Recently I completed my training to become a Body Project Facilitator. This means that I am certified to run The Body Project, an eating disorder prevention program aimed at helping high school girls and college aged women. It is intended to increase body acceptance, reduce the effects of the appearance ideal (what is portrayed in the media as the physical appearance paradigm), help develop a healthy body image, and aid in increasing self-esteem.
The Body Project was developed at Stanford University, as well as at the University of Texas at Austin, and the Oregon Research Institute. It has been delivered to over one million young women around the world. In numerous rigorous studies this program has been shown to effectively reduce body dissatisfaction, negative mood, unhealthy dieting and disordered eating. In fact, one trial found that implementing this intervention prevented 60% of the cases of eating disorders that emerged in the control group over a three-year follow-up, suggesting that for every 100 young women who complete this program, there should be nine fewer young girls who develop eating disorders over the subsequent three-year period. That is amazing!
Further, the organization NEDA that worked to developed The Body Project, has worked with religious leaders and specialists in order to help tailor it specifically to the Jewish orthodox community as well as other religious and cultural groups. This means no inappropriate or unsuitable information is being used and the issues that are challenged in the program and discussed are both relevant for and applicable to each group. That is really exciting.
For me, it was an incredible experience, as I trained with 13 other women. One thing that struck me was out of 13 participants, 12 of us, me included, had their own personal struggles with either body-image, disordered eating of some kind, and/or a clinically diagnosed eating disorder. It demonstrated a level of passion for and dedication to helping other women and girls create healthy relationships with their body. The program itself is run in small groups and provides a forum for dispelling the appearance ideal beliefs we hold. Also, as it is not a long course, it is conducted in either 4, 1-hour sessions or in 6, 45 minutes ones, it does not take up a large amount of time.
Prevention of eating disorders is so important as it is the best way to head off these devastating, difficult to treat, and complicated illnesses. The earlier we can implement these programs, the greater our success will be. Please contact me to learn more and to schedule your school!