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Ashley Solomon, Psy.D is a psychologist who specializes in the treatment of eating disorders, body image, trauma, and serious mental illness.

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Tag: body image

08 Apr

Fat Talk, Old Talk, and All That Other Self-Deprecating Talk

Ideas to Consider 4 Comments by Ashley @ Nourishing the Soul


These days, a few hours spent at a baby shower, a salon, or another female-dominated locale can start to sound like an episode of Real Housewives. From bemoaning the flab on one’s arms to debating the merits of Botox, groups of women often seem to have an endless supply of topics that share a similar theme — how darn flawed they are.

The fat-talk is almost a given, but what research is now revealing is that “old-talk” is sweeping in, and with similarly detrimental results.

Carolyn Black Becker, a psychologist at Trinity University, and her colleagues recently published an article in the Journal of Eating Disorders about the new wave of “old-talk.” They recognized that as the Baby Boomers have gotten older, the incidence of self-deprecication around age has increased. Not only that, but it’s correlated with body image disturbance and eating disorder pathology. A quick look at the magazine stand reflects this reality as well. Cover stories, ads, and products abound about how to look younger and hide the signs of aging.

While the large population of Baby Boomers might seem to be driving this phenomenon, old-talk is actually, well… old. Women – and men – have been lamenting aging for centuries. Perhaps it’s related to our fears of mortality, but chatting about the losses associated with getting older is one way that we connect.

And therein lies the problem.

My question is this: “Fat” or “old,” why is it that we have to criticize the realities of our physical selves in order to establish connection?

My guess is that these seem like safe topics in mixed company. With politics, religion, and sex usually on the taboo list, most women feel pretty safe talking about diets and their crow’s feet in just about any social situation. We figure that others can relate. Doesn’t everyone want to change themselves?

I suspect it also has to do with a key element in the way that women relate to one another. Ever cautious to come across as conceited or, heaven forbid, powerful, women use fat-talk, old-talk, and other self-deprecating talk in a delicate social dance. The dance says, “Don’t worry. I don’t like myself and I’m flawed. I’m not a threat, so you can trust and connect with me.”

Well, I personally think this dance is a little outdated. I’d like to see women establish connection in other ways, ones that don’t require negative self-evaluation. I don’t think it’s necessary to complain about my thighs or my sagging breasts in order to generate rapport with someone. I know this because I’ve focused on not doing it over the past several years (since learning more about fat-talk) and have managed to find plenty of things to talk about in groups of women.

So my challenge to readers is to do the same. See if you can’t go an entire day – or week – without fat, old, or negative self-talk. When you’re interacting with other women, share what you love about yourself or something that recently made you proud. Can you imagine the revolution that would transpire if we all committed to doing this? We’d feel better about ourselves and promote others in feeling better about themselves as well.

Now that’s the kind of talk I like to hear.

05 Nov

Announcing… the 2012 Nourishing Body Image Award Winners!

Current Events 5 Comments by Ashley @ Nourishing the Soul

Organizing the 2012 Nourishing Body Image Awards has been such a blessing. Each year I’ve hosted the awards, I’ve been introduced to so many amazing people, organizations, movements, and websites, which in turn has truly enriched my work and life. From inspirational posts that moved me in profound ways to organizations who inspired me to share, donate, and stand up, the work of the award nominees is truly amazing. I feel honored to get to recognize the incredible efforts.

The truth is, body image advocacy is not easy work. It’s not popular work, and it’s not always rewarding in the same ways as other work. But it’s important work. Vital work. And I’m so grateful to the individuals behind the nominations. Day in and day out, they go against the grain of society by standing up for radical ideas — like the fact that our worth should not be determined by the size of our waist or that beauty is something inherent in all human beings

I also humbled by those of you who took time to post, comment, email, and send messenger pigeons (okay, that was just one of you…) with your nominations. Thank you for taking an active part in recognizing how amazing this work is as well.

Without further ado, I’d like to share the nominations and winners of the 2012 Nourishing Body Image Awards.


Best Body Image Blogger


Arielle Lee Blair at Actively Arielle

Margarita Tartakovsky at Weightless

Sydney Bell at Body Respect

WINNER: Arianna Merritt at Arianna’s Random Thoughts


Best Body Image Website


The Kissy Project

My Purple Dreams

Voice in Recovery 

WINNER: Adios Barbie

Most Body Positive Magazine or Book



Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

WINNER: Operation Beautiful by Caitlin Boyle


Best Body Image Post or Article


Good Food vs. Bad Food on Baby Dust Diaries

The Art of Listening to Your Body on Weightless 

The Body Love Timeline on Already Pretty

The Power in Imperfection on Medicinal Marzipan

WINNER:  You Only Think the Bullies Are Helpful on Eat the Damn Cake

Best Body Image Boosting Organization


Rewrite Beautiful

Endangered Bodies NY

Healthy At Every Size

Hungry for Change

Girls On The Run

Proud 2 B Me

WINNER: BE ME Foundation

Most Body Loving Company


American Girl

Lane Bryant

Jean-Paul Gaultier

WINNER: Curvy Yoga


Best Body Positive Photo, Video, or Image


Be Weird, Be Random, Be You

Be Proud of

Media Spin

Some Thoughts on Confidence

WINNER: Self Esteem


Most Body Positive Celebrity


Demi Lovato

Lady Gaga

Christina Hendricks

WINNER: Ellen DeGeneres

I invite all of the nominees and winners to proudly display their recognition via the badges below. Thank you for all that you do. Because of you, I have confidence that my friends, family, patients, and self will live in a world more accepting and nurturing tomorrow than we do today.
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 Copy and paste this code: 
<a href=”;current=2012NTSnominee_zpsa216adb6.gif” target=”_blank”><img src=”” border=”0″ alt=”Photobucket”></a>

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25 Aug

You Should Know :: Body Loving Homework

Book Review, You Should Know 3 Comments by Ashley @ Nourishing the Soul

Okay, so I’m a little late to the party. But hey, I like to make a statement, so it’s cool.

If you’ve been an avid follower of the self-love mecca, Medicinal Marzipan, (and why wouldn’t you be?), you may already know about the cool renovation project over there. Mara has done more than added a fresh coat of paint – she’s totally revamped her space and launched a stunning new site – – that is as resourceful as it is beautiful.

One of the coolest things about the whole she-bang is that Mara launched a fantastic new e-book along with the site. It’s called Body Loving Homework and it’s a collection of writing prompts that inspire you to create your own personal narrative. My professional, personal, and every other kind of opinion is that writing is one of the most powerful tools we have to access our truest selves (which was the basis for the Self-Discovery, Word by Word project and is also why I kicked off the Start Write Now series recently).

A collection of writing prompts sounds a little boring, and Body Loving Homework is anything but. Consider it your jump start to digging into the most important material in the world – what’s already inside of you. It’s an invitation (and roadmap) to incredible self-discovery. It covers topics from your emotional body to sex and intimacy to unraveling a media-fueled education (awe-some). Not only that, but it’s absolutely gorgeous. No, really. You have to see for yourself to know what I mean. So consider this your kick in the butt to check it out.

Have you come across any great self-love tools lately? Been writing as a means of self-discovery? Do share!

26 Jun

The Body Love Pledge

Advocacy 14 Comments by Ashley @ Nourishing the Soul

promise {via etsy}

Today I pledge to love my body.

I pledge to refrain from saying derogatory things about my weight, shape, or appearance. If I talk about my body, it will be to tell the world how absolutely fabulous it is.

I pledge to hold others accountable to respecting my body in all it’s shapely glory. I will not allow others to create the definitions of what is right for my body. I will make those decisions and stand firm by them.

I pledge to honor the signals that my body sends me. I will sleep when I’m tired, eat when I’m hungry, and drink when I’m thirsty. I will play when my body needs movement and slow down when it needs rest. I will listen closely.

I pledge to treat my body well, just for being amazing. I will do things that give my body pleasure in all forms, as long as those things don’t hurt me.

I pledge to feed my body what it desires, and to stop when it signals I’m full. I’ll enjoy chocolate for the amazing concoction that it is, and will enjoy strawberries that way as well.

I pledge to stand up for the right of all bodies to be treated with respect. I will defend others whom I hear bullied and will take action when society tries to tell us what the “right” body is.

I pledge to move my body in ways that give me joy and energy. I will bend and twist and stretch and jump, but I will not devote hours of my life to activity that brings my body pain, tension, or stress.

I pledge to be honest with myself about my body and it’s needs and desires. I will not hide behind lies that I am not good enough, tall enough, attractive enough, thin enough, or just enough.

I pledge to teach others to love their bodies as well, by modeling a positive attitude toward my body and showing others that acceptance is possible. I will inspire in others what I wished someone inspired in me.


I hope that you’ll join me in signing this pledge. Just leave a comment below if you commit yourself to loving your body whole-heartedly! Don’t forget to share the pledge on facebook and twitter!

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