A Message From The Creator

A Message From The Creator

Women’s Health: 6 Essential Questions About Breast Cancer Screening

Women’s Health: 6 Essential Questions About Breast Cancer Screening

Inspirational Woman Of The Day: Claire Squires

Inspirational Woman Of The Day: Claire Squires

Women’s News: Why You Can Have Everything You Want (Even Though You’re Fat)

Women’s News: Why You Can Have Everything You Want (Even Though You’re Fat)

Women’s News: Why You Can Have Everything You Want (Even Though You’re Fat)

Rebecca DiLeberto

Producer/Executive Editor, The Ricki Lake Show

Even though it has never been far outside the norm — in fact, the average American woman wears a size 14, and 14 is my own average — I’ve always been ashamed of my size. This could be for a number of reasons: I grew up with a gorgeous mother who, despite her gorgeousness, always worried about her weight; I attended a series of fancy private schoolspopulated by the sort of thoroughbred humans who rode thoroughbred horses; I fell in love with fashion at a very young age, coveting the lithe forms which showed it off best and knew that my own round shape could never measure up unless I whittled it down.

In ballet class at age 5, I noticed that my belly stuck out farther than the other girls’, so I hiked up my tutu for camouflage. Fastening the waistband of my old-fashioned plaid uniform in second grade, I was careful to suck in my gut so it wouldn’t spill over. And if I was wearing a bathing suit, you can bet I was also wearing a t-shirt to “protect my delicate skin from sunburn,” even when the pool was indoors.

As a child and teenager, I distinctly remember experiencing my fatness as a secret — something I felt that I had to be vigilant about hiding. Never mind that anyone could see what size I was just by looking at me; I cut the labels out of my clothes whenever I could.

As someone who really knows, let me tell you something: It’s a waste of time to go through life constantly freaking out about how fat other people must think you are. No matter what your size, I promise you: The only person who truly gives a whatever about how fat you are is you.

There are people who always seem to daydream about their “thin days,” the good-old-years back when they thought they were fat, but before they had any idea how fat they were really going to get. I am not one of those people.

While I have never been fat-fat, I have also never been thin-thin. I have traveled through life in the netherworld of size ambiguity, fat enough to have a “weight issue,” thin enough never to be ostracized because of it. Luckily, I am conventionally pretty, fairly well proportioned and smart, with a freakishly high — some might say bordering on narcissistic — level of self-esteem. It’s rare that I don’t find myself to be one of the smartest, kindest, best-bone-structured people in any given room. OK, the smartest, kindest, best-bone-structured person. (In order to compensate for fat-girl low self-esteem, a gal has to learn to think highly of herself in other ways.)

Still, my weight has almost always been the thing I think of as holding me back. It’s my albatross, the excuse I use to explain all life’s failures, injustices and cruel twists of fate.

In fact, until pretty recently, I believed that my “weight problem” would keep me from ever finding the kind of person worth spending my life with. Or maybe it wouldn’t keep me from finding him, but it would certainly keep me from winning him and keeping him. I believed that by failing to lose weight, I was sentencing myself to a lifetime of solitary confinement as punishment for my pathetic lack of willpower.

Then, at 35, I fell in love. And all the fears I’d had about being undesirable because of my weight — that I was physically unattractive, that I lacked inner strength, that any self-respecting, successful man believed he deserved to have a skinny wife, which meant he believed he deserved better than me — all those fears disappeared overnight, just like everyone had always said they would when I met the right person. Did I all of a sudden feel happy with my body? Of course not. But I no longer believed that my physical body would stand between me and the life I had always wanted.

You might think that all these mind-blowing realizations would enable me to lose weight, once and for all. That’s what always happens in movies and cheerful chick-lit books, right? Fat chick identifies her core issue, shoots it down like a Space Invader, jogs sloppily around a track in a big sweatsuit, drinks gallons of smoothies, then sheds her terry cloth cocoon to emerge a skinny, self-confident butterfly in Spandex.

Nope, not my story. In fact, in the time that my boyfriend and I have been together, I have put on a solid fifteen pounds (thanks entirely to his mother’s ridiculous lemon bars). My boyfriend swears he doesn’t care that I’ve gained weight, and I believe him — when it comes to his being attracted to me, anyway. But I know that my being frustrated with myself affects both of us, and that in order to feel my best, my prettiest, my most confident, I need to get back to being as active as I used to be. So despite having found happiness in so many ways, my struggle with my body continues on.

Dream boyfriend or not, though, I’ve never let my weight issue hold me back outside the arenas of dating and self-esteem. This doesn’t mean that I’m some sort of fat activist, just that I’ve never doubted my intellect, potential or abilities the way I doubted my body. I can probably thank my parents for this strong — if somewhat delusional — belief in the contents of my own skull.

I’ve been an editor at a top women’s magazine in New York. I’ve set up house in the most happening ‘hood in Hollywood (right underneath the freaking sign!). I’ve survived working for a singer who offered me (unsolicited) Adderall and diet pills on our second day together, explaining that she knew how hard it was to carry around extra weight in the entertainment business, and that these magic pills had helped her to conquer her own weight problem and ascend the ladder of success.

Weirdly, though, no amount of shame or peer pressure has ever been enough to make me get thin. The skinny girls at the magazine? So dumb and shallow! There’s something wrong with somebody who thinks it’s OK to spend her entire two-week paycheck on a pair of stripper shoes. The waifish starlets walking their dogs around my block in Hollywood? They probably moonlight at suburban Friday’s restaurants, covered in “flair.” I couldn’t survive one day of hauling around trays of half-eaten crab dip and guacamole — gross. And when that malnourished “artist” offered me those pills, as she huddled in her garage, sucking on a secret cigarette, I felt sorry for her. So successful, so pretty, such a perfect body — and still so insecure!

I used to think that my inability to jump on the skinny bandwagon simply meant that I had no willpower. Now I see, though, that maybe I don’t hate my body as much as I always thought I did.

Why am I telling you all of this? Because I want to help you not-hate your body, too. But not in a precious, touchy-feely, rub-aromatherapy-lotion- on-your-skin-and-give-yourself-the-care-you-deserve way. I want to help you stop hating your body by no longer allowing it to be the thing that stands between you and your happiness. My goal is to prove to you that you are not the elephant in the room.

Now just because I don’t hate my body doesn’t mean that society doesn’t hate it. There’s no question that as obesity rates skyrocket, our culture puts a higher and higher premium on skinniness. But, I promise, you can make western society’s unfortunate bias work for you.
One of the reasons skinny people make life so difficult for fat people is that they’re jealous. Jealous that fat people eat what they want. Jealous that fat people don’t derive their self-esteem from the labels sewn into the clothes on their backs. Jealous of the psychic freedom that comes from refusing to live by everybody else’s rules. Instead of telling you not to be envious of skinny people, I am going to tell you to use their secret envy of you to your advantage.

No, I am not delusional. (At least I don’t think I am?) I’m not trying to encourage a bunch of 200-pound chicks to pursue careers as fashion models. (I mean, If you’re a 200-pound chick who wants to be a fashion model, Godspeed, but you’d better be ridiculously pretty. Like, Helen-of-Troy-level pretty. And start your career off on the right foot. In Samoa.)

But I’m sick of hearing 200-pound chicks — even 140-pound chicks! — say they can’t succeed at their careers, get a cool boyfriend, hike to the top of a mountain, insert whatever mundane-yet-seemingly-unattainable goal here just because they don’t look like fashion models. Listen up, people: Do you realize how absurd it is to let your physical body affect your success in the non-superficial arenas of your life? Is one required to possess a law degree from Harvard in order to be qualified to host the Miss America pageant? No? Then why do you think you need to look like Miss America in order to pursue your law degree at Harvard?

If you don’t yet have the life you want — the life you feel you deserve — you’re going to have to change. But I’m not talking about losing weight. Maybe you’ll have to be a little more assertive sometimes, a little less self-righteous other times. You’ll have to forgive stupid assholes for being reductive and judgmental, and you’ll have to acknowledge that sometimes you’re a bit reductive and judgmental yourself. You’re going to have to accept that being fat is not an excuse to disengage from the aesthetic side of our culture, or, even worse, to disengage from our culture entirely.

Being fat comes with a host of responsibilities, not only to yourself, but to other fat people. Represent! You can be both fat and pretty. Both fat and handsome. Both fat and self-confident. Both fat and rich. Both fat and wildly attractive. Both fat and — yes, it’s true — happy.

Rebecca DiLiberto is the executive editor at “The Ricki Lake Show.” For an upcoming schedule of episodes, visit Ricki’s site.

Read More: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rebecca-diliberto/body-image_b_1879506.html?utm_hp_ref=women&ir=Women

Inspirational Woman Of The Day: Claire Squires

 

INSPIRATIONAL Claire Squires, whose death during the London Marathon sparked a million pound fundraising drive, has been nominated posthumously for two awards.

Claire, who collapsed and died a mile from the finish line aged just 30, is nominated in the “most inspirational” and “inspirational fund-raiser” categories of the Inspiration Awards for Women event in aid of Breakthrough Breast Cancer.

The Inspiration Awards for Women celebrate the achievements of remarkable women who inspire those around them either through the media or through their astounding achievements in their everyday lives.

The annual event that takes place each October at the iconic Cadogan Hall, Chelsea, which is home to the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.

The star-studded event, on October 3, will feature performances by BeverlyKnight and former X Factor winner Matt Cardle.

Others nominated for other awards on the night include Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson, Victoria Beckham, Dame Ellen MacArthur and Holly Willoughby.

Claire’s death in April prompted a national outpouring of support for her chosen charity, The Samaritans, with the fundraising total on her Justgiving web page rocketing from £500 to the £1m mark.

A family fun day organised by Claire’s family and friends recently raised £13,000 for the Squires Effect – a charity set up in her memory.

The winner last year in the “most inspirational” category of the Inspiration Awards, was Katie Piper, a former model and TV presenter scarred for life four years ago after she had sulphuric acid thrown in her face.

For more details about the award visit www.inspirationawards.com

Read More: http://www.harboroughmail.co.uk/news/local-news/inspirational-claire-squires-nominated-for-national-awards-1-4262612

Women’s Health: 6 Essential Questions About Breast Cancer Screening

BarbaraDehn

Nurse Barb is a practicing Nurse Practitioner, lecturer at Stanford and appears regularly on TV as a health expert.

How many of you are confused by the seemingly endless rounds of recommendations about breast cancer screenings? I know that I am, and so this post is designed to help answer the six essential questions that will help you decide what to do about breast cancer screening.

1. When Should Mammograms Be Started?

In general, for women without a family history of breast cancer, according to the American Cancer Society, mammograms should begin at age 40. If there’s a strong family history of breast cancer, your health care provider may recommend earlier screening.

2. Are Mammograms Enough?

For many women with dense breasts, it’s now thought that the addition of an ultrasound will help to detect breast cancers that can be missed by traditional mammography. Women who benefit from the addition of ultrasound are those with more breast density.

Breast density is reported as a BI-RADS classification. For women with a BI-RADS classification of 3 or higher, an ultrasound should also be offered. At the very least, women need to be informedabout their breast density.

Some states have legislation in place that ensure that women are informed of their density. Right now in California, where I live, we’re hoping Governor Brown signs this legislation. Here’s a quick one-minute video and more information on breast density.

Some women with a family history of breast cancer or who have the BRCA-1 or 2 genetic mutations may also need to have MRI. It’s best to talk to your own health care provider about your own unique situation.

3. How Often Should Mammograms Be Done?

Though many groups advocate for mammograms every two years, I agree with the American Cancer Society, which recommends that women have a mammogram every year starting at age 40.

4. When Should Women Stop Having Mammograms?

There are wide differences in opinion for this question also. Some groups only advocate screening until age 70, others until age 75. Since women are living longer now than ever before, I find myself agreeing with the American Cancer Society, which advocates annual screening as long as a woman is in good health. I have many patients in their 80s who are strong and vigorous and who plan to be around for another 20 years, and want their annual mammograms, which I’m happy to order for them.

5. Who Needs Genetic Testing for Breast Cancer?

Any woman who has a one or more family members with breast or ovarian cancer should considergenetic testing for the BRCA-1 and 2 mutations. These are associated with an increased risk of breast and ovarian cancer. Though only about 15 percent of breast cancers are hereditary, it’s helpful to know if a person is at higher risk.

If possible, the person with breast or ovarian cancer should be tested to see if they carry the mutation. If that person is positive, then other family members can be tested. If the family members who had breast or ovarian cancer can’t be tested, then other family members may decide to be tested.

6. Who Needs MRIs for Breast Cancer Screening?

Women with a family history of breast cancer, those with a personal history of breast cancer and those who are at higher risk from having had previous breast biopsies may benefit from the additional screening possible with MRI. Though there can be many false positives leading to biopsies and procedures, MRI can help detect early breast cancers.

For more, here’s a video of an interview with Dr. Wendie Berg about breast cancer screening.

Disclosure: I have no financial or business relationships with the American Cancer Society, anyone working on breast density legislation, nor any companies working on breast imaging or genetic testing.

Read More: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/barbara-dehn/breast-cancer-screening_b_1797583.html?utm_hp_ref=womens-health

A Message From The Creator

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