Documentary

Real Body Story is on the road filming a documentary about battling anorexia.  The film takes an in-depth look at the physiological, emotional and financial struggles behind an eating disorder. Do you have a story to share about the repercussions of a denied insurance claim for ED treatment?  Or do you have an experience you’d like to share related to parity law?  Contact us at (916) 233-8821 or send your story to the link below.

 

Share your Real Body Story on our site or at your school.

High School students- do you want to share the Real Body Story at your school?  Learn how to start an official Real Body Story club on your campus.  Starting your RBS club is a fantastic way to promote body image acceptance, help others, and influence your peers.  Every Club Leader/founder will enjoy the following benefits:

  • Receive Real Body Story apparel (for leaders only).
  • Get a RBS Club Starter Pack to help get your club growing.
  • Apply for exclusive scholarships awarded (every other year) to one (1) RBS Club Leader for outstanding community service promoting body image acceptance and living a Real Body Story ($200).
  • Receive e-mail updates from RBS about running your club and opportunities for local involvement.

Interested?  Start your RBS Club today. Send a letter of interest to: [email protected]

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What's your Real Body Story?  It consists of more than serving ourselves and wasting time obsessing about our physical deficiencies.  A real body is developed through balance; serving others, feeding our mind, and making healthy lifestyle choices.  Share your story or share a story about someone who is living a real body story and creating a legacy for others to imitate.  Having a difficult time crafting your story?  Share your challenges, your struggles and those pesky thoughts that consume you.  We're here to listen.

"...whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy-meditate on these things."  Philippians 4:8





My struggle with BDD

Imagine a girl who could never see herself objectively. What the girl saw was so vastly different from what others saw in her. Imagine how painful that would be- to not know your true identity. Without knowing the truth, how can you change it? Imagine if this girl felt so different from everyone else. Her perceived image did not fit in with the ideals set by society and in many ways she didn't want it to. Though this brought her individuality, it also brought her tremendous amounts of suffering. She felt isolated, empty and terribly alone. What if this girl were you? What would you do? Would you end your life or reconstruct it? My name is Camilla Kendall. I work as a physical therapist in Sacramento, California. But that is only a small part of who I am. I am this girl. Though, at first, I chose to end my life, now I have chosen to change it. I chose to write a book. Though my book was semi-autobiographical, it was also a fiction novel allowing me to reconstruct myself and the society in which I live. Writing my book, Proof of Heaven, was exhilarating, painful, and very therapeutic. My journey as a writer allowed me to see my struggles with an objective eye and nurture myself as I would my patients, something I’d never been able to do. I’ve struggled with appearance issues for as long as I can remember, at times too afraid to leave my house because of the way I felt I looked. This seemed to be such a disparity from what I really wanted- to not care about superficialities and to get out there and decrease the suffering in the world. But I finally had to learn to decrease my own suffering while I was trying to decrease others’. I was diagnosed with BDD, body dysmorphic disorder, several years ago, after I had visited countless plastic surgeons who stated I did not need surgery. I would feel hopeless after my visits because I would not be able to change who I was, then suicide would feel like my only other option. Though discussing this is very difficult, I’m sharing it with you today because I want others, who are going through the same experience, to know they are not alone.

Camilla Kendall
Sacramento, California



Emotional eater

I come from a family of foodaholics, therefore I've always had to work at keeping my body in shape. I've put time and energy into molding and shaping my body to what it's become today. I'm very comfortable in my body. I like the way I look. I keep my thoughts about my body positive. I focus on what I really like about my body. I’m in the best shape of my life! That's unusual for us gals to think this way because we look in the mirror and slowly turn our eyes to those troubled areas on our bodies. That's where the self destruction starts. Just as I give my children choices I remind myself that I have a choice. I can stare at myself in the mirror and wish for better breasts, arms, legs, etc. or I can look in the mirror and smile back at the image displayed in the mirror. I made an agreement to be kind to myself to take care of myself, to eat healthy and exercise regularly. Sure, I enjoy a slice of pizza or a glass of wine or perhaps a smidge of dessert every now and then but I never beat myself up afterwards. I've realized I could spend hours beating myself up after I ate something sinful, but instead I fully enjoy the sinful food and allow myself to be present in that moment of sin. Did you know that 65% of women have eating disorders. It should be no surprise to you that I am one of those women. I have an emotional eating disorder. It's somewhat uncontrollable. When I first recognized I had a problem I wrote down everything I ate during a binge. At the end of the binge I calculated what I had eaten and discovered I had pumped a total of 1,800 calories into my body. That's above and beyond what I had eaten that day. That’s a ton of calories for someone my size. That was my wake up call! I had no idea I was doing that to the body I’ve been taking such good care of. Emotional eating disorders are unhealthy. This disorder can affect your metabolic rate, raise your insulin levels and cause you to store more fat. Although I hope someday I will only need a stick of gum or a lifesaver to satisfy my disorder, I've embraced it and I still love who I am! The cup is half full ;-)

T
California



Looking like a Grandma

There is a new AD on Television where an advertiser attaches a young stars face to another body...she doesn't want to do the Ad campaign because that body 'makes her look like a grandma'! So the message I think young women hear is that aging into 'grandmahood' is a negative thing! My mother is 90 years old...she always took good care of herself and her skin, and her skin has aged... and what makes her 'attractive' is her soft, smiling eyes...the window of the soul...where there is true beauty! I did botox/restlyne and I regret it! I did it a few years ago, after cancer treatment 'aged' or deepened lines around my mouth and my children were concerned that I was 'frowning'...I didn't want my grandchildren to think I was sad....but now I realize, I just needed to smile harder and more often...'cause I see 'Botox grandmas' that can't change their expression at all! Come On Grandmas....let's give our grandchildren a real heritage...show them that aging into grandmotherhood is passionately attractive! Show them our laugh lines and laugh with them.......often!

Grandma
USA



Aging Gracefully

As long as I can remember, I've had a shame associated with my body. I can still feel the intense embarassment as I percieved everyone around me focused on my flaws, whether real or imagined. Not only did I think my body was fat and ugly, I was also convinced that others thought the same. Through the college years drinking and experimenting with drugs eased my intense discomfort as did promiscuous sexual behavior. But I was faking it, because I still felt significantly larger than my peers and extremly self-consious. Secretly, I used laxatives on and off for years. I forced myself to vomit after binging on forbidden foods. I used cigarettes and diet soda as food replacements. It really wasn't until I gave birth to my first child that I started to have pride in my body. It worked! It did this amazing thing! But of course after having children, I was lumpy and bumpy and padded with extra fat. I am fifty now. I have three beautiful daughters, 19, 17 and 14. I want them to be free of the hinderance of negative body image. I know they have watched me over the years; making negative comments about my own appearance, conspicuously following food regimens, secretly indulging, publicly denying myself a treat, changing my outfit a million times because I can't stand the way I look. When I went through a devestating divorce, I lost 20lbs. and loved being so thin. I knew it wasn't healthy, but I couldn't help loving the comments about how thin I was. Now, six years later, I try very hard to connect with my body in a different way. I like to be active and do things and I need my body to be strong and healthy. My children sometimes accuse me of exercising excessively (4-5 days a week) but there is a significant heart disease history in my family and I want to live long and be able to do the things I like to do. I would be a liar if I said, I never have those moments of self loathing, but I try to have some grace about it. Aging gracefully, that's what we used to say we'd do. My heart breaks when I see my daughters view themselves with dissatisfaction. We are hard on ourselves but women are hard on each other too. We praise the skinny images we see in the media, the unrealistic, unobtainable standards that we've all bought into. I always told my daughters that people come in all shapes and sizes and that we should not view differences critically. It seems like societal values have a larger impact. Of course, it's what they see not what we say that makes an impression. Thank you for the opportunity to share my story, I hope if women (and men) work together toward this goal, maybe we can save our children from self-rejection and lead them toward a healthier relationship with their bodies.

Penny
Ashland, MA



Housewife

I've struggled with my weight my entire life. I am now 54 years old. I lost 33 pounds on Weight Watchers, but have gained some of it back. I do workout, doing spinning 3/4 times a week. However, weight training has taken a backseat lately. I feel burned out. I know my body has gotten used to my exercise routine and I need to bump it up a notch, but I just don't have any enthusiasm. I won't be able to workout quite as much in the next weeks as I am having carpal tunnel surgery on both of my hands. I wish I could embrace my body as it changes, but I have 2 sisters-in-law who are thin and look great, and I don't feel I measure up. They look great in their clothes, and I feel I look like a slob with a flotation device around my mid-section. My husband is also thin and can eat anything he wants. His waistline has only gone up 1 inch in our 28 years of marriage. Sometimes I feel hopeless.

Barbara
Salisbury MD



I Run

In morning hours when everyone is still in bed
I run
with every stride I plan my day,
take the kids to school
miss them while they are gone
pick them up in the afternoon
do homework with my son
help my daughter with a paper
dinner needs to be cooked
snuggle on the couch
all this time I feel confident in my role
my body image defined not by how I look
but how my kids look to me

anne
East Bay



A daughter helpless with mommy's eating disorder

My wife has been dealing with an eating disorder our entire marriage. As a husband, I struggle with seeing my wife hurt herself daily with starvation, binging, and purging. As a father, I see my daughter becoming more aware that something is wrong with "mommy". It literally is a juggling act for me to deal with daily, the emotional trauma of my wife killing herself with her eating disorder and my daughter realizing there is something seriously wrong with her mother while trying to protect her from it. Our daughter could tell mommy is too skinny; she doesn’t look healthy and was confused why mommy doesn’t eat. She has been admitted to hospitals and inpatient eating disorder facilities; up to 3 months at a time. One of the most painful moments I remember is seeing my daughter crying for her mommy not to go away. The day she left for treatment, our daughter cried holding on to her mommy’s extremely thin skeletal frame. I could only stand there in agony as I saw this before my eyes. As a parent, you want to take any pain away from your children. She later asked me if mommy was leaving because she couldn’t eat. I told her mommy is working on getting better so mommy won’t have to be afraid of eating anymore. My daughter began to open up to me while mommy was away. My wife’s eating disorder was having a negative impact on her in more ways than I thought. My wife would force my daughter to eat entire meals even if she was full. At school, she would eat her lunch and be forced to take home whatever she didn’t eat and have to finish it when she got home. The pressure for her became so unbearable, she began throwing away any remaining lunch and then lie to her mom that she ate it all at school. At home our daughter would hide food she couldn’t finish. A few times my wife found the hidden food around the house. She would get angry at our daughter for lying. My wife could not understand why our daughter lied and would punish her. I am not condoning lying, but my wife’s eating disorder was putting so much pressure on my daughter, she felt like she didn’t have a choice. I was devastated as I was hearing these stories come from my daughter; at the tender age of 7. I failed as a father and didn’t protect my little girl. I vowed I would never let that happen again. I told her that if she ever felt pressure again, to let me know and I will help her. That situation now has gotten better and she no longer feels pressure. My wife is still dealing with her eating disorder; currently at another facility. She is trying so hard to beat this disease and enjoy a happy life as an individual, wife and mother. I struggle if my wife is a good or bad influence with our daughter. Outside of her eating disorder, my wife is an amazing mom and wife. When she is “in” her eating disorder, she is unavailable emotionally and mentally; and distances herself from me and our daughter. She becomes irrational and nearly impossible to live with; throwing temper tantrums and fits of anger. My wife doesn’t see that because her eating disorder blinds her from reality. Me and my daughter “walk on eggshells” to see if mommy is being “normal” or “mean”. My daughter doesn’t seem as close to her mother as she used to. My wife is just simply emotionally unavailable to her family with her eating disorder. I worry about my daughter and wonder if she will start adopt her mom’s eating disorder behaviors. I don’t think I could ever forgive my wife if that happened, or do I think I could ever forgive myself. I have contemplated many times whether divorcing my wife to protect my daughter would be best. I also think if that would be worse for my daughter to be in a broken home. I struggle with this question every day I look at my beautiful little girl…

JM
California



My Life Story: Why me?

I'm 28, the second youngest and the only different one in my family. I am of asian decent, I have two lovely children and a low self esteem, low confidence. I finally found a dermatologist to diagnose what I was born it, they call it Nevus of Ota and they have never seen anyone with bilateral nevus of ota meaning on both sides of the face. Nevus of ota is a hyper-pigmentation on the face that looks like bruising. I have them under my eyes, on my eye lids, temples and cheeks. Although no matter how much makeup, concealer, I try to put on nothing seems to cover it up. With being born with this and as it darkens as I age, I have seen my self esteem and confidence go down the drain. I wont go anywhere without makeup, even if its outside to get the mail. I'll take about 2 hours every morning getting ready for work and my husband knows that I wont go anywhere without makeup regardless of where I'm going. I've been stared at at grocery stores, malls, just any where I go. I will hear people whispering as I walk by, at times I'll be angered because they're talking about me probably because they think I got beat up or punched in the face. I've almost had to walk up to someone and yell at them in the store to clarify exactly that I had not been punched in the face but was a skin discoloration, but my two children were with me and did not want them to see me angered. They would simply not understand why. We, today teach our kids that it is not what's on the outside but what's in the inside of us that matters. But apparently, we dont practice what we preach. Not only do I work full time, I am also a student at Sacramento City College. Since I had lasik done October 2008 and no longer need glasses, I prefer to take my classes online because I know that I wont have to see any of my peers and be stared upon in class or as I'm making my way down the hall to my classes. I've finally considered laser treatments. I have had a consultation and am ready to make the next step of setting an appointment and having the first initial procedure done. I've been trying to save and barely have enough for my first treatment but I feel that this is something I have/need to have done to be confident of myself and not have to worry about what others see. I only wish that as adults, we would not stare at others who are different of us. I teach my children that every one is different, we all look different and should not question why this person is like this or why this person looks like that. If only the world would be like that, I would not have to worry about how I look. Some times I would be at the point where I would tell myself that I dont care what others think, I wont care if others stare at me, but once all those emotions build up and explode I am back where I'm at. I just hope that once I have my laser treatments done, whether it takes months to years to save up for it, I hope that people will not stare and judge me but to treat me equal as everyone else and not be stared at and talked upon. I deserve the right to go anywhere and not have to worry about what others think of me.

Mee
Sacramento, CA



Real Body Story Side Notes
10 14 11
Featured in Film

In theaters across the country, audiences are viewing Darryl Roberts film, America the Beautiful- The Thin Commandments.  The film covers topics including weight loss, the Body Mass Index and the negative affects of dieting.  The film features a section about Jenn and the message...More


01 01 11
Ageist Ad Rule #3

Ageist advertisements are nothing new.  American’s infatuation with maintaining a youthful appearance is evidenced in advertisements spanning nearly 100 years.  Woman in the U.S. culture are told they should “guard against” signs of aging and consumer advertising...More


12 29 10
Ageist Ad Rule #2

Fight. When I think of the word, it brings back memories of my school age days; bullies in the hallway or mean girls making threats and instigating a melee. The connotation of the word itself arouses emotions of defensiveness and anxiousness. I don't associate the word with adult images because...More


10 20 10
Ageist Ad Rule #1

Ageist language in advertisements may help consumers identify problems they wouldn’t recognize on their own; without the help of marketers.  For example, the following advertisement claims that your face should be void of facial lines.  In a recent classroom exercise, I...More


03 27 09
Ageism- A Weekly Look at Advertisements

A Wrinkle in Our Time: Ageist Language in Advertisements

In the early 1990s waif-like models and the desire to be ultra thin was a prevailing theme in advertising.  From perfume to blue jean advertisements models selling these items looked emaciated yet...More


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