the ice cream crafters, sealed, and frozen with pride and love.

In the same factory, they also make the finest mint chocolate chip ice cream in the world. The mint oil is shipped in from Europe where the oldest and purest lineage of the mint plant is derived. The chocolate comes from Switzerland sometimes taking weeks to be delivered. Like the maple walnut ice cream, the cream for the mint chocolate chip ice cream is also from the healthiest, best-tended cows in the world. This mint chocolate chip ice cream is unsurpassed by any other mint chocolate chip ice cream.

The factory is so very mindful and artful with each batch of ice cream that there are times when one or another variety of ice cream is not available. This can be very sad for the little boys and girls hoping to get their favorite flavor.

Once, on one of the hottest and driest day of the summer, the first little boy went with his grandmother to the factory to get maple walnut ice cream. The server regretfully informed the first little boy that, alas, there was no maple walnut ice cream that day. She offered the first little boy mint chocolate chip ice cream. She explained that it was the finest in the world. The first little boy cringed, eyes downcast, shook his head “No. Thank you, no.”

Once, on another very hot day, the second little boy went to the factory with his uncle to get mint chocolate chip ice cream. The server regretfully told him that, alas, that day, there was only maple walnut ice cream. The boy shook his head, No,” eyes downcast, heart heavy, “Thank you, no.”

In late August, there was a very good day. A hot, dry Saturday. The first little boy and the second little boy both arrived at the factory.

“Yes!” their server said. “We do have your favorite ice cream. Yes, we have maple walnut and mint chocolate chip. We have them both today!”

Moments later, for all to see, were two of the happiest children ever. Each enjoying the finest ice creams-- exact matches, maple walnut for the first little boy and mint chocolate chip for the second little boy. Ahhh, life was good.

Wouldn’t it be funny if a maple walnut ice cream cone was a person? Wouldn’t it be even stranger if the maple walnut ice cream cone valued herself only by who wanted her? Worse, yet, she saw her value only in the value placed on her by the second little boy?

Her mother could tell her, “Sweet girl, you are made from the finest of cream, the most fabulous of walnuts, and the purest of maple syrups. Do not value yourself based on a little boy’s ability to appreciate you.”

Sadly, the little ice cream cone girl would not believe her mother because, you see, the second little boy did not like her. He did not want her.

Wouldn’t it be even sadder if the second little boy, discouraged that there was no mint chocolate chip ice cream one day settled for the maple walnut ice cream cone? He would be happy, perhaps, because this was in fact-- ice cream-- and it was summer.

But what a loss.

What a loss because as it turns out, when the first little boy showed up hours later, the maple walnut ice cream cone was already gone. Had he been able to appreciate her, he would have told everyone, “This is the finest ice-cream cone that there is and ever has been in all of the land. This is the finest of cream, award winning walnuts, and the purest and finest of maple syrup. I am the luckiest little boy in the world!”

Instead, the maple walnut ice cream cone was no longer there. She was gone and feeling sad because she was not seen or appreciated. She left with someone who settled.

The moral of the story, don’t settle for someone who can’t appreciate your qualities. They and you will be settling.

You should be seen by someone who looks into your eyes and says, “These are the most beautiful eyes I have ever seen!”

You should be heard by someone by someone who thinks, “What brilliance, what insights!”

You should be loved by someone who holds your hand and knows, “I am the luckiest person in the world, right here right now, I am the luckiest person in the world.”

And that- is my ice cream theory of love.


Catherine Cook-Cottone
The Yoga Bag